Last and least

Trip Start Jan 07, 2013
Trip End Aug 07, 2013

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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Thursday, August 1, 2013

Jon: Our final tour of our 7 month trip:  a trip to the Daintree Rainforest with Cape Trib Connections!  We were picked up by Wylie, our guide, and headed north out of Cairns.  To our surprise, the demographic of this tour was different from our others:  Ellen and I were the oldest people on the tour, Evan and Julian were the only kids, and everyone else seemed to be backpackers in their 20's.   Wylie was a decent guide.  He was quite experienced and talkative, which was generally nice but sometimes tiresome, especially when his jaded attitude or annoyance at some of the other tour operators became too prominent.  Overall, this tour was the least interesting of the ones we took ("last and least"); it wasn’t bad, but partway through, we realized that we were saturated with this sort of thing and were just ready to relax. 

Fortunately, this was the sort of tour that allowed for relaxation, with some mellow strolling through a rainforest, along a beach, and in the wooded Mossman gorge area.  The landscapes were nothing too spectacular; they were pleasant enough, but the gorge in particular easily could have been western Pennsylvania.  We did enjoy walking barefoot through some very warm tide pools, inhabited by schools of fish, at the beach.  And, after nervously joking about the elusive yet deadly rainforest cassowary throughout our time in Australia, it was a true thrill to see two cassowaries together, in the wild, from the window of our bus. 

Another component of the tour was a river cruise, which was described as a chance to see crocs, various snakes, and various birds.  I was particularly excited about seeing rainforest snakes, but the clear emphasis was on the crocs, and we didn’t see any snakes after all.   Unlike our earlier cruise, the crocs we saw here were mostly up on land, which was an interesting change because it allowed us to appreciate their full size but which lacked the intensity that made our previous crocodile encounter so amazing. 

 Ellen:  One of our guides on yesterday’s Great Barrier Reef Tour grew up in the area we visited today.  We asked him what life was like in the Daintree Rain Forest and he recalled how frightening it was when he’d be on the path to the school bus and would encounter a cassowary.  We asked what he’d do and he explained that all of the homes in that area have a designated cassowary tree, which is cut in a way that is easy to climb to safety.  Talk about dangerous neighborhoods!

 Evan:  Today we went on a Cape Tribulation tour. It was fun because our guide was very “cheeky”. We started with a crocodile cruise. We saw several crocs, but they didn't jump up like our previous tour. We also went on some hikes. One of the most exciting things that happened was when two cassowaries crossed the road. The cassowary is the world’s most dangerous bird, and looks kind of like a dinosaur. It is the only bird that can literally unzip a human. We ate lunch at a beach, then drove to an amazing ice cream place with ice cream made from fresh fruit. We drove to a lookout and watched while we ate. Then we went to a final area with walks, a building with aboriginal art, and a swimming area. I wasn't in the mood to swim, but our guide did. We drove for a long time. The bus dropped us back at our hotel, where we ate leftovers and takeout Indian food, and went to bed.
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