Australia really is a country that has it all. From the wide-open expanses of the Outback to the pure majesty of the Great Ocean Road, and every sparkling sea in between, the land Down Under offers everything to the intrepid traveller. Even those that stray from the proverbial beaten track in search of hidden Australia have the opportunity to treat their eyes to something new at every turn, and with a natural history as diverse as this place, some of the planet's most intriguing trees make their home in the country.
Whether they form an important historical landmark or are visited for their pure size, bizarre shape or extreme age, Australia's best-loved trees are well worth making the pilgrimage in your hired vehicle. According to the National Trusts of Australia's Register of Significant Trees, there are some 2,500 notable examples dotted across the nation, from the enormous splendour of the Curtain Fig Tree to the rich heritage of the Dig Tree. Why not buckle up with East Coast Car Rentals and take a ride to Australia's most impressive living giants? Here are the aforementioned couple – with more to follow!
The Dig Tree
Way back in the mid-19th century, explorers Robert O'Hara Burke and William John Wills set out to cross Australia in a south to north direction. With the city of Melbourne as a starting point, their party of 16 men were aiming to end up in the Gulf of Carpentaria, mapping the terrain before making the return journey.
Of course, when the men first embarked on their mission, they didn't have the luxury of car hire in Melbourne to call upon to explore the huge swathes of Australia yet to be chartered by European settlers. Additionally, the party had no idea what lay in store for them, but they'd soon find out. The south to north section of their journey was largely successful but, coming home, terrible leadership and bad luck saw some seven men lose their lives.
Today, The Dig Tree has been listed on the Queensland Heritage Register – with William Burke's scrawlings still legible.
The group were split up heading home, and one of the men, William Brahe, saw fit to leave supplies to the slower party that were lagging some days behind. He buried food and other sustenance under a coolabah tree in Coopers Creek, carving it it so that, when the stragglers caught up, they'd know where to dig.
Carved into the tree was the date Mr Brahe arrived (DEC-6-60) and the date he left (APR-21-61), as well as his initials and camp number. Finally, he simply carved 'DIG' on the trunk.
The Burke and Wills expedition was considered a failure at the time due to the ill-managed way in which it transpired, but it paved the way for further explorers to uncover the lay of the land. The Dig Tree played in integral part in the mission getting as far as it did, and today it has been listed on the Queensland Heritage Register – with William Burke's scrawlings still legible.
The Curtain Fig Tree
Meet a killer. The strangler fig species of tree germinates on top of an existing plant, plunging its roots into the ground. As soon as it has taken anchor, the strangler fig will grow at a rapid rate, 'choking' the host tree to death and going on to grow of its own accord.
However, things didn't quite go to plan with the Curtain Fig Tree, which resides in Yungaburra, Queensland. The host tree that the strangler fig chose had a prominent lean, right next to its leafy neighbour. Hence, when the strangler killed it host, the tree fell into the nearby one and got 'confused', growing around that one, too. This created a great curtain of aerial roots that cascade some 15 metres to the forest floor, in an effect that is quite spectacular and unlike anything you've ever seen before.