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Boardwalks - QLD, Daintree National Park, Marrdja Botanical Boardwalk

Google Earth: 16°08’51.09 S; 145°26’36.17 E

Marrdja is a Kuku Yalanji word meaning rainforest walk. This well-designed looped walk begins and ends at the side of Oliver Creek, a slowly rambling mountain stream emerging beneath a dense pristine canopy of rainforest trees and shrubs. Stems and branches are festooned and drooping with epihytes, as well as the aptly named Wait-a-while. It’s spiky tendrils always ready to catch unwary visitors. Crystal waters flow gently across a flat rocky bed, but there are clues revealing another side. Suspended remnants high in branches and along upper stream banks indicate a torrent during wetter days.

Daintree Coast rainforests closely resemble the rainforests that covered Australia over 50 million years ago when the climate was wet and warm across the continent. The climate has changed many times since. In cooler, drier times, the once widespread rainforests shrank, finding refuge in sheltered valleys and moist mountaintops along the east coast. The rainforests in Noah Creek and Coopers Creek catchments seem to be refuge remnants and they have remained unchanged over the last 15,000 years. The resulting rare rainforest plants found on the Daintree Coast are very similar to some of the original Gondwanan plants preserved in these fire-resistant rainforest refuges.

Signs along the boardwalk trace the evolution of Daintree Coast plants, and provide information about the two chief habitats you will encounter – rainforests and mangroves. Near where Oliver Creek joins Noah Creek there is a notable transition from rainforest to mangrove forest. The first thing that grabs attention is the near absence of an undercanopy – a distinctive feature of mangrove forests. Of further note is the abundance of strange knobbly root structures emergent from the dark mud. These belong to the erect dark tall stems of numerous Bruguiera gymnorhiza trees. Such roots are some of the ingenious design solutions these plants have evolved for living on the tidal edge. If you look carefully you will see honeyeaters feeding for nectar from bright red spiky flowers amongst the glossy green foliage.

Signs along the boardwalk take you on a 350 million year journey. It begins with the first land plants, through the age of dinosaurs, the appearance of flowering plants and to the break-up of the super continent Gondwana. The journey continues through the coming of humans and their immense impacts. Management strategies to protect these special places are indicated in signs proclaiming this site as part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. The inscription of this Area on the World Heritage List in 1988 confirms its exceptional natural values which deserve protection for the benefit of all humanity. The Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area comprises public and private land tenures including National Parks and State Forests. The Area is managed in accordance with a joint agreement between the Australian and Queensland Governments.

Location Details

  • Distance/length: 1 km
  • Location: Oliver Creek, Cape Tribulation Road, Daintree National Park.
  • Walking Time: 45 mins. Address: Cape Tribulation Road.
  • Directions: Carpark and entrance on the south bank of Oliver Creek, along the Cape Tribulation Road.
  • Contact: For more information: Wet Tropics Management Authority C/- Wet Tropics Management Agency, 15 Lake Street, Cairns 4870 (PO Box 2050, Cairns). Telephone (070) 316555. Web address
  • Facilities

  • parking
  • Wheelchair access
  • No restrooms
  • No dogs
  • No picnic tables
  • No BBQ facilities
  • No Shelter
  • No bikes
  • No playground
  • No drinking water
  • No fishing
  • No boatramp
  • Information sign
  • No information centre
  • Guided walk
  • No cafe
  • No lighting


  • Mangroves

    Aegiceras corniculatum
    Acrostichum speciosum
    Bruguiera gymnorhiza
    Cynometra iripa
    Excoecaria agallocha
    Heritiera littoralis
    Lumnitzera littorea
    Rhizophora mucronata
    Xylocarpus granatum.
    Mangrove epiphytes: Mymercodia antonii (Ant Plant), Staghorns & Cymbidium orchids
  • Saltmarsh

  • General Vegetation

    Primary Rainforest. Austromuellera, Haplostchanthus sp, Lepiderema hirsura, Fan palm forest.
  • Birds

    Rainforest birds
  • Invertebrates in the mud

  • Invertebrates in the vegetation

    Bird winged butterflies
    Ulysses Butterflies
    Many spiders
  • Rare/ Endangered Biota

  • Waterlife

    toadfish, juvenile fish and fry, bream


Norm Duke (20 February 2006)

Community Volunteers

A key feature of MangroveWatch is its close partnership between community volunteers and scientists from the James Cook University’s Mangrove Hub. Together they are systematically recording basic data as video and still imagery for assessments of estuarine habitat health.

Armed with expert support, training and advice, MangroveWatch volunteers in key regions are actively contributing to the monitoring of local estuaries and shorelines. An important goal in this phase of the program is to develop a network of like minded groups with the aim of producing public documents that describe important issues affecting local estuaries and mangroves, and their overall health.

Getting Involved

If you would like to find out more about us or if you like to initiate your own MangroveWatch group within your area, please contact someone at the Mangrove Hub. We will be happy to help.

  • Mangrove Hub Facilitator
  • Dr Norm Duke
  • MangroveWatch Ltd
    ABN: 44 153 297 771
  • PO Box 1250,
  • Elanora Q 4221
  • Mangrove Hub Email

Mangrove Watch Brochure

You can download our fact and information sheet (see link below) to get more information about the MangroveWatch programs.

Mangrove Watch Brochure