Last weekend, our LGBT group went to Daintree National Park. It is about 100 km north of Cairns, but since the road is winding and hilly, the journey takes at least two hours. And if you add a ferry across the Daintree River and a couple of stops (to enjoy the views and to stretch), it’s no less than three hours. However, the road is picturesque, a significant segment is along the sea coast, the views everywhere are impressive, so time flies.
The organizers of our trip, Dan and Mark, planned joint activities only on Sunday. Dan and Mark have two dogs, the other guys – Keaton and Brett, and Gavin – also have dogs; in the national park, dogs are not allowed, and there is no one to leave them with, that’s why it was only one day for the group this time. I have no pets and so I arrived the day before, on Saturday. I did my own program, and on Sunday joined the group.
Daintree National Park includes the world’s oldest forests, which are 150-200 million years old, they are older than the Amazon forests, which are about 30 million years old. There are many fern trees here, and other vegetation that dates back to the time of dinosaurs. In addition, there are unique places there where the reef joins the rainforest.
In addition to the rainforest, I love local beaches, which, in my opinion, are the best in our region. There are also many transparent rivers and streams, where you can swim. This is a tourist area, with different types of accommodation: from five-star to camping. You can find good restaurants here too. Tour companies offer numerous activities: crocodile river cruises, jungle surfing (where tourists compete in agility with Mowgli and Tarzan), kayaking, snorkelling, visits to the tall multi-floor Discovery tower to explore the rainforest, etc. Most people, however, organize things themselves, which we did too.
I stayed in a small, neat room in my favourite tourist village P.K. Jungle Village. There is also “luxury” accommodation here, if you have money to spare. People can also set up a tent or sleep in their own camper. I took a tent with me just in case, but decided to go for a little more comfort this time, so I rented a room for $48. Simple, but cozy. By the way, the village offers kitchen facilities, and there are plenty of tables under the roof and under the sky. There is a good restaurant and bar there too. The village also has a swimming pool. Just opposite the office there is a small supermarket (however, prices bite: 2.5 times higher than in Cairns).
From the village you can go directly to the beach, through a mangrove boardwalk. When on the beach, you can walk for hours. Our beach joins others – to the right and to the left. Plenty of room for everybody!
After settling in, I rested for half an hour, and then went out for a walk and was away for two and a half hours. I returned home only when it was getting dark.
The next day I got up early – I love the dawn and sun-rise. I had a good walk, and took photos. Then I went to our meeting place. On the Cape Tribulation beach I saw our group. The same five as in Bloomfield, plus one guy – Gavin, whom I had not met before. A nice, sociable guy who impressed us with his drone, from which Gavin even shot videos and took photos.
Cape Tribulation… What a sad name. Not far from there Captain James Cook on his ship “Endeavor” ran into a reef. He miraculously managed to get off of it in the end, but the beauty of the area was no longer pleasing to the eyes of the legendary captain and he gave some places names far from optimistic: Cape Tribulation, Mount Sorrow… Then he went north in search of a suitable place for repairs and found a river in the place where Cooktown is now – I have already told you about it. There Cook’s mood improved, and the ship was repaired. After that, he sailed to Batavia, the current Jakarta, the largest port in this part of the world, where he finally managed to fully repair the ship (bark). After that, Captain Cook returned to England, where he and his crew were greeted as national heroes.
Our group of 6 gays and the same girl from England, Beckie, had an excellent time at Cape Tribulation: walks, swimming in the sea, kayaking (the kayaks were brought by Dan and Mark), just enjoying the sun. Three people immigrated to Australia from the UK, and the climate – the sunny and warm weather, which they so lacked at home, played an important role in their decision, and Beckie, as I had said before, came here to work and have fun for several months. She’s from Birmingham.
After Cape Tribulation, we swam in a river nearby, in its cool and transparent (and free from the crocodiles!) waters.
Then we stopped at a local ice cream factory. Big name. In fact, it’s a small business with a cafe. The place is popular.
And finally, we went to Cow Bay. Why such a name? Because previously, there were lots of sea cows here. The official name is dugongs, marine mammals with a dolphin-like body. They eat seaweeds. Now they are almost non-existent here. Probably because they were hunted down due to their delicious meat. However, I also heard that there are few suitable seaweeds left for them now. The dugongs migrated to the north – there are many of them, say, in the Torres Strait, between Australia and Papua New Guinea.
We had a walk on the beach. This was our last activity. After that – the ferry, and back home. We were glad that we managed to finish the program before dark. We were able to enjoy the views again while driving.
Our team leaders have a few other events planned for the coming weeks. I can take part in one of them. Then they leave for three weeks for England, to visit relatives. In September, new plans and activities. I hope to join the group again more than once.
Here are some pictures of the trip.