Thursday, August 25, 2011

Cairns Part II: Welcome to the Jungle

The latter part of our Cairns adventure was land-based and took us to the Daintree Rainforest region. Up there we hiked through the jungle and took a river cruise to see the abundant wildlife and verdant scenery.

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One thing that is commonplace up there that we do not have in Sydney is the saltwater crocs. These can grow up to 24 feet long and inhabit most of the waterways and beaches. In fact, there were signs at all of these areas warning you of the danger posed. Glad I don't have to worry about that every time we go out in the water down in Sydney.
Croc entering the water
No one volunteered to go in to find him

Go ahead and take a swim, what are the odds...?

And, if you weren't put off by the "Croc Danger" signs, they were often accompanied by the Box Jellyfish Warning signs at all the beaches. Mother Nature simply does not want you in the water.

If the crocs don't get you, the jellyfish are waiting

The crocs were evident on the river cruise we took and we spotted several lying on the muddy riverbanks. There was also abundant bird species around the Daintree River, some of which got the birders we were on the cruise with into a stir of excitement.

Heron in flight

Azure Kingfisher, got the birders really excited

Once we retreated to the jungle to hike around (where only spiders and snakes are out to get you), we were treated to old-growth forest as well as the apparently croc-free Mossman Gorge river. If you were wondering what differentiates a rain forest from a regular forest, the answer is of course: the rain. In the Daintree region, they measure the annual rainfall in meters, rather than most places, where it is measures in centimeters. We were told that in the last year, they had 4 meters of rainfall. That is higher than a basketball hoop.

We had a great time up there, it was nice to get away from the city/suburbs and to escape into untouched wilderness. Time to start planning the next adventure!

River running through the Mossman Gorge

This tree could have supported an Ewok village

Daintree River, beautiful scenery

Mangroves lined one side of the river, rain forest was on the other

Lush rain forest running all the way down to the ocean

Butterfly in the jungle, possibly the only thing that is not plotting your demise

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