Allie and I both signed up for the same day tour to Daintree Rainforest, Cape Tribulation, and Mossman Gorge. Our tour guide Andy told us a bunch of fun facts about Australia, Queensland, and Cairns, but sadly I don’t remember them. He did explain that the Aussie way of speaking is to drop as many syllables as possible. For example, Australian -> Aussie, mosquito -> mossie, swimming costume (suit) -> cossie. If you’re bitten by a mossie in your cossie, you’re probably an Aussie.
During our morning tea break, I finally tried tim tams, which are chocolate cookies filled with chocolate cream and covered in chcocolate. They melt rather quickly when dunked in tea and give an undeniable sugar high. During our tea break, we saw rain clouds rolling in behind us and Andy told us the race was on.
Our first stop was the Daintree Rainforest where we went on a little walk in the forest. I learned that most rainforest plant leaves have curled tips or some other method to prevent water from collecting on the leaf itself. This is because lichen will grow on anything that is wet. If the leaf remained wet, lichen would grow on the leaf thereby preventing the leaf from photosynthesizing. We also saw a tree with a buttress root system. The roots are really shallow so that they can collect water near the surface of the soil. To prevent the tree from falling, the roots shoot up and and out the ground like a buttress system. Just as we boarded the bus, it started to rain.
We drove to Cape Tribulation where we walked to a lookout and saw great views of the rainforest to the west and the ocean to the right. It’s incredible how the rainforest inches to the edge of its boundaries. Truly a place where the rainforest meets the reef. We even got some sunshine during lunch. By the bathrooms, I saw a HUGE golden orb spider. It’s silk is gold colored. Aussies don’t joke around with their wildlife. Again, right as we got on the bus, it started to rain.
Next stop: Daintree river cruise! We saw two little crocodiles and one larger crocodile sunbathing. Fun fact, crocodiles have a bony scale on their back to protect their underlying tissue and bone. Another big difference between crocodiles and alligators is that crocs have pointed snouts and can inflict a huge amount of pressure. We also saw apple mangroves, which have roots that stick out of the soil. At low tide, the inside of the root dries up, which causes pores to open allowing the roots to “breathe” oxygen. At high tide, the inside becomes wet, allowing the plant to “drink” water. Also saw a little mudskipper!
On our drive out of the rainforest, we stopped by the Daintree Ice Cream Company and I tried a new flavor: wattleseed, which was interesting. The best ice cream flavor was their banana (Char would’ve LOVED it). There were huge chunks of bananas and it was super creamy and banana-y. We went to Mossman Gorge where Allie and I dipped our feet in the ice cold water. It started to rain so we ran back to the bus. The rain finally caught up with us! It was an overall great day with tons of my favorite thing in the world, nature.