Cape Trib

After regaining our land legs, we headed north towards the end of our East Coast excursion and Cape Tribulation in Daintree National Park. It’s about two hours north of Cairns and requires a river crossing by car ferry.

The Daintree River via the ferry
The Daintree River via the ferry

But before we arrived at Daintree we stopped at Mossman Gorge. And that’s about all we did there. As we arrived it started to sprinkle. We ate some lunch and the sprinkle turned into a light rain. We went inside to see about going into the gorge and the light rain turned into a down pour. This prompted an immediate departure of Mossman and urged us farther north to, hopefully, better weather.

Once we arrived at our caravan park and setup our tent Christina and I decided to take a walk along the tracks in the jungle behind our campsite. No more than 200 meters along and we heard a rustle in the bushes. We stood still and Christina spotted it, our first cassowary! It crossed the path in front of us about 5 meters ahead and foraged among the trees making its way closer to the spot we were reluctant to vacate. But eventually we did vacate since the cassowary was too hidden by the trees to get a good picture, so we moved on.

The next day was even more exciting! It started out with us attempting to make pancakes. But we were rudely interrupted by a very inquisitive young cassowary. His dad was not too far behind (male cassowaries raise the chicks), but was staying amongst the bushes and trees. The young cassowary had not yet learned to fear humans and came straight for me –or really my jam covered pancake. Cassowaries can only be found in this region of the world because their diet mainly consists of a particular fruit called the cassowary plum, a very clever name, so I could see how this young one was confused. I got up, leaving Christina to become his main interest and took a photo, and our neighbors got a good shot too.

Paul and Christina being stalked by a juvenile cassowary
Paul and Christina being stalked by a juvenile cassowary
Christina and her new cassowary friend/living dinosaur
Christina and her new cassowary friend/living dinosaur

The rest of the day blew by all too quickly. We headed even farther north to actual Cape Tribulation and took a short walk on the beach and in the mangrove trees.

Paul in the tangled roots
Paul in the tangled roots
The beach was covered in tiny balls of sand created by little bubbler crabs (center) who filter out food and leave these dazzling arrangements.
The beach was covered in tiny balls of sand created by little bubbler crabs (center) who filter out the food and leave these dazzling arrangements.

Next we went as far North as we could go without 4WD, stoping at Emmagen Creek. We were trying to find a beach but couldn’t, so we decided to go to a swimming hole not too far away. Our first attempt at finding the swimming hole turned out to be a wrong turn but luckily we did because we briefly saw a snake and a lace monitor.

Lace monitor climbing a tree
Lace monitor climbing a tree
We also witnessed a huge parasitoid wasp dragging a paralyzed spider. She will lay her egg in it so the larva can have fresh food when it hatches. Yum.
We also witnessed a huge parasitoid wasp dragging a paralyzed spider across the trail. She will lay her egg in it so the larva can have fresh food when it hatches. Yum.

We did finally find the swimming hole. There was a rope swing there and we took full advantage. Luckily there was a guy there to show us how it was done.

Paul having a grand ol' time
Paul having a grand ol’ time
Christina dancing into the swimming hole
Christina dancing into the swimming hole

The swimming holes are a real treat up here because you can’t swim on any of the beaches or rivers, despite their beauty and the sweltering heat–because crocodiles will kill and eat you:

Swim at your own risk
Swim at your own risk

Later that afternoon we drove back toward camp and stopped at a boardwalk to see another beach. On this walk we saw yet another cassowary! For those of you counting that makes four.

Gorgeous cassowary
Gorgeous cassowary

The rest of the walk was pretty uneventful and so we decided to retire for the day. Upon returning to our camp we saw yet another cassowary and the same young cassowary we saw earlier. We know that it was a different cassowary because the young one’s parent was close behind and the new cassowary chased the young one and its parent into the forest behind the campsite. T’was very exciting.

Day 2 was much less eventful. We drove South of our campsite to Alexandra Range Lookout.

Alexander Lookout in Daintree National Park
Alexander Lookout in Daintree National Park

Then made our way back toward camp to Jindalba boardwalk. Not knowing what we were getting ourselves into, we parked farther away than we needed. Did the short boardwalk, saw a cassowary (num six), and decided to walk the longer loop as well. All in all a pretty good walk. After working up a sweat we headed north again to another swimming hole. This one also had a rope swing but was not as deep as the previous one, so only one swing for me. I banged my toes pretty well on some rocks and didn’t want to repeat the experience.

The next morning we took the ferry back across the river and started heading southwest toward Darwin. Our Savannah Way adventures begin!

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