A Travellerspoint blog

September 2012

SS Yongala

Internationally acclaimed wreck dive

sunny 29 °C

The passenger ship SS Yongala was built in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, from 1902-1903. It was launched on 29 April 1903 and commissioned, along with a sister-ship Grantala, by the Adelaide Steamship Co, to meet the demand of the Gold Rush coastal routes around Australia in the early 1900s. En route from Melbourne to Cairns she steamed into a cyclone without a radio and sank south of Townsville on 23 March 1911. Traces of the ship were found days later as cargo and pieces of wreckage washed ashore, but no live rafts were found suggesting that the ship struck a reef and the ship sank almost immediately. All 122 people on board perished in what is considered one of the most tragic incidents in Australian maritime history. The only body ever found was that of the racehorse Moonshine that was on board, washed up at the mouth of Gordon Creek, not far from Ross Creek, Townsville. In the years that followed the disappearance of the Yongala, rumours began to surface about a ghost ship, exactly resembling the Yongala, being frequently seen moving in the distance in seas between Bowen and Townsville. It was only in 1958 that the wreck of the Yongala was discovered lying in waters south of Townsville, and it has since become renowned as an internationally acclaimed wreck diving destination.

I dived on the Yongala in 1998 as part of a 3 night live aboard dive trip out of Townsville and I remember it to be one of my best diving experiences. I was therefore keen to get back on the wreck and decided to do it from Ayr which is a shorter trip to get to the wreck than from Townsville. The dive boat launched from Alva Beach which is a 15 minute drive from Ayr, where we were staying, and reached the wreck 45 mintes later after a very rough ride to allow us to do two dives with a surface interval of an hour.

The Yongala lies in approximitely 30 meters of water with the upper sections of the wreck 16 meters below the surface. The wreck is 109 meters long and lays listing to starboard at an angle of about 60-70 degrees. This enchanted wreck has become home to an incredible array of marine life. As we decended to the wreck we saw giant gropers beneath the stern; schools of giant trevally and barracuda congregated around the wreck whilst sea snakes glided harmlessly past us on their way to the surface. We spotted many gracefully rays gliding past us and thousands of other creatures on the coral-encrusted structure. The wreckage is completely covered by a hundred years of coral growth but Cyclone Yasi has taken its toll on the Yongala with corals ripped from the wreckage, exposing the steel hull and the name. Penetration of the wreck is forbidden due to its fragility, but you can peer in from outside with a torch. It felt a little eerie diving on what is fundamentally a graveyard, although the only trace of human remains is the single femur bone that can be seen in the forward cargo hold. As we ascended to cover the port side, it was possible to peer into the bowels of the wreck to observe the cast-iron bath and toilets decorated with anemone, before gliding past the First Class dining-room which is now a huge coral grotto.

For me the Yongala has again lived up to its reputation as the best dive in Australia and one of the top 10 dives in the world and I recommend any diver not to miss it when visiting the Townsville/Ayr area or diving the Great Barrier Reef. Top 10 best dive sites in the world

Tomorrow we will travel further south to Airlie Beach from where we will explore the Whitsunday Islands and hopefully do a couple of dives there as well.

large_Spectacular_wreck.jpg
Spadefish

Spadefish

Snubnose Pompano

Snubnose Pompano

Six-banded Angelfish

Six-banded Angelfish

Humphead Wrasse

Humphead Wrasse

Giant Trevally

Giant Trevally

Black-blotched Stingray

Black-blotched Stingray

Black-blotched Stingray gliding over the wreck

Black-blotched Stingray gliding over the wreck

Black-blotched Stingray

Black-blotched Stingray

Barracuda

Barracuda

SS Yongala

SS Yongala

Colorful soft corals

Colorful soft corals

Coral Grouper

Coral Grouper

Exposed by Yasi

Exposed by Yasi

Posted by KobusM 00:35 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Townsville

Unofficial capital of Northern Queensland

sunny 30 °C

The drive from Mission Beach to Townsville was interesting, with the landscape changing from wet rainforests to tropical savanna. Townsville is adjacent to the central section of the Great Barrier Reef and it is in the dry tropics region of Queensland.

