that’s really what they call this area, from townsville to cooktown, running along the great barrier reef. the ‘wet tropics of queensland’ is also a a world heritage area adn is on the australian national heritage list.
we did get a pretty wet welcome right away, as soon as we hit the dividing range and the atherton tablelands. during the time of our stay we hardly ever saw the mountains of the dividing range without cloud cover and even when it was warm and sunny we got a shower or two nearly every day.
we passed port douglas on the way up to the daintree rainforest and of course we took the ferry; it is still the only way to cross the daintree river and swimming is definitely not an option up here.
the beaches look amazing and capture the quintessential tropical look & feel. what does spoil the romance a bit is the reminders that helpful locals have set up all over the place. the sign below really brings home that when it comes to dying there is significantly more choice here than in most other places one would go to for a holiday. the sign is also strategically placed just outside the thornton beach cafe which made us wonder if it was not just a clever marketing ploy to divert tourists from the beach and into the shop.
then again a women was taken by a croc on this very beach two years ago. we weren’t taking our chances and stuck to the dry part of the beach, where incidentally mobile phone reception was the best in the entire daintree.
sugar cane is still the other key revenue earner in this part of the country. there are little trains scurrying all over the place carrying the canes to the factories that are dotted across the area.
strangler figs are responsible for some of the best architecture in this part of the country.
the mangroves are busy reclaiming land from the ocean. there are several different kinds of mangroves and all have their favourite place between the ocean’s salt water and the firm ground of the rainforest, depending on how much salt they can tolerate.
in the daintree there are even trees growing on other trees; these ‘bowls of life’ are not actually parasites and unlike strangler ferns the do not kill their hosts.
the daintree is part of an ancient forest that can be traced back to when australia was part of gondwana and later pangea. some animal and plant species only exist here in the daintree and some of there have not changed for many million years.
the excellent displays in the daintree discovery center even mention plants that only live in small areas within the daintree. we think this is absolutely amazing and the area should get all the protection it needs.
we did find that a certain type of people appears to be thriving in this environment, and most of them seem to have the protection of the rainforest and its wildlife in mind, combined a careful approach to promoting the beauty of this unique place.
both human and non-human inhabitants of the daintree are unique and colorful, but we’ve already discussed the cassowary in an earlier post.
from daintree village we took the bloomfield track along the coast further north. the bloomfield track is not very long (40 km) and not very rough either; the main challenge is a number of steep climbs that require low range. the track is well maintained, though, but might be a bit of a challenge in the wet.
we liked how these depth indicators are placed on top of a bridge that was itself easily three meters high; we would not want to be around when this creek is in full flow.
the bloomfield river marks the end of the gravel track and the rest of the way to cooktown is all sealed. and just to remind us …
… we saw this guy warming himself in the shallow water, seen from the same vantage point. so no swimming in the bloomfield river either. unless you would like to test the theory that when a croc grabs you there may be a chance to escape by reaching into its mouth and trigger a gag reflex. you don’t like the idea? well if a croc grabs you this is the only chance you have … we are the first to admit that at that point the odds might be heavily stacked against you.
from bloomfield it’s only a little further north to cooktown, our next stop.
and finally a bit of ‘tropical queensland from the air’.