The first day in Cairns, I headed out on a day tour to the Daintree Rainforest. This rainforest is notable as being the oldest surviving tropical rainforest in the world.
Unusually, almost the entire group of travelers on the tour were a group of Australian retirees. They were going on to stay for another couple of days in the Daintree area after the day’s tour.
On our way out, we passed tons of sugar cane fields, along with cattle. We were told that the cattle were a special hybrid bred to withstand tick bites, as a type of tick bite in that area could cause paralysis. Ah Australia, where almost everything wants to kill you, but there are soany cool things! (Needless to say, I was very careful to avoid high grass!)
We started out with a crocodile cruise on the Daintree River, hoping to see salties. And we were successful! We saw a couple of adults and some juveniles. Amazing how something so deadly has cute babies. They’d probably bite your finger off.
We then walked on a boardwalk in the rainforest. I had been really nervous that this would be elevated high and I would have trouble with the heights, but luckily it wasn’t high at all. Most of the living things we saw were plants, though we did see this lizard and some large spiders (off the path, thank goodness!) Warning if you hate spiders: the bottom two pictures out of the next five are of spiders.
I was a bit disappointed that this walk wasn’t longer, as it was really only about a half hour stroll and it was the primary reason why I had booked a (very expensive) day tour. Our guide explained to me that tours are only allowed to be in the Daintree for a total of six hours, and since a lot of time was spent going from site to site, we couldn’t really spend more time in any one place.
We spent some time further up at Emmagen Creek, heading onto a road requiring four wheel drive to get there (the Bloomfield Track). We were told we could swim, but I only waded, in part because the thought of crocodiles scared me. (Of course they’ve never seen a crocodile in that particular spot, or they wouldn’t let gullible tourists swim there – it’s bad for business! – but there were crocodile warning signs posted nearby.) The water was lovely, cold and clear enough we could see some fish.
At that stop, we also got to drink billy tea (made in a billy can) and taste a variety of tropical fruits. I was really glad to try the custard apple, which was yummy and dessert like. I had actually bought one in Melbourne at the Queen Victoria Market and wondered what all the fuss was about. Turns out it wasn’t ripe!
Then to Cape Tribulation, so called because of the trials and tribulations Captain Cook ran into there. (He got stuck on a reef and tore a hole in the hull of his ship.)
It’s where the Coral Sea (Great Barrier Reef area) meets the Daintree – two World Heritage sites meeting. It is a lovely beach. We could see piles of sand excreted by worms or balled up by tiny crabs.
One final stop – tropical fruit ice cream – and then it was off home to Cairns.
Ultimately I’m glad I went since I’d not have made it without a tour, but this one trip did seem to be less value than others. (It wasn’t the tour company – most companies I saw had a similar itinerary.)