Apparently there are over 600 different types of grass identified in Queensland along with 8500 species of flowering plants, while a further 630 different species of birds have been identified in Queensland. I recognise some of the birds and trees the melelucuas, wattles, grevillias, eucalyptus, conifers, cycads and ferns all pulsating with a vivid luminous vibrant green. “Slashers next 5kms” said the sign. I drink in the heady aroma of freshly cut grasses that carry the sweet flavour of a juicy fruit salad.
Classic Queenslander houses encased in lattice are raised up skyward standing on stilts as if pulled high from their stumps by the rising humidity.
Whispering in gentle rustling voices like waves, caressed by a ceaseless tailwind the green sea of sugarcane bows to meet us, as if playing their own game of Chinese whispers.
The Queensland native golden penda trees are in full bloom. The large yellow flowering heads attract raucous flocks of rainbow lorikeets.
Poincianas or flame trees, with their fern like leaves, bright red flowers and giant seed pods, provide shade, colour and amusement. I’ve seen kids shake the pods like a rattle or maracca.
At Mingela outside Charters Towers, I talk to an ageing, misty eyed local man, who asks if I saw the huge Poinciana about 20kms from town. “I used to camp under that tree with my parents, back when their were no made roads and it was a three day round trip to Charters to get supplies.”