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Daintree,Port Douglas and the Great Barrier Reef

The Rainforest and the Reef

We had to wait a couple of days in Cairns before we could go out to the Great Barrier Reef, secondary to Cyclone Debbie. On one of those days, we headed further north to the Daintree NP. It is advertised as "the only place in the world where two World Heritage-listed sites exist side by side: Daintree NP and The Great Barrier Reef."

As part of the Wet Tropics of Queensland, the Daintree National Park was created in 1981; in1988 it became a World Heritage Site. The park is divided into two sections: Mossman Gorge and Cape Tribulation. We were mainly in the Cape Tribulation section, which can only be reached by taking a ferry across the Daintree River.

The Cape Tribulation section of the Daintree Rainforest is one of the few places where the "rainforest meets the reef," but more importantly, it's age is what sets it apart. It is famous for being' "the oldest intact lowland tropical rainforest in the world". There are estimates of it being from 110 to 200 million years old. While plants and animals in other places had to adapt to the earth's changing conditions, or die, here they were able to live without reason to change. Sometimes called "green dinosaurs," the rainforest hosts 13 of the world's 19 primitive flowering plant species.

For me, the most coveted sighting was to be that of the Southern Cassowary. This ancient bird began to evolve some 60 million years ago; today it is estimated that more than 150 rainforest plants depend on it to spread their seeds. So happy that our "wait" to see the Great Barrier Reef, resulted in the opportunity to see this amazing bird and place!

Our first stop in the Daintree Rainforest was at the Mount Alexandra Lookout. From here we could see the mouth of the Daintree River, and some of small islands that sit out in the Coral Sea.

Our first stop in the Daintree Rainforest was at the Mount Alexandra Lookout. From here we could see the mouth of the Daintree River, and some of small islands that sit out in the Coral Sea.


A wompoo fruit-dove was sampling fruit in the Daintree Rainforest.

A wompoo fruit-dove was sampling fruit in the Daintree Rainforest.


Lily is a green tree python. She has assumed a saddle position by looping a couple of her coils over the branches, and sticking her head in the middle.

Lily is a green tree python. She has assumed a saddle position by looping a couple of her coils over the branches, and sticking her head in the middle.

Greg is harassing the female cassowary. As you can tell, she is larger than the male, and her life is much less complicated.

Greg is harassing the female cassowary. As you can tell, she is larger than the male, and her life is much less complicated.


We were lucky to get to see this male cassowary and a chick. The male cassowary cares for the eggs for about 50 days, and then he cares for chicks for another 9 months. Cassowaries are very solitary birds; the male chases the chick away and both continue on their own.  The female leaves after she lays her eggs, and then she moves on to her next conquest.

We were lucky to get to see this male cassowary and a chick. The male cassowary cares for the eggs for about 50 days, and then he cares for chicks for another 9 months. Cassowaries are very solitary birds; the male chases the chick away and both continue on their own. The female leaves after she lays her eggs, and then she moves on to her next conquest.

A male cassowary was foraging in the rainforest near a creek. A favorite meal is fruit of all sizes, but it also eats seeds, insects, and plants. We did not see a female.

A male cassowary was foraging in the rainforest near a creek. A favorite meal is fruit of all sizes, but it also eats seeds, insects, and plants. We did not see a female.


These signs are everywhere in this part of the rainforest. The cassowaries here are considered endangered; being killed by cars, especially in the more populated areas further south, is a big problem.

These signs are everywhere in this part of the rainforest. The cassowaries here are considered endangered; being killed by cars, especially in the more populated areas further south, is a big problem.

The Daintree has lots of areas of very thick rainforest. You see why there is still the potential to discover new "old" plants here.

The Daintree has lots of areas of very thick rainforest. You see why there is still the potential to discover new "old" plants here.

There is a small area at Daintree called the Valley of the Palms. It is filled with these fan palms.

There is a small area at Daintree called the Valley of the Palms. It is filled with these fan palms.

A peek into one area of the Daintree Rainforest.

A peek into one area of the Daintree Rainforest.

