I got picked up by the Dougie's bus in the morning and loved every minute since pick up. Steve, the guy who picked us up and I think is also the owner, was so nice and friendly and explained everything. It was like a guided tour and not just a pick up. The weather was faboulous and he showed us some amazing lookouts. They were so good that even he took a picture :-)
He also showed us around in Port Douglas, which is a very nice little village. So much more what I was looking for than Cairns. They also have the 4 mile beach, which is surrounded by palm trees and coconuts all over the floor. No wonder it is rated as one of the top 10 Australian beaches (out of 7000!!!). Unfortunately it is the same here, no swimming. However, they have a net around a certain area where the stingers are not getting in. It is such a shame though to walk along that fanatastic beach, with hardly any people there and then you can't get into the water. The water temperature is 29 C everywhere here. There are 2 different types of jelly fish - the box jelly fish, which is the most venomous animal in the world and are quite big and then the really small ones (size of a thumb nail) which are almost impossible to see. They are so small that I wonder why they wouldn't get through the net.... The lifeguard checks 3 times a day whether anything has slipped through, but apparently no one has been stung in the last 10 years. The last attack was in 1992 in Cairns and a guy just ignored the signs and went in the water. He swam and dived laughing at his friends who he called cowards and then began to scream with an inhuman sound. It is said that there is no pain to compare it with. The guy staggered from the water, covered in livid whip-like stripes wherever the box jelly fish's tentacles have touched him and collapsed at the beach. The emergency crew that arrived shortly afterwards inflated him with morphine and took him away for treatment. Although he was unconscious and sedated with morphine he was still screaming....
So, here you go, no messing with box jelly fish!
Dougies Hostel was such a refreshing change that I was even happier. Such a nice chilled out hostel, which hammocks, a bar, nice garden, pool etc. Everyone was really relaxed and the staff was so nice and friendly and helpful. It was straight away so much more personal and they made you feel so welcome and it was also much smaller and nicer....So, I got what I was after :-) They also have the cheapest drinks in town... Happy Days!!! :-)
I also met a Scottish girl (Danielle) on the bus which is very nice and we shared a room.
My first day was spent wandering around in town and chilling at the beach cooking my first dinner in the hostel kitchen, having a few drinks in the bar and then going to bed.
On my second day I booked my trip to Cape Tribulation in the morning . We then went to the market in town which was very nice and then back to the wonderful 4 mile beach. Still gutted that you can't swim in the sea. Such a waste.... It is a strange place. There is no other place in the world that has more dangeraous, venomous and lethal animals than Australia.... Crocs, sharks, the 10 most dangerous snakes live of course here as well, spiders etc.... they even have a butterfly that eats meat... bizarre. However, strangely enough, the animal that kills most people in Australia is the bee (of course only people that react allergic to them, they don't have lethal bees...:-)
Anyway, my time in Port Douglas was really good. Very relaxed, exactely what I needed.
We had an early start to go to Cape Tribulation. Our tour guide was very nice but unfortunately would not stop talking... ever! His favourite was "... and stuff like this" which he would add to every single sentence and his favourite topics were trees and kassowary poo, which he would point out at every occasion. Looking back we had actually a good laugh about him, so never mind.
Our first stop was the animal sanctuary where we saw Cassowary Birds. They are pretty amazing. They are absolutely massive, have a big horn thing on their head to be able to make their way through the rainforest, completely black feathers and a blue and red head. They eat whole fruit like massive mangoes, melons etc. in a whole. And that is the reason why their poo is so important for the rainforest. They are the only animal that can spreat the seeds and without that bird the rainforest would look completely different. Still no reason to point out every bit of poo though if you ask me. They are also quite dangerous, as they easily feel threatened and would kick you with their massive claws and and would slit open your chest. Like so many other things here, they work in the opposite way.... The female lies the eggs and then moves on the next fellow while the male is watching and bringing up the chicks for the next 2 years and the female is never seen again. Interesting....:-)
We also saw some massive crocs behind a tiny little fense. As it is so hot here, they are staying under water to keep their body temparature down. The bigger they are the more difficult it is for them. So, in this heat, it is very unlikely to see any of the really big ones. They grow up to 6 meters here, which are the biggest crocs in the world. They had a 5m one in the sanctuary and the guide knew where it usually lies under water, so he dropped a few little pebbles in the water and a massive beast came leaping out of the water trying to bite whatever just disturbed him. Bloody hell, they are scary and damn fast! He did that a few times and also showed me the bit where the fence was completely wrecked, which was also the croc.... They can lie under water for up to 4 hours and then just come up to the surface for half second to take a quick breathe and go down again. Let's see how lucky we will be on our croc watching tour. Probably not very, but maybe some little ones, as they are far more agile in the heat.
