Seeing a full moon rising is a pretty special way to connect with nature in all its kick-butt glory. In TNQ we’re blessed with a plethora of locations to view this monthly spectacle.
Whether rising above the Coral Sea, poking through the forest canopy or climbing above the Tablelands, here’s our top picks to watch the full moon rising.
Glacier Rock, Cairns
Lace up your hiking shoes, pack a good torch and drinking water for the hike to Glacier Rock. Not for the faint-hearted, you’ll also need a sense of adventure (hiking down the mountain trail in the dark requires careful steps!) as well as a moderate level of fitness. The walk starts at the end of Stoney Creek Road in the Cairns suburb of Kamerunga. From the car park it’s a pretty solid uphill hike on the Douglas Track. Hikers are rewarded with a stunning vista from atop Glacier Rock with uninterrupted views of the Coral Sea horizon.
The Red Arrow, Cairns
A feature of Mount Whitfield Regional Park in Cairns, the Red Arrow Track is popular with joggers and walkers thanks to well-maintained paths beneath shady forest. This hike however should only be tackled by those who are fit. Come full moon time, the summit is a splendid spot for watching the moon rise. With Cairns International Airport in the foreground, photographers just may snap that elusive hero shot composing aircraft and full moon in the frame.
From Collins Avenue, Edge Hill, a little east of the Botanic Gardens look for signs to the Red Arrow track. Keep an eye out for brush turkeys and orange-footed scrub fowls scratching in the undergrowth. The entire circuit is about 6.5km with the summit at around 300 metres above sea level. Wear appropriate shoes, take a torch, a water bottle and tread very carefully.
Grassy Hill, Cooktown
History buffs will love the idea of walking the same ground as legendary navigator Captain James Cook. Poking out into the Coral Sea, Cook walked up Grassy Hill to try and find a route through the maze of reefs he encountered from on-board HM Barque Endeavour. Noting in his diary on 30 June 1770 that he walked ‘upon a hill which lies over the south point to take a view of the sea’
But you don’t need to be lost to take in the stunning vista. Drive or walk to the lookout to admire the same 360 degree views that Cook did, which are particularly special during a full moon.
Originally built 20-odd years ago as an access point for tourist vessels to the Great Barrier Reef, these days the Palm Cove jetty is mostly used by fishermen and casual beach walkers. With Palm Cove beach to the south, Haystack and Double Islands to the west, come here for million dollar views without spending a cent.
At dusk take your own folding chair to the end of the jetty and wait for the moon show to begin. We’re pretty sure you won’t be disappointed!
With 14 km of golden sandy beaches to stretch out on, if you can’t find a dreamy spot for a moon rise picnic at Mission Beach, well, you’re really not trying. The horizon is dotted with islands that make up the Family Group (Dunk and Bedarra Islands are the best known ones) while coconut palms cast their shadows across the sand. Picnic tables, free BBQ’s as well as a good choice of restaurants and take away outlets ensure you won’t go hungry.
For stunning reflections of the full moon above glassy water it’s hard to go past the watery expanse of Lake Tinaroo. Formed by the damming of the Barron River near its source in the Atherton Tablelands, Lake Tinaroo is around three quarters the size of Sydney Harbour. Which means there are scores of waterside spots to unroll the picnic blanket on a carpet of gently sloping grass and wait for the moon to appear in the east. With the silence broken by melodic sounds of cicadas and frogs, keep an eye out for ripples on the lake from platypus and turtles as well as freshwater barramundi.
The next full moon is set to make its appearance in Cairns on 6 March, 2015 so get your mates ready and pick your spot!