I’ve just returned from an amazing month long trip to Taiwan and Australia. We were travelling around a lot, which didn’t allow a great deal of time for drawing, but I had fun painting these tiny watercolour postcards. I painted this bunch whilst staying in tropical north Queensland, home to the Great Barrier Reef, and Daintree Rainforest – which at over one hundred and thirty-five million years old is the oldest in the world. Being a fan of most things green, and of things furrry (but not normally green and furry), this is a very good place to visit.
I found the forest itself utterly amazing – exceeding all my cliched expectations of what a jungle ought to be. Twisty loopy giant in your face greenness. (You can see why I am not a writer). I also found it very different to the rainforests of Madagascar, which are the only other tropical forests I have spent any length of time visiting. One very good thing about Daintree is that the national parks authority which manages the area have very helpfully provided boardwalks into certain areas, so that you can wander in as you like whilst minimising damage or disturbance. By walking quietly at dusk you can see a great deal, although we also went on a guided night walk.
In terms of what dwells within, it was also pretty darn good – while in Australia there are no primates, we found an abundance of other creatures equally exciting: crocodiles, forest dragons (a type of large lizard), bandicoot, a white tailed rat, various snakes, fruit bats, tree frogs, turtles, a striped possum, a red necked pademelon (similar to a wallaby), and many varied and stunning birds.
We also spent one far too short day snorkelling over the Great Barrier Reef. I have never seen so many species of brightly coloured fish, or indeed anything remotely like this. Coral reef is a very precious and endangered habitat these days, due to climate change and ocean acidification. I feel privileged to have seen this beautiful reef while it still survives.