We checked into the Rowes Bay Caravan Park, which is on the beachfront close to the city. The Strand area is just a couple of kilometers from the caravan park and is a nice place to visit but whilst we have been in town signs have been posted on the Rowes Bay and Strand beaches advising of the presence of a Red Tide or trichodesmium algae. The views from Castle Hill, the monolith towering over Townsville CBD, are stunning with Magnetic Island in the distance. Magnetic Island was named by Captain James Cook because of the apparent "magnetic" effect it had on his ship's compass as he passed the island when sailing up the east coast of Australia in 1770. Downtown Townsville reminds us of Fremantle with lots of colonial architecture close to the harbour.

I visited Townsville 14 years ago to do my first live aboard dive trip to the Great Barrier Reef and the city has grown considerably since then. Townsville is Australia's largest urban center north of the Sunshine Coast, with an estimated population of 186,000. Considered the unofficial capital of North Queensland, Townsville hosts a significant number of governmental, community and major business administrative offices for the northern half of the state but is also a vibrant tourist destination. Townsville enjoys on average 320 days of sunshine in a year.

From Townsville we will travel south to Ayr from where I will do a day trip to do wreck dives on the SS Yongala, regarded as one of the best dives in the world.

Views of Magnetic Island from Castle Hill

Views of Magnetic Island from Castle Hill


Townsville CBD from Castle Hill

Townsville CBD from Castle Hill

Magnetic House

Magnetic House

Molly Malones Hotel

Molly Malones Hotel

Old Brewery

Old Brewery

Townsville architecture

Townsville architecture

Townsville harbour

Townsville harbour

Posted by KobusM 22:44 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Mission Beach and Alison Reef

Recovering from Cyclone Yasi

sunny 30 °C

From Wooroonooran National Park we travelled down to the coast to Mission Beach and camped at the Beachcomber Caravan Village on the beachfront at South Mission Beach.

Mission Beach suffered a direct hit from category 5 Cyclone Yasi on 2 February 2011. Cyclone Yasi left a trail of destruction from Cairns to Townsville but the worst affected areas were around Mission Beach. Now, a year and a half later, some of the damage is still visable and many people are struggling to rebuild their lives and local businesses say they've been crippled by the loss of tourist infrastructure that hasn't been replaced, for example on Dunk Island. We saw many houses with shipping containers in the garden or in the garage, the only secure way to sit out a tropical storm of that magnitude. The storm caused an estimated 3.6 billion dollars in damage, making it the costliest tropical cyclone to hit Australia on record.

Mission Beach is a tourist town that has been able to maintain its small town feel. One reason for this is that the town is spread out along a thin strip of land between the ocean and the hills and farmland behind. This has spread out a large tourism market, and the village doesn't feel as busy as one might expect. We had a nice beachfront site 50 meters from the beach with views of the Coral Sea, Dunk Island and Bedarra Island.

I did a half-day dive trip to Alison Reef on the outer Great Barrier Reef with Calypso Adventures. It was not as spectacular as the Ribbon Reefs or Osprey Reef but there were lots of small creatures to observe. The Great Barrier Reef is only 38 kilometres from Mission Beach, thus making it the closest mainland point to the Great Barrier Reef at just over an hour away. The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system. Stretching for over 2300 kilometres along the Queensland coast, it is comprised of approximately 2900 individual reefs and over 900 sand cays and islands.

Tomorrow we will travel down to Townsville.

South Mission Beach

South Mission Beach


Dunk and Bedarra Islands

Dunk and Bedarra Islands


Cyclone Yasi damage

Cyclone Yasi damage


Blue Damselfish

Blue Damselfish


Blue Starfish

Blue Starfish

Damselfish on lovely coral

Damselfish on lovely coral

Blue Christmasworm

Blue Christmasworm


Blue staghorn coral

Blue staghorn coral

Posted by KobusM 04:05 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Wooroonooran National Park

Palmerston section

sunny 28 °C

From Cairns we travelled back up to the Atherton Tablelands on a very steep and winding road through the rainforests and camped at Henrietta Creek in the Palmerston section of the Wooroonooran National Park. This large park is in the heart of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area (WTWHA) and the Henrietta Creek campground is nestled in the rainforest next to the Henrietta Creek. From here you can go for walks in the rainforest and try to spot platypus in the creek or cassowary in the forest. We were not so lucky to spot either cassowary or platypus, but we saw cassowary poo, the size of a man’s foot and we were both grateful they can’t fly.

