Daintree Delights...

Trip Start Apr 05, 2011
Trip End Nov 15, 2012

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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Sunday, November 20, 2011

We bid farewell to the only other family staying in the park at Cooktown and headed out bound for Port Douglas. The drive from Mount Carbine to 'Port' carried us up through a majestic mountain range before delivering us down onto the flatlands where fields of sugarcane dominated the landscape.  It had been a route filled with diverse and stunning scenery. 

We found our rustic little caravan park tucked away between large resorts on the main road into Port.  Hidden away behind tall hedges it was a real gem, centrally located with only a short stroll to the ever popular Macrossan Street and the only beach side swimming area directly behind us.  Old but much loved it was the perfect place for us to settle in whilst exploring all the area had to offer. 

Port Douglas is a charming town with a real resort feel to it.  The main street has some lovely old buildings and we couldn’t resist sitting out the front of the Central Hotel and watching the world go by.  We explored the town drinking in the sights from the lookout and walking along Four Mile Beach.

The main goal for our time here had been established when we were able to drive the northern half of the Bloomfield Track and so we set off early bound for Cape Tribulation determined to complete the southern half of this ‘infamous’ track.  Up through Mossman and onto the Daintree River car ferry, we headed straight through to the Bloomfield River and then worked our way back along the coast.

The drive was nothing short of spectacular… the road from the Daintree River up to Cape Tribulation was narrow and wound its way along the edge of mountain ranges, the road was being repaired and reinforced where half the road has just slid down the range highlighting that this drive should not be taken lightly.

From Cape Tribulation the drive was again magnificent, through the rainforest, a couple of wet creek crossings and lots of dry…  The gravel road wound its way up through two mountain ranges, both of which were steep and had tight switch backs. So steep that in some sections the surface had been concreted to ensure traction could be maintained.  This drive was just magic, the road was much better than we had anticipated and much better than some we have traveled, it just took time and concentration.

Driving along the Bloomfield Track was in places like driving through an arbor, with the trees meeting high across the road creating a canopy, it was simply breathtaking.  We were so thrilled when we arrived at the other end and drove across the Bloomfield River Causeway having completed the track!  Yippee!!!

Along our drive back from Cape Tribulation we stopped and did some walks.  The first was along the Kulki Boardwalk and out to a lookout.  Having admired the views over Cape Tribulation Beach we turned to walk back along the concrete path, thankfully Rod was out in front for there was a snake which had decided to cross the path, for some moments it just stayed on the path checking us out before slithering off to the side.

We took a walk out through mangroves marveling at all the intertwined trees and vines. Our highlight was when we came across a Boyd’s Forest Dragon who conveniently posed on a branch overhanging the boardwalk.   He remained perfectly still giving us ample opportunity to really check him out and get great photos from every angle. 

At Noah Beach we ventured out onto the sand where we found a nice driftwood log on which we made ourselves comfortable and enjoyed lunch having the entire length of the beach to ourselves.  Such serenity…  We did a couple of other walks, the Marrdja and Jindalba Boardwalks all the while keeping an eager eye out for the elusive Cassowary, however it wasn’t to be…

We boarded the Daintree River car ferry having thoroughly enjoyed our day.  We were constantly in awe of this pristine environment and of how lucky we were to experience it.  To be able to drive and walk through such unique and valuable environments such as the Bloomfield Track and the Cape Tribulation sector of the Daintree National Park we consider a privilege.

On Sunday we awoke to an overcast day which developed into rather persistent showers for the first few hours.  The Port markets were on and so when the rain finally abated we took a walk around the stalls and were pleasantly surprised at the caliber and quantity of wares on show.  The timing was perfect we finished at the markets just in time to watch one of our horses race before heading back to nature by means of visiting the Mossman Gorge Section of the Daintree National Park.

We walked and walked, out over a suspension bridge and along a loop track that wound its way through dense rainforest.  We were constantly in awe of the astounding beauty we were experiencing.  The rain forest was so dense we could barely get a glimpse of sky.  The trees were all intertwined with their buttressed roots stretching along the forest floor, creating handy steps along the track.  The dark green foliage beautifully complimented the soft green mosses that thrive on the colossal trunks.  An occasional mushroom growing from a fallen tree trunk adding another depth of colour with rusts and oranges, whilst gorgeous butterflies encircled us throughout our walk.

We got excited every time we heard a scurry in the bushes... Could it be a Cassowary…?  No such luck, just another scrub hen.  These walks were a little more rustic than those we had done in the Cape Tribulation section of the Daintree National Park and I was relieved to complete them without another encounter with a snake.

The water course was awash with massive granite stones and boulders and the water swept through the crevices creating nice little waterfalls and pools.  One such pool we stumbled upon had several fish, some of which were rather big and appeared trapped in the waterhole as the depth of the water flowing along to the next pool was too shallow for them to continue along the river.  Mind you it is only a matter of weeks and there will be a torrent of water washing down from the mountains.

We returned to our camp having thoroughly enjoyed our experience in the Daintree however a little disappointed that we had not spotted a Cassowary.  We had a hot tip on where we may just have an encounter and so we enjoyed one more evening in Port before heading south.

Highlights of the Daintree:

-          Mossman Gorge

-          Completing the Bloomfield Track

-          Walks within the Daintree National Park

-          Charming Port Douglas
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