Daintree Rainforest

After we picked up our new campervan “Queen” in Cairns, we drove north. Here the oldest rainforest in the world was waiting for us: The Daintree Rainforest. Already our drive on the Captain Cook Highway with the wonderful scenery left and right brought us back into the vanlife mood. And yes, it’s the same Cook, who also named the Cook Islands, which we just had left.

Rex Lookout

Daintree Village

Our first destination was Daintree Village, a small village that would probably have been extinct for a long time if it wasn’t for tourism. Here we got a nice place for two nights in the Daintree Riverview Caravan Park.

On the campsite there is also a small museum in which the very nice owners have collected some rarities from earlier times.

But first we had to unpack our backpacks and get organized in our new camper.

And then we got some good news from our “new” home 🙂 Christiane had already applied at the end of April for a (dream) job in Enschede (NL). And after two job interviews via Skype, including a task, she got the phone call and was offered the job. Of course we had to celebrate this a bit. First with a bottle of white wine next to our camper. Then we moved on to the adjacent pub 😉

This job offer means, however, that our time-out will definitely end at the end of September.

Daintree River Cruise

Daintree Village is located directly south of the Daintree River and is especially known for its “salties”, its saltwater crocodiles. Directly at our campsite we could book a river trip. For 17,- € per person you can get on two boats, starting on two different locations so you get to know two different areas of the river and of course its inhabitants. You should leave your arms and legs inside the boat as a precaution… otherwise you will slide down the food chain very quickly 😉 Or in the words of our captain: “Crocodiles don’t eat clever people”.

“Crocodiles don’t eat clever people.”

Crocodile Express Daintree River Cruises

We spread the two boat tours over two days, because we had to drive to the second pier and wanted to go on the next day anyway. 

On our first tour, which starts right at the campsite, we were really lucky and were able to observe some of the impressive animals at close range. The crocodiles got used to the engine sounds of the boats over the years and don’t really mind us curious visitors. However, when the engine sounds are unknown, they are quickly in the water.

And in the evening we were rewarded with a fantastic sunset.

On the second boat tour the next day, we saw several other big crocs in beautiful weather.

Here we were offered an exceptional spectacle. “Scarface”, the alpha male among the salties here, scared away an opponent from a sandbank on which his crocodile lady normally lies. According to the captain, you only get to see something like this a few times a year 🙂

Cape Tribulation

After the second river trip we went directly on to the third boat. This time we took the ferry to the other side of the river. And from here we really felt like we were right in the rainforest! The road became narrower, curvier and the vegetation denser. From a vantage point we could get a first overview. Unfortunately it was rather hazy.

Alexandra Range Lookout

The rainforest reaches here the Coral Sea. You don’t see such a scenery every day. 

But even if the sun and the warm temperatures invited us to go swimming in the sea, we declined with thanks… 

We just got along with the deal our captain had with the crocs:

“I don’t go in their river, and they don’t go down to my pub.”

Because, as he also told us: 

“We are just not on their menus, unless we put ourselves there!”

At Cape Tribulation we had secured a nice spot for our Queen for two nights in the Safari Lodge. From here we could reach the beach and of course the Cape itself in a few minutes.

View from Kulki Lookout

And also a very beautifully laid out boardwalk through the rainforest began directly on the other side of the road. Unfortunately we could not see any of the Cassowaries that are living here. These birds cannot fly and are so big that they can swallow whole fruits (including kernel). Everything is digested except the kernel, and so with every “toilet visit” the bird plants a new tree 😉 and ensures its future food supply.

Boardwalk
Cassowary in Sydney’s Zoo

But even without Cassowaries there was a lot to discover in the rainforest…

 

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