Next stop was Mossman Gorge, a beautiful gorge right in the middle of the rainforest, where we went for a swim which was amazing. The water was so clear and cool that no one wanted to leave after all that heat. It really was brilliant. We also went to a few lookouts with just stunning views, boardwalks and a proper tour through the rainforest. I absolutely loved it. The rainforest is so fascinating and every single place you look is completely unique and completely different. Truly amazing. Not one tree would be by itself, there are several others living on it, on top of it, around it, roots hanging around from other trees, just very difficult to describe. I could have stayed there for ever just watching all the different trees. We also saw a dragon lizard which was quite cool and some big spiders, but nothing bigger than I would have had in my bath tub at home, so a little diappointing :-)
Our accomodation, The Beach House, was right in the middle of the rainforest and we were staying in wooden cabins. It was also right on the beach of Cape Tribulation. That is one of the very few or maybe only place where the rainforest meets the beach and also where it meets the Great Barrier Reef. It is the only place on earth where to World Heritages meet. The reef and the rainforest. The reef was that close to the shore that you could see the coral sticking out of the water and it would have proabably taken you 2 mins to swim there and yet again, you were not allowed in the water! Dough! The beach was amazing though. White sand, rainforest in the background, crystal clear water..... Must be amazing to come back here in their winter. The place is very relaxed and chilled out. We had rain in the afternoon, but we are in the rainy season, so there will be loads more of it and I am still in the rainforest after all :-) So, we were just talking and I also learned the card game shithead that apparently every backpacker plays. I met some really nice people that afternoon and we had a wicked evening. My first "proper night out" in Australia and it was so much fun. After the bar shut we went to the beach, which had the most amazing sky any of us had ever seen. First of all, as you expect, there are far more stars than in a city, but more importantly they were hanging so low that you were completely surrounded by them. Much more like being in a planetarium. It was absolutely breath-taking. We could actually look straight out to the horizon and could see stars there. Fantastic. We ended up in Larry's and Linda's drinking Vodka on ice. Great fun!
Next morning I got up really early (as I said I am really getting into the travelling) and had some breakfast and met some more people and had very relaxed morning. Could you imagine that I am happily chatting away around 7.30am?? Dani and myself got then picked up to go Jungle surfing, which was great fun. They take you high up into the trees in the middle of the forest, strap you to a rope and then send you down on metal wires. That was really good fun and you got some great views. The last ride was up side down.... happy days!! At lunch time we walked (best time to do walking....) we walked through the rainforest to freshwater whole called Emmagen Creek. The walk was exhausting and we nearly gave up but we made it and it was worth it. It was just Dani and myself in the waterwhole right in the middle of the rainforest. Still not sure whether we got the right one, as some have crocs the heat got us in and it was so rewarding. Really really good and an amazing setting to go for a swim. Crystal clear water but unfortunately no turtles.
As it was pissing down on the way back we fortunately got a lift from a passing truck.
In the afternoon I walked along the beach to an amzing lookout with fantastic views over the bay and the beach. We then had quite a heavy night AGAIN and I found out that my alarm only works when I have reception (which I didn't), so I woke up at 9am and was meant to be picked up for my sea kayaking at 8.30! Dough!!! Ah well, they didn't see much anyway.
On our way back to Cairns we did a crocodile spotting tour on the Daintree river, which was great. The guide, apparently the most dangerous beast in/on the river was definitely worth his money. Even if we wouldn't have seen crocs it would have been great entertainment. But we did.... first a small baby croc only 10 month old. They are really cute when they are that small. And then two bigger ones. One just under 2 meters and one just above 2 meters. Hard to imagine that the biggest ones grow up to 3 times the size of that. And they can jump out of the water by their whole body length. Imagine shipping along a river and suddenly a meter croc is leaping out of the water. Maybe it wasn't such a bad thing that it was too warm for them to move. Another interesting fact is that crocs have two penis! Apparantly so they can mate from each site....
We then had our final stop at a tropical fruit shop for some fruit testing. Can't remember all the names but I have eaten stuff I have never seen before. The best was that the owner of the shop is also a carer for baby kangaroos where the Mum has been killed in a car accident. So they were at least 2 or 3 small ones hopping in out of their bags. So cute and the fur is so soft. One was so small that it didn't even have fur and was just lying in it's bag which should simulate the Mum. It had to be fed every 30 mins. Tough job....
All in all, I had an amazing time in Cape Tribulation and Port Douglas. Absolutely loved the rainforest and are sad to leave :-(