Monday 11 November 2019 / Daintree Rainforest, 2333 Cape Tribulation Rd, Cape Tribulation QLD 4873, Australia

Cape Tribulation rainforest tour with Cape Trib Connections

Daintree rainforest

If you’re staying in Cairns, the Great Barrier Reef isn’t the only attraction available to you (although it is a must-see, especially if you’re thinking about scuba diving – read more about my scuba diving trip in the reef here). The thousands of acres of lush rainforest in the nearby region of Daintree is just a drive away, and totally worth a day trip or even two.

Booking a rainforest tour from Cairns

Booking a rainforest tour was so easy. When I got to Cairns, I visit the Cairns Tourist Information Centre, which has several branches throughout town. The lady at the centre recommended Cape Trib Connections because their tour includes lots of different areas and attractions.

The tour cost $154 (aaround £80 in spring 2019), and it was worth every penny, as it was almost a 12 hour tour with so much to see and do, and an expert tour guide to make the trip as fun and educational as possible.

The Cape Tribulation rainforest tour with Cape Trib Connections

The tour bus picked me up from right outside my hostel in Cairns at around 7am. Peter, the driver and tour guide, greeted me and checked me in. The tour group was small – only around a dozen people – which made it much easier to get to each part of the tour quickly.

Walking around the rainforest

Peter drove us quite a way up the coast to Daintree, where we disembarked for a walk around a small part of the rainforest. We were introduced to enormous Golden Orb Spiders, the smallest of which was around three inches in length. These fascinating (and, for some, nightmare-inducing) creatures are called Golden Orb because of the golden colour of their silk.

Golden orb spider

Unfortunately, we didn’t spot any cassowaries. If you haven’t heard of these before, they’re huge blue and black birds native to Tropical Northern Queensland. They’re pretty rare, with under 10,000 left in the world, so sightings don’t occur very often. However, when they are seen, it’s best to observe from a distance – cassowaries have been known to kill humans with their huge, razor-sharp claws. But your tour operator should be able to tell whether a cassowary is on the offence.

Cape Tribulation Beach

After the rainforest walk, we drove to Cape Tribulation Beach. This is a picturesque bay of golden sand, nestled between two rainforest-shrouded peaks. On one side of the sand, you’ll find hundreds of mangrove trees, which look like they’re on stilts; on the other side, you’ll see crystal clear water. It’s idyllic and so calming. You only need to walk up and down the beach to feel at peace.

Cape Tribulation Beach

We spent an hour in this location before moving on. A quick toilet break treated most of us to a sighting of a massive Golden Orb sitting in the centre of a web outside the toilet block. I’m not exaggerating when I say that its body was only just smaller than a golf ball.

Daintree Ice Cream Co

One thing that I’ve eaten a lot of in Australia is ice cream. However, I have never had ice cream that was as delicious as the ice cream that I tasted at the Daintree Ice Cream Co. Here, there is a huge farm with hundreds of fruit trees growing in plain sight. The ice cream company harvest the fruit from these trees to produce seasonal flavours on site.

Daintree ice cream

Rock up to the cute little shack at the front of the farm and purchase a tub of four flavours of the day. We were able to try yellow sapote, Davidson plum, coconut and wattleseed. I couldn’t decide which was my favourite. Each flavour was so rich and intense; it was a true taste of the rainforest. I’m so sad that I won’t be able to sample their ice cream again until I next visit Australia.

Daintree River cruise

It's hard to pick a favourite part of this trip, but the Daintree River cruise was pretty high up there. We hopped on a boat from the side of the river. There was plenty of room on the vessel, and it was open on all sides, meaning that everyone could get a great view of the scenery.

On the tour we spotted several crocs, each of which were known to the tour operators by name, as all crocs have their own identifiable territories and habits. The eagle-eyed captain was also able to point out birds, butterflies and other unique animals, even from metres away.

Daintree River crocodile

At one unforgettable moment, a huge Brahminy Kite glided towards us, appearing as if it was actually going to fly through the boat. We all watched with anticipation as it gracefully swooped at the last moment and flew away into the distance behind us.

As the trip ended and we began to moor, the tour guide showed us a trick with some archer fish that had gathered by the side of the boat. He balanced a biscuit on the mooring line, prompting the fish to shoot water out of their mouths, knocking the biscuit off the line and into the water. I had never seen this before, and left the trip with a huge grin on my face.

Mossman Gorge

Mossman Gorge was the final location on our trip. In favourable conditions, you can swim in the gorge; however, as it was heading into autumn, we were advised that that wouldn't be possible on this occasion.

We arrived at the visitor centre, where you can find Aborginal art and expensive trinkets and souvenirs. We then took a shuttle to the gorge, where we were left to explore on our own (there are very clear walkways and paths, and everything is signposted). It doesn't take long to walk around this area - probably around 20 minutes at a normal pace.

When you get to the gorge, you'll see fresh water running through giant granite boulders amongst lush rainforest. This actually reminded me of forest walks in Yorkshire; the scenery was very similar.

After completing the walk, we were taken back to the tourist centre on the shuttle, then re-embarked the bus for the journey home. There was a short stop along the way, at an area on the highway with beautiful views of the coast.

Take a look at the Cape Tribulation Day Tour here. See more of my travel posts here and follow me on Instagram @jenloumeredith.

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