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Dunk Island Circuit and Mount Kootaloo

Dunk Island National Park

Dunk Island Links:

October 17th, 2000

7.1 miles
1120 vertical feet
Total Time: 6:17

Rating: 7/10

Directions:   View Driving Map


It was hot and humid in the rain forest as Jean and I started off on the trail. We passed a group of people doing a guided hike and shortly thereafter crossed a small swinging bridge.

The trail started climbing immediately, a steady climb of about 800 feet, us sweating in the heat and humidity the whole way. Jean had sunscreen streaming down the sides of her face. The rain forest canopy kept all of that heat in, and didn't let any breezes in, as well. To top it off, Jean was doing this hike in Tevas, as she'd left her hiking shoes in the Cairns airport.

We headed up the hill, a very thick, green forest all around us. It was a bit boring, actually, as it never changed. Just green, green, green all around us. After perhaps an hour and a half, we made it to the top. A few people were already at the top, but they left soon after we arrived, leaving it all for us. At the top of Mount Kootaloo is a two-level wooden viewing area. Trees partially obstructed the view, but we could see islands in the water below, and the Australian mainland to the right. We saw smoke rising from the mainland; we assume it was a controlled burn of some kind. The area had been in a prolonged dry period so perhaps this was a preventative measure.

View from the lookout on top of Mount Kootaloo

View from the lookout on top of Mount Kootaloo

The trail down the other side was closed, so we turned around and headed back the way we came. Half way down, we turned left and continued on the island circuit trail. A kilometer or so later we reached a trail intersection. Above us, to the left, a trail headed up toward Mount Kootaloo. We were puzzled that it would be closed on one end but not the other. Perhaps the trail is overgrown closer to the top and no one ever bothered to put a sign at the bottom.

Butterfly next to the trail

Eventually the forest does thin out as it passes through Palm Valley. As it does so, it's easier to hear all the birds everywhere. It was a nice change, hearing all the life in the forest that we usually don't hear on our hikes in the States. That's what hiking in a rain forest will do.

Coconut Beach

After Palm Valley we soon found ourselves at Coconut Beach. As luck would have it, there were 3 other people there, but they left shortly after we arrived, leaving us all alone on this wonderful beach. The beach sits in a large sweeping cove, sandy beach and green forest stretching up and down the coast in either direction. We thoroughly enjoyed the moment, sitting down and listening to the waves gently massaging the beach. We sat there under cover of some large trees, enjoying the beach for over an hour. During that time we took out the lunch that the resort had packed for us. I was very impressed to be eating a salmon sandwich, fruit, and cookies on our own private beach.

Tree and Three Rocks at Coconut Beach

Unlike Cape Tribulation, this beach had lots of sea shells. I thought about taking a macro photograph, but found out I'd left my macro lens in the room. Instead, I found a tree growing in the water in front of some rocks and decided to photograph that, instead.

Coastline at Coconut Beach

Jean exploring the waters

Eventually we pulled ourselves away from the beach and continued along the trail. We passed the Bruce Arthur's artist colony, which is open to the public M-Th 10-1. Since it was well past 1pm, we weren't able to see it. We continued over foot bridges and past the Coonangelbah Farm. Dunk Island is not a large island. We basically covered half the island on this hike. Soon enough we found ourselves walking parallel to the air strip at the end of our hike. We walked past big vats of gardening supplies, past the runway, past the golf course, and back to our room, still enjoying the thought of our private Coconut Beach.


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