Sunday, October 30, 2016

Daintree Rainforest by Margot Justes

Third day in Cairns took me to Daintree Rainforest.  It’s quite a hike, a good 2 hours plus pick up time from various hotels. The ‘safari’ truck was not the most comfortable mode of transportation, every bump on the road left an impression, and there were quite a few.  For me it was worth the effort. I’ve never seen a rainforest before, and didn’t really know what to expect. Our guide told us that the rainforest is over 125 million years old. Simply amazing.

The tour included, a two hour walk in the forest, a chance to swim in a creek in crystal clear water, sample the local fruit, and local Billy tea, basically an earthy bush tea, rather a muddy flavor, a barbecue lunch, a visit with captive kangaroos, and a Daintree River cruise in search of crocodiles. There was also a stop at Cape Tribulation,  a walk to the lookout to see where the rainforest meets the reef.

The first thing you notice as you enter the forest is the soft mist, the gently falling rain, the serenity, the tall trees and branches aiming for the sun, along with lush ground vegetation. You can hear drops fall on the leaves, listen to the countless birds chirping, and wild turkeys strolling in the distance.  

Even with the tourists, the clicking cameras and resounding footsteps, it was one of the most peaceful couple of hours I have ever spent. There is a boardwalk  designed for tourists, otherwise the bush is thick with vegetation. We searched for the ever elusive Cassowary birds, but we weren’t lucky enough to see one. The flightless birds are related to the emu, and are considered to be the heaviest birds in Australia.

After our tour of the forest, it was on to the creek for a swim and fresh fruit. I’m still not a fan of papayas, but loved the passion fruit. It’s actually quite delicious mixed with yogurt.  It became my breakfast treat, both in Cairns and Sydney.

Lunch was served in a local restaurant, where our tour guides put a steak on the barbie for us. I got to feed a couple of kangaroos. The restaurant keeps maimed kangaroos in a fenced yard; they survive, are well treated, and it’s great for the tourists. I have never seen a kangaroo before, and found these quite docile, and strangely awkward except when they run. The locals are not so delighted with the creatures, they are considered to be a nuisance. I loved them.

The last thing on the agenda was the Daintree river cruise, we were in search of crocodiles. It was a cloudy, rainy day, perfectly suited to the location, and we even found a large crocodile, along with birds, and Mangrove trees. You can see the roots well above the water, they thrive in salty, swampy coastal waters.  

The day was long, packed solid, and well worth it. It was an exhausting excursion, my endurance was well tested, I’m not as young as I used to be. Would I do it again? You bet.
Margot  Justes
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