Aside from the Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree Rainforest is one of the major tourist draws to Far North Queensland. The largest rainforest in Australia, the Daintree is world heritage listed and contains a disproportionately massive percentage of Australia’s bird, frog, reptile, marsupial, bat, and butterfly species. It’s home to the endangered cassowary and one species of the elusive tree-kangaroo. Port Douglas is a great launching point for a day trip into the Daintree, though two or three days would definitely be more appropriate. But that’s ok – it leaves me with more to do and see next time.
We began our day just down the road from town at the previously mentioned Mossman Gorge. The gorge marks the generally accepted southern end of the Daintree Rainforest. From there, we moved north, and our first big stop was none other than the Daintree River.
We had seen crocodiles in captivity the previous day, but we thought it better that we should see some in their natural habitat. With several tour companies to choose from, we opted for Bruce Belcher’s Daintree River Cruises. It had the best reviews on TripAdvisor and the name seems more home-grown and less commercial than some of the others. The boat didn’t get too close to the crocs (there are restrictions in place to protect the vulnerable species), but I got to really test out the zoom on my camera and was pleased as punch with the results. We saw a baby croc:
A few female crocs:
And even a big nasty male:
The guide also pointed out some tree snakes:
And a wide variety of birds, including this gorgeous blue Little Kingfisher, a cousin of the kookaburra:
From there, we headed on the quick car ferry over the Daintree River and stopped at the destination that I was most excited for: The Daintree Ice Cream Company!
We were in the middle of one of the richest, most diverse habitats in the world and all I could focus on was ice cream. Typical me. The Daintree Ice Cream Company has unique tropical flavours – 4 to a cup. On offer for our visit was banana (always my sister’s favourite), macadamia (always my favourite), wattleseed (a popular flavour from the edible seeds of Australia acacia trees, with flavour that contains hints of nuts and coffee), and black sapote.
I was most excited by the macadamia, but most intrigued by the black sapote, which is a fruit I had never heard of before. Originally from Central America, the black sapote has been introduced to the US, Australia, and the Philippines. The fruit’s pulp, when ripe, is often likened to chocolate pudding. While I didn’t think the flavour was quite that chocolate-y by any means, it was indeed delicious. The Daintree Ice Cream Company grows the fruits on their property and also had fruits on display so we could see what their rare fruits look like.
We stopped at Thornton Beach for a photo opportunity or two… or more:
And from there, we headed up to Cape Tribulation, our northernmost destination for the day. Cape Tribulation is a headland, small village, tourist stop, and most importantly, the last place on the paved road. From there, it’s over 100 kilometres north on an unsealed road to get to the next sign of civilization – a little place called Cooktown. We went no further in our tiny little rental car. We set out on the little boardwalk to see some of the viewpoints from Cape Tribulation.
Afterward, we stopped at the Dubuji Boardwalk for a look around.
One of my biggest hopes for the day (aside from the ice cream) was to see a cassowary in the wild. A rare bird, sightings are seldom but I had hope. Unfortunately, the closest we got to seeing a cassowary were the constant warning signs about them:
And, of course, the cassowary speed bump signs.
We did, however, see a wild pig!
It was far less exciting.