After the most confusing checkout in history, where I honestly thought I was about to break the poor guys neck at reception, I finally managed to persuade them that I had been staying there for the last couple of nights and that I had paid for it all and that they were going to look after my bag for a couple of days. I consider myself a morning person but that was vile! I bet that poor guy wished he had called in sick.
After that kafuffle Debbie, my very chirpy tour guide (obviously also a morning person) collect me from the hostel and set me off on my three day/two night adventure in the Daintree Rainforest, the oldest rainforest in the world (or so they tell me).
The bus had three couples and me but Debbie was a great stand in. There was also a lovely Irish couple on board who had me laughing all the way to the rainforest.
Our first stop was a coffee shop where we all paid $4 for a nice cappuccino, only to find out that 20minutes later we were off the bus again and given complimentary tea and coffee! Cheeky would be one word to describe it. Not to worry however, it did give me the chance to sample some Daintree tea which was pretty good if you imagined it was apple juice.
Tea in hand we slid our way down to the river where our Croc boat awaited. A 45minute cruise down the Daintree River to spot some enormous salt water crocodiles. We saw a few spiders and a baby croc in a tree (not where I was expecting to find it to be honest, which did make the rest of the trip a little more exciting and I just didn't know where to look anymore!). The elderly driver kept driving us into the banks to get a close up look at some snakes. Very thoughtful of him but I am not sure the two little girls sitting at the front of the boat were so thankful when the branch dangling just above their heads started stinking its tongue out at them.
Once off the boat and a little disappointed at the lack of lizards we walked made our way over to the Jindalba Botanical Boardwalk in the Daintree Rainforest. A lovely walk where Debbie educated us all on Cassowary spotting, various uses for vines and how to check if a berry is poisonous or not. Apparently you rub it on your wrists. If nothing happens after a day then you rub it on your lip. If no welts have appeared then you rub it on the inside of your lip. Still no swelling then you can try tasting some and spitting it out. By this point it is 5 days later and if you haven't died of starvation before then or killed yourself in the process of testing the berry then you can probably eat it.
By this point I was getting pretty hungry myself so Debbie kindly dropped us off at PK's Jungle village to check in and make ourselves comfortable in our jungle home.
PK was brilliant. I had my own bed in a little air conditioned hut, opposite the swimming pool and next to the bar and restaurant. I know it doesn't sound like the real jungle experience but nothing wrong with bringing it into the 21st century a little. There were still no phone lines, signal, internet or electricity - all run on solar panels so still a little rustic...
I was sharing my room with three other people. Joe and Ellen, lovely English couple who had just graduated from UEA and Francis... who I would get to know a little better later on.
Joe, Ellen and I decided that the sweltering heat called for a swim but rather than dive into our pool we made the 20minute walk to Mason's Watering Hole. It is basically just a little creek down the road, which was not infested with crocodiles or jelly fish. There was an old car tyre nearby which we used to float about it and there were a few ropes tied to some nearby branches. There were many cute little fish bobbing about (not dead just sunbathing) and there was nothing there about from thousands of trees, rocks, water and us. It was stunning.
After half an hour a few more people wandered down to enjoy the shade and cool waters but it still felt incredibly remote and peaceful.
Once we had cooled down and the sun had hidden behind the clouds a little we decided to brave the beach. Myall Beach is a striking beach but unfortunately from December to June it is stinger season so there was no way we could go into the water. The three of us decided that our time would better be spent sitting on the beach for three hours trying to crack open a coconut. It was hilarious. Evolution in reverse. We started by throwing it against other coconuts, then trees, then coral and then we just gave up and used our hands to strip away each layer of skin before I got my pen our, removed the ink and used it as a straw the suck out the milk from the nut. Delicious. Once the nut was empty we easily cracked the rest in half and sat quietly on the shores watching birds and crabs scuttle past as we chewed our coconut slices. Satisfying in so many ways. That is not to say I would go through all that trouble again just for a bit of coconut. If there had been a 'Bounty' lying about I am sure it would have been just as good.
After such an exhausting day there was nothing for it but to end it with a jug of beer, a game of cards and a cool shower before settling into our first night in the rainforest.