17 February, 2012
If you're in north queensland, one of the things you should do is get some good proper tropical rainforest in you. And of the best places for that is the Daintree. Proper world heritage rainforest. We took a day trip from cairns up to Cape Tribulation, taking in some of the sights along the way and back.
It's not quite as pristine as they'd have you believe. Sure, there's no power lines, but there's generators everywhere, and a lot more guest houses and b&bs and facilities than I was expecting. Still lovely though. Still north queensland though, so no swimming in summer on pain of death. Those stingers aren't really fans of tourism.
There's a lot of talk about cassowaries in the area, both watching out for them on the road, and how rare/cool/important/trendy/exotic they are. They are damn impressive birds, and they apparently have a pretty good rate of spotting them along the roads, but we didn't see any of them on our trip. Some people got a lift back with us, after staying the night in a hostel at Cape Trib, and the day before they'd see an adult with chicks. Oh well :)
We did get to see a Boyd's Dragon, casually sitting on a small tree just beside the rainforest boardwalk we did. Beautiful colours and horns.
Our bus was only about 13 people, and did a few less stops than some of the other tours we saw. Given how much time we had at each place, I'm very glad we weren't on a trip trying to fit more in to the day. We had time for a proper swim in Mossman gorge, though I think I was the only one in our group who did so. We had time to actually do a short loop walk in the rainforest, we had time for a sit down lunch at Cape Trib, and we had time for a nice boat cruise on the river.
The boat cruise is worthy of special mention :) It's listed in most of the different tour companies as crocodile spotting on the daintree river. When we arrived, we were told not to expect to see any crocodiles, but more to expect a nice mangrove spotting cruise, with maybe some local life to see. As it turned out, we were lucky. We got to see newly hatched salt water crocodiles. Our captain even stopped and rushed for his own camera to grab a picture. He estimated them to be only 4-5 hours old, as none of the other operators on the rivers had seen this seasons hatchlings yet, and they'd all been on the river earlier that morning as well.
They're pretty cute at that age, though amongst the mangroves they were a little hard to take pictures of. They're about 30cm long already, and apparently already capable of taking off a finger with their bite. But, as crocodiles have very weak jaw opening strength, you would still be able to keep their jaws closed with just two fingers.
We got a very brief glimpse of a bigger croc, possibly the mother, but hiding in the mangroves out of sight.
Then just more driving, and a bit more driving, with a lookout along the way. A nice day, but a lot of sitting in a bus.