Sunday, July 29, 2012

Postcards from Far North Queensland

DH (Dear Husband) and I flew up to Cairns last month, enroute to Port Douglas, for the annual Returned Services League (RSL) Annual Congress, as he is our Caloundra RSL Sub-Branch President and a Delegate to the State RSL Council. Neither of us had been to Port Douglas before so we were very much looking forward to the trip as we had heard so much about the beauty of Port Douglas and it did not disappoint.

We flew from Brisbane to Cairns with our friends Barb and Greg. Barb is the alternative Delegate to State Council for the Sub-Branch. Once we got all the luggage packed in to the hire car we headed north, with plenty of time to spare as we could not check in to the Sheraton at Port Douglas until that afternoon. So we went exloring and went up to Mossman Gorge, just north of Port Douglas.

Mossman Gorge is in the southern end of the world heritage-listed Daintree National Park and is pristine rainforest. This rainforest is the largest area of tropical rainforest in Australia and spans
120 000 hectares. Daintree National Park has the last remnant of the oldest surviving rainforest in the world so it is a very special area.

We were very lucky in our timing of visiting the Gorge as the Mossman Gorge Centre had just been open a couple of days and is a lovely complex to visit. It is a new Indigenous eco tourism development  It houses a visitor's centre including an art gallery and shop, national park ranger offices, educational facilitie and a cafe.

We caught a bus up to the Gorge itself for a bargain of $4 each return, driven by one of the local Kuku Yalanji guides who gave us a really interesting talk about the Gorge. Once we got to the Gorge we went on a rainforest walk up to the actual Gorge itself. If you had more time than we had, you can pay to go on a Guided Walk with one of the Kuku Yalanji guides.

Here's some photos of the Gorge, with the first one being a Welcome Sign showing some of the local wildlife residents:

Set up above the floor of the rainforest is a boardwalk, thus protecting the vegetation and wildlife:

After about 5 minutes' walk you come to a landing and look down on a small group of rocks with crystal clear water flowing over them, complete with a beautiful staghorn up in a tree (staghorns abound in the rainforest):

Once you leave that lookout, you descend down in to the actual Gorge itself. The next photo is not the best but it does reflect the size of the rocks, the clear water as well as the brilliant light that can be seen in the base of the Gorge.

I can't not include a front-on photo of DH. Here he is ascending up from the rainforest floor, along with Barb (I skipped that bit of the walk, thinking that I would have to cross a creek and not wanting to slip, not knowing ... duh ... that there would be a bridge over the creek ... ):

Lastly, here is a photo of the Visitors' Centre, taken as we were leaving. I just loved the lights in the ceiling that looked like butterflies: