Queensland - 1. CAPE TRIBULATION
We crammed as much into 5 weeks as we could, and the following is a rough account of our holiday.
Having arrived at our friend's house in Edmonton, just outside Cairns, we spent the first couple of days catching up with their news and recovering from the 24 hour flight.
On our 3rd day we caught the bus into Cairns and headed straight for the agencies offering trips to Cape Tribulation. We booked a 3 night package with Jungle Tours which was scheduled for the following day.
The jungle tours mini-bus picked us up at a very early hour in the morning. After a fairly long, but enjoyable journey, we arrived at Crocodylus Village. We had opted to stay here for our first 2 nights. I loved it here. There are wooden cabins set in the rainforest, with a main large building which holds the reception area and the open plan dining area which looks onto a small swimming pool. The atmoshpere was quiet but friendly and the meals available to buy were basic but very tasty. You can also book various activities and trips laid on by Crocodylus staff. We opted for a guided night rainforest trek on our first night and an evening boating, looking for crocodiles on our second night.
We learned all about the various flora and fauna to be found in the local area. You'll soon hear about the "wait a while", which is a prickly vine. If you happen to catch yourself on one of these fellas, you have to "wait a while" as you unhook its sharp hook from your clothing (hopefully not your skin - ouch). There is also the Stinging Plant, which if you happen to brush against, will leave you with severe and long lasting pain. I understand that even months after coming into contact with this plant, the pain can still be excrutiating when water touches the affected area. We spotted a snake and a bird eating (although they don't actually eat birds) spider which was HUGE, on our night walk. My favourite part to this trek was when we were all told to switch our torches off and be silent. Wow! It was pitch black, and the noises of the nocturnal insects and animals was incredible. Your senses go into overdrive, it was an interesting experience. Some members of our party found this experience difficult to deal with after a minute or so, had to turn their torches back on!
We then saw numerous crocodiles on our river trip, and again, we were provided with very interesting information by our guide.
On our 3rd day, we went to PKs Jungle Village for a night. Mmmmmm. Great place for the young who just want to get down and have a good time in the tropics, but this isn't what I'd come to Cape Trib for. For me, being in a rainforest (nowhere near as dense as the forest area of Crocodylus) with Oasis' "WonderWall" blaring out of the main lobby's speakers just didn't seem right. I definitely prefered the peace of Crocodylus. Nevertheless, we got out and about and decided to take a stroll along the road adjacent to PKs. I'm so glad that we did, because we stumbled upon a Fruitbat sanctuary called simply "The Bat House". Ooooh, those fruitbats are so cute. The lady in charge had a 4 week old bespectacled fruitbat called Monty. We (there was only my husband and I in the place initially) were able to hold him, and he was simply adorable. Once again, we were provided with oodles of local info by the owner. Everyone we met in the Cape Trib area was extremely helpful and knowledgeable.
We signed up for another night rainforest walk, this time through PKs, as we'd enjoyed the previous one so much. This was completely different. The guy in charge of this set up placed traps during the day, the walk involved re-visiting the traps so that we could see any little furry animals who had been unfortunate enough to get caught! Once we'd all had a look and said "aaah" the animal was realeased back into the wild. Not sure whether I approve of trapping, but it did mean that we got to see far more animals than if it had been left to a chance sighting.
Our 3rd night over, it was time to head back to Cairns. On the journey back, a trip down the Daintree River had been organised for us, this was included in the cost of the 3 night package. Again, the guy in charge of our boat gave a running commentary on the various trees etc. and the various life forms to be found in and on the river, including more crocodiles!
After this, we all piled back into the bus and continued on our way. Our Jungle Tours driver stopped at various points in the journey to allow photographers to hop off to capture shots of the fantastic views to be seen. We arrived back in Cairns late afternoon feeling like we'd had a real rainforest experience. I would highly recommend Jungle Tours to anyone booking this kind of excursion. They provided friendly staff and excellent value for money.