One of the best day trips I did whilst staying in Cairns was the Uncle Brian’s Tour to Cape Tribulation and the Daintree Rainforest. We had an absolutely brilliant guide called Adam who put everyone at ease and was like a fountain of knowledge for all of our questions. He talked the history of the Daintree Rainforest, why it is called Cape Tribulation & lots of fun facts and stories about conservation, animals (dinosaurs) and Aboriginal Australian culture.
Conservation in Cape Tribulation
I have to admit my naivety when it comes to a lot of things conservation. I understand why it is important and I want to help, I just don’t know the best place to start. It can feel overwhelming to think of all the ways we need to protect the planet and it is easy to think that we are too small to truly make a difference. I want to change my way of thinking.
When you watch science fiction or time travel shows, everyone is so careful to not do anything that might change the future for fear that everything will have a completely different outcome. What about us now though. If it is so easy (hypothetically) for time travellers to accidentally change the world with one small action, couldn’t we do the same for our future?
We might not have a Dolorean like Doc from Back to the Future but we are all in the moment right now ready to make a difference and change the future. What do you want your future to look like? Dead rainforests & no exotic animals? Concrete jungle and grey plastic everywhere? A delicate balance between animals, plant systems and humans? I would choose the latter.
The Future of Cape Tribulation
Visiting Cape Tribulation and the Daintree Rainforest got me thinking about the future of the planet. How many generations will be able to visit after me if we keep treating our planet the way we currently do? Cape Tribulation and the Daintree Rainforest has been surviving for at least 150 million years. Not just surviving, but thriving. It is the oldest rainforest in the world and scientists believe that many cures for ‘modern’ diseases such as cancer and auto-immune viruses can be found in this rainforest.
When we first arrived (across the barge) to the Daintree Rainforest, I was surprised at how many pieces of land were for sale & how many Australian style (wooden panel stilt) houses were along the roadside. In 1981, the Australian government wanted to build a highway through the rainforest but protestors came from all around the world and instead it was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and was therefore protected. Now, only those who already owned land there can sell it, no more land is to be released for sale.
Cape Tribulation is famous for where the rainforest meets the reef. Two different eco-systems meet, the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef. It makes for a beautiful sight, but an even more brilliant habitat for plants and animals to thrive. Cassowaries call the Daintree Rainforest home, birds that scientists have classified as being alive during the time of the dinosaurs! They are tall like ostriches and emus with a black body and red & blue vibrant feathers on their necks and a casque on their heads.
It is said that if the cassowaries become extinct, then over 150 species of plants and trees in the Daintree Rainforest will follow shortly after as they are the only animal able to eat and replant (via excretion) the seeds. It is so important that we don’t endanger the cassowaries because imagine just how much loss of the rainforest there will be once it starts to lose species, many of which are only in the Daintree, nit other rainforests such as the Amazon.
Uncle Brian’s Tour
We were picked up from our hostel at 7:30am ready for a day of exploration & adventure. Uncle Brian’s had a jam-packed day ready for us! We were told to bring a towel & swimmers and plenty of sun cream.
Our first stop was in the Northern Queensland town of Port Douglas. We got off the bus, had a walk around, had a little relax at the beach and went up to the lookout point before having a spot of morning tea. Water, juice, tea, coffee and biscuits were on offer – winner.
We then drove further north to catch the barge over to the Daintree Rainforest. As we drove we were on the hunt for a Cassowary (purely a visual hunt, of course) but to no avail. While you are in the Daintree Rainforest, it is said that you will always be within 1 square kilometre of a cassowary!
We stopped at a lookout point where we could see the spot where the rainforest meets the reef and Adam told us all about how Captain Cook faced many trials and tribulations here. As Captain Cook named things as he found them, the Daintree Rainforest has many not so great sounding mountains and creeks around it. Cape Tribulation for one and Mount Sorrow for another!
After the lookout point, we headed deeper into the rainforest for lunch. But first, to do a little bat spotting! There were so many bats, giant bats, in the rainforest and screeching really loud. These bats had babies on the bellies and if they drop them whilst flying, there is almost 0 chance of survival due to other predators such as snakes, lizards and birds. Lunch was in PK’s and it was excellent value for money (included in cost of the trip). The portion sizes were brilliant and it was a really lovely jungle atmosphere. (There were also camping spots and bungalows available if you wanted to visit for longer than just a day).
After lunch, we walked along the beach taking in the beautiful views and admiring how lucky we were to be able to see it as it has been for millions of years. There were definitely Jurassic Park vibes.
We jumped back on our bus and continued our journey to get to Mossman Gorge. This was another beautiful part of the trip. A freshwater pool & stream that was safe from the crocs! It was the perfect time for a dip and I felt instantly refreshed. The Mossman Gorge area is culturally significant to the Kuka Yalanji people and it contains many story places, poisons, ancestral burial sites and sacred sites.
As we drove from Mossman Gorge to back near the ferry port we got fed chocolate which is always a bonus.
We visited in late November so it is coming up to the end of the dry season. In 2018, in Australia, the dry season has been drier than usual and followed an unusually dry winter so the chances of seeing crocs were not ideal. It is also mating season so many smaller male crocs have been pushed further out by the bigger males who are extending their territory. That being said, we did manage to see a couple!
We saw a big 4.5 metre croc, an 8 month old hatchling and a 2 year old yearling. My eyes are not great so it took a few attempts for the others in the group to actually help me see where it was but that made my perspective even deeper. If I can’t see a 4.5 metre crocodile on the bank with it’s mouth open then I shouldn’t be anywhere near crocodile territory!
We never approached the crocodiles and observed them from a safe distance. Crocodiles are very strong creatures and it is best to just leave them be. This should go without saying but there are always a few who will try and risk it for a picture!
Drive Back to Cairns
It was a phenomenal day and on our way back to Cairns, we stopped at a lookout point where we were lucky enough to see the full moon looking really big over the water. The photos don’t do it justice but it really was beautiful. Adam was a brilliant tour guide, constantly offering to take photos and making everyone feel comfortable. I can honestly say that after being in Australia for 10 months, this has been my favourite tour so far and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone.
What has been your favourite type of tour in Australia?