Cape Tribulation, North Qld

From Cairns we headed north past fields of sugar cane until we came to the Daintree River. The car ferry is the only way to get to Cape Tribulation on sealed road. Crossing the Daintree River was like entering an ancient world. The mountains and dense tropical rain forest tumble down mountains and spill onto sandy shore lines often reaching out to touch the coral sea. Although we have travelled through the wet tropics of North Queensland for some weeks now, we were quite unprepared for the wonderfully unique world of the Daintree Rainforest.  I don’t believe our photos can possibly convey how truly breathtaking this place is.

Cape Tribulation is within the Daintree National Park, part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage area, and next to the Great Barrier Reef. The average annual rainfall is 4 metres, but in 2010 they recorded 8metres. North of the Daintree River there are land phone lines, but no internet, no mains water and no electricity grid supply. Each resident and business supplies their own electricity and their own water. Rain water is used for drinking and bore water from an underground stream is for all other uses.

There are about 300 residents in Cape Tribulation, the main industry is eco tourism, although there is also a tea plantation and two small ice-cream producers, both with beautiful gardens and orchards. Their milk comes from the Atherton Tablelands.

We stayed at ‘Cape Trib Camping’. A fabulous place right on Myall beach. They have a few powered sites and there is a rainwater tank to fill up water bottles. Bore water is used in the showers and toilet block. We had filled up the van tanks in Cairns so had plenty for everything except showers. Each site had a path to the beach.

They also run a cafe serving Wood Fired pizza every night,  made fresh on site.

Coconuts palms line the beach. We tried our hand at ‘shelling’ a couple on the old railway post they had fashioned for the job. Wow, that was hard work, and we never got to the middle. But the bush turkeys were very efficient at getting into them.

We rode our bikes at low tide to the end of Myall Beach, then walked across the cape to Cape Tribulation Beach.

Cassowaries live in the rainforest. The females lay about three eggs, usually only one chick survives. As with emus, its the father that hatches the eggs and cares for the chicks. They are very protective of their chicks and particularly dangerous at this time if you go near them. Cassowaries are on the endangered list, a lot of deaths occur due to cars hitting them. We were very excited to see some beside the road, cars had pulled over to look.

There are a variety of rainforest walks, each with educational boards along the way.

The rainforest night tour was fun, unfortunately it poured with rain the entire time, so no fury animals.

Taking a crocodile tour down Cooper Creek was excellent. During the safety talk prior to leaving, the guide pointed out the life jackets on the boat, but hasten to add we should not jump into the water no matter how dire the circumstances. Crocs can swim at 60km an hour, and jump 3 metres out of the water.

Each of these photos has a croc in it, can you see them? Some are small, but could still kill a human.

Across the road from our camp is a fresh water swimming hole. Its very popular with the locals and the tourists and was a great way to cool off from the humidity. The water was crystal clear and wonderful to swim in. Even through we were reassured crocs don’t venture into it, I still found it difficult to relax and enjoy for long. Tim had no problem. (he uses the noodle to swim due to his shoulder injury)

The one place we could buy some (very slow) wifi to check our email, was at Cape Trib Beach House. They have units set in lush rainforest right on the beach, and the food was exceptionally good.

Getting to Cooktown from Cape Tribulation requires travelling on unsealed road. The only way to get there on sealed road is to return to Cairns and go inland then head to the coast. We tried to do a day trip with out the van, but  the first creek crossing proved deeper than our car could handle, so we will go the long way around and take the van.

On our last day, my birthday, we went fishing off the beach at dawn and caught eight dart. Kept two for breakfast. So fantastic!

We are now in Port Douglas.

Cheers, Helen and Tim