Cairns to Cape Tribulation

Queensland Travel Blog

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October being the last month before 'stinger season' I thought it was a good time to plan a trip to up to Cairns (There is enough to worry about with the crocs and killer cassowary birds, I'd rather skip the box jellyfish). Anyways, so the hype goes. It is actually not that dangerous in Northern Queensland. Matt and I left Sydney Thursday night for Cairns, stayed one night then headed up to Cape Tribulation which is a couple of hundred kilometers north. We stayed there 2 nights and then went back to Cairns Sunday afternoon. We arrived back in Sydney Monday night.

A bit of wiki info about the 2 areas:
Cairns developed into a railhead and major port for the exportation of sugar cane, gold, precious metals and agricultural industries from the surrounding coastal and Tableland regions.
The city is rapidly expanding, with a population of about 125 000 Tourism is the largest income producer for the region, followed closely by the sugar industry. Its not known for beaches but there is a large public lagoon for swimming and the city is the major jumping off point for the Daintree rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef.

Cape Tribulation is part of the World Heritage Wet Tropics. The traditional owners of the area are the Kuku Yalanji people. The cape was named by British explorer Lt. James Cook on 10 June 1770 after his ship ran aground on a reef near the site, "because here began all our Troubles".
The Great Barrier reef is only 19 km due east.

We took a bus tour up to Cape Tribulation at 7:30am Friday. We drove out of the city and through sugar cane fields, banana plantations and small towns until we got to Mossman Gorge where we had a short rainforest walk. We then had to get a ferry to cross the Daintree river and enter the national park. We stopped at a zoo on the way too where we saw some crocs, birds, snakes and salt water crocs. The Cassowary bird is very territorial and will chase you and sometimes kill people who are on his turf. (They can gut people with the blade that grows out of the top of their head.)

Our B&B was appeared to be completely built from hand carved wood by the owner (even the kitchen counter and cupboards). The building had no proper interiors - it really was outdoor living and relied on battery power and solar panels. (Everywhere in Cape Tribulation is like this.
) Its a tiny town with a handful of eateries, one pharmacy, one pub/hostel, one food shop. There was one phenomenal restaurant though - called Whet. More pics of the B&B are on its site - Our room was a cabin screened on three walls and joined to the main "house" by a rope bridge. We had some interesteing tropical fruits for breakfast there, in particular star apples (look nothing like apples.)

Friday afternoon, I went to Mason's swimming hole which is this fresh water pond in the rainforest with a tarzan swing. It was beautifully pure, you could drink the water. We then had a great meal at Whet.

Saturday we left on the Rum Runner boat for a day on the Great Barrier Reef. This was so amazing. It took an hour to get to the reef during which time we had coffee and went over some preliminaries (my first dive). The first dive you can never forget.
It is so unlike any other life experience. You really feel like you're in a dream. You just turn off the rational part of your brain that wants to be out of water to breathe and then you're fine. When we were swimming amongst all the coral and fish I went from flashbacks of the Little Mermaid to thinking this is what its like to be a fish in an acquarium. Nothing seems gross or scary when you're diving because you can see everything so clearly and everything has such great texture. It seems as though everything respects you as long as you respect it too. After the first dive, i snorkelled for a bit, then we had lunch, relaxed, moved to another reef and had an afternoon dive and snorkell before heading back.

On Sunday we did another short walk through the rainforest and went to the beach. The water is incredibly warm compared to Sydney. At 2pm we got picked up by our bus for our journey back to Cairns.
On the way we stopped at the Daintree icecream factory where they have native flavours like Wattleseed, Chocolate Sapico (or something like that), Coconut etc. Then we had a river cruise, but didn't see any crocs but it was nice anyway. We also drove through Port Douglas which is a very famously exclusive resort town that attracts alot of celebrities.

Back in Cairns we had a good night out and then Sunday we just wandered around the shops and restaurants since it was too windy for the skydiving. Cairns is not very picturesque but it has a nice relaxed vibe about it. Sydney feels cold now! but hopefully not long until summer is fully underway.

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55,583 km (34,538 miles) traveled
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