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This 43km road is mostly unsealed. It runs from the Kennedy Highway just east of Kuranda to the Mossman-Mount Molloy Road near Julatten. The road traverses both the Kuranda and Mowbray National Parks as well as state forest and private land. This can be a very rewarding area for visiting birders.
Many of the Wet Tropics species can be found here, including several of the endemics. Species typically encountered here include: Southern Cassowary, Australian Brush Turkey, Orange-footed Scrubfowl, Red-necked Crake, Grey Goshawk, Topknot Pigeon, Brown Cuckoo Dove, Superb Fruit Dove, Wompoo Fruit Dove, Pacific Emerald Dove, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Australian King Parrot, Double-eyed Fig Parrot, Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo, Little Bronze Cuckoo, Pacific Koel, Papuan Frogmouth, Large-tailed Nightjar, Australian Swiftlet, Forest Kingfisher, Rainbow Bee-eater, Noisy Pitta, White-throated Treecreeper, Lovely Fairywren, Fernwren, Large-billed Scrubwren, Fairy Gerygone, Brown Gerygone, Helmeted Friarbird, Yellow-spotted Honeyeater, Graceful Honeyeater, White-throated Honeyeater, Macleay's Honeyeater, Dusky Honeyeater, Yellow-breasted Boatbill, Pale Yellow Robin, Chowchilla, Golden Whistler, Grey Whistler, Little Shrike Thrush, Spectacled Monarch, Pied Monarch, White-eared Monarch, Black-faced Monarch, Leaden Flycatcher, Grey Fantail, Rufous Fantail, Barred Cuckooshrike, Cicadabird, Varied Triller, Australasian Figbird, Black Butcherbird, Spotted Catbird, Victoria's Riflebird, Red-browed Firetail, Olive-backed Sunbird, Mistletoebird and Silvereye.
A small population of Southern Cassowary lives in the area. Although this species can be encountered along the road by casual birders, this can be very hit and miss. Many birders typically stay at Cassowary House (signposted off the road near the Kuranda end) to take advantage of the fact that the birds regularly come into the grounds of the guest house giving incredible close encounters to visiting birders.
There have been a number of recent records of Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo along this road, typically near the Julatten end. These records effectively extend the known range of this species south from Cape York. This is by far and away the best place to look for this species in the region.
Birds you can see here include:
To do Cassowary House area birds, excludes irregular visitors * Far N Queensland endemics Southern Cassowary Casuarius casuarius Resident Australian Brush-turkey Alectura lathami Resident Orange-footed Scrubfowl Megapodius reinwardt Resident Grey Goshawk Accipiter novaehollandiae Resident Pacific Baza Aviceda cristata Resident Red-necked Crake Rallina tricolor Resident Bush Stone-curlew Burhinus grallarius Occasional White-headed Pigeon Columba leucomela Mainly winter, scarce Brown Cuckoo Dove Macropygia amboinensis Resident Pacific Emerald Ground-Dove Chalcophaps (indica) longirostris Resident Peaceful Dove Geopelia cuneata Resident Bar-shouldered Dove Geopelia humeralis Resident Wompoo Fruit Dove Megaloprepia magnificus Resident Superb Fruit Dove Ptilinopus superbus Resident Rose-crowned Fruit Dove Ptilinopus regius Passage visitor (October) Topknot Pigeon Lopholaimus antarcticus Occasional nomad Rainbow Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus Resident Scaly-breasted Lorikeet Trichoglossus chlorolepidotus Resident / nomad Sulphur-crested Cockatoo Cacatua galerita Resident Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo Calyptorhynchus banksii Occasional nomad Double-eyed Fig-Parrot Cyclopsitta diopthalma macleayana Resident Australian King Parrot Alisterus scapularis Resident Fan-tailed Cuckoo Cacomantis flabelliformis Winter Gould’s Bronze-Cuckoo Chrysococcyx minutillus russatus Resident Shining Bronze-Cuckoo Chrysococcyx lucidus Resident & migrant Australian Koel Eudynamys scolopacea Scarce summer visitor Channel-billed Cuckoo Scythrops novaehollandiae Scarce summer visitor Pheasant Coucal Centropus phasianus Resident Lesser Sooty Owl * Tyto multipunctata Resident Australian Swiftlet Collocalia spodiopygia Resident Fork-tailed (Pacific) Swift Apus pacificus Scarce passage White-throated Needletail Hirundapus caudacutus Scarce passage Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher Tanysiptera sylvia Summer visitor