Another early morning start, and we were ready and waiting outside at 6.30am to be collected for an exciting day with Down Under Tours. A very full day taking in the Daintree rainforest, on to Cape Tribulation and then the Mossman Gorge – all these places were new to us.
After we had stopped at one hotel after another collecting passengers until the bus was full, we left the city of Cairns and started on our big adventure. Our driver stopped a little out of town to show us some wallabies who had decided to live with the resident polo ponies. They were dotted all over the paddocks and had made themselves very much at home, happily nibbling at the grass and not taking a blind bit of notice to a bunch of camera clicking tourists.
Wallabies had moved in with the polo ponies
Next stop was at the Daintree River Cruise Centre for a cruise. Our informative guide promised that we would see all sorts of creatures, including crocodiles, and warned us all to keep our hands well inside the boat.
What a glorious ride it was. We glided past mangroves, and our very knowledgeable guide explained just how important these trees are in the scheme of things. Then out into the deeper channel.
Cruising on the Daintree River
Watch out for the crocs
We saw plenty of birdlife
And different types of nests. The little hanging woven nest is made with an overhanging canopy to keep the rain out of the nest. And some birds hollow out these termite mounds attached high in the branches to raise their young.
Hanging nest and recycled termite mound
Some creatures were just too difficult to photograph. The tiny yellow and brown resident of the hanging nest darted in with food for her fledglings and disappeared so quickly that no one had time to focus their cameras and get a shot. And a tiny bright green tree frog swam by our boat, hopped up the muddy river bank and that was that. Then there was the python curled high up in a tree – so cleverly camouflaged that he was difficult to spot, let alone take a photo. A crocodile swam by with just his nostrils above the water, and barramundi chased after bait fish for their lunch – the river just teemed with life all around us.
Enjoying the Daintree River Cruise
Our coach was waiting on the other side of the river – it had been carried across on a ferry and we were assured that we would get to experience this later in the day. We stopped at a lookout point to get a great view of both rain forest and the coast.
Glorious view from the lookout
We stopped for lunch at the quaintly named restaurant “On the Turps”. This name had to be explained to some of the visitors who had no idea of the slang term. We were told later that the restaurant is actually situated on Turpentine Road, so it is a great play on words.
Welcome to On the Turps
A choice of steak, barramundi or vegetarian option was on offer, served with salads and followed by a fruit platter and coffee. My fish was delightful, and Robin was very pleased with his steak, and we shared our table with a couple from England and swapped travel stories. Very pretty surroundings indeed with the restaurant set in the rain forest.
Lovely place to enjoy our lunch
Back in the coach again to continue on to Cape Tribulation. There’s sure to be a story behind a name like that! Part two tomorrow.