Curtain Fig National Park Tropical North Queensland

Photo credit: Photo: Maxime Coquard © Tourism and Events Qld

About Curtain Fig

    Park features

    This park protects a small area of an endangered type of forest, called mabi forest (also called complex notophyll vine forest or type 5b forest). 'Mabi' comes from the Ngadjon word for the Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo. This forest type has several unique features, most notably the semi-deciduous canopy trees, which allow more than the usual amount of light to penetrate to the forest floor. This in turn supports a well-developed shrub layer. It is endangered because most of this type of forest has been cleared for farming.

    The large fig tree found in this park is unique because the extensive aerial roots, that drop 15m to the forest floor, have formed a ‘curtain’. Starting from a seed dropped high in the canopy, this strangler fig grew vertical roots, which gradually became thicker and interwoven. Over hundreds of years these roots have strangled the host causing it to fall into a neighbouring tree—a stage unique to the development of this fig. Vertical fig roots then formed a curtain-like appearance and the host trees rotted away, leaving the freestanding fig tree. The tree is thought to be nearly 50m tall, with a trunk circumference of 39m, and is estimated to be over 500 years old.

    An elevated boardwalk protects the tree while allowing visitors views of the fig from all angles.

    Looking after the park

    • Take rubbish with you—rubbish facilities are not provided.

    Spotlighting

    Resident nocturnal mammals, insects and reptiles ensure a rewarding spotlighting trip to the Curtain Fig National Park. Leaf-tailed geckos are often seen on tree trunks, while the Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo and many possums can sometimes be spied in the canopy.

    If planning a spotlighting trip to the Curtain Fig, here are a few things that will make your experience memorable.

    • Keep your bulb wattage to 30 or less. This will increase your chance of finding animals (by not warning them of your arrival) and will extend your viewing time.
    • Bring your binoculars so you can get a good view.
    • Use your senses to find wildlife. Look for eye shine, listen for leaves rustling and inhale the smells.
    • Use a white light to explore the forest then add a red or orange filter to view wildlife. Cellophane is useful.
    • Remember that loud voices and sounds will scare away the wildlife and ruin your experience.
    • Lights should never be trained on nesting birds; this can cause them great distress.

    See the guidelines on caring for parks for more information about protecting our environment and heritage in parks.

    Park management

    The Curtain Fig State Forest became a part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area in 1988, and was converted to national park in 2005.

    The Curtain Fig National Park is managed on a day-to-day basis by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS). Management of the World Heritage area is coordinated through a partnership between the Commonwealth and Queensland governments, the Traditional Owners and the wider community.

    Tourism information links

    Atherton Visitor Information Centre
    Corner Silo Road and Main Street, Atherton QLD 4883
    ph (07) 4091 4222
    email athinfocentre@trc.qld.gov.au

    Malanda Falls Visitor Centre
    www.malandafalls.com
    132 Malanda-Atherton Road, Malanda QLD 4885
    ph (07) 4096 6957
    email info@malandafalls.com

    For tourism information for all regions in Queensland see Queensland Holidays.

    • There are currently no park alerts for this park.