Suggested 2-day tour to the Daintree and Cape Tribulation National Park. Introduction to Cairns gay life.
This tour covers one the most unique regions in the world – you will see the oldest forest on the planet, visit vast picturesque beaches, visit a magic mangrove forest, swim in crystal clear waters of a rainforest river, climb the multi-level tower of the Daintree Discovery Centre, get to know Australian animals and birds, including cassowaries and tree kangaroos, which are hard to see otherwise, see some places related Captain Cook, including from the Cape Tribulation lookout. You will also have a cruise on the crocodile Daintree river.
Description of this two-day tour from Cairns:
(The arrangements for Turtle Cove, Pt Douglas, etc. could be slightly different.)
You will go through one of the most picturesque sections of the Coral Sea road to the north of Cairns towards the Daintree and Cape Tribulation National Park (places visited by Captain James Cook, and the oldest rainforests in the world).
You will make a stop at the Rex lookout which has a nice view over the Coral Sea, Double Island and beaches.
Then you will go to a ferry crossing over the Daintree River. You will have a 1-hour cruise on a picturesque river where you will be able to see crocodiles in the wild. After crossing the river, you will find yourselves in the Daintree tropical rainforest. It covers 1200 sq km and is the largest single block of tropical rainforest in Australia. The diversity and structural complexity of the vegetation here is unparalleled in Australia. This is an area of the oldest forest on this planet dating to dinosaurs. It is a habitat of such rare endangered species as cassowary and tree kangaroo. It also has some unique places where the rainforest meets the reef.
You will stop at the Alexandra lookout which has a beautiful view over the Daintree River mouth, crocodile-shaped Snapper Island surrounded by reefs, Low Islands located 15 km from Port Douglas, and Port Douglas itself, tall tree ferns and cycads, as well as other tropical trees.
You will have lunch at Heritage Lodge not far from Thornton Beach and Coopers Creek. From the restaurant you could walk to a transparent mountain river nearby which has excellent spots for swimming (if you wish).
Then you will visit the Daintree Discovery Centre, an award-winning world class interpretive facility that allows visitors easy access to every level of the Daintree Rainforest; from the forest floor to the upper most reaches of the canopy. The Centre features a Boardwalk, a 23 metre high Canopy Tower, Aerial Walkway and comprehensive Display Centre.
After visiting the Centre, you will continue on through the Daintree rainforest. You will see plantations of local tea, unique to this area.
Then you will go to Cape Tribulation from where you could see the place where Captain James Cook’s ship was grounded on a reef, and only thanks to the skills of his crew and the tenacity of its captain, as well as pure luck, HM Bark Endeavour got off the reef and, after some basic repairs, went to a safer place in the north for further repairs, where nowadays a city named after him, Cooktown, is located. You will have a walk on the beach and will go up to a lookout.
Then you will go to your hotel in a picturesque setting.
You will have some free time, and you could take walks in the forest, on extensive beaches, swim in a pool, have dinner in one of the local restaurants.
Breakfast at the hotel.
9.00 – Departure from the hotel and continuation of the tour.
You will have a 45-minute walk at Marrdja. It is an Aboriginal word meaning rainforest walk. Signs along the boardwalk trace the evolution of Daintree Coast plants, and provide information about the two chief habitats you will encounter – rainforests and mangroves. The signs along the boardwalk take you on a 350 million year journey. It begins with the first land plants, through the age of dinosaurs, the appearance of flowering plants and to the break-up of the super continent Gondwana. You will get in contact with very unusual vegetation and landscape as if you found yourself on a different planet. You will not be disappointed.
You will also visit Cow Bay whose name, according to one theory, is derived from the farming of cattle in the area in the early days. The other idea is that Cow Bay is named after dugongs (sea cows) which come to feed on the seagrass beds in the bay. It is a popular holiday spot both for locals and tourists.
Then you will go to the Daintree River crossing.
You will have lunch at the Julaymba Restaurant which is al fresco dining at its best overlooking a peaceful fresh water pond where you can get a glimpse of turtles swimming if you are lucky. Creative dishes for every palate with a fusion of native bush-tucker and contemporary Australian cuisine.
And then you will be heading back to Cairns.
You will visit a small wildlife sanctuary near Port Douglas where you could see very rare tree kangaroos, and also many other local animals and birds including the cassowary.
On the way back you could visit a popular gay resort, Turtle Cove (if you are not staying there already). Here you could order beer, wine or a cocktail, have a walk on a cute beach, and have a swim in the sea (clothing optional). You could also have a chat with local gays and gays from other countries.
In Cairns you could visit some places popular with gays: clubs and restaurants. You could also enquire about such activities as Tropical Pride which includes a Fair Day; concerts, balls and parties; and post Sydney Mardi Gras recovery at the famous Turtle Cove resort on the Coral Sea.
Tour duration: 2 days (10 hours a day).