CAIRNS – DAINTREE FOREST & CAPE TRIBULATION

Our organized trip to the Waterfalls was such a blast, we decided to do another trip to Daintree Forest and Cape Tribulation. This time, we rented a minivan and 8 of us headed for 2 days of adventure in the oldest rainforest in the world!

I remember when I was researching my itinerary for Australia and came across Daintree Forest, I instantly fell in love with the photos and knew I had to see it in person. Well, let’s just say, the 3 hour drive in the opposite direction of my trip was WELL worth the beautiful scenery and overall experience! Daintree forest was absolutely magical. Every forest walk was completely different and SO beautiful in it’s own unique way.

The boardwalks took us into the heart of the forest where no cars can go. We were surrounded by lush greenery, unreal amount of mangroves, and animal sounds we’d never heard before. I couldn’t believe the size of some of the leaves! Did you ever watch the Jungle Book as a kid and dream of using a leaf as an umbrella? Well the leaves on the Marrdja Boardwalk were SO massive, we could fit 3 of us under one!

As if this trip wasn’t dreamy enough, something really interesting happened for the first time in my life. 10 months ago, I made a vision board in Vancouver. For those of you who’re not familiar with this concept, a vision board is a way of gathering all your dreams for the future in one place. Most people, like myself, cut and paste photos on a board and place it somewhere where they’d see it often. For me, it was beside my bed. I’d look at it every night before sleeping and imagine living my most perfect life. Staying at Cape Tribulation, a photo from my vision board came to life and it was the most overwhelming feeling of awe, peace, and gratitude all at once.

I left my vision board at home when I started traveling and I hadn’t looked at it in weeks. I can still picture it when I close my eyes but it hadn’t been on my mind since I left Vancouver. That’s why it was so unbelievable when I looked up and saw the exact photo I’d been looking at for months come to life. We were sat in a circle on the beautiful white sandy beaches of Cape Tribulation, singing to Johan’s guitar and stargazing the night sky in the Southern Hemisphere. I was captivated by the perfection of the setting and surrounded by the most amazing people. Even as I type this, I get goosebumps reliving the experience.

I still haven’t got used to my life in Australia and I hope I never do. I often have to remind myself of how incredibly lucky I am to be living a dream I’ve had for almost a decade. The happiness and freedom I get from exploring this gorgeous planet is indescribable and I am extremely grateful for this experience.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

  • Best emotional reaction: Johan tearing up to our sing along to ABBA in the car
  • Most trust in a group of strangers: Ellie, who we met and picked up at the airport, and what a lovely addition to the group she was!
  • Most embarrassing story: Connor (unfortunately, the details cannot be shared)
  • Best car playlist: Meg!
  • Best dad of the trip: Chris, who fronted everyone and drove both ways – thank you!

As beautiful as this country is, sometimes the group you travel with can make or break an incredible experience. My first travel family in Australia was a dream come true. Thank you guys for happily exploring in the downpour, for making the most out of being stuck in traffic, and most importantly thank you for all the love, laughs, and wonderful memories.

TIPS FOR VISITING DAINTREE RAINFOREST & CAPE TRIBULATION

  • I’ve said this before on my Atherton Tablelands Waterfalls post but worth mentioning again: ORGANIZE YOUR OWN TOURS!!! It is SO MUCH cheaper to rent a car and do your own tours in Australia. We only spent $90 per person for a 2 day trip (compared to $219 by organized tours) and we had food and alcohol included, which is not offered by tour companies. Talk to people at your hostel, gather a few people and share the expenses of renting a car!
  • Check the weather forecast before visiting. We had two days of storms and downpour, which would ruin a trip for some people. Having said that, we actually really enjoyed the rain because 1) it was still warm so we walked around in our bathing suits and didn’t mind getting wet, and 2) it meant less people out!
  • Pack running shoes and a light rain jacket.
  • We stayed at the Cape Trib Beach House and it was a great experience! Right on Cape Tribulation, with a lovely common area and a nightly bonfire for all guests!
  • Take your time on highway 44 and make sure to visit Port Douglas on the way! It is the most scenic route with so many opportunities to stop and explore the beaches and viewpoints! It took us 8 hours to do a 3 hour drive, but we made the best memories and the most wonderful photos (below)!
  • As beautiful and inviting as the beaches of Daintree Forest are, unfortunately you can’t go swimming in many because of crocodiles. If you’d like to go for a swim, and I highly recommend that you do, visit the swimming hole for $1 (access from Masons Cafe)
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one of the many scenic stops on Highway 44
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we found so many coconuts on the beach! The boys were so determined to crack them, unfortunately this one was not our best find.
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our little friend taking in the view, thanks to Ellie for the boost!
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stairway to the viewpoint on top of Port Douglas. The highest point was under construction when we visited but even the stairwell was picturesque!
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we met this lovely man and his beautiful painting at Port Douglas. He’s from England and moved to Australia to relax and paint by the beach.
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first views of Daintree Forest from Alexandra Lookout
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Meg and I running with joy on the stunning beaches of Daintree Forest
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we made it to Lookout Point right before the sunset. The sky was gorgeous, the sand was soft, and the group was kind enough to pose for photos!
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story time: on our first night, we were sat at the beach singing to Johan’s guitar when the downpour started. The rain was so heavy that a 10 second walk in it would leave you drenched. So once we were done dancing around in it, we showered and went to bed, but the rain didn’t stop until the next morning around 7AM. That’s when I went for the most peaceful walk of my life! The air was so fresh, the sand was velvety smooth, and I heard nothing but the sounds of the ocean. I was so excited to capture this moment that I drained my battery and by the time we got to the actual forest walks my camera was dead. And to top it all off, the extra battery I had packed was also empty. *continue on next photo…
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…so unfortunately this is the only photo I have from our forest walks. This was the first one we did, called the Dubuji Boardwalk. It felt unreal to be surrounded by so much greenery and wildlife. You can’t really see from the photo but it’s pouring here, which made it even more peaceful as it scared the crowds away and serenaded us with the peaceful sounds of rain.

5 thoughts on “CAIRNS – DAINTREE FOREST & CAPE TRIBULATION

    1. You’re not the only one Dave, many people don’t know about Daintree rainforest! I, myself had doubts about visiting it but I’m SO GLAD I did!!! If you’re ever in the area I highly recommend you to check it out 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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