The bus seemed to roll over the hills and across the ferry with ease on our way to The Daintree Rainforest. The crocodile infested waters around us and the recent deaths that had taken place in Cape Tribulation left an eeriness through the region. Though maybe that was the thick dense fog.
For me during my time in Australia The Daintree Rainforest was a bucket list item. As one of the oldest rainforests in the world, the dense trees and intense creatures were a draw. I think I’ve always had a fascination with the Rainforest. I attribute that to my life of the wild wilderness. It’s adventurous and exciting.
So boarding a bus before dawn to get a 16-hour day of exploring was definitely exciting. There were a lot of us on the tour but everyone was respecting the powerful wilderness we were in and the aboriginal history of the region.
I know that everyone goes to Cairns to see the Great Barrier Reef and to go diving and snorkeling. It is such an adventure capital, and this is one of those amazing adventures.
As with any Rainforest, The Daintree is filled with the creepy crawlers, deadly animals and rain. As we hiked through the region later you could hear the familiar putter patter of the rain and the chirps of the birds. Closing your eyes meant it sounded spookily like those ‘rainforest’ soundtracks.
A Brief history of The Daintree Rainforest
The Daintree is estimated to be over 165 Million years old and really the thick jungle and intense ecosystem truly show this. It wasn’t until 1988 that The Daintree became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This rainforest covers 1200 square kilometers and goes from high in the hills all the way down to the ocean where it intersects with the Great Barrier Reef.
All Aboard the Bus to Adventure!
As I stated my brother and I took a tour to get everything we wanted out of our day. We had only flown into Cairns the day before and were exhausted when the alarm sounded at 5am to get up. Our bus was leaving at 530!
We made our way down to the hostel’s free pancake breakfast where our bus driver happened to be. Turns out we were the first stop of many that morning and would be the first ones to pick our seats on the bus. #winning
After getting everyone we settled in for the 2-and-a-half-hour drive to the rainforest. I was giddy the whole time, searching out the window as we rolled by beaches and through lush forest.
An Aboriginal Experience
Our first stop was the Mossman Gorge Centre where we were able to buy a coffee and enjoy a peaceful few minutes before our first adventure into The Daintree.
Looking out through the bush you could see colouful birds and giant leaves covered the entrance to the walking trails that would eventually lead to the famous Mossman Gorge.
The Eastern Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal people are the traditional land owners of the tropical rainforest and before entering the rainforest, we were greeted by one of these people. He lives in the Daintree who was kind enough to share some stories and history of the land.
He graciously welcomed us to the country and enriched us with the meaning of this special place. Even as I write about this I can’t seem to find the words to reveal the feeling of the simple demonstration and ceremony. I get goose bumps thinking about the smoke he waved and the colours painted across our faces.
He showed us some of the plants and talked about the animals we would see then we were left to go into the jungle.
Mossman Gorge and the Walking Trails
There are a vast web of walking trails through the Mossman Gorge area and with sign postings, amazing views and informational signs you could spend a year walking through and looking at everything.
There is a bridge that overhangs the river that is a perfect spot to peak over the end at the boulder filled waters below.
A highlight is swimming in the Mossman Gorge which doesn’t have crocs!
We were lead (for those of us who decided to take the plunge into the cold waters of the river) over the boulders where we could jump straight into the main current like a water slide.
He couldn’t stress enough that this was for STRONG SWIMMERS ONLY. Thankfully myself and my brother had no problem jumping straight in. You had to aim for a bolder on the way down and hope you didn’t get carried off. I loved every second and couldn’t wait to go again and again.
After swimming I walked barefoot back through the rainforest trying to dry my feet. Luckily there are toilets, change rooms and showers back at the Centre.
The Whirlwind Continues
The day was jam-packed and honestly perfect. We got back in the bus and continued towards Cape Tribulation.
On our way we boarded a boat, complete with Daintree Coffee and biscuits. The boat was low to the water, and there was a very real warning not to touch the murky water or stick our arms out. Why not? Because of the crocodiles.
This river, unlike the clear water of the Mossman Gorge was muddy and murky and on the bank was a giant crocodile.
After getting off the boat it was time for a visit to Cape Tribulation and Cape Tribulation Beach. After a kangaroo burger, we followed the trail down to the beach.
It was pouring rain! Like coming down in bucketfuls.
The beach was surrounded by an eerie fog that didn’t seem to fade. It just grew, surrounding us. It reminded me of being in LOST.
I got shivers looking down the beach, as the rain came down and the fog came in. The gorgeous Great Barrier Reef just out in the ocean.
Through to Port Douglas
On our way back to Port Douglas we saw the elusive Cassowary. This animal is actually very rare to see on the road and there aren’t a lot of them.
On the way back to Cairns, we went through a route with stunning views. We did a long rainforest walk where we learned about the fauna and flora, the vegetation and more history. We ate local ice cream and then finally ended the day at Port Douglas where we got a coffee and settled in for the ride back to Cairns. Getting back after 8pm.
It was a whirlwind and looking back I would have stayed overnight in Cape Trib, but we had a boat to the Great Barrier Reef the next morning.
DEFINITELY A MUST HIT IN CAIRNS!