Having survived, and even, begrudgingly liked, scuba diving, we decided to further take out lives into our hands and rent a four-wheel drive to take up into the Daintree Rainforest.
Finally, a vehicle that does not make our bags seem too large.
We picked up our car in Cairns right after getting off the scuba diving boat and drove along a beautiful stretch of highway known as the James Cook Highway. On one side there was rainforest, on the other, the ocean.
We stopped in a charming seaside town called Palm Cove, which was full of resorts and restaurants, but wasn’t very busy this time of year. Interesting fact: they have to set up nets so people can swim in the ocean without being stung by these deadly box jellyfish, known as “boxies.” Needless to say, I did not go near the ocean.
After a quick snack and a fruity drink, we headed into Port Douglas.
The next morning, we went further north to catch a ferry across the Daintree River and explore the rainsforest. We drove through fields and fields of sugar cane, which is a primary industry around this part of Queensland.
Daintree is the oldest continually surviving tropical rainforest, and a World Heritage area. It supposedly contains hundreds of rare and threatened animals species, including the musky rat-kangaroo and the southern cassowary, and supposedly 51 species of frogs, but we only saw this butterfly, which I think is a Ulysses butterfly.
We did, however, see signs warning us about roving cassowaries everywhere. Apparently, the signs are not endangered.
We took the truck up onto the Bloomfield track, an unpaved, gravel road for 4WDs.
We stopped a couple of places to get out and walk around in the rainforest. They had these “boardwalks” that cut through the forest and really gave you a sense of the scale of the place, which was massive. It really felt like Jurassic Park in there.
We stopped and had ice cream at the Daintree Ice Cream company, including a taste of wattleseed, durian, and black sapote ice creams. The ice creams are homemade and are made from fruit grown in the orchard on the property. The wattleseed tasted a bit like cappuccino, while the black sabate tasted like chocolate, and the durian tasted like banana bubblegum, if that makes sense.
Always a sucker for waterfalls (seriously, we’ll pull over on the side of the road to take picture of water tumbling over any rock formation whatsoever), we went to Mossman’s Gorge, which is an area where the Mossman River tumbles over these massive granite boulders creating freshwater swimming holes.
After we’d had enough of being hot, sticky and damp (they don’t call it the rainforest for nothing), we headed back to Port Douglas and made our only mistake of the trip up till this point….eating at a place called the Central Hotel. Not only was the food just really bad (steak was overcooked and had to be sent back), it had taken an hour for it to come out in the first place.
Not exactly a high note to end our Northern Australia excursions on, but overall, we really liked Queensland. Even if the elusive cassowary never made an appearance.