Rainforest & Rain

Trip Start Jul 19, 2009
Trip End Sep 02, 2009

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Where I stayed
Lync Haven Caravan Park

Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Monday, July 27, 2009

Monday 27 July 2009

We woke up fairly early as we knew we had a lot to do today. First stop was a return visit to Hartley's (free re-entry) to see the things we missed first time.  The koala and kookaburras were as cute as ever and we also saw crocodile feeding, quolls and our first wallabies.  Had a good look at the lizards and snakes – behind fences or glass of course!  From there we travelled to Port Douglas marina for lunch of pies (chicken or beef) and chips eaten in the campervan.  Had a mooch around the shops then headed off to Mossman Gorge.  What a beautiful place – we dipped our toes into the cool crystal clear water.  Imogen was desperately trying to find a platypus, as she had seen one in Mossman Gorge on youtube, but was unlucky.  Think it was probably the wrong time of day and it was also quite busy with people.  Went on a short walk and saw brush turkeys wandering around.  Back into the campervan for the drive to Daintree National park.  Had a mishap with the campervan at the ferry terminal as there was a stupid iron sign post sticking out and we clipped the top of it  Heaven only knows how much that is going to cost to repair.  I am not amused with the campervan people generally (another story which I will bore you with later) so could do without this really.  Crossed the river, looking out for crocodiles but didn’t see any then drove on up towards Cape Tribulation.  The road was quite windy and hilly so it was a bit tricky in the van.  Stopped at Alexandra Lookout which gave good views of the rainforest descending down to the coast.    The weather was getting more overcast the further into the rainforest we got.  Arrived at Lync Haven park at about 5pm so parked up the van and got ourselves sorted out.  There were purply blue fruits all over the floor near our site.  Found out later that they were Cassowary Plums – toxic to humans, but one of the favourite fruits of the illusive cassowary.  It rained heavily that night and the rainforest became quite oppressive and gloomy.

Tuesday 28 July 2009

Didn’t have a great night’s sleep last night, partly due to the noises of the rainforest and partly because of the torrential rain hammering down onto the roof of the campervan.  Visited the Rainforest Discovery Centre, which was very good.  It had an aerial walkway and a canopy tower reaching up 23 metres high to view the different levels of the rainforest.  It was raining on and off.  I find the rainforest fascinating as there are plants here, such as the Idiot Fruit tree, which have basically remained unchanged for 110 million years.  That is a mind-boggling length of time.  Everywhere you look there are different types of plants and trees; vines and ferns, each with their specific role in the rainforest.  It is also quite a frustrating place to visit as you can hear all the birds and animals quite clearly, such as the Wompoo pigeon which has a very distinctive call, yet can’t see anything at all because the vegetation is just too dense.

After a quick sandwich lunch in the van we headed north to Cape Tribulation Exotic Fruit farm for some fruit tasting.  This was really fun as we tried all sorts of weird and wonderful fruits, some of which I had never heard of before, let alone seen.  We tried my favourite which was the Soursop fruit (sweet, slightly mucousy in texture with big black seeds); Imogen and Paul really liked the Davidson plum which was quite tart and a local fruit; Ella really liked the sweet, almost caramel-like fruit from India called Sapodilla.  We fell into two camps – Ella and I had sweet tooths liking the 'lemon meringue pie type fruit’ (can’t remember its proper name) and the sweet lychee type fruits whereas Paul and Imogen liked the sour, more tart fruits such as the plum.  We went for a walk into the fruit orchards to see the trees including mangosteins which the couple are growing commercially.  It was the wrong season for us to try one though.  By now the rain was torrential and it continued like this for the rest of the day. 

We zoomed to the Daintree Ice Cream Company and managed to get there just before closing.  The flavours on offer were wattleseed, yellow sapote, banana, macadamia nut.  My favourite was wattleseed which was light beige in colour with tiny black seeds and a mild coffee like flavor.  Ella liked the yellow sapote because it was quite sweet (a bit like mango).  After this we went back to the campsite to look at the resident cockatoo, parrot and other birds and reptiles before having dinner in the restaurant.  We all had the seafood basket with chips and salad which was quite nice, although I was suffering from batter overload by the end as it was quite a generous portion.  We then sat in the lounge area updating our journals and generally chilling out.  Finally, with the use of headtorches, we made our way back to the campervan through the torrential rain.  The others ran on ahead, so I was left alone with my head torch wondering what was lurking in the dense rainforest a few feet away,  as I walked back in the pitch black.  It was quite scary as the stars weren’t out because of the rain.  I can honestly say it is the darkest night I have ever seen.

I have decided that I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with this campervan.  I quite like the idea and freedom it gives (when I have had a good night’s sleep, which hasn’t been often to date for various reasons such as being too hot, outside noises of birds at the crack of dawn etc) but find the fact that everything has to be tidied away all the time quite frustrating, and I’m not a particularly messy person.  It is also like being in a coach/shoebox.  Paul has developed arm muscles he never knew he had steering the van around windy country roads.  If he ever gets too fed up with work at least it offers him a new career opportunity.  It is pain to park as well as need a double long space to have any hope of parking it up properly, whilst mindful of the overhead clearance for branches etc.  Needless to say there have been several parking related ‘tiffs’!
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