The 5 km return walking track to Nandroya Falls took us through ancient rainforests, past Silver Falls and past towering buttressed trees and huge ferns before we reached Nandroya Falls where we relaxed and I cooled off in the plunge pool. Another 2 km return walking track close by took us through the rainforest to two beautiful waterfalls, Tchupala and Wallicher.

From here we continued our journey south to the coast to camp at Mission Beach.

Henrietta Creek

Henrietta Creek


Henrietta Creek campsite

Henrietta Creek campsite

Rainforest walk

Rainforest walk

Hideaway tree

Hideaway tree

Butterfly

Butterfly

Rainforest flowers

Rainforest flowers

Reaching for light

Reaching for light

Silver Falls

Silver Falls

Nandroya Falls

Nandroya Falls

Tchupala Falls

Tchupala Falls

Wallicher Falls

Wallicher Falls


Scenic drive

Scenic drive

Posted by KobusM 19:05 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Far Northern Great Barrier Reef and Osprey Reef

Adventure live aboard diving

semi-overcast 28 °C

Finally I boarded the live aboard boat named Spoilsport, departing from Cairns for a four day diving cruise on the far northern Great Barrier Reef and Osprey Reef. Lorraine did not join me as she is not a scuba diver and she stayed behind in Cairns to catch up with her studies. I did a similar three day live aboard trip from Townsville in 1998 with the same operator, Mike Ball Dive Expeditions, and it was the best diving experience I have had. I was looking forward to this trip for a long time. We left Cairns late on Thursday afternoon and the first evening was spent meeting everybody during drinks and snacks as well as briefings on the dives we are going to do over the next three days. Spoilsport is a twin hull, 30 x 10 m boat that cruises at 15 knots and carries maximum 23 passengers, mostly advanced divers, but on this trip we were only 16 divers.

I woke up early on Friday morning and I had a feeling of excitement as we cruised north in the shelter of the Great Barrier Reef. On deck we were greeted by the fabulous turquoise waters of the Ribbon Reefs. To port I recognised Cape Bedford and Cape Flattery and to starboard are the reefs and the vastness of the Coral Sea. Our first dives were at Cod Hole at the northern tip of the 10th Ribbon Reef. We dived with small diver size potato cod and spend the rest of the dive amongst shallow sunlit coral gardens of acropora coral and ventured deeper into the parallel gullies forming the front of the reef where huge Queensland groupers face into the current. These were many white tip reef sharks lying calmly on the sandy patches between the reefs.

After the dives at Cod Hole we moved down a few kilometers to the southern part of the 10th Ribbon Reef and did an afternoon and night dive at Gotham City, named after the many batfish that hang around the area. Gliding along, surrounded by schools of silver trevally, surgeon fish and yellow striped bream we explored pristine coral gardens in excellent visibility, except for the night dive of course.

That concluded our Great Barrier Reef dives and we departed for Osprey Reef in the Coral Sea and cruised out of the protection of the barrier reef into the open ocean. It was quite a bumpy and rocky night but I arrived at Osprey Reef without any sighs of sea sickness. Osprey Reef — a good example of an isolated oceanic reef — is located within the Coral Sea Islands Territory, situated around 330 km northeast from Cairns, Queensland. It lies some 125 km east from the Great Barrier Reef and 220 km due east from Queensland's Cape Melville. It is the northernmost reef on the Coral Sea Shelf. The reef is roughly oval in shape, measuring 25 km in length and up to 12 km in width, covering around 195 km². The lagoon, which is up to 30 m deep, is nearly completely enclosed, except for a narrow pass on its western side. The beak-like feature at the north end of Osprey Reef is known as North Horn.

