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Ageing Traveller Series

The Ageing Traveller series is written by Rose Howell, who has been traveling the world for over 40 years, beginning with New Zealand and then the ‘Hippy trail’ in the 70’s. Her travels have taken her to; Asia, Middle East, UK, Europe, Africa, South America, USA, Canada, China and the Pacific Islands. In total she has visited 67 countries plus all the states of Australia except Western Australia, and her goal is to make the century club. Her passion for travel is documented on her Facebook page.

Click here to find out more about Rose.

Townsville to Cape Tribulation in the Daintree Forest

 

North Queensland map
Photo by Omodei Global Group

Carrying on with our Queensland adventure. Next section was from Townsville to Cape Tribulation on the North East coast of Australia.

Due to time constraints we were unable to stop off and see all the sights. Too much to see and so little time. We will be back.

The region between Townsville and Cairns, features the two world heritage listed areas, the Wet Tropics and the Great Barrier Reef. We travelled here over 20 years ago when our girls were young and experienced snorkelling on the reef. So we didn’t feel we were missing out even though it would have been great to do it again.

The tourist brochures suggest you at least spend a week to explore the tropical coast.
Visitor information to the Tropical North Queensland states; “You can dive the depths of the Great Barrier Reef or soar above the world’s oldest tropical rainforest. Test your nerve at rafting rainforest rivers, be at one with nature in the vast outback, parachute 20,000 feet to an unspoilt beach, find your inner artist learning Aboriginal handicrafts, taste ocean fresh seafood and lost yourself in an island daydream.”
australiantouristpublications.com.au

cairnsgreatbarrierreef.org.au

Our first night was at Fishery Falls caravan park just 37 k’s south of Cairns. It was a gem hidden in a lovely quiet spot off the highway. It was close to all the attractions but far enough to be quiet and peaceful. If we had more time we would have stayed longer. Surrounded by mountains and tropical gardens it was an oasis for birds and butterflies. Fishery creek flows next to the park and as you take a stroll along the path the sound of the falls and birds is very relaxing. There is a pub and coffee shop within walking distance and I believe they have a good happy hour. The park has everything you need plus a swimming pool. It was a bit too cold for me to have a swim.

Fishery Falls Photo by Rose Howell
Fishery Falls Photo by Rose Howell

Cairns city is the heart of Tropical North Queensland and the gateway to Northern Australia. It is modern and a popular base for people who want to explore the surroundings. Personally I prefer Townsville but I appreciate that Cairns position is the best for exploring the area. We only spent an hour or so as we were finding it hard to get a park with the van in tow.

Heading North of Cairns you start to see how thick the rainforest is and how beautiful the beaches are.

Rainforest North of Cairns Photo by Rose Howell
Rainforest North of Cairns Photo by Rose Howell


Beach North of Cairns Photo by Rose Howell

Jasper enjoying a break from the car. Photo by Rose Howell
Jasper enjoying a break from the car. Photo by Rose Howell

Next stopover was Newell Beach Caravan Park just north of Mossman and an hours drive from Cairns.

It was very crowded and we got the last site. Situated across the the road from a beautiful white sandy beach which looks onto the Coral Sea.
It is only 15 mins away from Port Douglas and the Mossman Gorge National park, the Daintree village and rainforest and the Daintree River.
Many of the signs on the beach warn you of croc sightings and to be careful. In particular if you have a dog. I said to my husband, ‘but this is the sea not a river’ and he said they are salt water estuarine crocs which travel from the River to the Sea.

We met an older lady who has seen several in the area. I couldn’t believe that people would build their houses so close to the beach when they have crocs patroling.

Newell Beach. Locals set up. Photo by Rose Howell
Newell Beach. Locals set up. Photo by Rose Howell

Newell Beach. No Crocs today. Photo by Rose Howell
Newell Beach. No Crocs today. Photo by Rose Howell

Newell Beach House. Rose Howell
Newell Beach House. Photo by Rose Howell

Photo by Rose Howell
Photo by Rose Howell

We used Newell Beach as our base for our travel to Port Douglas and Cape Tribulation.
First stop is Port Douglas an hours drive along one of the most spectacular coastlines north of Cairns. When our girls were little we stayed in Port Douglas so this time we just had a quick drive through to check it out. Hasn’t changed a lot, still very busy with tourists. It is an expensive spot to shop and stay so onwards we went. It is close to the famous four mile beach.
If you are interested in making a trip here, check out their website.

Cape Tribulation and the Daintree Forest
This was one of the best experiences of the trip.

The Daintree forest 180 million years in the making.

It is one of the most fascinating and diverse eco-systems on the Earth. It covers an area of 1200 square kilometres and is the largest tropical rainforest in Australia.
The Daintree is one of the few places where the rainforest  meets the reef, but it is its antiquity that really sets it apart. It is the oldest intact lowland tropical rainforest in the world. Thought to be around 180 million years old, it is truly one of Earths most precious, living treasures. To put in context:

  • The Amazon is about seven milliion years old
  • Mossman Gorge and the Kuanda Range are 60-70,000 years old
  • The Palmerston Range near Innisfail is estimated to be 50,000 years old.

