Wildlife Land Trust / Sanctuaries / QLD / Wairambar Rainforest

Paul and Roberta Michna are the owners of Wairambar Rainforest, a property situated in Topaz, approximately 90km south of Cairns, Queensland. The property is a dedicated wildlife sanctuary, and the owners wish to maintain and enhance the integrity of the rainforest both as a habitat for native species and a buffer for the immediately adjacent Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. They also plan to facilitate research on the land and continue with species identification.

Wairambar Rainforest covers 24 hectares across a very high biodiversity area behind Mount Bartle Frere, on the traditional land of the Ngadjon People. The landscape provides a range of ecotones, microclimates and soils with a high, reliable rainfall. The majority of the landscape is mature rainforest, undisturbed for nearly a hundred years. Some regeneration techniques have been trialed along the property’s margins.

Vegetation is characterised as dense tropical rainforest, primarily 7.8.2: Complex mesophyll vine forest on basalt soil and 7.11.12: Simple notophyll vine forest on marine metamorphics. The rainforest features a permanent creek, spring lines, quartz ridges and quartzite and granite outcrops. Over 600 native species have been identified to date.

Vegetation is very biodiverse and includes umbrella trees (Schefflera actinophylla), blue quandong (Elaeocarpus angustifolius), Alexandra (Archontophoenix alexandrae) and Orania (Oraniopsis appendiculata) palms, stockwellia (Stockwellia quadrifida), palms, bunya pines (Araucaria bidwillii), candlenuts (Aleurites moluccanus), wait-a-while vines (Calamus australis), red cedar (Toona ciliata), elkhorn ferms (Platycerium bifurcatum), bird’s nest ferns (Asplenium nidus) and flame trees (Brachychiton acerifolius).

The property provides habitat for a wide range of native species including scrub (Morelia kinghorni) and carpet (Morelia spilota) pythons, spectacled flying-foxes (Pteropus conspicillatus), striped possums (Dactylopsila trivirgata), white-footed dunnarts (Sminthopsis leucopus), giant white-tailed rats (Uromys caudimaculatus), green ringtail possums (Pseudochirops archeri), dingoes (Canis dingo), musky rat-kangaroos (Hypsiprymnodon moschatus), orange-thighed tree frogs (Litoria xanthomera) and Queensland giant blue worms (Terriswalkeris terraereginae). There is also an array of insects present including Cairns birdwings (Ornithoptera euphorion), Ulysses swallowtails (Papilio ulysses), giant rainforest mantids (Hierodula majuscule) and Hercules moths (Coscinocera hercules).

Birdlife is abundant and includes southern cassowaries (Casuarius casuarius), azure (Alcedo azurea) and forest (Todiramphus macleayii) kingfishers, emerald doves (Chalcophaps indica), Wompoo fruit-doves (Ptilinopus magnificus), barking (Ninox connivens) and rufous (Ninox rufa) owls, Victoria’s riflebirds (Ptiloris victoriae), double-eyed fig parrots (Cyclopsitta diophthalma), Lewin’s (Meliphaga lewinii) and Macleay’s (Xanthotis macleayanus) honeyeaters, tooth-billed bowerbirds (Scenopoeetes dentirostris) and Bower’s shrikethrushes (Colluricincla boweri).