Phase 10: Daintree

Trip Start Jul 08, 2003
Trip End Jul 27, 2003

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Flag of Australia  ,
Friday, July 25, 2003

For our last day in the Cairns region we got up hella early yet again to catch an 8am tour of Daintree Rainforest National Park. The theme of the day seemed to be “Everything here will kill you so don’t stray from the ____ (insert: boat, truck, boardwalk, pathway, etc.) If you do, you become part of the food chain!” By the end of the day we will have safely navigated our way through an environment full of deadly hazards such as crocodiles, cassowarys, venomous snakes, giant spiders, poisonous plants, deadly jellyfish, parasitic vines, malaria infested mosquitos, shipwrecking capes, vast mangroves, hepped-up tour drivers and an Australian barbie picnic!

Our tour started with a boat trip up the Daintree river showing us the river wildlife…most notably crocs! I have to say that they looked a lot smaller than I expected, and I expect they hear that a lot. Both sides to the river were dominated by vegetation making the whole experience a realistic version of Disneyland’s Jungle Cruise, complete with our guide’s bad jokes. The only thing missing were the hippos!

Once we hit shore we were shuttled deeper into the rain forest aboard a 4WD tour bus. After stopping to check out a vista point above the river’s mouth we entered the rainforest by foot on an elevated pathway. The pathway snaked through the dense forest past dozens of species of prehistoric looking trees and shrubs, all of which we were cautioned not to touch or stray off the path for our safety. Naturally I had to test this notion and now can proudly say that I survived my time off the designated path despite the charging cassowarys, deadly snakes and poisonous trees that may or may not have shot poison spines at me!

After a steak on the barbie for lunch and playing with the unknown species of snake one of the guides found we were escorted to a quaint little spot for tea made from the freshwater stream we were parked next to. This apparently was where our tour company, the “Billy Tea Bush Safaris, got their name from. “I just ate” I was thinking, but the setting itself made the stop worthwhile seeing that it was the first place that we were able to safely wander around and explore.

While driving to our final destination, Cape Tribulation, our bus crossed paths with another from the same company that broke down, resulting in us hanging out in the jungle until the rescue vehicle came by. An hour later we finally arrived at the Cape, which was named by Captain James Cook in 1770 when he ran his ship aground on a reef there just after claiming the continent for Britian. Today it is a marine national park hugging the coastline.  It’s primary feature is a shallow beach cove surrounded by mangrove trees and a great vista of the western Pacific. This place was ripe with interesting photo ops and small beauties if you looked closely enough.

After getting to explore around the Cape a bit we were escorted back into our 4WD and ferried back across the river before heading back to the hotel. All in all a fitting end to our time in tropical Australia!

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