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Published: November 16th 2015
Since I knew we would be staying in Cairns for a week Cape Tribulation had been high on my list of places to visit. I first heard about it in something I randomly read. I had little knowledge of what was there but the name sounded really cool and it is an easy day trip from Cairns.
We woke early and drove out of the North of the city, passing dozens of sugar cane fields with their cute little narrow gauge railways. We headed up along the Bruce Highway which hugs the Pacific Coast. On one side of us was the beautiful ocean, lined with white sandy beaches. On the other, the rainforest in its deep green glory. The sun was shining brightly and we had a good road to drive. As we drove we listened to what has become our favourite Aussie radio station, Radio National, which is similar to BBC Radio 4. The programmes for this drive were an eclectic mix of a feature on boredom, a programme about people in America living on $2 per day and a long rambling book review about an old Indian novel. For a large part of the journey we had a
large green hitch hiking insect which clung to the windscreen of the car, even at speeds in excess of 100km per hour.
We reached the Daintree River, on the edge of the Daintree forest and discovered that we would have to take a little car ferry. It was $25 (~£12.50) for a return trip across the river. We drove on to the old ferry which was pulled across the water on a cable. The view of the river, though limited by the ferry's structure was pretty with deep blue water contrasting against the dense green foliage on either bank. The crossing took about 5 minutes and we rolled off straight onto the road. Five minutes later we turned off the road for one of the least impressive look-out points we've come across.
We continued down the road until just before it turned into a gravel path - the end of the last tarred road on the Cape York Peninsula. Here we found a sign for Cape Tribulation beach and turned into the car park. The beach was down a short tree-lined path. At the end of the path we found two bottles of vinegar... the last line of
defence against the tortures of a jellyfish sting. There was a sign warning not to swim because of crocodiles and marine stingers. This was a real shame because Cape Tribulation was the absolute idyllic beach. I don't even like beaches but this one impressed even me. The sea was a vivid shade of turquoise, so clear that you could see the rocks sitting in the sand beneath the surface. The waves lapped gently along the shore which was composed of fine white sand. The beach curved away from us in a great arc which was probably 100m wide. At the back of the beach was a line of palm trees with ripe coconuts ready to drop. Behind these the rainforest clad hills dropped down to meet the beach. The sun was high in a blue sky with just a few puffy white clouds. It was tempting to swim, despite the warnings, but prudence prevailed.
We went for a walk along the beach, crossing a small stream with wonderfully warm water which ran into the sea, until we came to a group of trees which had decided they weren't staying back with the rest of the trees, instead they were
marching into the sea itself. I started walking into these trees until Lindsey suggested that they were a perfect habitat for saltwater crocodiles. We walked back a bit and then stood in the shade of some trees. Walking in this direction we could feel the lovely refreshing wind that had been unnoticed on our backs.
We left the beach feeling very hot so the idea of a walk through the shady rainforest was appealing. Fortunately a few hundred metres from the beach was the Dubuji Boardwalk which led us through the trees, under large vines and past huge ferns. We could hear the constant singing of birds in the trees and frogs croaking in the creek. At one point we saw a pile of bright blue plum-like and bright pink peach-like fruits, which some animal was obviously hoarding. The walk was a circular track but part of it was closed for maintenance so we had to walk back by the same route. We didn't mind as the forest was lovely and cool and we had a lot of fascinating natural beauty to admire.
We finished our walk feeling invigorated and continued driving back down the coast. We came
to another beach, this one not as nice as Cape Tribulation beach. Yet further, we found a third beach, this one very much like the first one but with a rainforest covered island a few hundred metres out to sea. Here we found some stupid Americans completely ignoring the warnings about crocs and stingers and swimming in the sea, proclaiming it was "like bath water".
We were getting tired now and the sun was starting to get lower in the sky. We had time to stop for an icecream though. Just before we reached the ferry we pulled in and drove through an orchard of tropical fruit trees. The icecream was made from their own-grown fruit. They had pre-prepared cups with four different flavours and that was the only thing they served. When we arrived the flavours were raspberry, coconut, jack-fruit and wattle seed. I really enjoyed the wattle seed which tasted a little like coffee. The icecream parlour had leaflets for walks around the orchard which we would have liked to have done but we'd already absorbed too much sun and just wanted to get back in the air-conditioned car.
We drove off, caught the ferry back
and then took a detour to Daintree village. We found that there was very little there except a scenic river. After a few photos we left and didn't stop until just outside Cairns where we got out at Palm Cove which had a swimmable beach. Unfortunately the waves were very rough so we didn't feel like swimming but we had a short walk down the promenade before heading back to our rainforest house.
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