Black Mountain National Park
Black Mountain National Park is just south of Cooktown.
It is impossible to miss these huge, strange looking mountains on both sides of the highway.
They really look like (and at least in the upper layers they are), heaps of loose black rocks, and somehow even a little bit of vegetation grows on them.
It is really different, and you just wonder how did they get here, why do they look like they do, how did such mountains form?
No wonder they were a special place for the local, Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal People, to whom the mountain is known as Kaklajaka.
Well on the signs in the carpark, a few things are explained. They originally all were the same body of rock, which formed under the surface of the Earth, when a mass of magma cooled and became solid - quite a common way for a mountain to form.
What was unusual, was the jointing pattern in the rock, which caused the fracturing once the rock body was exposed thanks to erosion of the softer material around it. Water got into the fractures, chemical reactions happened, minerals were turned into clay, which was washed away, further separating the blocks from each other and rounding them into boulders.
Deep under the boulders, a solid mass of granite remains. Granite is not a black rock - on the surface of the boulders grows an algae that makes them black. In between the boulders, there must be at least enough soil for the few plants to grow. There are also snakes and other animals, including brown tree snakes, amethystine pythons and wallabies that they eat; and a frog, a skink and a gecko that are totally endemic to Black Mountain National Park - found nowhere else in the world.
There is a small track that goes a little bit off the carpark next to the highway, where you can get a bit better view of the mountain. It's only about 10% of the mountains of Black Mountain National Park that you can see.
There are no walks, no camping and no access to Black Mountain National Park - the only place where you can enjoy it is from the lookout point.
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