Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Daintree National Park
I have discovered why they call it the 'rain' forest, it is supposed to be the dry tourist season at the moment, and the weather is rather like an English summer. Grey and nearly wet most of the time. It must be how the forest gets to be just so green. The locals are more grumpy with the weather than i am, it is spoiling the influx of australian holiday makers and reducing their tourist dollar. More space for those of us that are here.
The scenery is different to everywhere else i have been so far in Australia. Lush green forests with a huge abundance of diversity and wildlife. More animals than the rest of the continent, more birds than the rest of the continent, more plants than....its warm and its the coldest part of the year. There are huge 'house plants' growing everywhere, orchids up in trees, massive climbing swiss cheese plants, dragon trees and ferns growing taller than a person. Exotic birds in the trees, big big creepy crawlies on the ground and the continuing possibility of snakes all around.
A handy tip - Never go to an insect museum the day before attempting a bush walk, it makes moving through the undergrowth that much more difficult when every root could be a snake and each spiders web has the largest most poisonous arachnid guarding its very existence. Hand holds have to be checked out visually before being grabbed and each leaf has a potential hunter underneath. Not so bad when the leaves are small, but when some are over 6' long it could become interesting.
I gave myself a good talking to and went anyway. A 7hour tramp up Mount Sorrow, another Captain Cook discovery, just inland from Cape Tribulation, the poor chap was having a particularly bad time when he landed here by all accounts. The view from the top, incredible and the exercise was just what i needed and my cold has since dissappeared too. I could see the beach and the campsite where the van was and out to sea, the changing shades of water distinguished the reaches of the Great Barrier Reef. Clouds continued to buffet the coastline and it soon began to rain again.
A dry alternative proved to be very interesting and a bit of a taste sensation. A Tropical Fruit Experience, where hard to transport or grow varieties of exotic fruit are harvested fresh from the orchard, discussed and tasted. A few i recognised, others had more commercially available relatives that i knew, but altogether a very interesting afternoon. At least i'll have a better idea of what to buy at the roadside stalls next time i stop and also what to avoid.
Am down the coast in Cairns now, it is still raining, so i shall do the town thing for a day or two, visit some galleries, do some shopping and see what else the town has to offer.