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Sunday, 5 June 2016

DISCOVER THE DAINTREE, MOSSMAN GORGE & CAPE TRIBULATION

 

SMALL GROUP TOUR WITH DISCOVERY TOURS

I have been to the World heritage Listed UNESCO Daintree Rainforest recently so it was excellent to get on another tour to check out the differences.
Today my guide's name was Steve and as usual I was greeted with a broad smile as I boarded the small tour van (hotel transfers included).
We began our journey North towards Port Douglas via the Melaleuca lined Esplanade in Palm Cove. After arriving in Port Douglas with in-depth commentary from Steve about it's history and beginnings, we found ourselves at look out point Flagstaff Hill. YES, the below picture is the phenomenal view you can see on a nice day (I totally promise I took that picture!).

Flagstaff Hill. Photo taken by Tara Reynolds.


Continuing the journey, 15 minutes out of Port Douglas we arrive at Mossman Gorge, just outside the township carrying the same name. There is a Visitors Centre managed by the Kuku Yalanji people that you need to check in to before heading out to the gorge for your rainforest walk and swim. We were treated to morning tea with home made Wattleseed Damper with local jam and cream, Australian Billy Tea and local Coffee.


Photo of Damper by Tara Reynolds.

Due to a past of overcrowding, pollution from idling buses and traffic/parking issues... you now pay a small fee ($9.10return, included in the tour cost) to get a short 5 minute bus to the start of the walks.

The Entrance to the Visitor Centre & bus information. Photos by Tara Reynolds.


We were in a full bus load of people and there was more already at the walks. It was a dull morning, a little cool and drizzling so no one was really keen to take a dip in the Gorge (the current was also too strong from the recent rains up river) so everyone was on the walk at the same time. I am going to be honest with you, this was not favourable and I have had better rainforest experiences. The backpackers were jumping up and down on the suspension bridge and it was crowded, hard to absorb the true essence of the rainforest and absorb it's energy.
Steve did give us all the information we needed about what we could see and thankfully not every moment was spent in crowds. When it comes to your potential visit to Mossman Gorge, I feel it has it's plusses and its minuses. It is the more commercial part of the Daintree and at peak periods there will most definitely be crowds. The appeal to some is that it is not far from Cairns or Port Douglas and for those who don't like long walks or families with children... this may work for you. For most, this may be the first time you get to see our beautiful rainforest region so I am sure you will appreciate it's beauty and put the crowds to the back of your mind. The Visitors Centre runs Dreamtime walks and half day tours as well.
Link to Mossman Gorge Information & Visitors Centre.






Photos of Mossman Gorge by Tara Reynolds.

Lunch was the next stop after Mossman, unfortunately I felt it was a little too soon after our delicious Damper but it couldn't be helped. The Daintree Tea House... http://www.daintreerainforest.com/organisations/daintree-teahouse-restaurant.1037/ was where we dined in a lovely tropical setting for our included meal. You got to choose from a variety of meals, this day I chose Wild Barramundi cooked in white wine and herbs... it didn't disappoint! The fish was light and flavoursome served with crunchy hot chips and side salad. Other options included chicken or vegetarian and kangaroo if your a visitor to Australia and would like to sample our Coat of Arms!


A great inclusion at the lunch stop was the tasting of tropical fruits. These came on your main plate and a restaurant staff member runs you through each one, where they grow, their history and flavours as you taste them.
My Wild Barramundi & Tropical Fruit tastings. Photo's by Tara Reynolds.

One of the highlights for me was the Estuarine Crocodile cruise on the Daintree River. There are a few companies that operate "croc spotting cruises", on this tour we joined the public on the boat Solar Whisper. http://www.solarwhisper.com
Can I use the term... IT WAS AMAZE-BALLS?!? Too late, I just did! We spotted 4 crocs (2 babies, one teenage male and one larger female). The commentary was insightful and interesting and our guide went out of his way to get through shallow inlets right up close to them. The boat itself is electric charged by solar panels on the roof (hence the name) always allowing the boat to not be too invasive towards the local wildlife and as silent as a whisper! Check out my short videos of the 2 larger crocodiles we spotted! I won't say much more about the 1 hour cruise, only that you can choose this cruise with confidence over others. It's conveniently located right near the Daintree Ferry Crossing so it fits well into any itinerary.
Links to my Youtube videos of the Solar Whisper Tour. Tara Reynolds
Delightful Dusty. Photo by Tara Reynolds.

Conveniently the cruise drops us on the other side of the Daintree River where Steve is waiting for us and we board the bus once again heading northwards through the heart of the Daintree. This is the oldest section of rainforest that we will see on this tour, the famous section known for "Where the Rainforest meets the sea". This is where the Great Diving Range ends, and the World Heritage Listed Daintree meets World Heritage Listed, Great Barrier Reef. After a look over the Coral Sea viewing Snapper Island for a photo opportunity we arrive half an hour later at Cape Tribulation Beach. 
Cape Tribulation is a small township and the end of the line for any 2-wheel drive cars as the road turns to 4WD from there. There are additional activities to do at "Cape Trib" such as wildlife night tours, horse rides on the beach, Jungle Surfing, snorkelling with turtles and more. On this tour we don't have time for those activities, you'd have to stay the night in one of the many different styles of accommodation. We just spent time on the beach, enjoying the sunshine and taking some arty snaps.

Cape Tribulation. Photo's by Tara Reynolds.

It's always sad to say goodbye to Cape Tribulation and turn the bus around and head back south towards Cairns. The sadness was dulled however by a delicious ice cream purchased from Daintree Ice Cream Company. http://daintreeicecream.com.au The $6.50 cup includes x4 flavours of the day (I rated the Macadamia the most!) and other options are available such as icy poles. I wish we could linger there longer, but alas, we needed to continue heading south towards the ferry crossing on route back to Cairns.
Don't forget the ice cream! Photo by Tara Reynolds.



Thanks to our driver Steve and Discovery Tours for having me! It was great to check out different inclusions and check out Mossman Gorge. Onwards and upwards... until my next adventure!

HARD FACTS...
The Tour:
Full day trip

Times: 
07.00am - 6:30pm (pick ups from your hotel in Cairns CBD)

Suitable for: 
  • Solo travellers or couples/friends
  • Elderly
  • Nature lovers
  • English speaking
  • Keen photographers
Fitness level (out of 5):
  • 💪 
Time of year:
  • All year round
  • Northern rivers such as the Daintree can be effected by flood in the summer months (late October to April)
Price for option A (full tour inclusions):
  • $210.00 AUD Adult
  • $190.00 AUD Child
  • $760.00 AUD Family
  • $205.00 AUD Pensioner

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