Folkloric tales of cassowary attacks loomed large ahead of Outdoor’s Daintree National Park adventure. Part of a wider fortnight-long Cape York trip, our time at Cape Tribulation promised forays into the lush rainforest, pristine beaches, and prehistoric-looking birds that would disembowel you without warning. I voiced my excitement about seeing the odd creatures to my editor Jack before we headed off, and was surprised when he breezily dismissed me.
“You won’t see one,” he said.
“I’ve been up there three or four times, and I’ve never seen one in the wild, ever.”
Only slightly deflated by the attitude of Captain Buzzkill, I made it a mission to embark on my own personal ‘Cassowary Crusade’, and prove him wrong. As it turned out, I barely had to make any effort at all, getting up close to not one, not two, but three of the birds on the first day of the trip. While he missed out on the first two, he saw the third and managed to get fairly close to capture some excellent photos as the cassowary strutted along the beach like it was some kind of avian Victoria’s Secret catwalk. While ‘Disembowelled in the Daintree’ has a nice ring to it for an article title, this was a seemingly docile creature largely not bothered by our presence.
The remote coastal headland of Cape Tribulation is a little slice of paradise located within the Daintree National Park. When the metaphorical faecal matter hit the fan during Captain James Cook’s 1770 exploration of the Australian East Coast, it’s believed he named the Cape so because “here began all our troubles” when the Endeavour struck the Great Barrier Reef. It’s believed he also named nearby Mount Sorrow. Don’t let the gloomy names put you off though. This is a region that’s the poster child for north Queensland, and is basically a living, breathing tourism advertisement because of its beauty. The rainforest landscape also prompts you to constantly run the cinematic score of the Jurassic Park theme through your head. Did I just make this reference so I could wrangle a tenuous link to my personal heartthrob Jeff Goldblum into this article? Correct.
EXPLORING CAPE TRIBULATION
Jack and I had been on a content gathering mission to the very tip of Cape York for the fortnight prior to our stay in Cape Tribulation. By the time we headed back south and got to our accommodation at PK’s Jungle Village, to say we were grateful for the air-conditioning and cold beer would be an understatement. However, there would be no sitting around enjoying the 'luxury'. We had a packed schedule with plenty to see and do. Hiking Mt Sorrow was number one, and we had heard all sorts of stories about the difficulty of this steep climb. Also, as we were in the region where ‘rainforest meets reef’, it was imperative that we explore both angles. So snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef and flying through the air on a zip lining adventure through the Daintree Rainforest were on the schedule. Basically, open water and heights, my two biggest fears were on the menu for the days ahead. I just hoped I wasn’t on the menu for any ocean-dwelling predators.
Apart from our scheduled activities, we were fortunate enough to have a time to do some exploring around the area we were staying and found some incredible little gems including Emmagen Creek. In a region where beach swimming is full of constant warnings in German of impending death by croc chomping, safe waterholes are a pleasant place to find. Emmagen Creek is one of these, located towards the end of Cape Tribulation. It’s a short secluded walk from the road, but once you’re there prepare to cool off and fill up your camera’s memory card as you take endless photos of your pals jumping off the rope swing. Or anxiously standing on the edge as they work up the courage to jump (that was me of course). Mason’s Swimming Hole is another great spot to take a dip, near Mason’s Cafe where you can treat yourself to their famous crocodile burger for the full Daintree experience.
WHAT TO FIND
Cape Tribulation is an excellent region to really get away from it all and worship Mother Nature at her finest. The mobile phone reception may be severely limited, but what it’s overflowing with are pristine beaches, the bucket list must-see Great Barrier Reef, and a rainforest that is ancient and full of hidden wonder. There’s a huge variety of tours, accommodation options, and for those who can’t go without snacks, the Daintree Ice Cream Co. churns out delectable flavours that you can enjoy among some of the country’s most stunning landscapes. Can’t live without your smashed avo and a decent coffee in the morning? Then walk yourself over to Turtle Rock Cafe at the Ocean Safari kiosk. An iced-coffee is the perfect way to beat the heat and start your day, while we can personally vouch for the fish and chips and the fish taco. When it comes to supplies there’s a supermarket where you can get basics, but to be honest you don’t need much here. Just bring a good pair of hiking boots, your swimmers, and a sense of adventure.
MORE OUTDOOR ADVENTURES
- If you're a hardcore off-road enthusiast, come to the Trip to the Tip at Cape York, Qld
- Add more to your bucket list with these 5 amazing adventures
- Want to explore more rainforests? Visit surreal rainforests in Crater Lakes NP, Qld
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