GUEST ARTICLE: The famous Daintree Rainforest is located 90 minutes drive out of Cairns, Queensland in North-Eastern Australia. The drive is really scenic as you meander along the beautiful rocky coast, with fields of tall sugarcane and of course the lush mountainous rainforest.
Along the way we stopped at a place called Bruce Belcher’s Croc Cruises and for $20 we hopped on one of his little river boats and went up and down the Daintree River in search of crocs along the muddy banks. The cruise didn’t disappoint and we spotted quite a few crocs both big and small. Afterwards we hopped back in our car and took a ferry across the river to Cape Tribulation and the Daintree National Park.
As soon as we entered the park we came across numerous “Cassowaries Crossing” signs. The Cassowary is a giant flightless bird that can be up to six feet tall and weigh up to 104lbs. They are known to be notoriously vicious when it comes to protecting their young and they’ve also been known to have killed men with their sharp razor like toenails.
Don’t even think of trying to outrun them unless of course you clock faster than 30mph or have some funky wolverine like toenails of your own. Unfortunately we didn’t come across any of these beauties, next time!
We went into the Rainforest Discovery Centre and climbed up the Canopy Tower but unfortunately once again we didn’t see anything, even at all levels of the canopy looking into the different levels of the rainforest, not sure it’s worth $30 each.
We did get to go on a really good walk after that though and for free. It’s called the Marrdja Botanical Walk, an excellent 540 meter wooden boardwalk that takes you through both the lush rainforest and the mangroves. There’s also a very peculiar tree there that’s like one I’ve never seen before made up of a mass of intertwining roots, very cool.
After all of that walking we decided to cool off and drove to Thornton Beach and took a dip in the beautiful lukewarm waters. The beaches run for miles and you can almost get them pretty much to yourself – perfect. Being the end of winter the dangerous Box Jellyfish weren’t around yet, so it was okay to go in but in the summer months they don’t recommend entering the waters without stinger suits.
We had a wonderful trip through the rainforest, there are plenty of other attractions throughout the area and if you’re feeling really adventurous you can 4×4 it even further north to Cooktown or Weipa and experience the real Aussie Outback!
We saw lots of bus tours into the Daintree Rainforest but we reckon the best way to see the park is to rent your own car and be free to stop and see things at your own pace. September/October is the perfect time to visit the area – not super hot or humid and no days spoiled by rain or box jellyfish!
This travel diary has been written by Rob Gower, a friend who enjoys taking the road less traveled!