Around 120,000 years ago, consecutive ice ages occurred. The rainforest contracted and expanded and animals either adapted to the conditions or disappeared. The Daintree region, which sits within the Wet Tropics, became a refuge for ancient and unique plants and animals.
Within this refuge many species were able to live without reason to change and their descendants today retain many of their primitive characteristics, some dating back 110 million years.
It includes 12 of the 19 primitive flowering plant families and represents the origins of many of Australias most familiar flora.”
discoverthedaintree.com

The highlight of this trip was going to the Daintree Discovery Centre and walking the aerial walkway and the canopy tower.
The Walkway is 11m high and a great spot for viewing all the rainforest plants and if lucky the local fauna. It is very solid and has been built to take wheelchairs and prams.

The Tower is 23m high and is cyclone rated (not that I want to try it out in a cyclone) and has 5 large viewing platforms and you can also get coverage on your phone at the top.
Note: You will lose coverage in the Daintree.

You are given an audio guide which is included in the entry price. This makes it easier to go at your own pace. My favourite section was the Jurassic Forest. The dinosaurs were so life like and the children visiting loved them.

A real snake which took us by surprise. Photo by Rose Howell
A real snake which took us by surprise. Photo by Rose Howell

Didn’t get to see one. Maybe next time. Photo by Rose Howell
Didn’t get to see one. Maybe next time. Photo by Rose Howell

These two meet you at the entrance to Discovery Centre. Photo by Rose Howell
These two meet you at the entrance to Discovery Centre.
Photo by Rose Howell



Dinosaurs at the Discovery Centre. Photos by Rose Howell

Onwards to Cape Tribulation Beach. The Rainforest is thick up here and there are many boardwalks you can go on to explore it.
We stayed in the car because dogs aren’t allowed in the Daintree. Poor Jasper had to spend most of his time in the car whilst we went for short walks. Lucky it wasn’t hot.

A visit to the Daintree Ice Cream Co was a treat. It was established in 1993 and since then it has become a global icon. Most of the ice creams are made from exotic fruits grown in their orchard. Some of them are quite different but very tasty.

When you arrive there is a sign indicating what ice cream flavour has been made that day. You get a ‘4 scoop cup’ of the daily flavors.
The gardens are open to the public and you can wander around the orchard looking for the fruit tree that your ice cream was made from.
Yummy!!!
Daintree Ice Cream Co Photo by www.destinationdaintree.com

Daintree Ice Cream Co Photo by destinationdaintree.com

Mangrove at Cape Tribulation. Photo by Rose Howell
Mangrove at Cape Tribulation. Photo by Rose Howell

Cape Tribulation Beach. Photo by Rose Howell
Cape Tribulation Beach. Photo by Rose Howell

At Cape Tribulation we turned around and headed back. To go on to Cooktown we would have had a rough road trip as it is only suitable for 4 wheel drives and even though we have one we don’t know how to use it. So back the way we came was the order of the day.
We popped into the Daintree Village for a peek and spent an hour or so looking for crocodiles on the river. We did see some but only through the binoculars. It is a nice small village but I have been told it gets really crowded in the tourist season which is July – Sept.

Back to Newell Beach for the night and then it was time to begin the journey back to Mt Isa via Normanton. That is the next part of this journey.

Daintree Village. Photo by Rose Howell
Daintree Village. Photo by Rose Howell

Newell Beach sunset. Photo by Rose Howell
Newell Beach sunset. Photo by Rose Howell

 

 

 


Rose Howell Biography

Rose has been traveling the world for over 40 years, beginning with New Zealand and then the ‘Hippy trail’ in the 70’s. Her travels have taken her to; Asia, Middle East, UK, Europe, Africa, South America, USA, Canada, China and the Pacific Islands. In total she has visited 67 countries plus all the states of Australia except Western Australia, and her goal is to make the century club.
She has taken all kinds of transport and accommodation from budget to luxury. She has travelled through war zones, survived a bus accident in the Andes and visited areas that are no longer available to tourists, such as the Khyber Pass and Bamiyan Statues in Afghanistan.

Rose wants to inspire others to travel and offers free advice to all travellers in particular those who are embarking on their first travel experience. She has a passion for travel and since retiring from an Adult teaching position with TafeSA, has recently resumed clocking up kilometres interstate and overseas.
Her daughters have inherited the travel bug from their parents. The eldest daughter is a travel journalist/documentary maker based in a beautiful area called ‘Byron Bay’ in New South Wales and with her husband, has two globetrotting toddlers who at the age of 5 and 2 also love to travel. Her youngest daughter and fiancé have recently returned from 2 years working and traveling in the UK and Europe. They have only been home a couple of months and are already getting restless. Oh the travel bug!!!!

You can see more of Rose's travels on:
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