We did a couple of dives at Fairy Grotto and Halfway, both fantastic dive sites with more than 30 meter visibility with spectacular walls disappearing to 1000 meters. The afternoon we cruised to a dive site called Admiralty Anchor, named after an anchor that is visible in one of the swim through tunnels. We again did an afternoon and a night dive. The following morning we did a very unique dive with Nautilus, made possible by two of the divers who are from the University of Cumbria and are busy doing research on Nautilus, which is considered to be a living fossil. These amazing creatures were around before the time of the dinosaurs and are still surviving without the need to evolve. The scientists trapped 14 nautiluses overnight in cages with chicken bait. Nautilus lives between 500-800 meters deep and ascent at night to about 40 meters to feed. Unfortunately their numbers are dwindling due to the trade in their beautiful shells. After the scientists did their measurements and took DNA samples, we took the Nautiluses with us on the dive to handle them underwater and photograph them. Afterwards they were released into the deep unscathed. What a unique opportunity to dive with these living fossils!

The next morning we cruised to the most northern point of Osprey Reef called North Horn and did an amazing shark feed dive. A bucket filled with fish heads was lowered to the reef where we all had taken up ring side "seats" in a natural amphitheater. Even before the bucket was lowered many sharks, mostly white tip and grey reef sharks, a potato cod and other predator fish were circling amongst us in anticipation of the feed. The numbers grew when the bucket was lowered and when it was finally opened remotely by one of the instructors it rapidly changed to a feeding frenzy with all the sharks having a frantic go at the fish heads. I estimate there must have been at least twenty to thirty sharks participating in the feed. Another amazing dive!

The last two dives were also on Osprey Reef called False Entrance and the coral and sheer walls that plummet to 1000 meters were just amazing. We glided past huge black coral trees, diver size soft coral trees and golden gorgonian fans. We saw huge schools of Bigeye Trevally (Jacks or Kingfish) and Bigeye Barracuda. Some divers saw a manta ray and there were many white-tip reef sharks around too.

That evening we celebrated the conclusion of a very enjoyable dive trip with an Aussie Barbeque and cruised overnight to Lizard Island in the Great Barrier Reef where we took a low level flight over the Great Barrier Reef back to Cairns.

Spoilsport

Spoilsport


Great Barrier Reef map

Great Barrier Reef map


Me in my favourite position

Me in my favourite position

Pristine corals

Pristine corals

Crescent-tail Bigeyes

Crescent-tail Bigeyes

Domino fish on an anemone

Domino fish on an anemone

Clown Triggerfish

Clown Triggerfish

Double-saddled butterfly fish with sharks in the background

Double-saddled butterfly fish with sharks in the background


Batfish

Batfish


Nautilius

Nautilius

Admiring Nautilus

Admiring Nautilus

Osprey Reef shark feed spectacular

Osprey Reef shark feed spectacular

Shark feed, Osprey Reef

Shark feed, Osprey Reef

Shark feed frenzy

Shark feed frenzy

Potato Cod at cleaning station

Potato Cod at cleaning station

Colourful coral

Colourful coral

Lovely soft corals at Osprey Reef

Lovely soft corals at Osprey Reef

Bigeye Trevally

Bigeye Trevally

Bigeye Barracuda

Bigeye Barracuda

Aussie barbeque

Aussie barbeque

Lizard Island

Lizard Island


Ribbon reefs

Ribbon reefs

Posted by KobusM 03:00 Archived in Australia Comments (2)

Cairns and Kuranda

Far northern tropical Queensland

semi-overcast 28 °C

Cairns is the first city we visit since we have been in Darwin three months ago and it feels like the "big smoke" after our bush trips to Cobourg Peninsula, the Red Centre and Cape York Peninsula. Cairns is a lush tropical city with a population of about 180,000 and is located 1,000 km south of Cape York and 1,700 km north of Brisbane. When gold was discovered at the Palmer River, east of Cooktown in 1872, thousands of miners arrived beginning a rush that would see Cairns eventually established in 1876.

