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Published: January 25th 2016
It's an early start because we are due to check out of the apartment at 10am and we are being picked up at 7.30am to take an early morning trip down the Daintree river looking for crocodiles! We need to check out and load up the car before we go.
So far our hunt for native wildlife has found, kangaroos, trap door, funnel web and huntsman spiders, frogs, snakes, barramundi fish, sting rays, box jelly fish, snakes, turtles, bats and various birds but no crocodiles. It does occur to me that considering the time spent on searching them out, it would be easier to go to the zoo but according to Martin is not as much fun.
Our guide this morning is Garry, with two r's he tells us. Now Garry must be at least 80 and
he reminds us of Ron who is Kyle and Polly's grandad. He has the same silly humour, really bad jokes but is young at heart and clearly loves people. He provides us with a running commentary about the rainforest and crocodiles and stops on the way to show us where a group of people were bathing in the creek a few years ago when a crocodile snuck up knocked most of the group out of the way and grabbed the little lady at the back. Apparently the lady was the local postmistress, 'pretty little thing she was' says Garry, 'I'm not surprised it went for her!'
The river is dark brown and it has that eerie sense about it. We learn that crocodiles backs act like solar panels that give them energy, they only have a brain the size of a pea and they only need eat once a year and other facts I have now forgotten. Apparently there are hundreds of crocs in this river but seeing them is very dependant upon the
time of the year and at this time of year the water is generally warm enough for them to remain in the water with no need to bask on the river banks - now they tell us! Nonetheless we cruise along and finally we spot one, well we spot some of it's back and nose that is poking out of the water. The boat guide is so familiar with the crocs that hang around here that he can tell us that this was is called scar face for obvious reasons as a result of getting into numerous fights with other crocs. There were no more crocs to be seen but at least we can tick that one off Martin's list and we did get a bonus of seeing a kingfisher - another tick!
We alight the boat and head to the local tourist centre for tea and scones with jam and cream which we now realise are included in most tours, is this another British imposition?
Our next stop is to travel 'safari
style' as we transfer to an ancient 4x4 to the Cassowary waterfalls. Garry reluctantly lets Martin sit up front with him after telling us all that we are better off squashed up in the back as we will have less room to lurch around. Hold on tight shouts Garry as he spin wheels the tyres and squeezes his child's horn - I presume the vehicle horn is not working or Garry doesn't think it gives off the same audible funfair noise and I expect him to shout, 'The louder you scream, the faster we go' as he scatters the gravel on the dirt tracks. We spin around corners almost on two wheels and he shouts, 'hold on tight' as he revs up and drives us through water so fast that it literally splashes high enough to come through the open windows.
We get to the waterfall and Garry tells us to just dive straight on in and demonstrates by stripping off to his trucks and diving in. One by one the rest of us
follow even it was a little slower and Garry get out unnoticed. He soon returns with a packet of fish food pellets and throws them into the water. The fish go mad and start jumping out everywhere and it replicates a scene from the film 'Piranha'. I (and some of the others) are screaming at him to stop throwing in the pellets while Martin is laughing his head off. After things settle down again, the water clears and we spot turtles and eels. This little piece of paradise is actually brimming with all sorts of aquatic wildlife.
This is only a half day tour and we make our way back to resort to pick up the car to drive to Cairns where we are stopping for two nights before making our way back to Sydney. The afternoon is spent driving though the Atherton Tablelands which is more rainforests, waterfalls and lakes. We stop at a village called Karunda which is famous for it's local market selling the usual tourist souvenirs. It is also the
place to see the huge Barron Waterfall which can be viewed from a boardwalk taken through the rainforest and where the scenic railway arrives from Cairns. The views are stunning and the power of the waterfall is quite thunderous. It really is quite amazing but I think that the best of all waterfalls should be viewed from swimming in the water at the bottom. Little did I know that there was more to come.
We make our way down the mountain and after settling in to the hotel, we arrange to meet Philip the photographer from yesterday. He is still working on the commercial video taken yesterday and needs to finish it tonight but he has kindly taken a few hours out to drop off our USB and join us for something to eat and drink.
Our plans for Cairns had included the Skyrail through and over the rainforest and
a trip to the heritage markets at Karunda but we had of course already done Karunda, had a railway experience in the Blue Mountains and had plenty of rainforest experiences and Melissa and Martin were not keen to do more. Philip agreed that it would be much of what what we had already done so probably for the first time this holiday, we didn't make any plans apart that is from a fishing trip for Martin!
We said goodnight to Philip and Martin arranged to meet him in the morning.
More photos below
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