13 June 2011

13th June 2011 - Wonga Beach (again)

Cape Tribulation: are there enough superlatives in the English language to do justice to this area?  When the statistics are studied, your mind becomes boggled by just how diverse and unique is the flora, fauna and anything and everything else is.
The Daintree is the only place in the world where two pristine World Heritage Listed wonders meet: the Wet Tropics and the Great Barrier Reef.  It should also be noted that the Wet Tropics is the only site in the world that meets all four criteria inscribed on the World Heritage listing.
·         It provides outstanding examples of ongoing environmental processes.
·         It represents a major stage of the earth’s evolutionary history.
·         It contains the highest quality of natural occurrences and areas of natural beauty.
·         It contains the most important natural area for the conservation of the variety of life.
The Daintree forests are the oldest continually surviving tropical rainforests on earth.
Of the 19 primitive flowering plant families on Earth, 12 are found in the Daintree. Similar figures apply when discussing the area’s fauna.
·         Capt Cook discovered what is now Australia about 240 years ago.
·         William the Conqueror invaded England about 1000 years ago.
·         The crucifixion took place about 2000 years ago.
·         Palmerston Range (Innisfail) Rainforest is about 50,000 years old.
·         The Amazon jungle is about 7,000,000 (7 million) years old.
·         Daintree is about 110 to 200 million years old.
As awesome as these sterile statistics are, sitting above them is the simple but overwhelming beauty of the place.
From when you cross the Daintree River by ferry, it is 35 km to the end of the tar – from there it becomes an increasingly 4WD only type track.  We drove to this point so that we could see, and stand on the ‘real deal’, actual factual’ Cape Tribulation. Step from the rainforest straight onto a beautiful tropical beach. There are hundreds of places north of Cardwell where this task can be achieved, but there is only one Cape Tribulation!
 Cape Tribulation Beach
 Duh! so tell me something I didn't know

We gradually worked and walked our way back, stopping at the numerous boardwalks that wind and wend their way through the different types of rainforest.

Eventually we got back to the “Discovery Centre” and where we were totally gobsmacked. They take you via boardwalks and a quite tall tower from the base, to the top of the rainforest – and keep you enthralled every step of the way. There are explanatory signs, information sheets, recorded guidelines and info, pictures and videos to ensure that you come away with a head not just full of knowledge, but of real understanding.  It took us 4 hours to complete the various paths and tracks.

 View from the tower

We also had a good day out at the Hartley Crocodile Farm. More crocs than you can poke a dead chook at, and the guides have really got there act sorted out so that it is informative but also very funny.
 Big Ted - 2nd biggest Croc in captivity @ 5.4 mtres
Freshwater Crocs

Amazing to think that the human jaw can exert a pressure of 180 psi, a lion can do 600 psi, but a croc has up to 3000 psi!  Once they get their teeth into you they won’t let go – I know some salespeople like that.  Despite surviving for millions of years, their brain is smaller than a chicken egg – I also know some salespeople like that.
Bart the croc has been doing this every day for twenty years, but still does his best to eat the guys.

This weekend in Queensland is like everywhere in Oz. Cars are packed, trailers loaded and hitched up and everyone heads to ??????? wherever, to celebrate the Queen’s birthday.  You see groups of good folks standing around singing “Happy birthday, dear queen, happy birthday to you”. Well, that’s what I thought they were doing.
I’ve just been told by Shirl that they’re really just swapping stories about what happened to them as they drove to ???????? and set up camp.
Firstly, the trailer had sat out the side of the garage for so long that the wheel bearings gave up about 20km from home. Then when they finally got to the campsite, the tent was covered in mould and the stitching had rotted.  The pots, pans and BBQ were all rusted, and the gas tank was empty. The airbeds had holes, and one of the  #$%&* kids had pinched all the fishing line.
But, like every year a lot of fun will be had by all.
road between Mossman and Croc Farm
Off the Mossman Gorge today.

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