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If you’re fortunate enough to be vacationing in this part of the world, it pays to immerse yourself under the local vegetation, to get the essence of the place, and to infuse some delightful native smells into your well-being. One such specimen well worth poking a stick at is the Kauri Pine.
Found solely on Fraser Island, around Maryborough, and just west of Cairns, the Kauri Pine is a charming tree that’s lived through a tumultuous past at the hands of hungry loggers. It was during wartime that the tree was used extensively in construction, and it wasn’t until the 1980s that its logging slowed.
Fortunately for the larger Kauri Pine, an upper limit set on rail transportation (the only reliable means at the time) meant they were left alone. Although figuring less commonly than in pre-European days, this coniferous tree can be found thriving today in the country’s sunnier corners.
Possessing a smooth, handsome bark structure, along with new growth that turns from light green to bronze, the Kauri Pine figures as a pleasant reminder of the tropics in and around Cairns. A straight and tall tree that grows to around 30 – 45 metres, its leaves are 5 – 12cm long and 2 – 5cm wide, leathery and arranged in opposite pairs.
The Kauri Pine also has rotund seed cones that are around 10cm in diameter and mature 18 – 20 months after pollination. Interestingly, the cones disintegrate upon maturity, releasing the seeds into the wide open plains to start life anew.