Archive for the ‘cassowary’ Tag

The Last Post – Beaches and Reflections   14 comments

I can hear the bugle in the background. 22 posts done and one more to complete. I promised more stunning images of the beaches in the Cape Tribulation region so here we go.

Cape Tribulation beach itself stands at the very end of the tarmac roads in the region.

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

Beyond is 100km of rough 4WD tracks to Cooktown (although you can reach it by an inland route). Beyond Cooktown is wilderness without a paved road in sight all the way to Cape York, Australia’s northernmost point.

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

The beach is again a stunner. We spent a couple of afternoons just strolling on its firm sands

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

At the southern end is an area of Mangroves. I was fascinated by this with the exposed root systems, everything you expect Mangroves to look like.

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

We spent ages poking around under the rocks finding crabs and the like. The most numerous creatures however are mudskippers, a kind of fish that lives out of the water at low tide and skips/bounces across the sand. I couldn’t get close enough to one to get a photo alas.

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

I then started to notice that many of the shells under the rocks were cone-shaped. We’d seen many on the beach at Lady Elliot Island but all we just empty shells. These looked like they were something more. To the uninitiated cone shells contain a rather testy little snail. It kills its prey by first releasing a paralysing agent and then while its prey is immobilised, slowly envelops it. To finish off it then injects its prey with venom. And here’s the interesting thing, the venom packs enough wallop to kill – yes you’ve guessed correctly – a fully grown person. Another of Australia’s deadly delights. Yes, there are even deadly shells. Science is at a loss to explain why many of Australia’s smaller critters pack venom which such extravagant toxicity or why the country has such a profusion of venomous creatures. One thing is for sure, it makes life a little more interesting and we decided not to turn over any more stones on the beach 🙂

We decided that sitting on the sand and enjoying the warm sun and the tropical ambiance was much safer. As I sat on the sand I reflected at the name. Captain Cook ran aground on reefs just off the shore here, hence the name he gave to the cape to reflect his troubles. Hard to imagine a more inappropriate name as you enjoy these surroundings

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

Saving the best till last.

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

Thornton Beach lies a few miles south of Cape Tribulation. We only spent a little over an hour or so here but it remains my favourite spot from our trip.

IMG_7313

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

We strolled along it’s length down to the creek at the far end. The creek in question is Cooper Creek and a mile or so up the road they run boat trips to go croc spotting. As I wandered along I realised the rest of the family had abandoned me having noted the same. Not to be scared off by dinosaurs I continued on. The views were fine with Thornton Peak (second highest in Queensland) dominating the view

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

I spotted a dark shape on the sand upstream. I stopped! Now I’m sure you’d like a story of a close encounter with a croc, perhaps me wrestling one a la Crocodile Dundee. Sorry, it was a log. I decided that the views were not going to get any better so I thought it would be more sociable to return to the family 🙂

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

We spent a splendid time back at the other end of the beach just sitting on a very photogenic dead tree in the sand. The views and the moment were just sublime.

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

By way of celebration there is even a photo with me in it. Sorry about the lack of corks on the hat. I’ll only do so much for comedy value

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

We were lucky to see some extraordinary places on our trip but for me the hour we spent here was the best from a “place” perspective. I’m not sure if it was the weather (one of the best of the trip), the contrast between the sea, sand and forested mountains, the fact that we had the entire beach to ourselves (save one old couple) or just the simple pleasure of spending some quality time with my family enjoying this wonderful place together. Whatever it was Thornton Beach will always have a place in my soul

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

And, well, that’s about it. We left Cape Tribulation and as a final gesture we saw another Cassowary on our drive out.

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek, cassowary

The start of a very long and uneventful journey via lunch in the park at Port Douglas, Cairns, Brisbane, Singapore and London Heathrow. We had the usual airport frustrations (Brisbane, welcome the club of badly organised and unhelpful establishments) but lets not sour the memories with a rant about that.

