So I pretty much adore Australia, always have and always will. Maybe it's because us Brits just aren't used to getting any sunshine, so simply the vitamin D hit alone makes this place addictive. Either way, I was pretty excited to get up to the Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation as I hadn't made it up here last time.
Being the oldest naturally ongoing rainforest in the world, it's a fairly special place and because of this, has world heritage listings and is recognised by UNECO etc. so is certainly a bucket list destination. A short drive from Cairns is the best way to reach it, and the team at Jungle Tours are great at helping get you there if you're not a local or don't have a car.
Our day started with an early morning drive along what's known to be one of the most scenic highways in all Australia, rivalled only by the Great Ocean Road. This short 90 minute journey travels along the coast between Cairns and Port Douglas, and it's named the Great Barrier Reef drive for good reason! Being able to see so much ocean and rainforest from one road is fairly awesome.
From here, the guys dropped us for an hour visit to Wildlife Habitat which is a wildlife refuge just outside the picturesque town of Port Douglas. Here you have the chance to feed the kangaroos and wallabies, and walk around in the exhibits with the wildlife, allowing you to pretty close most of the cute creatures Australia has on offer. Of course, the crocodiles and cassowary birds are kept at a slightly further distance!
After a cheeky morning tea and cakes, we headed north again to catch the Daintree River Ferry to the world heritage site. Sadly, a lot more stunning rainforest would be around today however early settlers to Australia cut down huge sections of it to farm land with sugar cane & cattle. While it's so great to now have protection, it does mean the scenery drastically changes at this point from open fields to the rainforest, rather than how it would have naturally been slightly more gradual. The ferry is very much a car ferry, so no getting off to walk around here! Within 5 minutes we'd already reached the other side and were off again to the sound of the Lion King soundtrack towards our lunch stop.
Lunch itself is included and was actually seriously good! No packed lunch here but instead we were dropped at a cafe within the forest (felt like the middle of nowhere in the best way). Here we had a huge choice of options of sandwiches which were freaking HUGE! I think I'm still full over a week later... Absolutely delicious and set us up nicely for the main event, Jungle Surfing!
Sadly, as exciting as it would be to take on the jungle canopy on a surf board, this isn't exactly what we were doing - we were zip lining. The guys have set up a number of zip lines along the canopy up in the top of the tree tops so you can see more than just the forest floor. A serious highlight is on platform 3, where you can actually see out to the Great Barrier Reef from up high. The rainforest is the only place in the world where you can see two World Heritage sites at the same time, and be within 100 miles of the two most biologically diverse places at once - pretty awesome my fellow nerds!
After being hung by my legs off one zip line, and accidentally almost kicking my photographer off the platform, I think it was pretty safe to say while I hadn't had enough, the guides may have had enough of me! It was a seriously great activity, having done a number of zip lines before the lines weren't too fast or long so not the most adrenaline filled activity. However, being able to have seen the world's oldest rainforest from that angle can't be beaten!
My only slight disappointment was that being up in the treetops for quite a long time in humid conditions without access to water wasn't the greatest, so I'd recommend bringing a water bottle with you. Also, (rant time, sorry kids), it really pisses me off when companies charge you for pictures they take of you during the day. Here, the team kindly took snaps of everyone at they hang through the trees and try all the activities grabbing some awesome action shots that you can't always take of yourself. But sadly, they wanted $20/image OF MYSELF that they took. I know this is becoming standard practise with tour operators but I really think it's wrong. Since the day trip already costs $252 Australian Dollars RRP (£152 British Pounds) for just one day, it should include as many damn pictures taken of me that I'd like.
The final activity of the day was the Daintree River Cruise to check out some of the local reptiles, pretty exciting stuff. Along the coastline up in Northern Australia, you're unable to swim in the sea due to the salt water crocodiles, and the same is said for most of the rivers. After taking this river cruise it does become kinda clear why. They literally pop up all over the place, and as the water is so murky, there are likely quite a lot more below the surface. Seeing these living dinosaurs in the wild is always fairly special, so it's a really awesome way to end a really great day in the Daintree before the drive back to Cairns. Sadly I didn't have time to spend a night in the rainforest here, but it's safe to say I'll be back to Cairns and the surrounding area very soon thanks to a special someone.
Huge thanks to the team for taking us out, the guides with Jungle Tours are probably some of the friendliest I've had with a genuine desire for everyone to really love their little corner of the world.