Daintree River Cruise, Cairns

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Daintree River Cruise, Cairns

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Review of "Daintree River Cruise, Cairns"

published 24/03/2007 | Looby5
Member since : 09/11/2003
Reviews : 56
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Excellent
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Cons Hungry crocs
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"Don't miss the Daintree!"

Me at Cape Tribulation, i'm not looking very happy for some reason

Me at Cape Tribulation, i'm not looking very happy for some reason

As some of you might have noticed from some of my other reviews, I have recently been on holidays in far North Queensland, Australia. It's such a beautiful and diverse place I can't help but write some more about my trip. Hope no one thinks I'm going off topic but I've decided to write about the whole day trip rather than just the river cruise.

On Monday of last week we boarded an Oztours four wheel drive bus to the Daintree Rainforest. This has been on my list of Australian places to visit since I came here as a traveller in 2003. On that trip it was just too far off my route to make it feasible. I did come to Queensland but I only got as far north as Brisbane. The Daintree is about a days drive from Brisbane which gives you some idea about the size of this place.

I selected this tour from some flyers at the reception area of the resort we were staying in as it included what to be where the must do places of Cape Tribulation and The Daintree River. It also visited Mosman Gorge which I hadn't heard of but nevertheless looked impressive.

We were collected from the resort at 8am and started 1.5 hour trip up the Captain Cook Highway to the Daintree. Our first stop was to be the Daintree River Crossing. On the way our driver and guide, Mat told us about all the movies which were filmed along this stretch of coast (none of which I can remember now!) and he also pointed out a couple of famous people's mansions as we passed through the magnificent area of Port Douglas. Apparently Bill Clinton has a 10 million dollar mansion of the hill here. Port Douglas rivals only Sydney Harbour for expensive Australian Real Estate and it's easy to see why. The coastline is unspoilt with white sandy beaches running parallel to the highway. Providing you don't want to go on the beach (the Crocs like to bask on the beach occasionally) and you don't want to go in the water (the Jellyfish can kill), it's quite spectacular.

We arrived at the Daintree River cruise boat around 10am. We were provided with a cuppa and biscuit, offered the chance of a loo break then we boarded the cruise boat with another couple of bus tours that had arrived within a few minutes of us. Our guide took the bus on the vehicle ferry across the river and left us in the hands of the boat crew. The cruise commentary was informative and entertaining and our guide told us about some of the things we should expect to see. He said we should look in the trees for snakes, the wading birds would be pretty easy to spot. Frogs are plentiful around the river and then of course there was what we had all really come to see. The resplendent and majestic Saltwater Crocodiles.

I'll mention at this point that I have done this kind of tour before. I visited Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory and we also found Crocs in the wild, the review is well worth a read if I do say so myself, you can find it on Ciao although it was back in 2004. I bring it up because on that occasion I saw more crocs and I saw bigger crocs. On this occasion we did see about 4, the largest being a reasonable 4 meters in length and the others a fair bit smaller. The guide told us a couple of stories about people not being vigilant on the river and finding themselves being Crocs dinner. I enjoyed the cruise and the commentary although we didn't see that much wildlife the mangroves were impressive and it was a very pleasant way to spend an hour or so.

We re boarded the bus and headed of to our lunch spot which was half an hour up the road and on private land on the north side of the Daintree River. As we drove along Matt told us to watch out for Cassowary's, a large ostrich type bird with a blue head. We didn't see any but the story of these birds in fascinating. In 1993 there were only 55 left in existence. Over 200 plant and tree species depend on the Cassowary to eat their fruit and to re-germinate the seeds so if the bird was to become extinct then the flora would follow suit. This is a massive deal as about 1 quarter of all drugs come from the rainforest plants and scientists have are by no means even close to examining the properties of every plant in the rainforest. There are now thought to be about 500 birds in the Daintree and there are signs everywhere asking you to drive slowly so you don't run them over. Like the Ostrich they can move fast when they want but the young Cassowary's are prone to getting drunk (from the fruit fermenting in their tums!) and lying in the road.

Lunch was that old Aussy favourite the barbie. There were steaks almost just right when we arrived and an assortment of salads and pasta we sat round and chatted with the other passengers for about 45 mins again before heading off to Cape Tribulation, the furthest north point on our route but still about 1000 Kms from Cape York, right at the very top of Australia.

Cape Tribulation is stunning! It takes its name from when the then Lieutenant Cook (Later Captain) was travelling down the East coast on the Endeavour when the ship got stuck on a sand bank. He sent boats off to the south and the north to find a suitable place to dock but as he sat there looking over the beach he wrote in his diary that 'this is where the trials and tribulations began' and so the place was named.

Cape Trib must be fairly unique, if you stand with one foot on the sand and one foot on the path you are simultaneously standing in two World Heratage Listed national parks. The Daintree National Park and the Great Barrier Reef National Park. We walked along the rainforest boardwalks to a couple of the lookouts and it really is a tropical wilderness, empty for the most part except for the trees and the sand and the water. This is a very touristy place to visit so I don't want to give you the impression that we had the place to ourselves but there is a lot of space and we all walked off in couples or groups and we looked very small down on the beach or next to the rainforest. It's certainly not somewhere you'll find sunbathers on the beach it's too hot and there's a fair chance you'll get eaten.

Our guide had put out some drinks for us when we got back to the picnic area and again it was nice to sit and chat for a while after all the sitting cooped up on the bus.

Our last stop on the way back was at Mosman Gorge. Again this was stunning. Another boardwalk through the rainforest led down to a rocky gorge which was a safe place to have a paddle although our guide didn't encourage it due to the unpredictable rips and currents down there. I dipped my feet in and it was ice cold which was fantastic as it must have been a 35 degree day.

As we made our way back through the Daintree and back on the vehicle ferry Matt talked a bit about what was being done to preserve the rainforest and why it was important to preserve it. The Daintree is 135 million years old and it's the oldest and one of the most significant rainforests in the world. It gained its world heritage listing in 1988 meeting all 20 of the criteria laid down which is apparently very rare. Most sites get 18 or 19.
A fair percentage of all Australia's reptiles, birds and plants call the Daintree home even though it covers just .2% of the Australian landmass. According to the Daintree web site there are 13 species of bird that are found no where else on earth.

The importance of rainforest preservation came across loud and clear and the government is in the process of buying back as much of the private land as possible. Currently some people that have houses within the rainforest are lobbying to be aloud to have mains power installed to increase the value of there property. I for one hope it's not allowed to happen.

The Oz tours trip is ECO certified which means they have had to demonstrate they are aware of their effect on the environment and put measures in place to minimise it.

The cost was $120AUD or about 50 GBP and we were dropped back at our resort about 5.30pm This included snacks, drinks and lunch. Great value for a full and entertaining day.

One to see should you get the chance.

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Comments on this review

  • EpinionSmorg published 26/04/2007
    Wow, what a cool trip there. Thanks for another good read! :o)
  • Allyalcock published 26/04/2007
    I did this a couple of years ago, it was fantastic! Excellent review, Alison x
  • thebigc1690 published 13/04/2007
    a very good review as usual!
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Product Information : Daintree River Cruise, Cairns

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Listed on Ciao since: 15/10/2005