Aussie Road Trip 2018 travel blog

kangaroos running along the road

Single lane road in the outback.

Kyrs the crocodile was over 28 feet long. Killed by a crocodile...

Kookaburra bird. They hang out around picnic areas and steal food.

Weird looking rainforest plants

 

 

He is leaning on a root!

These plants have weird looking root systems that let them live in...

 

Hiking in the rainforest.

Cassowary. Large flightless bird that looks like an ostrich.

More things to hurt you in Australia!

Giant curtain fig tree


We left Alice springs and began a very long road trip of 1500 miles across desolate outback country to the northeast coast and the Australian rainforest. The most we could drive on any day was only 300 miles because of the challenging road conditions. Since there is only one paved road that runs north-south through the center of the country we had to backtrack our previous route for about 300 miles until we reached the only paved road that travels east-west across the country. Then it was approximately another 1200 miles until we reached the rainforest area of the far northeast. This road was quite a trip (excuse my pun)! The road would frequently change from a very narrow two lane road into a very narrow single lane road. We would drive down the middle of the single lane road until we met traffic coming the other way. If it was another car we could sometimes continue moving by driving partly on the dirt berm but if it was a road train (semi pulling up to four trailers) we had to pull way off to the side and completely stop. Road trains do not slow down or stop and would throw dust and rocks at us. Add to that kangaroos and emus running across the road and it was quite exciting!! Plus, we had never seen so much road kill. Dead kangaroos everywhere as well as cows, horses and wrecked cars. Lots of wrecked cars along the side of the road. Not sure if they are left there as a reminder to drive safe but they do serve as a somber reminder. Our nights were spent camped in little towns like Camooweal (population 310). Our favorite small town was Normanton located on the Norman river whose claim to fame is Kyrs the Crocodile. Kyrs is supposedly the largest croc ever recorded at 28 feet 4 inches and was killed by a crocodile hunter. There is a life size replica in the center of town for tourists to snap pictures and yes, we did get our picture taken with Kyrs.

We finally reached the Daintree rainforest of the northeast coastal region. What a difference in vegetation from the desert we had left some 6 days ago. The forest is so thick with exotic looking trees, ferns, and other plants with giant leaves and big, thick roots that climb all over the place. As expected, a lot of the rainforest has been cut down for agriculture and development. The agriculture includes sugar cane, bananas, mangos and other tropical fruits. We did a little mango wine tasting at a local winery and look forward to drinking our mango wine purchases. We also got to try some just picked passion fruit given to us by a campground owner. Even though this is considered the dry season (winter) we have had rain and mist everyday but it is quite warm so we don’t mind venturing out to explore. One local told us the dry season is really a misnomer as there are really two seasons; the wet season and the wetter season where they can get 35 feet or more of rain during the summer.

The wildlife in the rainforest is very abundant. We took a boat tour on the Daintree River with a birding guide and saw 25 different species of birds and a green tree snake in just two hours. We’ve also seen a platypus and a cassowary. A cassowary is a large, flightless bird that looks kind of like an ostrich. There are lots of warnings everywhere about not getting too close as the cassowary can get aggressive and kick and claw. Strange thing about this bird is that after the female lays her eggs, she leaves and the eggs are incubated by the male who also raises the young birds.



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