Travelling is always great for writing inspiration, and far north Queensland is one of the most inspirational landscapes in the world. It’s home to world heritage listed wet tropics, an area that stretches up the east coast for 450 kilometres, protected for the area’s incredible biodiversity.

During my week there recently I did lots of walks through the rainforest. There are so many beautiful areas to explore, although you do have to watch out for the cassowaries, stinging trees, and other dangerous fauna and flora. But Australia’s like that!

Before moving to Brisbane I lived in far north Queensland for almost 12 years, and it’s a place that still sings in my blood. I’ve set many short stories there, as well as a full-length novel, Dirt Circus League. The area is alive with intense colours: the incredible red of the earth, the wide blue skies and bright green rolling hills and rainforests. As well as the beauty there are dark places, too, and dark histories. Remote and fascinating, the far north enters the imagination and never leaves, and its wonders and mysteries make brilliant backdrop for any writing genre, from crime to speculative fiction, horror to magic realism and literary fiction.

In the weeks leading up to my holiday I’d been doing some reading about the world of fungi, and on my walks I was lucky enough to see some amazing examples of this fascinating organism.

I love their delicate colours and patterns, but also find ability of fungi to inhabit the space of other rainforest species a little creepy. If they could, fungi would take over the world, and there’s one man who thinks this is a great idea.

In his TED Talk 6 ways mushrooms can save the world, Paul Stamets credits mushrooms as the nature’s inspiration for the internet

It’s a great video, but if you don’t have time to watch the whole thing, here are some fast facts:

  • giant mushrooms were once dotted across the Earth
  • mushrooms grow fast, rot and create cells that help feed the forests
  • they create the mycelium that creates a network, which is the Earth’s natural internet
  • they’re like stomachs and lungs, and have extended neurological membranes
  • and best of all, Stamets states that mycelium “is sentient; it knows that you are there”

I urge you to watch the whole video, though, even if only to see mushrooms pop out of an ant’s head! If that doesn’t spark your writing imagination, I don’t know what will. And if you ever have the opportunity to travel to far north Queensland, make sure you do. It is a beautiful part of the world, and a place you’ll never forget.