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Tuesday, 17 May 2016

DAINTREE RAINFOREST TOUR

BTS DAINTREE DAY TOUR
Secluded canoe adventure. Photo by Tara Reynolds

There is a lot of tropical rainforest surrounding Cairns. The whole area is under the umbrella of the "Wet Tropics" and a vast majority is under the UNESCO World Heritage listed banner and is protected for it's unique flora and fauna that is found no where else in the world. The section that is the most ancient and untouched is in the Daintree / Cape Tribulation region. By car, this is around 2 and a half hours away from Cairns CBD to the north. The area lies across the Daintree river and is the ONLY place in the world where 2 World Heritage areas meet, the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest... where the rainforest meets the sea (literally, you have rainforest, beach, then water!).

THIS is the rainforest that people come to Cairns to see.  You can hire a car and drive there yourself and easily take in the sites without a guide, if you are happy missing out on what a guide would be able to teach you.


BTS Bus Tours, Port Douglas. Photo by Tara Reynolds

I have driven myself for the day, I have also camped there and most recently I took a day trip with BTS Tours. I will start by saying this was the first tour I have been on that didn't feel overcrowded or too touristy. A couple of the inclusions were different from any other tours to the Daintree, which is unique and appealed to me. Basically, I feel it's a hidden gem!

We were greeted by our first friendly driver super early outside a city hotel in Cairns (hotel pick ups included) to shuttle us to Port Douglas (1 hour north of Cairns). After a much needed caffeine hit break there we met Mick, our "official" guide for the day. He was excellent... full stop... THE END! Nah.... seriously I will elaborate! He was a wealth of information and was very friendly to boot. 
Our Amazing Tour Guide. Photo by Tara Reynolds

We meandered our way through Port Douglas after collecting more passengers towards the Daintree River Cable Ferry Crossing just north of Mossman. This is included in the price, for a car it is around $25 AUD return. The ferry takes most vehicles across and after a short 10 minute trip you are on the other side in the heart of the Daintree. There are no highways here, so the drive is very much now at a leisurely pace, all the while Mick is giving you information about the rainforest and telling you stories. He would slow down and even stop at points of interest so you can absorb the information and take photos. The next stop is the Rainforest boardwalk stop.

We spend an hour on a boardwalk learning about strangler figs, mangrove species, palms, vines and more. It is an easy walk for all... however you MUST take insect repellent for the sandflies!
 
Photo's of the Rainforest Boardwalk. Photo's by Tara Reynolds

Afterwards we make our way to beautiful Cape Tribulation Beach. It rained on my journey (it is the "RAIN" forest after all of course!!!) but you can still sense the beauty and imagine a bright sunny day! To be honest... I enjoy the rainforest when it rains the most! 

Cape Tribulation at the Daintree Rainforest was named after  English explorer Captain James Cook in 1770. His crew and himself aboard the boat from England, the Endevour, ran aground on reef off the coast of Cooktown (North of Cape Tribulation). By tossing heavy objects over the side of the boat to lighten it's weight  (one being a cannon) and a full day later on a high tide they were able to break free and float away and make their way to shore via the River towards Cooktown to make repairs. All their problems began off the very notable headland of Cape Tribulation... thus Captain Cook named it so... where all their "trials and tribulations began". Another story Mick tells you on the tour!

After spending time on the beach and a walk to the lookout we make our way to our special lunch spot. For me, this was a wonderful highlight and quiet unexpected. They have a private creek area with stunning aqua crystal clear waters surrounded by dense lush tropical greenery. All you could hear was the trickling of water and the flittering of the occasional bird. You can make use of the 2 canoes here and go for a paddle away from the group, this was simply stunning! Fresh water turtles love to come and say hello and the lunch provided was fresh and delicious, not your average sausage! 
The lovely private lunch spot. Photo by Tara Reynolds
Link for freshwater turtles which are are amaze-balls! Video from Tara Reynolds

Enough time is spent there to relax before ducking up the road for our Crocodile cruise on Cooper Creek, another unique inclusion with BTS. Ernie the guide has been running the tour for over 20 years and was another individual with a wealth of knowledge... especially on the Estuarine Crocodile. Unfortunately, in this rare case, we saw no Crocs that day however it made for some fantastic photos on such a still day!... Just Art!



Photo's of the Cooper Creek cruise. Photo's by Tara Reynolds

Now it was time for a locally made ice cream at Floravilla for our afternoon tea stop! My $5.00 tub was "Daintree Rainforest" flavour with hints of lemon myrtle and infused with Kale... yes... it was green AND it is named after the rainforest itself....delicious! If you don't want a green flavour  because you simply don't believe me how yummy it was..... they have an ever changing array to choose from, just look over their blackboard before you order.   

Pop in and say hi to the friendly locals!  
Daintree Flavoured ice-cream! It does exist! Photo by Tara Reynolds.

Overall, I highly recommend this tour. If you don't like big crowds and want a more personal/small tour with a local Port Douglas Company with well informed guides then you MUST consider going with BTS! If only for the canoeing!


HARD FACTS…

The Tour:
Full day trip

Times:
06:45am (aprox) - 6:30pm (aprox) Hotel Transfers

Suitable for: 
  • Couples
  • Single travellers
  • Elderly
  • Families with older children
Fitness level (out of 5):
  • 💪 
Time of year:
  • All year round
  • The tour can be effected by flooding in wet season, December to April
Price:

  • $180.00 AUD Adult
  • $130.00 AUD Child
  • $545.00 AUD Family
  • $175.00 AUD Senior


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