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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Salt Water Crocodiles and Crazy Birds: North to Cape Tribulation

From Cairns my way lead me further North when I joined a three-day trip to Cape Tribulation. Cape Tribulation is well known for its natural beauty, it is the place where the subtropical rainforest meets the Ocean, and was named by Captain Cook after he ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef nearby.

On our way up we spotted two Saltwater Crocodiles, the first next to a bridge we crossed and the second during a Crocodile spotting boat ride on the Daintree river.

After crossing the Daintree river we were in Cassowary country. The Cassowary is one of the largest flightless birds in the world, which is vital for the continued growth of the rainforest as it eats various fruits and spreads the seeds in a wide area, helping plants to disperse. Unfortunately, it is highly endangered and for that reason there are Cassowary warning signs all the way along the road. We were always on the lookout in hopes of spotting one, but we weren't lucky enough. Apparently, one local told us, there are more warning signs than actual Cassowaries around ;).

One of the stops was a guided walk through the jungle across a marshy area, where we spotted some wildlife: spiders, a mud crab, some fish and a strange bug.

In Cape Tribulation I stayed at the Cape Trib Beach House, which is spread across a long stretch of jungle reaching from the street down to the beach. I really enjoyed staying there, everything felt so wild and natural :).

Not wanting to spend the whole day relaxing, I undertook a Jungle Surfing tour in the rainforest canopy. That was great fun and very informative too, because the guides told us a lot about the trees we were standing in and the way that the platforms were built. We almost saw a Tree Kangaroo, it was spotted two hours before, but had decided to move on in the meantime.

After dinner I went for a short walk along the dark road, spotting a Cane Toad and two Bandicoots. But with only the light of a small flashlight to guide my way, I didn't dare to venture too far away, since it was quite a creepy feeling with all the noises around me.

On the way back we stopped at Mossman Gorge, where an Aborigine explained about their traditional clan body paintings and where we had an opportunity to swim in the refreshing river. I used the time to look for a nearby Geocache before cooling off in the river.

The second night was spent in Port Douglas, a town known for it's ritzy resorts, but which still kept a laid back attitude in it's town center. After enjoying the sun set, I walked back to the town center for dinner and was surprised by an extremely loud noise level. Looking around I spotted two trees which were crowded with small birds, they numbered in their thousands! I was glad I didn't have Ornithophobia ;).

My last day was spent walking around Port Douglas and along it's beautiful Four Mile Beach, looking for Geocaches :).

In the evening we were picked up again for a short trip back to Cairns. On the way we spotted a large number of Rock Wallabies in a meadow next to the road.

Pictures from this trip can be found in my web album.

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