Nov-Apr Azure Kingfisher Alcedo azurea Resident Forest Kingfisher Todiramphus macleayii Resident Laughing Kookaburra Dacelo novaeguineae Resident Rainbow Bee-eater Merops ornatus Summer & passage Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis Passage migrant Noisy Pitta Pitta versicolor Mainly summer Lovely Fairywren * Malurus amabilis Scarce resident Fernwren * Oreoscopus gutturalis Scarce resident Large-billed Scrubwren Sericornis magnirostris Resident Fairy Gerygone Gerygone palpebrosa Resident Hornbill (Helmeted) Friarbird Philemon (buceroides) yorki Resident Macleay’s Honeyeater * Xanthotis macleayana Resident Yellow-spotted Honeyeater * Meliphaga notata Resident Cryptic Honeyeater * Meliphaga (gracilis) imitatrix Resident Dusky Honeyeater Myzomela obscura Resident Leaden Flycatcher Myiagra rubecula Scarce pasage Satin Flycatcher Myiagra cyanoleuca Scarce passage Pale-yellow Robin Tregellasia capito Resident Grey-headed Robin * Heteromyias albispecularis Winter visitor Chowchilla * Orthonyx spaldingii Resident Eastern Whipbird Psophodes olivaceus Resident Grey Whistler Pachycephala simplex Resident Rufous (Little) Shrike-thrush Colluricincla megarhyncha Resident Yellow-breasted Boatbill Machaerirhynchus flaviventer Resident Black-faced Monarch Monarcha melanopsis Summer visitor Spectacled Monarch Monarcha trivirgatus Resident White-eared Monarch Monarcha leucotis Scarce resident Pied Monarch * Arses kaupi Resident Grey Fantail Rhipidura fuliginosa Winter visitor Rufous Fantail Rhipidura rufifrons Passage/winter Spangled Drongo Dicrurus bracteatus Resident & passage White-bellied Cuckooshrike Coracina papuensis Scarce passage Barred Cuckooshrike Coracina lineata Resident Cicadabird Coracina tenuirostris ?Resident Varied Triller Lalage sueurii Resident Figbird Sphecotheres viridis Resident White-breasted Wood-swallow Artamus leucorhynchus Occasional visitor Black Butcherbird Cracticus quoyi Resident Victoria’s Riflebird * Ptiloris victoriae Resident Spotted Catbird * Ailuroedus crassirostris Resident Red-browed Firetail Neochmia temporalis Resident Olive-backed Sunbird Nectarinia jugularis Resident Mistletoebird Dicaeum hirundinaceum Resident Silvereye Zosterops lateralis Resident Metallic Starling Aplonis metallica Mainly summer
As with all rainforest regions of the Tablelands, this area is rich in wildlife. Many of these species can be encountered in the grounds of the Cassowary House guest house.
Mammals: Musky Rat Kangaroo and Red-legged Pademelon are common in the area. Other mammals include Striped Possum, Long-nosed Bandicoot, Giant White-tailed Rat, Fawn-footed Melomys and Prehensile-tailed Rat. Platypus occurs in the surrounding creeks.
Amphibians: a number of frog species occur in the region. This includes the recently described Kuranda Tree Frog with a tiny global range centred on the township of nearly Kuranda.
Areas of Interest
Birders can find something of interest all along this road. Also worthy of exploration are any side tracks and footpaths. Be mindful however that these side tracks have public access however, as some are on private land.
Access and Facilities
Julatten can be accessed from the coast by heading inland on the Mossman-Mt Molloy Road signposted between Port Douglas and Mossman. Look for signs for Euluma Creek Road which gives access to the Black Mountain Road after several kilometres.
From Cairns, head north past the International Airport as far as Smithfield. Turn inland onto the Kennedy Highway which is signposted here for Kuranda and Mareeba. At the top of the switchback road just before the township of Kuranda, the Black Mountain Road is signposted on your right. Cassowary House is a short distance up the road from this end.
Most of the road is unsealed. Whilst a normal vehicle can be used to access the areas near either end of the road, the main central section should really only be attempted using a four-wheel drive, especially during the rainy season. Give way to logging trucks along this road. Sections of the road are often closed during wet weather.
Cassowary House. This is a guest house located a short distance off the Kennedy Highway up the road itself. The great thing about staying here is that it specialises in catering for visiting birders. Details of what a stay here offers can be found at the website by following the link below.
- Cassowary House
- Tel: +61 (0)7 4093 7318.