We weren’t planning to stay any further north than Cairns, but we did want to make a short trip up the coast to Cape Tribulation and Daintree – the oldest rainforest in the world.
We took a day trip, passing the pretty Port Douglas along the way. This was an old fishing town but is now tourism based and full of upmarket resorts.
The next stop on our tour was Daintree River, where we boarded a boat for spotting one of Australia’s deadliest animals – the saltwater crocodile. Despite being told that the crocs are harder to spot before the rains (they spend more time submerged to keep away from the heat of the sun), within minutes we found a biggun!
It was amazing to see him slicing through the water – such a huge creature making not so much as a ripple.
Did you know crocodiles can live for around 70 years in the wild? They change their teeth 46 times during their lifetime and they don’t actually die of old age but starvation – because they run out of new teeth!
After the excitement of crocodile spotting, we headed into the depths of one of the oldest rainforests in the world – Daintree.
It’s incredible to think that it has survived all this time in a country that is known for its hot and sunny weather (with barren areas of extreme dryness). Quite obviously a rainforest needs rain to survive – they are steamy places dripping with moisture – but Daintree has adapted to cope with prolonged periods of dry weather. Its survival is all down to humidity – as water in the air condenses on all the leaves on all the plants in the jungle, it drips down onto the forest floor, watering the trees. Studies have found that this rainforest can actually survive without any rainfall for up to three years.
While Joe was showing us around the jungle, our group came across a baby cassowary – an Australian icon – just wandering around in the scrub.
Our next stop was Daintree Entomological (insect) Museum, which houses a world class private collection of rare and local butterflies, moths and beetles…
…followed by a tasty Barramundi lunch next to Cooper Creek.
We ventured into the jungle again along a boardwalk, where Joe expertly showed us the canopy of enormous fan palms, strangler figs and vines.
It’s incredible to think that some of these species of plants would have been around when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.
Our last stop for the day was the isolated Cape Tribulation beach.
Here we took a stroll along its coral sands and climbed up to a lookout point to see the only place on Earth where two World Heritage listed areas (the rainforest and the reef) meet.
This part of the world really is unique and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend a visit to Daintree and Cape Tribulation to complete any visit to north Queensland.