Surface sediments of mangrove, freshwater wetland and rainforest sites in northeast Queensland were sampled to obtain pollen signatures from a range of climatic and vegetational settings as a basis for interpretation of fossil pollen diagrams. Maximum terrestrial pollen diversity was predicted by curve fitting using the Putter No. 1 growth curve. Taxonomic diversity was found to be a better indicator of rainfall zone than the presence of absence of any one taxon. However, the presence of Chenopodiaceae pollen and a general lack of rainforest pollen types are characteristic of low-rainfall environments. High values for pteridophytes indicate fluvial conditions, while high-altitude taxa were found in lowland sites fed by streams draining upland vegetation. Local habitat indicators provide good evidence for the type of depositional environment, in keeping with other published studies.