When I was a little girl, (along with many other Aussie kids) I was obsessed with a book called Where the Forest Meets the Sea. I’ve always wanted to visit the famous World Heritage Site this book was based on, Daintree National Park. So when Wally & I had to take forced leave over Christmas we thought, why the hell not? Although not the best time of year to go (according to recommendations) the rainy season hadn’t arrived just yet, so apart from a few showers it was pretty dry. Although, we were constantly damp – whether from the swimming holes we visited or our own sweat, I’m not entirely sure.
We hired a car & drove straight from Cairns to Palm Cove (about half an hour), a super small, touristy town with beautiful beaches next to the mountains. Its a bit more relaxed than Port Douglas – its bigger, more Byron Bay-esque cousin. We managed to find a bar to spend the afternoon & night in, watching the threat of a storm.
After a couple of days of unwinding we continued north, stopping in at Port Douglas to buy some sunnies (I admit we probably didn’t give Port Douglas much time, but we were so keen to get to the forest we only stopped quickly). It was so hot, we decided to pull into Mossman Gorge. First impressions led us to believe it was too touristy and full of people, however after a little bit of hunting, we found a secluded little spot off the beaten track where we could swim without hearing or seeing anyone else. It was so refreshing on such a hot day, fish milling around while I cooled off.
Back on the road, we stopped in at Mossman Woolies to grab a heap of supplies (aka alcohol), crossed the ferry over the Daintree River & on to the most amazing AirBnB I’ve every stayed in! The owner had set up a very sustainable little treasure in Cow Bay, without compromising on comfort! Complete with amazing views, hammocks, coconuts, NBN (!) – this was a haven amongst the trees and we were so happy we chose it, as opposed to the backpackers in Cape Trib! It was enough just to sit on the balcony & take in the views, listening to geckos, frogs & birds as mini storms rolled across the mountains.
Cow Bay was a really nice place to stay – its more residential than Cape Tribulation & the beaches are more secluded. There are also a fair few boardwalks close by & an ice-cream shop. It was a half-hour drive to most places (tours, pubs, restaurants) but its mostly along the coast so it really wasn’t a chore at all!
Our days were filled with zip lining, a particularly spider-filled night rainforest walk, droning around beautiful beaches & exploring the many free boardwalks off the main road. Wally’s been loving the drone & figuring out how to take the best shots, and I’ve loved editing them. It gives us an excuse to find little nooks on our trips that we’d not otherwise bother to find. We’ve made this video below, check it out:
There’s something about being in a rainforest that calms me. Its so noisey and so humid, but I think I was meant to live in the tropics, I just love the sticky heat & cacophony of the forest. We couldn’t swim due to stingers, but the rainforest was nice & cool under the canopy & there were plenty of waterholes to have a dip in.
The Daintree is definitely not for everyone – if you’re not keen on being hot & sweaty & aren’t particularly fond of insects, you might find yourself in some kind of hell. I wouldn’t camp there in the summer, that’s for sure, but perhaps its much cooler in winter. We’ll just have to go back there and find out!