Clicky

Explore the Dramatic Beauty of Queensland’s Curtain Fig Tree

Last Updated:
Photo of author
Written By Lakeisha Ethans

Heritage Gardener with Grafting Expertise

This article may contain affiliate links. We may earn a small commission if you purchase via these links. Learn more.
Home » Ancient & Remarkable Trees » Explore the Dramatic Beauty of Queensland’s Curtain Fig Tree


In the lush heart of Queensland’s Tablelands Region, where the air is thick with the musky scent of rainforest, stands the Curtain Fig Tree.

This ancient tree, a spectacular Ficus virens, reaches skyward, cloaked in a dramatic cascade of aerial roots that sweep down to the forest floor, creating a natural curtain that has captured the imaginations of visitors for decades.

Looking up into the Curtain Fig Tree

The story of the Curtain Fig Tree begins, as all strangler figs do, in a high drama of survival.

The seed of the Curtain Fig once settled upon the branches of another tree—a host unsuspectingly destined to become part of a remarkable transformation.

Over time, the fig’s roots launched into a daring descent, burrowing into the earth with relentless determination.

Roots of the Curtain Fig Tree

As these roots grounded themselves, the fig grew stronger, eventually overpowering its host, which succumbed to the fig’s embrace.

But the Curtain Fig Tree’s tale took an unusual twist.

As the original host tree began to falter and lean, it leaned onto a neighboring tree.

This accidental encounter resulted in a stunning architectural feat: a living curtain of roots, stretching 15 meters to the ground, that now forms a striking feature of the landscape.

The Curtain Fig Tree, Atherton Tablelands, Queensland
The roots stretch 15 meters to the ground

This tree is not just a marvel of nature but a storyboard of local history and culture. Since the 1920s, the Curtain Fig has been a cornerstone of tourism in Far North Queensland.

Its awe-inspiring presence helped foster a deep appreciation for the region’s natural beauty, drawing visitors from far and wide.

In an era when cars became the new carriages, the Curtain Fig Tree became a symbol of adventure, accessible to those willing to venture into the heart of the Atherton Tableland.

Walking path and rainforest surrounding the Curtain Fig
A broadwalk allows visitors to view the fig and surrounding rainforest

The evolution of tourism here is tightly interwoven with the story of this tree. The area, once accessed primarily by train, saw a boom with the advent of the motor vehicle.

The tree was, and still is, a highlight of the scenic drives and tours that developed as more people came to explore the Cairns hinterland.

The Curtain Fig Tree is more than just a tourist attraction; it’s a living legacy, standing within the rare and endangered Mabi rainforest.

Recognized for its ecological and aesthetic significance, the tree was granted heritage status in 2009.

The majestic Curtain Fig

It remains a majestic figure, inspiring awe and wonder with its grandeur and the complex ecological narrative it represents.

Visitors today can meander along a boardwalk that encircles the tree, offering a safe, accessible path to view this natural wonder from all angles.

Interpretative signs along the way share the story of the tree’s formation and the importance of conserving its fragile rainforest environment.

As you stand beneath the sprawling canopy of the Curtain Fig, listening to the whisper of its leaves, it’s easy to feel transported to another time, wrapped in the mystery and majesty of the natural world.

Digging Deeper

Location

Nestled on Curtain Fig Tree Road in Yungaburra, within the lush Tablelands Region of Queensland, Australia, the Curtain Fig Tree is a standout natural landmark in the heart of Tropical North Queensland.

Type of Tree

The Curtain Fig Tree, scientifically known as Ficus virens, is a striking example of a strangler fig, renowned for its dramatic aerial roots that create a natural ‘curtain’ effect.

Strangler fig (Ficus virens) known as the Curtain Fig

Is The Curtain Fig Tree Still Alive?

Alive and thriving, the Curtain Fig Tree continues to be a mesmerising figure in the rainforest, captivating visitors with its intricate root system and expansive canopy.

Descendants

While specific descendants of the Curtain Fig Tree are not individually documented, its seeds perpetuate the lifecycle of strangler figs, contributing to the biodiversity of the Mabi rainforest.

Can You Visit It?

Yes, the Curtain Fig Tree is accessible to the public, with a carefully constructed boardwalk that allows visitors to admire its grandeur without impacting the delicate rainforest ecosystem.

Conservation

The area around the Curtain Fig Tree has been designated as part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, ensuring stringent measures are in place to protect this ecological treasure and its surroundings.

Legacy

As a heritage-listed site, the Curtain Fig Tree symbolizes the rich ecological history of Far North Queensland and remains a focal point for environmental education and appreciation among locals and tourists alike.

Want More?

If the captivating tale of the Curtain Fig Tree has piqued your interest, you’ll likely be intrigued by the stories of other legendary trees from around the globe.

Explore the Great Banyan in India, whose sprawling roots form an entire forest unto itself.

Contemplate the ancient Olive Trees of Gethsemane, rich with historical significance.

Marvel at the grandeur of the Ombalantu Baobab tree and the historical narrative of the Hundred Horse Chestnut.

Sources – Wikipedia

Photo of author

Lakeisha Ethans

Heritage Gardener with Grafting Expertise

Lakeisha grew up in East Africa, literally surrounded by nature which sparked her interest in learning more about trees and plants from a very young age. She belongs to a family of gardeners, so for her, gardening is a way of life, a tradition she’s proud to uphold. As a self-taught gardener, Lakeisha has successfully grafted trees to produce hybrids for gardens and landscapes. When she’s not gardening, she’s writing about her experience with nature or watching baking fails!