There’s a Thesaurus brimming with platitudes to describe Cape Tribulation. I’ll pluck out a few to get us started. Lush. Tranquil. Remote. Tropical. Prehistoric.

I confess, I don’t know what I’m looking at in this World Heritage Rainforest half the time – it’s just so cloaked in lush vegetation. It’s a mesmerising 50 shades of green.

Epiphytes hanging from trees, fan palms filtering sunlight, cool mosses tickling our legs. Dazzling, dripping greenery everywhere we turn. CapeTribulation3

The Daintree rainforest is one of the most unique ecological regions in the world  – thought to be between 150 and 200 million years old. (That makes it an alumni old fellow of Rainforests compared to the kindergarten newbie we know as The Amazon at 7 million year old!). The Daintree Rainforest encases the road through Cape Tribulation – a lush tunnel surrounded by fig trees, ferns and fan palms.


We’re having a true World Heritage fix as this is the only place on earth where 2 World Heritage sites exist side by side – the Daintree and the Great Barrier Reef.

Hanging out in this oldest continuous rainforest it’s easy to see why it’s also afforded World Heritage listing. CapeTribulation2

I scribbled in my notebook a sign that recorded a 1960’s botanical expedition ecologist describing Cape Trib:

the cradle of the new thinking and the new attitudes to Australia’s tropical rainforests.

This rainforest is considered one of the oldest in the world – surviving the ravages of ice ages, volcanoes and changes in sea level. CapeTribulation5

Dripping foliage covers this neck of the woods.

I love standing under Fan Plams, where I can’t help but feel like a cartoon extra in the kids movie “Antz” as I stand under them. They are very groovy looking umbrellas and bring out the kid in me.


Before you set out on a journey you have a vision that inspires you till departure day.

Be it a destination, an experience, or an encounter with someone or something … It inspires and drives you.

For me it was simply this. A notebook on my lap. A camp-chair on the beach. Kids dangling from raintrees and pitching rocks at palm trees to dislodge coconuts. Rainforest bird calls I can’t yet identify, and a rather crisp glass of charrdy nearby.


Cape Tribulation certainly delivered on that dream. Right down to the coconuts. With an extra serving of a spike to husk coconuts and a Tarzan-esque rope swing. And as a value add….a yellow moon rising over a pristine beach, while a warm breeze swirls the scent of reef and bush around us. CapeTribCamping6

We camped at Cape Tribulation Camping for 5 nights …and here’s what we loved about the place:-

–       The communal camp kitchen with a nice communal fire ring nearby

–       The campsite’s proximity to the beach…just a holler and skip down a bush track

–       The coconut spike and husk zone … so cool!

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–       The SandBar … a funky driftwood bar and café … checked out its wood-fired pizzas on our last night and give them the thumbs up!

–       The lovely, welcoming staff … all smiles, all knowledgeable, all relaxed

–       The receeding tide presented wonderful afternoon walks over rockpools …we discovered agitated stingrays whipping their tales (while keeping our distance), sea-stars and sea cucumbers, and a breathtaking view back from the reef to the beach with towering mountains and threatening clouds overhead. CapeTribulation1

Cape Tribulation itself was a smorgasbord of rainforest and beach walks. Tucked away picnic spots. Majestic lookouts. And, quirky characters.

A sinewy bloke in a black akubra belts past me on the beach, a kelpie at his heels and a long pole in his hand. A few hundred metres away, in the sandbar of the receeding reef, he plants the pole and unfurls a pirate flag. Then I spy his son. 12 years old, golf clubs in hand, preparing to tee off in the direction of the flag pole. “Quirky” we folk may say, but it’s a long way to drive to the club house for a kid from the Daintree.

Not such a long drive to the Daintree Ice Cream Company.

They churn out home-made ice-cream from their own tropical orchard. It’d be rude for us not to drop in while we’re in the neighbourhood.

5 days on ‘the Cape” gave us a delightful glimpse into an almost island-like life getting up to stuff like this:- CapeTribCamping4

  • Adding new words to our vocab like ‘refugium’ which describes where a species has survived undisturbed for millions of years
  • Strolling down to the picturesque mouth of the Emmagen Creek
  • Watching the Squids create ladders out of strangler fig scaffolding
  • Chasing after little hiking boot heels and counting epiphytes overhead on the Maardja Botanical Boardwalk
  • Slapping no-see-ums midgies away as we wander past exposed mangrove roots, resembling a lady lifting her skirts as she tiptoes through mud
  • Learning about the aboriginal peoples connection with country at the Jindalba boardwalk CapeTribCamping3

It’s 50 shades of green, 5 days of total rainforest immersion.

And there’s fingernail marks embedded into the trunks of mangroves on the banks of Cape Tribulation. That’s because I never wanted to leave. NEVER. WANTED.TO.LEAVE.

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