Our first adventure was a journey even further into the jungle with an excursion to the heart of the rainforest. We were picked up from our hotel by Daintree Tours in their comfortable four-by-four and we were driven across the Daintree river and into lush ecosystem of the Wet Tropics. Literally, we drove straight across the river as the tide was low! The Daintree Rainforest is a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its many natural values such as the inclusion of ancient plants, exceptional coastal scenery, extensive mountain peaks and gorges and sweeping vistas of undisturbed forest and valleys. The forest also contains 30% of the frog, reptile (eek!) and marsupial species in Australia and 65% of Australia’s bat and butterfly species. 18% of the country’s bird breeds can also be seen here and we were told to particularly to look out for the Cassowary, a large flightless bird similar to an emu.
Our first point of call was the Alexandra Lookout where we could enjoy a panoramic view of the Daintree, also taking in Snapper Island and Port Douglas.
Next was Cape Tribulation where ‘Rainforest meets the Reef’, it is a beautiful beach fringed by the Rainforest and it is the only place where two world heritage destinations meet.
Slightly further along the beach we could admire the beauty of the tropical coast of the Emmagan beach. We were taken into forest for a guided walk in order to experience the diversity that the jungle had to offer. I very firmly held Mr Silver’s hand but we didn’t see anything much scarier than a lizard or two.
We explored the ancient forest and Mossman Gorge whilst admiring the spectacular canyons, quick flowing rivers and fountains. Here’s one beautiful waterfall that our guide directed us to.
For lunch, we were driven to a beautiful rainforest clearing where we could cool off and listen to the rainforest sounds as we ate our picnic.
After lunch it was off to Cooper Creek in search of the Estuarine Crocodile!
Cooper Creek is the most biodiverse mangrove system in Australia and is completely untouched by any human development. It is also home to the saltwater crocodile!
This is a crocodile, I promise, not just an evil looking log!!
So after that excitement it was time to calm our nerves at The Daintree Ice Cream Company! The one-of-a-kind boutique ice cream kiosk serves delicious ice cream made from the tropical fruits grown in the company’s own forest orchard. We tried four different flavours including Black Sapote, Soursop, Wattle Seed and Jack Fruit. The ice creamery is located within a tranquil lush garden which we explored as we savoured our frozen snack.
All in all a wonderful day with excellent and thorough guidance given by Daintree Tours!
Our next adventure took a further turn. In the morning we met Linc Walker on Cooya Beach. Linc operates Bama Way Cultural Tours along with his brother Brandon in order to educate tourists regarding their ancestral Aboriginal culture.
Linc ushered us into his fishing boat and sped up through the crystal waters of Cooya beach whilst informing us on the history of this special area, a traditional fishing ground. Linc used his spear to try to catch fish but narrowly missed several opportunities.
He stopped at a rocky mangrove outcropping.
‘Right, here’s where we get out’ he said.
Linc promised us we *probably* wouldn’t get eaten by a crocodile…
Ok, I don’t like getting wet or muddy and I’m pretty scared of any creatures that may be lurking under the water. But, I put my hangups aside and got in! Linc led us through the mangroves and mud flats where we fished for our catch by hand, digging up mussels, whelks and periwinkles from the mud.
Some of our spoils!
Next we were taken back to the beach where Linc gave Mr Silver a lesson in spear-throwing and explained to us about how his family hunt for fish and the tools that they use to catch food.
Next Linc took us back to his family home and we sat on his balcony and snacked on homemade damper and our catch of the day (delicious) whilst being further educated on aboriginal medicine and bush tucker.
We had a fantastic, fun and highly interactive morning with Linc and his knowledge of the area and the hospitality of himself and his family was simply breathtaking! Thank you to Bama Way Tours for this magnificent excursion.
Our last adventure on this leg of the trip would be out of the jungle and on to the reef! The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,600 kilometres. Fact! The Reef can be seen from outer space and is the world’s biggest structure of living organisms (thanks wikipedia)!
We booked a day excursion with a commercial tour company who took us to three spectacular diving sites where we could see beautiful coral and fish life.
To enter the water we had to wear these attractive ensembles to protect us from the jelly fish.
The tour offered three guided dives to explore the reef. Mr Silver went along on one of them where as I chose to stick with the snorkelling and I was still able to see a rainbow spectrum of colourful fish and a kaleidoscopic variety of coral. Sadly, as we did not have an under water camera I cannot share the beauty that we saw but you’ll just have to go and see for yourself. One of the highlights of the day was the sighting of a school of dolphins, the friendly sea mammals were too quick for us to take close up pictures but you just about see a fin or two here.
The crew of our boat were helpful and experienced also offering a Reef Interpretation Talk on the history and ecology of the reef. They provided a lovely lunch of fresh seafood and meat plus fruit and cake to snack on throughout the day so we were never left wanting.
I loved our time at Silky Oaks and the great Barrier Reef. Never before have I looked out on to a scene and taken in a vista incorporating sea, beach, river, mountains and forests. The area is a microcosm of all that is great about the magnificent landscape of Australia.
Our diverse adventures on the Reef and Rainforest were at an end and we would next be travelling further into central Queensland and the Whitsunday Islands.