Tuesday, 30 December 2014

When I Became A 'Travel Writer'

The Daintree, Queensland

I am now a ‘travel writer’, in the sense that I go somewhere so that I might write about it. Am I all right with it, I believe yes is the correct answer, and so here we go. I went to the Daintree back in 2011 when I was on the move but only for a limited time, in which I didn’t get to see a wild cassowary, so it was my intention to give it another shot when the opportunity arose. So in this year of 2014 I booked a ticket and went back north for a week; my timing was pretty good because I was avoiding some of Melbourne’s beloved wet spring weather and the hot tropics would do my sickness at the time a good paddling.

The Daintree, Queensland (taken 2014)                                                                                                                                                             
To say the Daintree rainforest is a nice place is a severely insulting understatement. Bordering with the Great Barrier Reef (making them two UNESCO listed sites to do so); this is a beautiful place that can’t get more natural and adventurer friendly. I spent three nights here and got a huge dose of everything they have on offer, except for a wild cassowary which was one of my reasons for returning. Most will say that wanting to see a large bird with ‘knife-like’ toes is the thing of insanity, but I say that life needs its share of thrills. The scrub fowls were a plenty though.                               

The trip from Cairns runs for about 124km and there are tour groups that’ll give you a ride (I went with Cape Trib Connections because they were able to book in advance). On the other hand, if you’ve got a car take full advantage of that bad boy because then you can very easily go at your own pace.                                                                                                                                                                                  
On your travels be sure to stop at Alexandra Lookout where the view is fine and then take a boat ride on the Daintree River where you’re more than like to find some saltwater crocs soaking up the sun like party girls in Ibiza (if you’re hitching a ride with a tour group a boat ride will most likely be included). In addition, if the locals should tell you not to get close to the water’s edge, take their advice on board!



The Daintree, Queensland (taken 2011 and 2014)

The eco lodge Crocodylus is a place you should consider staying when coming to these parts; set away from commercial annoyances but only two kilometres away from the Floravilla Ice Creamery (go there and ask for black sabote) and not that far from the Daintree Discovery Centre (spend one of your mornings walking up here), I found this place to be exactly what it was hyped about. The trees were what I enjoyed the most, being nothing like I’m used to back home in Melbs. The friendly staff were extremely helpful in making my stay what I wanted it to be (they’ll jump over anything to get the job done) and they even shouted me a Coke on my last day there.                                      

The Daintree, Queensland (taken 2014)

Crocodylus does provide in house activities, one of which was a night time nature walk not far from the front door but make sure you have good shoes. Each trip provides something different; I took from mine some talk of bats, lizards and insects I was happy to get a few shots of. Remember, nature goes at its own pace so take this experience expecting to see anything and you should be fine.                                                  

The Daintree, Queensland (taken 2014)

That all said, a few select places I enjoyed immensely were pretty far up the road at Cape Tribulation. This beach is big, postcard worthy and more importantly (in my opinion), quiet. Just find a shady spot at the tree line, open your book and enjoy the peace. From the lodge you could easily make this a day trip when plenty can happen; on my day there I got into some snorkelling and Jungle Surfing which anyone, regardless of age, can take a crack at.                                                     

Cape Tribulation, Queensland (taken 2011)

Ocean Safari will give you a great half day out on the reef, providing excellent conditions for the experienced or novice snorkeler. Riding a jet boat so little time is wasted, you’re out in the crystal blue water in no time. The visibility and colour is something to appreciate and the marine life comes in its many forms; I came close to turtles, blue-spotted stingrays and giant clams which I valued, and on other days you’re like to see sharks. 

Great Barrier Reed, Queensland (taken 2014)

Seeing the reef from a secluded spot like Cape Tribulation comes with advantages that Cairns can’t possibly provide. This was the trip that made me value the Great Barrier Reef like so many others. I’d like to add that the tour operators will look after you (they’ll give out jelly suits) and keep things interesting; I’d already met one of the guides in Airlie Beach back in 2011 and he remembered me also which isn’t bad.                                                                 

After my snorkelling was complete and a good burger at PK’s for lunch, I set off to enjoy some Jungle Surfing (zip lining to be exact) in the tree tops which included operating a human hamster wheel, complimentary Crocs and helmets with the names of famous individuals on them, such as Cookie Monster, Barbie and Pippy Longstockings; I scored the Hulk, which is a recurring thing with me for some reason. Once we were up in the tree tops where my nerves started playing with me, everything took on an extra level of awesome.                                                                                                             

The Daintree, Queensland (taken 2014)

With your physical well-being their number one priority, Jungle Surfing will take you from tree to tree with the sun on your skin and some steady humour echoing in your ear. The views come with the all important jaw dropping effect in some places. They offer their tours to people aged from 3 to 103 and on some days they’ll have a cameraman getting all the best shots for you (didn’t happen for me but I’m not arguing). One thing you should consider is to take the course upside down: it was the good type of trippy which I want to try again when the opportunity presents itself.        

Now, judging from what’s been written it’s safe to say that my time in the Daintree couldn’t possibly be regrettable, but I’m still disappointed that I didn’t get to see a wild cassowary on its own turf. So in saying that, I’ve chosen to complete this post with a product of my failed mini endeavour.              
Drawn by the Sheep, 2014
The bird will be drawn in when I see it in the flesh.
And a good day to you.            

Links: www.daintreecrocodylus.com.auwww.capetribconnections.comwww.oceansafari.com.aujunglesurfing.com.auwww.daintree-rec.com.au