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Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Epic Aussi Adventure: The Daintree and everything else North of Cairns

Typical Scenery:
Today's Travelling Track:
The Wombats - Techno Fan

Dear readers, I have decided to stop labelling each post by day. I feel this is confusing and difficult. I will henceforth label posts according to locations covered since the previous post, I hope this will not prove too difficult for you chronologically, my apologies if it does. I would like to further extend my apologies regarding the amount of time it has been since my last post. You poor things, you must be on the edge of your collective seats. Anywho, now that’s out the way, we can begin!

 When I last left you we were in mission beach planning on sticking around a couple of days and going on some hikes. Unfortunately the weather had other plans and we decided a beach resort wasn’t really the place to be in torrential rain. We headed north with no real plans. As we drove, the weather improved and I noticed on the map a site known as the boulders which looked like a good place to stop for lunch. We grabbed some food in nearby Babinda, a cute country village with one bakery, a Spar and little else. We ate, and then went for a walk around the trails which had stunning scenery.
Swimming in the creek at the Boulders
We noticed locals were bathing in the creek at certain spots and decided to get involved. The water was cold but we felt like real explorers swimming in a river! There were signs explaining which parts of the creek were safe and which were dangerous and we stuck to the safe parts, warnings told us that the waterfalls further downstream had claimed a number of lives. The weather took a turn for the worse and we hit the road. When we got to Cairns we realised we really weren’t in a city mood and decided to keep going, all the way up to the Daintree rainforest. The road north of Cairns followed the coast and the sun decided to peek its head out to make this section of the journey extremely beautiful. It was at this part of the journey that the sign graffiti started;” Falling rocks” was edited to say “Falling in love rocks” and “One lane” became “One Planet”. This kind of thing continued all the way up to Cape Tribulation. We crossed the ferry over to the Daintree rainforest and negotiated some windy roads and scary looking bridges. The scenery was incredible, just like pictures of the amazon and the signs warned constantly of cassowaries (huge Australian wild flightless birds) after about 40 minutes we reached PK’s Jungle Village, where we were allowed to park and camp in Turk for an extremely reasonable price. There were also cabins and dorms for those without their own accommodation. The jungle bar was playing Bob Marley and the sun was shining on the tropical swimming pool. It looked like paradise. We parked up, went for a swim and an explore and then the rain started. We hid out at the jungle bar with beer and pizza and retired to Turk during a break in the storm. 

Clever Sign Graffiti

 The next morning it was still raining and I felt somewhat disheartened. I wanted to go for epic jungle hikes through the wilderness. After breakfast the rain died down a little and we headed for the Dubuji boardwalk. We wandered happily through the dense rainforest pointing out vines, spiders, birds and other “rainforresty things” as I happily meandered over a bridge, staring at a flower to my left the BF stopped me and told me to walk backwards slowly. As I did I realised there were two fully grown Cassowaries and a baby less than 3 meters away on my right. We backed off and watched them from afar. Very cool. Since we were in a walking mood, and the sun had decided to make an appearance, we headed to cape tribulation itself, via the beach, however a few hundred meters into our walk we found our path blocked by a large creek. Deciding it was sensible to avoid the crocodiles and jellyfish advertised, we backtracked, and walked to the cape on the road instead. The cape itself was pretty unexciting and covered in tourists. We were starving at this point and saw signs to a bistro a couple of kilometres further down the road. We set off and were pleasantly surprised to find a YHA resort with a beachfront bar and bistro serving some fantastic food for cheap prices. I had a smoked salmon wrap and the BF had a duck salad. We were really slumming it in the jungle as you can tell. Just as we arrived back at PKs it started to rain. The rest of the evening was mostly uneventful. We used the internet, watched some movies, and generally hung out in Turk. As we were at our most relaxed we heard an extremely loud noise and the van shook violently. Thinking it may be an animal, or a coconut falling onto our roof we investigated and found that a tree had fallen just onto the side of Turk. We were lucky that a vine had stopped it from going through the window and it had basically just missed us. Freaky!
Croc Attack Show
The rest of the night passed without incidence, apart from much more rain and the next morning we packed up and headed off. On the way back to the ferry crossing we stopped at the Marrdja boardwalk, which was much the same as the Dubuji but with less cassowaries, and then at the Daintree discovery centre. Maybe it just proves that we are philistines but aside from climbing up the tower to see above the rainforest canopy myself and the BF found it somewhat boring, although we appreciated all of the conservation efforts detailed and were happy to have paid a somewhat steep admission free if it went towards similar projects. We had a cup of Daintree tea and left on the ferry.

 We drove to Hartley’s crocodile adventures, a fantastic zoo 40km north of Cairns. I was starving hungry and immediately tucked into salt and pepper crocodile which tasted surprisingly similar to chicken (doesn’t everything??) we went on a boat cruise around a lagoon and the enthusiastic guide fed crocodiles in the lagoon with a stick from the side of the boat. He supplemented this with frequent ‘dad jokes’, usually related to crocodiles and a lot of teasing and humour based on the nationalities of the tourists on board. The highlight of Hartley’s was the Croc Attack show, in which an experienced guide explained all about crocodile attacks and on many occasions became dangerously close to becoming a victim of one himself as he waded around in a pond with an angry croc trying to get it to show a variety of instincts and behaviours. Afterwards the BF and I were very glad that we decided against swimming across the creek the previous day. We saw some of the obligatory Australian marsupials and got back on the road to Cairns

 We are currently still in Cairns, so I will update further once we leave, the weather has been somewhat disappointing so there hasn’t been a lot to report here so far but you never know what the future might hold!
Turk Meets: A Drunken Tree
Turk was a litte disguntled to have this tree stumble onto him during the night

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