Yesterday we went on a day trip to Kuranda, taking the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway to Kuranda and travelling back to Cairns on the Kuranda Scenic Railway. The Skyrail Cableway spans 7.5 km over a pristine rainforest which allows you to explore the wonders of this ancient tropical rainforest and learn about one of the most botanically fascinating and diverse areas on earth. You glide just meters above the rainforest canopy before descending through the canopy layers and deep into the heart of the forest at Skyrail’s two rainforest mid-stations, Red Peaks and Barron Falls. At each of these stations you are allowed to alight to explore the rainforest. At Red Peaks you can view the 400 year old Kauri Pine and many other rainforest plants. Barron Falls is just a trickle in the dry season but a raging torrent in the wet. From Barron Falls, the Skyrail experience continues through the mountains before gliding over the mighty Barron River and arriving at Skyrail’s Kuranda Terminal. Kuranda is a quaint little village with many tourist attractions, shops and restaurants to spend the rest of the day before departing on the Kuranda Scenic Railway trip back to Cairns in the afternoon. We visited Bird World and Koala Gardens and both were worth the visit, especially enjoying the interaction with the birds and watching the koalas' antics as some of them were quite active for koalas. We departed from Kuranda after a delightful day for our 90 minute return to Cairns. The locomotive power at the head of the train was a 1720 Class Diesel Electric Locomotive and the passenger carriages comprised of heritage style carriages. We spoiled ourselves and travelled Gold Class with a dedicated host service and individual seating in lounge-style chairs. The historical décor, including timber look flooring, historical photographs and cedar interior enhances the experience complemented by quality refreshments whilst enjoying the spectacular scenery as the historic Kuranda Scenic Railway meanders through the ancient rainforest and past two waterfalls to Cairns. This was a memorable day and highly recommended when you visit Cairns.

This afternoon I will depart on a 4 night live aboard dive expedition to the far northern Ribbon Reefs in the Great Barrier Reef as well as Osprey Reef in the Coral Sea whilst Lorraine plans to catch up with her studies. I suspect she is relieved to see me go on a trip for the first time this year. I will log this dive trip as a separate blog.

From Cairns we will travel inland to the tablelands for a while, past the crater lakes to Wooroonooran National Park.

Skyrail

Skyrail


400 Year old Kauri Pine

400 Year old Kauri Pine

Strangler fig

Strangler fig

Barron Falls

Barron Falls

Barron River

Barron River

Kuranda Hotel

Kuranda Hotel

Alexandrine Parrot

Alexandrine Parrot

Eclectus Parrot

Eclectus Parrot

Cassowary

Cassowary

Indian Ringneck

Indian Ringneck

Macaw Parrot

Macaw Parrot

Rainbow Lorikeet

Rainbow Lorikeet

Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo

Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo

Friendly Alexandrine Parrot

Friendly Alexandrine Parrot

Long neck turtles

Long neck turtles

Koala gym

Koala gym

Kuranda Railway

Kuranda Railway

Maginficent views

Maginficent views

Posted by KobusM 14:57 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

Agincourt Reef, Great Barrier Reef

World heritage underwater paradise

overcast 27 °C

I did a one day dive trip with ProDive from Port Douglas to the southern part of the Ribbon Reefs in the Great Barrier Reef, known as Agincourt reef. ProDive uses an ultra modern 29 metre catamaran called SilverSonic that cruises to the outer edge reef locations at Agincourt ribbon reef in superb style and comfort in just under an hour and a half. thye sea was very rough on the way to the reef and on the way back but the water was much calmer at the reef.

Agincourt Reef is at the very outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef about 20 nautical miles due east of Cape Tribulation and about 40 nautical miles from Port Douglas. Here, special reefs known as ‘ribbons’ run parallel to the Continental Shelf. Adjacent to the Coral Sea trench, these ribbon reefs are recognised as the most pristine eco-systems in the reef’s environment. Clear water provides the best possible underwater visibility, encourages rich coral growth and supports spectacular marine life.

Entering the dramatic beauty of the Great Barrier Reef is an extraordinary experience. It engages all your senses, lifts your spirit and takes you into another realm. My last dive on the Great Barrier Reef was in 1998 and I have forgotten how magnificent it is. We did 3 dives on three different sites on the reef and I enjoyed every minute of it. The day trip was intended as a refresher of my underwater photography skills that I will need when I do a 4 night live-aboard trip to the far northern Ribbon Reefs and Osprey Reef later in the week from Cairns. I also bought a new mask with stick-on bifocal lenses to allow me to see my gauges and my camera settings but they were not succesful, coming loose under water. All three dives were very nice, the first around a bommy, the second a drift dive and the third on the edge of the continental shelf. The most amazing sighting of fish was a huge local resident Napoleon Wrasse called Greg, that is is very tame and is a great model for photography. The Napoleon Wrasse is also called a Maori Wrasse here in Australia and the males can reach 2 meters in length and Greg is close to that.

