Daintree Rainforest

Trip Start Nov 20, 2013
Trip End Nov 24, 2014

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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Saturday, February 1, 2014

We visited one of the oldest rainforests in the world. Daintree rainforest is listed as a World Heritage Site. It's in the Daintree National park. We drove just a couple hours north from where we are staying to get to the Daintree River and crossed on the ferry. I don't know why a bridge hasn't been built here instead, but they charge just over $20/car to drive across by ferry. It's such a short ferry ride that we weren't even allowed out of the car. Probably because by the time we would have left the car it would be time to get back in and drive off.  

Once off the ferry, we got a map of the area and drove as far north as we could in our rental car to Cape Tribulation. This area is known to be special because it's where the rainforest meets the reef. We took the short walk to the lookout point to see some trees growing in the water. This walk was the first of a few we did today in and around different parts of the rainforest. We prepared with lots of bug spray, but it was not helping at all. The mosquitoes feasted on us throughout the day this day, but the incredible walks and views made up for it. 

The next walk we took was Jason's favourite. It was a little longer and really gave us a great feel for the ancient Daintree Rainforest. All around us were tropical trees, some wetlands areas, birds, geckos, and bugs. The amount of long, twisted vines crawling up tall trees and through them was outstanding. We had so much fun taking pictures of amazing natural wonders. From this boardwalk, we started walking along a beach, but we saw way too many sand crabs to want to continue. We have to admit that the water and beaches are not what we pictured them to be here. Since it's the off, rainy season, all the beaches are closed for swimming because of jellyfish and the waters are not the beautiful blues and aquas we've seen in so many pictures. The upside to it all is that we could really get a feel for the incredibly humbling nature around us since it was so quiet.  

We stopped at an information centre to make sure we weren't missing anything. The man working there showed us a few more stops on the map, but assured us that's since it's the off season, we weren't missing anything. Thankfully all that meant was that restaurants and accommodations were closed, but we brought lunch and only wanted to stay for the day anyway. So we continued on and did one more great walk through another part of the rainforest. The one place I did want to visit, but it was closed because of the season, was an exotic fruit farm. Luckily, there is the Daintree Ice Cream Company that makes their ice cream from fresh exotic fruits. Of course we had to stop here! Lonely Planet has named this ice cream factory as the most scenic in the world. They serve you four flavours of ice cream in one cup. We tried wattle seed, soursop, sugar banana, and passion fruit. They were good and refreshing, but Jason would have preferred chocolate chip cookie dough or Yogurty's! After eating, we took a self-guided walk around the grounds to see the exotic fruit trees. We saw a lot, buy many didn't have any fruit, again it's the off season. The one that interested me the most was the jackfruit because it can grow to be very large. Some of them I saw were larger than watermelons! Too bad we didn't get to taste all the fruits though.

We did one last walk along Cow Bay Beach (no sand crabs!) and then headed back "home" with a ton of mosquito bites after a great day of exploring the rainforest.

Today we walked along Clifton Beach to Palm Cove and booked a Great Barrier Reef tour for tomorrow. After the walk back to Sen's house, we were excited for a day Sen had planned. We spent the day doing what the "locals" do. First we met Sen's friend Julie at the Crystal Cascades. This is a beautiful area through some rainforest that opens into a few swimming holes connected by short waterfalls and rocks. We climbed down some rocks and found a spot. After changing behind a towel, we got into the water. It was so refreshing, but there were a ton of fish that were not scared of us. In fact, we saw a few of them actually jump out of the water, a couple even jumped up Julie's back and nibbled on her. Jason did not like this at all, I would have preferred no fish, and I began to wonder how we were going to handle the reef tomorrow. 

Next Sen brought us to Lake Placid. This area used to be very popular for families, just like the Crystal Cascades. Both areas are free to enter, but Lake Placid has a small restaurant and barbecues set up. Unfortunately, crocodiles were spotted here and since then no one comes to swim anymore. It was still a nice place to sit and hang out for a bit to enjoy the views.

Our third stop today was at Kewarra Beach Resort for a drink. What a beautiful spot! This gorgeous resort bar looks right out onto the beach and is so open concept that there are no walls. We relaxed and enjoyed a cool drink before taking a short walk to the see the amazing beach here. This resort can accommodate up to 50 people, keeping it intimate and quiet and making a great place for weddings. During peak season, there serve pizza on the beach every Friday night, but can only accommodate a small number of people. Sen knows the manager of this resort and gets a table reserved for him every week. Unfortunately, we were three weeks late to enjoy this fun weekly event.

Sen had one more great idea for today. We stopped at Woolworths to buy some groceries for the fondue he was going to make! Sen made an amazing cheese fondue with bread and a delicious broth fondue for meat and fish. What an amazing meal! It was nice to be able to share it with Sen, Julie, and their friend Kelsey. After dinner, we had more great conversation with tea outside where it was much cooler. Unfortunately, when we came back in, I realized I had attracted more mosquitoes and about five more bites. But the wonderful food and company made it worthwhile. Later, Jason, Sen, and I watched the movie Jobs and then headed to bed. Jason and I looked carefully around the room first to make sure we didn't see and huntsman spiders (Sen confirmed that this was the type of spider in our room the first night). It was fun being a "local" in the Cairns area!
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