Guests at an Atherton Tablelands nature refuge and eco resort are getting more than they bargained for with close up views of a cassowary dad and his two chicks.
David Gibson from the Canopy Rainforest Treehouses and Wildlife Sanctuary near Tarzali said resident cassowary Tui and his two chicks, Sinatra and Dino, have been regular visitors since last December.
“For over 15 years now, every time Tui has a brood he walks to to The Canopy and brings them up here. This is his nursery forest,” he said.
“As you would expect, our guests are very excited to see a cassowary family at short range.”
Mr Gibson said it was not just the iconic cassowary visitors might see from their treehouse or along one of the walking tracks.
The sanctuary was also home to Lumholtz Tree Kangaroos, endangered Green Possums, and shy Platypus in the clear waters of the Ithaca River.
“Our protected 100 acres of rare, upland complex mesophyll vine forest is part of one of the largest untouched tracts of rainforest on the Atherton Tablelands and offers a phenomenally high density of rare and unique wildlife,” he said.
“We are privileged to be the custodians of this very precious, special place. Pademelon wallabies abound and Coppery Brushtail Possums visit the balconies on our guest accommodations every night. Every morning we wake to birdsong.
“Our five timber and glass treehouses are designed to provide a wildlife experience in the rainforest canopy with privacy and luxury and a retreat from the everyday.”
More than 100 species of birds can be seen in and around the sanctuary, ranging from the tiny, endemic Mountain Thornbill through to the large and gorgeously coloured Wompoo Pigeon and fabulous Victoria’s Riflebird, a Bird of Paradise found only in the Wet Tropics.
It sounds like rustling taffeta when it flies and produces a spectacular, choreographed display when trying to attract the eyes of the ladies of the species.
Tropical Tablelands Tourism chairman Michael Trout said the Atherton Tablelands was home to a wide diversity of fauna, including rare tree-climbing kangaroos, and a large percentage of Wet Tropics birdlife.
“While seeing a cassowary in the wild is a huge thrill for most people, they need to be mindful to keep their distance from these wild birds and definitely not try to feed them,” he said.