“ Country: Australia / World Region: Australasia / Pacific „
Imagine standing in the exact place where Captain Cook stood when he first stood on the Australian sandy beach of Cape Tribulation. Well you can by trecking through the Daintree Rainforrest. When I arrived there, I was expecting a nice informative place where i could experiance what it would have been like at the time of Cook's landing. But instead I found one, small board of information and miles of beach. It just seemed like another beach in Australia, not a point of historic happenings! Yes, the beach was lovely, especially in the sun. But it was a bit dissapointing, having travelled for along time through the forrest to get there, to find that there wasnt alot to have travelled for. At least I came back with one thing, I can say I have been where Captain Cook once was, but that is all that I can say really. Not much.
Cape Tribulation, the Endeavour Reef, Endeavour River and Mount Sorrow, all named by Captain Cook when he was not having a good time those many years ago. But fear not, these are just names for some of the stunning features of this area north of Cairns. It is about a three-hour drive out of Cairns up the stunning coastal road, past Port Douglas and Mossman. Just before getting to the small town of Daintree there is a turn off for the ferry that will take you across the Daintree River and into the National Park. The ferry operates from early morning to late evening and is only a short wait to get on it, but while you are waiting take some time out to spot a few crocodiles in the river. It costs under $AU10 to take a car across which you pay on the ferry, and be sure to pick up some of the leaflets of the numerous things to do and places to stay. It’s probably not a good idea to say this, but be careful when getting out of your car on the ferry; when I was there someone was killed, crushed between his car door and a truck that was rolling on to the boat. Once off the ferry on the other side you begin to enter pockets of the national park as you continue to head north towards Cape Trib itself. Cape Tribulation is a large headland jutting proudly out of the coastline giving excellent views of reef and rainforest alike. The road alternates between sealed and unsealed, and up until Cape Trib beach any car is fit to make the journey, after this point it is 4WD only. The road also crosses many rivers that, after heavy rains, can be too deep to drive through, but it ain’t half fun trying. This is an amazing stretch of coast, driving through lush tropical rainforest with wide, white-sand beaches and coral reef nearly all the way. This is one of the only areas in the world where coral reef meets tropical rainforest, consequently providing you with a stunning array of things to do, see and take photos of. Take your pick of any number of beaches, from Cape Kimberley, Cow Bay, Thornton Beach, Noah Beach, Coconut Beach to Cape Trib Beach. For almost complete solitude, and a peaceful afternoon, walking to the far end of Cape Tribulation beach is the best option, as most tourists stray no further than the small creek that flows into the sea half way along. With not much effort you can find an easy crossing or even cool your feet down and wade through the water to get to a fine stretch of beach and some secluded rock pools on the other side. If you get bored of the beach life, or are too wary of there being the lethal box jellyfish or salt water crocodiles in the ocean and creeks, you can head off into the rainforest on any number of guided walks, the best of which to do unaided is the Marrdja Botanical Walk, near Thornton Beach. This free tour takes you on a boardwalk through well-labelled forest and mangrove swamp, pointing out many of the diverse flora and fauna that flourish here. For a more formal introduction to the rainforest, a few kilometres north of the ferry crossing is the Daintree Rainforest Environmental Centre with great displays and another self-guided walk through the forest, although you do have to pay for this one. A number of the hotels in the park have rangers that conduct night walks through the rainforest which are a fantastic way of seeing some of the stranger animals. And if you are a keen spotter of animals, keep your eyes peeled for the Tree Kangaroos and Cassowaries (a giant and nearly extinct bird) that are only found in the wild in this area. They do have a cassowary in Cairns Zoo, which is probably the only place you will see one. Some of the locals in the park have lived there for years and never seen one, but some tourists are treated to a full-grown adult leading chicks across the road when driving through the park on their first day. If you are desperate for a swim and the sea is too full of nasty things there are a number of rock pools and waterholes in the many rivers that drain off the rain from the forests in the mountains behind. The easiest to find is the one at Cape Trib Store where they have even provided a piece of rope to launch yourself into the cold waters of the river. The locals keep some of the more attractive ones secret, but a bit of cajoling after a few weeks usually spills the beans. Mount Sorrow is a towering peak that overlooks Cape Tribulation and can be trekked up in a day. Be sure to get either good directions, or someone familiar with the path to go with you, as a number of tourists have gotten themselves lost, launching massive and expensive rescue operations. A few enquiries and possibly a bit of sweet talking to the right people, may gain you access to Cairns University’s canopy crane (if it hasn’t been opened to the public yet) which is in the property behind Cape Trib store, part of Coconut Beach Rainforest Resort. This giant crane lifts you up on a platform into the canopy of the rainforest giving a unique peek at