A freelance writer and bargain hunter with wanderlust, recently moved to Perth from Brisbane.
Published October 12th 2012
The place where forest meets the sea
Tourists flock to Cairns to marvel at the beautiful ocean floor of the Great Barrier Reef. However, Cairns has so much more to offer in terms of its lush, vast rainforests and natural landscape. If you want the best of both forest and reef or just want a quiet, peaceful weekend away with the aim of reconnecting with nature, Cape Tribulation is a great weekend escape from Cairns.
We signed up to Jungle Tours for an overnight tour due to the fact that we did not have our own vehicle. Cape Tribulation is also within easy driving distance of Cairns city if you have your own wheels. Whether on a self-drive option or on a tour, the scenic coastal drive along the Captain Cook Highway to Port Douglas is breathtaking. If you have the time, stop at Alexandra Lookout for magnificent views of the Daintree River and the Coral Sea.
The 110 million year old Daintree Forest should not be missed in this tropical paradise, the age and wisdom of the trees providing cool shade in the tropical climate. Do not miss the Dubuji Boardwalk – if you are on the tour, you will have a guide to explain the different varieties of plants and the possible wildlife you may spot if you are lucky. Cairn is also home to exotic ice-cream not found anywhere else in the country. On my journey, I enjoyed the taste of soursop and jackfruit ice-cream, freshly made from home-grown fruits.
If you are travelling with children or love looking at wildlife and animals, stop by at the Wildlife Habitat. You will have an opportunity to have your photo taken holding a snake or koala. Kangaroos are part of the habitat as well, including the rare Lumholtz's Tree Kangaroo. The habitat is a sanctuary for almost extinct wildlife, including the endangered Cassowary so it is worth a visit.
Daintree River is home to large crocodiles, birds and other wildlife. I embarked on the Daintree River Cruise, unsure whether the local crocodiles were going to make an appearance. However, the guide assured us that they almost always do and sure enough, a crocodile glides through the mangroves and peers curiously at our boat. We had another visit from a larger, older crocodile and much to everyone's delight, he flicked its tail and swam around our boat, allowing us to view it from different angles. The cruise is quite safe as long as you keep your hands and body parts inside the boat, away from their snapping jaws! However, the cruise can feel too long if you are feasted by mosquitoes so I vowed that I would bring some insect repellent the next time I visited. Afternoon tea is included with the cruise.
Having reached our destination at Cape Tribulation around 4.30pm in the afternoon, we relaxed on a long walk along the stretch of beaches at Cape Tribulation. You can organise a boat from your hotel to take you out to the Great Barrier Reef for a snorkelling or diving trip. Other options include a jungle surfing canopy tour for the adventurous or a romantic horse-ride during the sunset.