Cape Tribulation

Cape Tribulation was named by Lieutenant James Cook in 1770. After his ship ran into a part of the Great Barrier Reef near here, he wrote: "I name this point Cape Tribulation, because here began all my troubles". The section of the reef that his ship hit is now called the Endeavor Reef; it was named for Cook's boat, the HMS Endeavour.

While standing on Cape Tribulation Beach, we were looking out toward the Great Barrier Reef. The Endeavor Reef section is a little north of here. This is also a good example of where the reef and rainforest meet.

While standing on Cape Tribulation Beach, we were looking out toward the Great Barrier Reef. The Endeavor Reef section is a little north of here. This is also a good example of where the reef and rainforest meet.

To get to the Cape Tribulation section of Daintree National Park, we took a short ferry ride across the Daintree River.

To get to the Cape Tribulation section of Daintree National Park, we took a short ferry ride across the Daintree River.

Port Douglas

Port Douglas was originally an important port for the nearby gold and tin fields. Most of the buildings were destroyed in a cyclone in 1911. It remained a sleepy little fishing village until tourism started here in the 1970's. It gradually ecame a base for trips to the Daintree NP and Great Barrier Reef, and by the late 1980's, resorts were being built here. It is now a popular resort town. In 1996, the Clintons stayed here on their only presidential visit to AU, and Bill Clinton was staying here in 2001, when he learned about the 9/11 attacks.

I didn't find out the name of this interesting tree in (Anzac Park) Rex Smeal Park.

I didn't find out the name of this interesting tree in (Anzac Park) Rex Smeal Park.


Rex Smeal Park is located at the point of the Port Douglas peninsula.

Rex Smeal Park is located at the point of the Port Douglas peninsula.


The Anzac War Memorial in Port Douglas..

The Anzac War Memorial in Port Douglas..


Some of the shops we saw, while walking along Macrossan St, in Port Douglas, QLD.

Some of the shops we saw, while walking along Macrossan St, in Port Douglas, QLD.

I could probably live here...that is, if the cyclones stayed away,

I could probably live here...that is, if the cyclones stayed away,

The 20 mile journey to Cape Tribulation is on a narrow winding road. There was no road here until 1962, and the current one was not sealed until 2002. If you want to go past Cape Tribulation Beach, a 4WD is required.

The 20 mile journey to Cape Tribulation is on a narrow winding road. There was no road here until 1962, and the current one was not sealed until 2002. If you want to go past Cape Tribulation Beach, a 4WD is required.

The Great Barrier Reef

We had to wait for 3 days to go out to the Great Barrier Reef because of Cyclone Debbie. It was still fairly choppy, and I suspect that the visibility wasn't quite as good, but it was beautiful nonetheless. Our catamaran took us to the part of the reef that surrounds the Michaelmus Cay. This is a vegetated sand cay with a seabird sanctuary. Normally, going to the sand cay is also a part of the reef experience, but on this day the waters were too rough.

From this vantage point, it is easy to see where the Great Barrier Reef begins, but once in the water, you can see no difference in the water color.

From this vantage point, it is easy to see where the Great Barrier Reef begins, but once in the water, you can see no difference in the water color.


In all our glory...most people opted for lycra suits, as there are stingers in these waters.

In all our glory...most people opted for lycra suits, as there are stingers in these waters.

Besides snorkeling at the Reef, we also rode in this semi-submersible. It provides a deeper view of the coral gardens, but at least on this day, the view wasn't as clear as the one I had when snorkeling.

Besides snorkeling at the Reef, we also rode in this semi-submersible. It provides a deeper view of the coral gardens, but at least on this day, the view wasn't as clear as the one I had when snorkeling.

We are heading home...the Cairns shoreline is in the background.It was about a 90 minute trip out to the Michaelmus Cay.

We are heading home...the Cairns shoreline is in the background.It was about a 90 minute trip out to the Michaelmus Cay.

The Ocean Spirit is a 32 meter catamaran.

The Ocean Spirit is a 32 meter catamaran.

Posted by Charedwards 16:35

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A lovely part of the world. Great memories for you :)
Cheers,
Ann.

by aussirose

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