The spectacular scenery around Hartley’s Creek gives rise to climatic conditions that are unusual within the UNESCO Wet Tropics. Wangetti receives about half the rainfall of Cairns and temperatures are warmer. One reason is that the Macalister Range is lower in elevation than ranges to the north and south, allowing rain clouds to pass over. Another contributing factor is the mountain range between Wangetti and Ellis Beach to our south that deflects winter rains from the valley.
The surrounding open savannah woodland is typical of much of inland northern Australia and its intrusion into the rainforests of the Wet Tropics is both unusual and welcome as it adds another layer of diversity to an already biologically rich region.
The rainforests found in Australia fits into two broad categories; “wet” rainforests, like the forests growing on the mountains behind Cairns and in the Daintree, and “dry” rainforests, like the riverine forests found in Cape York and here at Wangetti.
The presence of a dryland ecosystem in the Hartley’s Creek area means that many animals here are usually only found further west. Conditions are harsh – food resources are often widely scattered and not always available. Animals that live here must cope with lean times, or quickly take advantage of favourable conditions.