Let’s instead close things out with a few reflections:

Travel

Getting to Australia is time-consuming but not as difficult as it once was. The joys of technology make long haul flights a good deal more pleasant than they used to be. I even did some calculations and the cost of the flights on a distance basis are pretty comparable with the flights around Europe. I’d also say that with a bit of planning and thought and Internet savvy it’s easy to arrange the whole trip independently. It’s as easy to book a hotel or a trip in Australia as it is in the UK. All the resources you need are online and you get the freedom to go where you want when you want. I would say that it does help to be a Project Manager and a serial planner.

Getting around Australia is also a breeze. It’s a big place, largely empty and long way from the rest of the world. This means roads are empty and beaches largely deserted. Driving around was simple and hassle free (not a traffic jam worthy of the name in 4 weeks) and almost everywhere quiet and unspoiled. Of the places we stayed only Airlie Beach seemed impacted by commercialism (we didn’t stay in Cairns). It feels very much like a stretch of coast that the rest of the world just hasn’t really found yet. To stand on a beach as stunning as Thornton on a cloudless sunny day and not see a soul is still hard to believe. It will be hard to walk on a beach in the UK or Europe now and not miss that sense of solitude

People

Without a shadow of a doubt the people in Queensland are the friendliest I’ve ever met while travelling. Very much the same feeling you get in the US but with a more down to earth feel and matey humour. I particularly liked their unique turns of phrase. My favourite was the car rental clerk in Brisbane when we arrived bleary eyed and jet-lagged. He asked me how we were doing and I said fine in the circumstances and returned the question. He replied “every day above ground is a good one” – I love that. Everyone we met, hotel check ins, bus drivers, waitresses shop owners was charming, friendly and funny. Everyone seemed to keen to show off the state/country and make sure that we enjoyed our stay. We did!

Final Memories

Much as I hate to do this I thought I’d share my personal highlights. It seems unfair as the whole 4 weeks was a highlight but as my blog is my own personal area of reflection I’m allowed to do it 🙂

Favourite Place – Thornton Beach, Cape Tribulation

cape tribulation beach, cape tribulation, thornton beach, thornton peak, cooper creek

Favourite Activity – Whale Watching

whale watching, humpback whale, hervey bay

Favourite Hotel – Ecovillage Resort, Mission Beach

mission beach, ecovillage resort

Favourite Bar/Restaurant – Marlin Bar, Magnetic Island (no photo I’m afraid) 😦

Favourite Meal – Lunch on the Beach, Dunk Island

dunk island

Favourite Animal – Saltwater Crocodile

saltwater crocodile

Favourite Swim – Lake Mackenzie, Fraser Island

lake mackenzie, fraser island

Favourite Sunrise – Myall Beach

myall beach

Favourite Sunset – Lady Elliot Island

lady elliot island

Reading through these it struck me that the Great Barrier Reef isn’t up there.

great barrier reef

This isn’t a reflection on it, it’s a truly extraordinary experience, worth the journey on its own and was the prime initial reason for choosing Queensland. I think it’s more a reflection on how much more there is to Queensland than just the GBR. I had an idea once I started to do the planning but once we were there it’s hard to put across just what an amazing place it was and how much there was to see and to do. I could list probably another months worth of trips, places and sights we didn’t visit on the same basic itinerary. Which of course leads to the inevitable conclusion that we will have to go back 🙂

So that finishes off my write ups of the trip. I think it’s appropriate that its 31st December so it just leaves me to say:

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL MY READERS AND THEIR OWN BLOGS- THANKS FOR ALL YOUR COMMENTS AND HOPE THAT 2015 BRINGS MORE ADVENTURES AND MORE BLOG POSTS TO ENTERTAIN AND INSPIRE ME

To the end of the line – Cape Tribulation   2 comments

The final leg of our long journey. Across the broad Daintree River by ferry to the heart of the Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation.

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

The Daintree is the oldest Rainforest on Earth and when you step – well – drive, off the ferry, you certainly get that impression. It’s often said that this is the end of the civilised world heading north in Queensland and whilst not strictly true (you can drive inland around to Cooktown further north) it certainly feels remote. The road is narrow and twisting, signs of civilisation sparse and the forest dark and dense. The whole area is off-grid as it were. No mains power, no reliable mobile signal, no luxury hotels. A whole world apart from the cosmopolitan Port Douglas where we’d come from.  As if to welcome us to this ancient land we saw our first Cassowary. After all the effort we made in Mission Beach, here was one just wandering about in the road, completely oblivious.

