You don’t have to drive too far north of Cairns to reach deepest darkest rainforest. The Daintree national park is the Grandaddy of rainforests at 110 million years old. I kid you not, they keep finding plants in there that they thought were previously extinct! It’s honestly like stepping in to the film set from Jurassic Park and I still flinch when the bushes rustle expecting a velocirapter to jump out and bite me on the leg or something…
Cape Tribulation is probably the most famous spot in the Daintree and is very popular with day trippers from Cairns. I’ve been many times but had only stayed over once, an experience I was keen to repeat. With a new car, a boot full of camping equipment and probably too much food we set off for a couple of days dodging dinosaurs.
I had been obsessively checking the weather for two weeks and had noticed one thing: that although Friday and Saturday were going to be beautiful, Thursday was going to bring a fair amount of rain… Well for once the weatherman was correct, the further nortth we got the darker the could until eventually they opened torrent upon torrent of tropical downpours.
After putting our tent up in a very waterlogged field in half darkness being pelted by enormous rain drops we figured that from now on it would be easy! Word of advice: if you’ve never put your tent up before and it’s raining don’t take everything out of the bag and just hope it’ll be OK because you WILL end up using all of your towels to dry the inside off before you can sleep.
Thankfully the next morning dawned bright and beautiful. in fact, the only signs that the night before had been a bit biblical weather wise was the squidgy grass around the campsite.
We were staying at Cape Trib Camping which is located on Myall Beach, the other side of the Cape from Cape Tribulation beach proper. After a very lazy morning we drove round dodging the day trippers to take some photographs.
This was Mikey’s first trip north of Port Douglas and so he played the fun game of “this is the furthest north I’ve been”, which involves saying “this is the furthest north I’ve been” over and over again each time you take a step. It’s so much fun.
This was my first ever sunny day in Cape Trib – they don’t call it the rainforest for nothing! It is still the most beautiful place in the rain, with the leaves shining and all the plants opened up, but nothing beats sky blue on rainforest green for aesthetically pleasing pictures.
I may have been slightly hungover (come on, what else was there to do in a rainy tent all evening?) and therefore found it quite hard to coordinate with Mikey on when he wanted me to jump as my brain was working slower than usual. The below is the best we got. Pretty elegant, no?
I think my favourite thing about Cape Tribulation is that it still looks almost exactly the same as it would have done to Captain Cook when he sailed past hundreds of years ago. Not that he would have enjoyed the view, having smashed a big hole in the hull of the Endeavour on a nearby reef. The memories he had of this place clearly weren’t very enjoyable – hence the Cape being called tribulation and nearby mountain Mount Sorrow. In Cook’s own words: “…the north point [was named] Cape Tribulation because here begun all our troubles”.
To be honest if you’re going to get shipwrecked and die somewhere then at least you’ve got nice scenery to look at when you drown.
Although you can drive up to Cape Trib easily the sealed road does run out here. From the Beach house onwards it’s nothing but dirt track and creeks making it only accessible to 4WDs, the perfect location to test out our new wheels!
The road north is known as the Bloomfield track and it involves some quite steep inclines and lots of muddy bits. This made Mikey very happy as he tried to get the truck as dirty as possible!
Conscious of the fact that our truck was still untested and there had been a lot of rain for a while before went, it was decided that we’d stop our journey at the cute little Emmagen creek.
Not too deep and surrounded by towering rainforest it is the perfect place for a rest and a paddle.
Ok, so I may have been slightly put off by the bullet hole ridden croc warning signs… However given that the creek is shallow, miles from the ocean and has crystal clear water it does seem rather unlikely that the area is frequented by scary salties.
“Don’t worry baby truck,” I whispered, “one day we’ll make it across to the other side.”
Our very cute campsite was almost as close to the beach as we could get without getting sand in our sleeping bag.
Just a short stroll through those palm trees and we were able to grab ourselves a couple of coconuts to have with our morning coffees.
At first our search wasn’t too fruitful, and Mikey selfishly refused to shimmy up to the top and get me a fresh one. It’s not like they’re tall or anything…
There’s really nothing better than smugly waking up to blue skies, grabbing a coconut from the beach ‘supermarket’ and having a gentle stroll with sand in your toes. Especially if you would usually already be on your way to work!
Hmm, one day I’ll be a yogini! Trying to balance on wet sand is a lot harder than it looks…
And what else to cook in the great outdoors than a whacking big fry up?
Mmm, delicious! Especially with our fresh coconut water. The health benefits of coconut water totally cancels out the fry up badness, right?
Full of greasy goodness we packed our little home up and set off back for Cairns. Unable to resist yet more photo opportunities I made Mikey pull over and look at the Alexandra Lookout point.
Continuing on our way we saw a signpost pointing down a very suspicious looking track, and advertising a live band that evening… It piqued our interest and we went to investigate. Imagine our surprise when we found the newly refurbished Cape Kimberley campground that was having it’s reopening party that evening. If I hadn’t been in work just a few hours later we would have stuck around for sure.
Considering we were only a short drive from home you really can discover the coolest of places to visit. I always think it’s such a shame when people visit Cairns and don’t go north. Aside from the fact there there is rainforest, swimming holes and beaches just look at the road that gets you there.
I think the Captain Cook Highway beats the Great Ocean Road hands down – what do you think?
if you want to visit the Daintree but are sans car then don’t despair, there are many options available! Visit www.reefinfo.com.au for options and advice.