Normally, I don't like organised tours, but our choices to get up to Cape Tribulation were very limited: pay $80/day for car rental + fuel + accommodation OR pay $170 each for transport (incl river cruise, guided forest walk & 2 nights @ YHA Cape Beach House). As it turned out, we had a very informative trip up to the Daintree and learned a lot more than if we had gone solo.
Our barefoot, dreadlocked, eco-warrior, female driver, Nicole, provided great running commentary and information on the inhabitants and history of the Daintree area. She spoke about the sugarcane industry and the disastrous introduction of the sugar cane toad which has had devastating effects on the indigenous wildlife. For example, did you know that the cane toad is poisonous in all stages of development: from eggs, to tadpoles to adulthood?
We were taken on a croc-spotting boat-trip up the Daintree River by Captain Crash. I am the self-proclaimed "Crocspotter", having pointed out the locations of several baby crocs on the riverbanks. Poor things, must be so annoying to have boats come up every few minutes and disturb the peace and quiet...
The Daintree Forest is an ancient forest - part of prehistoric Gondwana - special because of the primitive plants found here. 13 of the 19 primitive plant types in the world are found here and reveal how plant life has evolve over millions of years.
The highest concentration of animals anywhere in Australia are found Proximity to the equator means that the mammals are mainly nocturnal creatures to avoid daytime heat.
The Southern Cassowary belongs to the most primitive group of birds. The adult make stands at 1,5m but you need to be weary of the female as she is 1,8-2m in height and quite formidable. Always keep your distance from them as they will defend themselves if they feel threatened. They have very long, sharp claws which can slice you open like a steak knife. 99% of their diet is fruit-based, which makes them a very important part of the forest Eco-system. However, they are highly endangered animals and sightings in the wild are not that common. We didn't come across any.
We finally arrived at our accommodation - Cape Trib Beach House. Right on the beach and in the densest jungle I have ever been in with a refreshing pool and great cafe. We met 2 lovely Swiss women and had dinner in the hostel kitchen and then to bed for an early night.