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

Not great photos as it had pithered into the forest by the time I’d got my camera out but we were chuffed to bits to see one at last

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

We were staying at the Ferntree Rainforest Lodge (review here) in a little timber clad house in the forest.

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

After a brief explore we were straight down to the beach for a sunset stroll.

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

Off the grid it may be but this whole coast and it’s beaches are magnificent. We’d been lucky to stroll on some pretty amazing beaches right throughout our trip but the one’s here were a class apart. A few little tasters here but I took hundreds of beach photos so I’ll dedicate a couple of posts to them later – they deserve special attention.

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

This post will focus on some of the other delights the region has to offer and there are plenty. Insect life for a start. This little fella was waiting for us when we got back from our evening meal.

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

When we woke the next morning there was the most terrible noise in the trees above us. At first I thought it was birds but on closer inspection it was bats – hundreds of them. Spectacled Flying Foxes to be precise and they hung there, squabbling and bitching for the whole of our stay.

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

If you look at the top middle of the next photo you can see them roosting (or whatever bats do) in the trees

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

Most jungles have Monkeys but there are none in Australia so the bats make up for that. They really are rather splendid and cute if you don’t mind the leathery wings. It was great having their company for the stay

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

There are numerous boardwalks through the rainforest and Mangroves and the local one is the Dubuji. The rainforest and Mangroves are magnificent. Towering trees and palms and an extraordinary variety of plant life.

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

My one regret is that we didn’t see the forest at its best. In winter it’s pretty dry and relatively cool so the animal and birdlife isn’t quite as prolific as it is in the “wet”. Everyone kept telling us about how oppressive, humid and unbearable Tropical North Queensland is in the summer but it must be worth seeing the forest in all its splendour.

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

The weather was stunning while we were here and we took time out to enjoy the splendid free-form pool

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

We took an afternoon visit to the local Tropical Fruit Farm for a tasting session (review here). These were the fruits we tried

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

It’s been a while but my memory of each one is:

Tahitian Lime – well just like limes but made a very nice cold drink

Pommelo – like a large very sweet grapefruit

Yellow Sapote – a bit too mushy and banana-like for me

Carambola – Don’t remember! 🙂

Solo Papaya – very sweet and tasty

Sapodilla – dark brown with a texture like a plum and a taste like Muscovado sugar

Yellow Mangosteen – my favourite, very juicy like a Mango but very sour

Longan – like a Lychee and resembling an eyeball when peeled

Jaboticaloa – another favourite, very sweet and juicy, not unlike a grape

Alemoya – one of the custard apple family, very mushy and sweet, almost sickly

A really fascinating afternoon finished off with a trip round the orchards to see some of the other fruits

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

Jaboticaloa (unripe)

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

Yellow Sapote

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

Jackfruit

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

Custard Apple

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

And and ants nest stitched together from the leaves

Regular readers know of the family passion for swinging about in the trees and there’s a chance to to do it here in the rainforest with Jungle Surfing.

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

The instructors are a pretty zany bunch and while there are no tree climbing obstacles there are several zip wires through the canopy with stupendous views.

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

Everything kicks off with the “Hamster Wheel”. the first two people run around like household pets to winch the next group up to the first tree. Great fun and embarrassing all at the same time.

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

Needless to say it’s a total blast whizzing through the trees including being “encouraged” to hang upside down on the last run and behave like a salmon – the things we do for fun!

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

The same people also organise a night walk through the rainforest. Very spooky and surreal it was too. You can hear the various animals moving about. Tree Kangaroos, Bandicoots and we caught a few eyes reflecting in torchlight but again not as much we’d hoped. The guide said that after 20 minutes in summer he’d have been able to show us at least 30 different types of insects. It must be amazing to see a rainforest in the rain. We did at least get sight of a huntsman spider, cockroaches, frogs and a beautiful juvenile lizard.

