The last destination of our trip (for real this time) was Cape Tribulation: where the rainforest meets the reef.
It’s a place where two UNESCO World-Heritage sights lie side by side: the Great Barrier Reef, only 14km offshore, and the world’s oldest living rainforest, the Daintree (it’s 180 million years old – older than the Amazon!).
It rained a lot during the three days we spent there (it is a rainforest) but it was beautiful even in the rain. Some highlights included:
Visiting the Daintree Discovery Centre. They had walks throughout different levels of the rainforest canopy, and a tower that took you right up to the top, overlooking the forest. It’s a 23m high tower, but the rainforest is so lush, you felt like you’d only just cleared the treetops – you couldn’t even see the ground below:
On top of the tower:
My favourite bit here was the dinosaur models and megafauna cut-outs placed throughout the forest. The Daintree rainforest is 180 million years old and the last dinosaurs lived there (x) million years ago (not counting crocodiles, which are pretty much just living dinosaurs and still abundant in the region). The last megafauna (including giant wombats, echidnas, and marsupial lions) disappeared from the area just 45 000 years ago – not-so-coincidentally, around the same time that humans came to the scene in Australia.
In other words, the forest there looks similar to the way it did when dinosaurs and two-metre-tall kangaroos roamed.
Our campground was right near gorgeous Myall Beach:
Only a short walk from the campground was Myall Creek, where we’d heard there was often a 3-metre long crocodile.
Somewhere in that paradise swims a croc…
It took a few walks but we eventually spotted her, lying on the opposite bank:
A few of my friends went fishing out along the reef and in the creek (while keeping an eye all the while on the crocodile):
Even just walking through the rainforest was spectacular:
One day, I drove Subie to the end of the sealed road, a few kilometres north of Cape Tribulation town. This is as far north as you can go on the east coast without needing a 4WD vehicle:
And the absolute highlight of Cape Tribulation… going for a horse ride on the beach with my friend Veronica:
I had never ridden a horse on the beach before and it was a bucket list item for me. It was supposed to rain but the weather held out, and we had a stunning ride:
I did ask if they were hiring…. no such luck!
After a couple of days we headed back to Cairns. It really was the end of our trip then. We had one final convoy drive back to the city, all together:
A four-week trip had stretched to five weeks, then six, seven, eight… but it was all worth it. East Coast Australia turned out to be filled with friends, beaches, rain, dingoes, jumping out of a plane, a LOT of driving, so many colourful birds, and more than anything… adventure.
You just never know what’s going to be around the next bend.