I’m now very behind with this blog as wordpress erased every single word of this when I published it so had to redo everything, bear with me.
In hindsight, I should have booked this tour for the day after since I was still exhausted from the dive tour, but I had planned to be leaving Cairns at the time so instead got up alongside another girl at the hostel and headed off to see Cape Tribulation with Cape Trib Tours.
This is a pretty popular tour, with a lot of companies offering different choices. Its not really surprising considering that the coastal road you use just to get their is a piece of beauty itself. A road curled into the mountain with forest on one side, and coastal beaches and ocean on the other. You can’t even get there normally as you need to use a wire guided ferry bridge in order to enter the area. Apparently the bridge makes so much money that the Australian government haven’t even considered replacing it with an actual bridge.
The first stop was the Jindalba Boardwalk, which is kind of like the Botanic Gardens only far more impressive with the size of the trees and density of the forest. There were too many people on the boardwalk to get a real feel for the forest’s atmosphere, but it was a very impressive place to walk through – it felt as if you could get lost forever if you stepped off the path for too long. George, our guide, knew quite a bit about the area too – including areas where the local Aboriginals used to have ceremonies for the births of children. The children would be given their real name here, but wouldn’t have it revealed until they came of age – which meant many children taken in the stolen generation grew up never knowing their real names.
At this point, the bus dropped the day trippers off for lunch at Cape Tribulation Beach while those staying a few days went on to their accommodation. The beach itself consists of tightly packed sand tucked between two mountains and rainforest. Considering just how pretty it was and how calm the water was, I was kind of astonished that it was so quiet – there were very few people considering the size of the sand strip.
Only had 15 minutes after lunch to walk along, but as I headed back for the bus pick up, who did I run into but 2 of the women from my dive tour! They had said they were going to Cape Tribulation today, and were apparently only a tour about 15 minutes behind me. Sadly never caught up with them again, but managed a few brief minutes of catching up before I had to run.
We were now heading back to the Daintree River for a wildlife cruice, when the bus stopped off at Daintree Ice-Cream Company for a brief moment. This is a local business that offers up a four scoop tub of unique ice cream flavours, changing them every day. Today was Macadamia, Black Sokote, Jackfruit and Wattle Seed. Unfortunately, they didn’t take card and I’d completely forgotten to get out money the day before – as had Bernadette – we didn’t even have enough between us to share.
However George came through for us. He apparently gets a free ice cream every now and then, and managed to snag one for us to share, so we didn’t have to go without. Definitely liked Black Sokote the most – tastes almost like chocolate, but the coffee flavoured Wattle Seed was my least.
When we returned to the river, we said a brief goodbye to George as he crossed the river, and hopped on board a boat for the Wildlife Cruise on the Daintree River – home to many different types of mangrove tree, and many, many crocodiles.
The alpha of them all? Scarface – who was sunning not a few hundred metres away from our starting point.
Named for the scars he’s received while fighting other males, he was pretty tolerant of our boat, though the guide warned that in breeding season, he would never come as close as this. Several years ago, Scarface was fighting the current king of the river, and a boat got too close. Said king ended up attacking the boat and shaking it – a few weeks later the crocodile was found with 36 bullet holes in its corpse.
The males will fight for breeding rights, but the females also compete, fighting for breeding sites. The females select small inlets off the river to host their nest – and we managed to come across Lizzie, the biggest female on the river sunning – though it was really hard to spot her, she was disguised really well.
We ran into a few other crocs on the trip too, but the biggest surprise was the smallest – the guide pointed out a tiny baby crocodile clinging to a branch. Crocodiles don’t really care for their young, so this little guy will have to hide and survive for several years if it ever wants to get big enough to compete against its parents.
Our final stop was Mossman Gorge, which wasn’t accessible by normal transport. Instead, you take a shuttle bus up the road. Unfortunately, George then informed us that we could swim here, and my brochure hadn’t said anything about it. I’d assumed all water would be croc-infested on this tour – however, everyone else had gotten the memo, so dived in.
Quite the pity, cause its a really nice place to swim.
I ended up hanging around with the one guy who also hadn’t brought anything, walking across the gorge’s lookout and going over the bridge, talking about our travels. We actually got a little carried away, as we had to rush back down to the shuttle bus – and ended up holding everyone up by being late. Least it wasn’t just us – another girl came down after us.
After a short drive-by tour of Port Douglas, we had one last photo stop at the Rex Range lookout. A lot of parasailing companies work here, but we didn’t have time – just here for a quick look at where we’d come from compared to where we were.
Had hoped to go to the Wildlife Dome again tonight to use up the 4 day ticket – unfortunately the bus got in too late, and I missed the closing time by 5 minutes. Pity as this was the last day I could use it and I have nothing else planned for the rest of my time in Cairns.