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

daintree rainforest, daintree river, daintree river ferry, cape tribulation, myall beach, cape tribulation beach. thornton beach, cape tribulation exotic fruit farm, jungle surfing, ferntree rainforest lodge, dubuji boardwalk, cassowary

Once we got back we opened the door to the lodge and saw something large scurrying about on the floor. For a fearsome moment I though it was a spider but in fact it was a very large cockroach. A few minutes were spent chasing it round with the old glass/card trick before we cornered it under the fridge and put it back outside.

We we were here for nearly 4 days and loved the place. It has a very hippyish, bohemian vibe, guitars on the beach that sort of thing. There was so much more we could have done and in fact did do. It was the beaches that are the real star though so more of that to come

 

On a Mission to the Beach   4 comments

Next stop Mission Beach

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

I was looking forward to Mission Beach. Everyone asked us our plans while we were in Queensland and when we mentioned it they all said “you’ll love Mission Beach”. Expectations were high and it didn’t disappoint.

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

We were staying at the Ecovillage Resort (review here) which was a superb base. As soon as we checked in we were off to the beach a few yards through the forest. It’s a cracker.

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

A classic long strand of golden sand backed by palm trees with the mountainous Dunk Island just off the coast. Like most of the beaches in North Queensland it was deserted

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

The hotel was tucked into a dense pocket of rainforest growing on Clump Point, an outcrop of dark black volcanic rock. Due to its peculiar mineral content it supports a very localised and very diverse ecosystem and the forest is lush, dark and luxuriant. Now anyone that knows me is aware that I’m not big on spiders and I was a little edgy about how I’d cope with rainforest and it’s plentiful 8-legged beasties. Just outside reception there was a sizeable Golden Orb Spider maybe 6 inches across. They are one of the famous residents of Tropical North Queensland (TNQ) and really rather beautiful

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

I went to tell the family but TBF, no doubt with a sly grin said “you think that’s big, take a look up”

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

This one was at a conservative estimate 12 inches across, hard to tell as he was hanging out several feet up in the palm trees. Safe to say he was enormous and I was a little taken aback (for that read I jumped ten feet back and screamed like a girl). They are harmless in terms of venom but their fangs are big so they can give a painful bite. Apparently they are relatively shy and reticent and will climb away from you if you are unfortunate enough to get too close. I didn’t take any comfort from that and made a mental note to close all the windows and tuck my trousers into my socks. After a while you realise they rarely move other than the occasional lazy stretch of a leg and you get used to their presence.

The next day was taken up with much lazy walking and exploring the area. We had a fine walk down the beach to the centre of “town” – just a few shops and restaurants.

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

Back to our rainforest home for a swim in their rather splendid free form pool and lunch on the patio

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

In the afternoon we took a stroll along the Kennedy Boardwalk past Lugger Cove.We had our very first sight of the sign that warns you are in the domain of one of the worlds oldest predators. Adds a certain sense of adventure to a walk don’t think

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

It was one of the highlights of the trip for me. There was just something about the forest and the deserted beach that struck a chord. That and wondering whether I was going to be on the menu at any point

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

We decided not to see what was on the other side of the headland as that’s where the crocs hang out

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

The area is called the Cassowary Coast after the large and prehistoric flightless bird, with its razor sharp and lethal claw, that calls the area home. They are under threat and are very protected. They lost a lot of their habitat and food after Cyclone Yasi in 2011 that devastated this piece of coastline. They eat pretty much all the fruit in the forest so by their natural digestive process they are a vital part of the forest growth in the way they spread the seeds around. Unfortunately in the search for food they tend to wander onto the roads and get run over (more Cassowaries were killed in road accidents than by any other means). Consequently there are signs everywhere warning you to watch for them and be “Casso-wary”. By looking at the signs you expect to see them at every turn, taking up car park spaces, pushing in front of you in the queue at the supermarket, that sort of thing. We were even told by the hotel that it was very common to see one in the car park or in the grounds. We were in the area for nearly three days and the nearest we got was some suspicious looking poop.

After a wander around the beautiful (and Cassowary-free) Licuala State Forest we took another evening stroll on the increasingly windy beach.

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

mission beach, ecoviilage resort, dunk island, licuala state forest, clump point, golden orb spider, lugger bay, cassowary, kennedy walking track

Mission accomplished! 🙂

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