life in the upper layers of the trees. There are a number of places to stay in the park, from the free (voluntary contributions and permit necessary!) and very basic campsite at Noah Beach, to the exclusive and expensive Coconut Beach Rainforest Resort. In between these two extremes are places like Club Daintree, with camping grounds and wooden lodges, a good bar/restaurant and an excellent but small swimming pool. Perhaps the most popular destination is PK’s Jungle Village, frequented by many backpackers and always good for a drunken tale or two, it being the only bar open to the public in the area. Here you can camp or stay in large or small dorms, but party is the name of the game so if you are after somewhere quiet, choose elsewhere. It is worth a visit in the evening for heavy drinking and bar games, and many strangers who suddenly become your best friends. Most people will end up in the pool, so make sure everything is waterproof . For those on a working holiday visa, the hotels and resorts in the park are usually on the lookout for seasonal staff, and if you want a way of seeing the area and learning a few of the local secrets, it is worth asking around. Another bonus in doing this is ending up staying in a nice resort and being offered cheap deals for the many activities that can cost a fair bit otherwise. I managed to get a day out snorkeling on the reef and an introductory scuba dive for AU$50 (about £20), less than half the full price. Other options include a 4WD trip to Cooktown, further north, or scenic flights over the reef and forests, or even horse riding on the beach near PK’s. There are one or two very important things to remember when visiting Cape Tribulation National Park. -There are only two places to fill up your car with petrol in the park, and they are a bit more expensive than all the places you have driven past to get there. -You are staying in a rainforest so don’t be surprised or annoyed when it starts raining heavily on a daily basis. I worked at Coconut Beach Rainforest Resort and in the short time I was there got sick to death of wealthy, but stupid, tourists asking why it rained so much! -There are salt-water crocodiles and box jellyfish in the sea and creeks, which are more prevalent at certain times of the year. This is the reason most hotels and hostels have swimming pools, but check out the ocean, and if others are swimming in it give it a go, just keep your eyes peeled. The bright blue liquid in the plastic bottles along every stretch of beach is vinegar in case of jellyfish stings. Vinegar contracts the stings in the tentacles allowing for easy removal, but you will need to see a doctor fairly rapidly afterwards. -Mosquito repellent is compulsory, the strongest you can find. A few tricks to keep the mosies at bay include having plenty of vitamin B, wearing longer sleeved clothes (which also helps keep the sunb urn down), and using the fan in your room (it disturbs a mosquito’s flight co-ordination), plus smokers be delighted that smoke has a similar effect. Less appealing, but very sensible, is encouraging the large spiders to stay in your room, to keep the geckos company. Between them not much that flies survives. Most importantly, don’t scratch any bite that you have, no matter how tempting, as after a few minutes you’ll have forgotten about it and scratching only prolongs the itch and can give nasty sores and scars. -Cain toads are a big problem in Queensland, and they have extended their habitat this far north. It is considered a good deed, even polite, to squish as many of them as you can with car or foot; they even burst with a pleasing (to some) pop when driving over them. Sounds disgusting, but even the rangers I worked with would collect them in a bucket on night walks and put them in the freezer (this apparently being the most humane way of killing them). There is a local artist who collects the flattened forms off the road and assigns a sport to them (depending on the pose the tyre has left the toad in) and decorates them accordingly. -Feral pigs are a danger if you disturb them in the forest and running away is not always the best way to avoid a mauling. There are plenty of trees to climb, but beware the goanas (large lizards), whose bites are rancid and sharp, that rest perched halfway up the trunk. National Parks don’t often come as good as this one, with as much or as little to do as you like. A day on the reef is almost compulsory, and a great deal quieter than any of the numerous ones that leave from Cairns. Stay up, or get up early, for the sunrise. This involves sitting on a deserted beach watching the clouds in the sky change through a myriad of colours as the sun rises out of the ocean and sets the forest animals off on their dawn chorus. To get the full experience, stay for weeks if you have the time and get to know a few locals who are extremely friendly in this close-knit, but spread out community.
"Cape Tribulation, in northeast Australia near Cairns, is part of the 16,965 hectare Cape Tribulation National Park, a site of breathtaking beauty with rugged mountain ranges rising sharply behind the narrow coastal strip, dense rainforest tumbling down the mountains to the beaches, and a bewilderingly rich variety of flora. Cape Tribulation (16°04′S, 145°28′E) is a headland and locality in northern Queensland, Australia 110km north of Cairns. It is located within the Daintree National Park and the Wet Tropics World Heritage area. The locality contains a small number of tourism resorts and backpacker hostels. A sealed road provides access to the area from the south via the Daintree River ferry. North from Cape Tribulation Beach House a four-wheel drive road - unsealed - continues to the Bloomfield River, Wujal Wujal and Cooktown and is often closed during the wet season (Feb-Apr)."