Another early start for a 7am pickup. I got to try out my brand new Teva sandals -my old ones had to be binned earlier in the week after realising how badly they smelled. They were 7 years old though so had done a fair few trips. They are just a few of the things that have either been offloaded to parents, thrown out or lost along the way - you won't be surprised to learn that the cheapo knock-off D&G sunnies from Bangkok lasted all of two weeks before falling apart in Perth!
Our driver today was Dave and he was also our guide for the whole day. He was certainly a great source of information and I don't think he stopped to draw breath for the first 5 hrs.
We started with a quick drive around Port Douglas, then it was on up to Mossman Gorge. He gave us a quick talk about the local flora and fauna of the rainforest then we were free to wander the walkways to various lookout points, including a very swingy swing bridge. We then drove on to Daintree River where morning tea was waiting for us. This was followed by an hour long boat trip down the river with another very knowledgable and eagle-eye'd guide. He pointed out crocodiles (large and small), a python, osprey, fruit bats, as well as describing the various mangroves and trees along the way. One type -the canonball mangrove had amazing seeds that look like coconuts. They split open into 4 parts and each part contains 3 pieces which fit together like a puzzle. Very clever.
Dave met us further down the river and we headed further up the coast to the Coconut Rainforest Beach Lodge for lunch. This was a very plush hotel and we had a lovely cold buffet overlooking the pool. The beach itself (Coconut Beach) was idyllic and I couldn't resist dipping my feet in the Coral Sea. It was amazingly warm but with the risk of stingers very high this time of year you can't really swim here unless there are nets up.
After lunch we drove up to Cape Tribulation beach. This was named by Captain Cook after all the trials and tribulations he had getting there apparently. Next on the itinerary was the Daintree Discovery Centre for afternoon tea (they certainly look after you on these trips). We were then free to go on the aerial walkway, up the Canopy Tower and the Interprative Display Centre. We saw such things as the Idiot Fruit -it's one of the rarets plants in the world and it's seeds are highly poisonous, hence no bird or animal will eat it. We also saw the wonderfully named Vicious-Hairy-Mary/Wait-a-While plant. Aboriginal people ate the berries and roasted sections of the cane. The sap was drunk to relieve colds and the young tips used to stop dysentery. There was even a tree called the Davidson Plum - we get everywhere. The fruit was highly sought after by early settlers for making jams, jellies and home-made wine. Aboriginal people used the trunk of the tree to make harpoons for catching turtles and Dugong. End of Botany lesson.
We finished the afternoon by crossing the Daintree River by ferry and then it was back to Cairns. Another fab day and it's definitely a trip worth doing. If you had more time it would be worth staying up in Cape Trib just to have access to some of the amazing beaches.