Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Cape Tribulation, Mount Sorrow and the Forest of Crippling Incompetence

Hi everyone! The Queensland leg of our adventure is about to end, as we fly back to Sydney tonight. We're sad to leave the Sunshine State, which did deliver lots of hot sunshine in the end, but we've got Christmas and New Years to look forward to in Sydney, so it's not all bad.

The day after we got back from our dive boat trip we hired a car and headed north to see some more of Queensland. Our first stop was Port Douglas, a short drive from Cairns. I stayed in PD with my family five years ago, so it was nice to see it again. They have a beautiful beach lined with palm trees. Yet again the jellies are in the water but PD is one of the towns that has a big stinger net in the sea, so people can swim safely in a small section of the water. I didn't have to deal with that element when Mum, Dad, Rach and I came out here in 2005 as it was Aussie winter, so it's new to me. We arrived in PD and headed straight to a brilliant market where we bought some Christmas presents (not telling) and tried some nice food and drink. We had sugar cane juice flavoured with ginger and chilled coconut milk straight from the coconut! When we were done with the drink, we took it back and they chopped it open, then we ate the delicious fruit with some banana and honey:

The man who served us was really into organic bananas. He eats 30 or 40 A DAY! That's quite a habit, eh?! We had a quick paddle in the sea at PD and ate an interesting pizza with blue cheese, walnuts and pears, then moved on to Daintree Village.

There we did Bruce Belcher's River Cruise. Bruce lives on the bank of the Daintree River with his family and is a crocodile expert. We went on a one-hour cruise with Bruce and one other couple, trying to spot a croc! It was quite creepy cruising along the river, wondering if one was about to leap up out of the water! We saw some white-lipped tree frogs and lots of beautiful scenery, and were getting to think we were out of luck, when suddenly we spotted her. A huge female croc was just on the surface of the water. Three metres of pure, scaly, killing machine. We tried to get some pictures and videos but we were too far away. As I stood up the front of the boat trying to film her, I heard Bruce say to Ania, 'What do you think would happen if he fell in right now?'
'You're coming in to get me, Bruce!', I replied nervously.
'I reckon you'd see her disappear below the surface pretty quickly,' said Bruce, 'Not like in the movies when you see them coming on the surface!'

On the lookout for crocs on the Daintree River:

Ania with Bruce driving the boat in the background.

So after a quick change of underwear we drove on to Cape Tribulation. This area of Queensland is another place where Captain Cook landed in 1770. He hit the barrier reef and sent some men ashore to see if they could find a way to get the ship unstuck. They climbed a mountain and were never seen again. It's now called Mount Sorrow. It was then that we noticed all of the depressing names in this area of Queensland: Mount Sorrow, Cape Tribulation, Misery Creek, etc. It became a fun game coming up with new ones, my personal favourite being the Forest of Crippling Incompetence!

We booked a gorgeous cabin in Cape Trib, just seconds from the beach. We had a really nice evening playing board games in the restaurant too!

Next morning we got up and did some Jungle Surfing! We strapped on harnesses and helmets and went with our guides up into the rainforest on some zip wires. This was great fun and the guides were good too. One was from Malta and when we told him that Ania's dad grew up there he embraced her as one of his own! Haha! It was a great adrenalin rush flying through the trees at such heights, although I wasn't so keen on the last one, where you had to hang upside-down.

Ania, aka: Catwoman, ready to fly!

Stu, aka: The Fly!

Ania hangs out in the jungle:

Straight after the jungle surfing we met a man holding an enormous snake outside a cafe, like you do, and couldn't resist asking to have our picture taken. Thanks to Mick, who was really cool about us handling his son's pet!

Then it was on to some slightly less adrenalin-fuelled fun! We went to try some fruit at the Cape Trib Exotic Fruit Farm. I was slightly sceptical about this and was dreading 'Here's some coconut, some banana, some mango, bye.' My fears were unfounded, it was brilliant. Of the ten fruits on the menu, I'd heard of two and had tried none of them! They were really interesting and exactly what we wanted from a tasting. I liked the jack fruit (the largest fruit in the world), the mamey sapote (tasted liked sweet potatoes with brown sugar) and the yellow sapote. Ania liked the black sapote, the yellow sapote and the sapodilla (very sweet fruit that tasted a bit like cinnamon). The farm's run by Digby and his wife, Alison. Our guide, Sarah was excellent too: really enthusiastic and informative.

The lovely Sarah with a 'small' jackfruit:

Unusual things we ate today:

After all the fruit we drove back to Cairns, where we've been staying at Travellers' Oasis again. Yesterday we visited Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Centre. This was another place I came to with my folks a few years ago and it's brilliant. The Tjapukai working there do some presentations including their tribe's history, bush tucker and Aboriginal weaponry. They also do a dance performance and a didgeridoo demonstration which was just incredible. We also had a go at throwing a spear and a boomerang. I almost got my boomerang to come back!

Trying out some spear throwing with members of the Tjapukai tribe:

So that's all for now, folks. We'll miss Cairns and our lovely hostel, but it's time for a hot Christmas in Sydney! Thanks for reading!

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