Daintree River

Near Perfection The Daintree
August 12th

Clouds seem to permanently hover over the Daintree National Park….but a howling wind and drizzling rain was not going to stop Eric and I from fishing. It started out with a rather dismal beginning yet finished perfectly with Eric hooking up a big Barramundi fish. Unfortunately, the Barra decided to flee the scene just as we pulled it up next to the boat. It was probably as surprised to see us as we were it.

I have quickly begun to realise that fishing is one of those things where; “the more you learn about the subject, the more you realise you don’t know.” This actually also applies to nearly all the different natural environments that we have encountered so far on this trip. It is truly a humbling experience to leave the big smoke and find that so many of your city skills are useless in more remote places. The spin-off of this, however, is that it’s incredibly stimulating and rewarding to learn new things and acquire skills in areas where you previously had none.

The wind dropped, the rain vanished, the sunset, the fish fed, and the cows mooed. This is the stuff life is made of.

We scrambled out of the boat at dark and grabbed a coffee at the local Daintree cafe. Would just like to throw in a good word for the town- although it’s only a few shops, restaurants and cafes it is situated right smack on the Daintree forest and river. The timber town has still managed to retain its charm despite the truckloads of tourists passing through.

P.S. If you want to have a real gawk at some crocodiles then this is DEFINITELY the place to do it. Various different organisations cater to the curious crocodile spectator!

(A note from Eric)..Hi, This, in fact, is not the first time that I have written on these pages although it is the first time that I have been public about it. I have promised Sarah that I will from now on make it clear to you all when I do add my bit…hope you like it!

I thought that I might mention that there is one very disappointing element to the ‘world heritage’ listing that this area has recently been given…although the logging is apparently settling down the level of tourism is growing at an astonishing rate…Coined as ‘one of the oldest rainforest wilderness areas in the world’ it appears to me that they should add this the words ‘being developed to extract money from a tourist at the fastest possible rate’.

This at least would give a clearer and more honest picture of what is really happening. On a broader note, I am having trouble with the entire concept of protection with regard to all of the supposed wilderness areas that we have so far visited. It seems to me that the wilderness is not immune to the ravages of greed and commercialisation.
Driving through the mostly pristine rainforest to Cape Tribulation along the Bloomfield Track was our next challenge. As you wind through the magnificent rainforest, you can well see why the construction of the road was the focal point for demonstrations and outrage in 1984. This alternative track to Cooktown passes through virgin land and has scarred its surrounding environment. Makes you question the true pros of development versus the glaringly obvious cons.

The Bloomfield Track is classified “IMPASSABLE” after the rain. Unfortunately, it was raining as Eric and I passed through. We crossed paths with the service station owner from the Aboriginal Community of Wajul Wajul. He had chains on his truck but assured us that we should be able to cross it in our Troop Carrier even though he had already pulled 3 other cars out of trouble and talked about watching many others descending hills sideways!. Seeing as Eric and I both wanted to make it to the Bloomfield River, we pushed on.

It truly is a challenging track in the wet. Where the road normally lay we found walls of mud. We crossed one car that had broken down and another who had turned back because it was too difficult. However, as is the key to success with ALL 4WDriving…..if you walk the car through calmly and steadily you hopefully won’t have too many problems.

After a few nerve-wracking descents down very muddy hills we did reach the Bloomfield River. Unfortunately, there is now a causeway across it, so our excited anticipation of a major river crossing was quashed.

Reminiscing and giggling, at the Lions Den Hotel, over the drastic gradients and muddy slopes we had encountered during the day we confirmed the belief that things are never so bad as they seem…in retrospect!

The Daintree has been our last stop of exploration of rainforest territory, we have now decided to move on to some of the remote parts of the Eastern Cape York Peninsula. We’ll stop next at Cooktown to supply up before heading out into the bush.

On our way to Cooktown, we stopped at a rather profound site called Black Mountain. Along the lines of Uluru and other natural wonders of the world, Black Mountain is a massive mountain of black rocks in the middle of the bush. The Aborigines believe that the mountain was built when two men rivalled each other to win the affection of a girl. It kind of feels uncanny when you stand in front of it…nature never ceases to amaze us!

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