On 4 September 2006, entertainer Steve Irwin a.k.a. "Crocodile Hunter" died at Batt Reef, off Port Douglas, after a stingray barb went through his chest into his heart while Irwin and his crew were filming a documentary called The Ocean's Deadliest. Irwin was filmed snorkelling directly above the stingray when it lashed him with its tail, embedding its toxic barb. Irwin died almost immediately. We only saw small stingrays on these dives but I must admit I have previously dived directly over huge stingrays before this incident with Steve. I will obviously not do that again.

SilverSonic

SilverSonic


Greg and I

Greg and I

Who's following me?

Who's following me?

Tame as a pet

Tame as a pet

Maori Wrasse

Maori Wrasse

Agincourt Reef

Agincourt Reef

Anemone Fish

Anemone Fish

Barracuda

Barracuda

Cuttle Fish

Cuttle Fish

Pristine corals

Pristine corals

Snorkellers

Snorkellers

Potato Rockcod

Potato Rockcod

Coral Rockod

Coral Rockod


Unicornfish  silhoutte

Unicornfish silhoutte

Posted by KobusM 01:58 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Port Douglas

Nestled between two world heritage areas

sunny 29 °C

From Cape Tribulation we travelled south to Port Douglas, stopped at Mount Alexander lookout for a magnificent view of the Coral Sea and the lush tropical rainforests along the coastline before we crossed the Daintree River by vehicle ferry.

Port Douglas is a picturesque seaside holiday village nestled between two world heritage areas: the crystal blue waters of the Great Barrier Reef and the rich green of the Wet Tropics rainforests. Port Douglas shares the same latitude as Tahiti or Angoche, Mozambique and is justifiably recognized internationally as one of Australia’s best holiday destinations. This sleepy fishing village has been tastefully transformed into the sophisticated yet casual playground of Far North Queensland’s most discerning visitors with many upmarket resorts in town, mainly along Four Mile Beach.

We stayed in Pandanus Caravan Park which is a comfortable nice van park and we enjoyed the luxuries of electricity, water on tap, clean amenities and good mobile internet coverage that was mostly unavailable during our trip in the Cape York Peninsula. The Marina in Port Douglas is home to many luxurious yachts and nice restaurants. We had lunch at Lures, at the Marina, and the food was nice and prices decent. The Sunday markets in Port Douglas are very popular and they are held right on the waterfront, next to the quaint little St Mary's on the Sea chapel.

Tomorrow I will do a one day dive trip with ProDive from Port Douglas to the southern part of the Ribbon Reefs in the Great Barrier Reef, known as Agincourt reef (see next blog entry)

From Port Douglas we will travel 70 km south to Cairns and stay there for seven days.

Mount Alexander Lookout

Mount Alexander Lookout

Port Douglas Marina

Port Douglas Marina

Four Mile Beach wind surfing

Four Mile Beach wind surfing

Four Mile Beach

Four Mile Beach

Port Douglas

Port Douglas

St Mary's by the Sea

St Mary's by the Sea


Inside of St Mary's by the Sea

Inside of St Mary's by the Sea

Sunday markets in Port Douglas

Sunday markets in Port Douglas

Posted by KobusM 00:47 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Daintree National Park

Lush tropical rainforests

semi-overcast 29 °C

We travelled south from Cooktown to Cape Tribulation and had a brief stop at Black Mountain National Park to take photos of the spectacular treeless mountain with its huge black boulders. From there we took the coastal shortcut through Bloomfield, crossing the Bloomfield River at Wujal Wujal. Up to Wujal Wujal the road was mostly sealed and the unsealed parts fairly good. That changed rapidly once we crossed the Bloomfield River. The road, called the Bloomfield Track, was narrow, very rough in places, winding through the rainforest and crossed numerous creeks with many very steep hills that took all the power of the Land Cruiser to tow the Quantum to the top without having to change to 4WL. The downhills were just as hairy and I was glad the Quantum had electric brakes. It is not the worst track we have travelled, but certainly the steepest.

We camped at Noah Beach, 7 km south of Cape Tribulation in the Daintree National Park for five nights. The campsite is situated 50 m from the beach beneath the dense rainforest canopy, which gives protection from both the wind and the sun, but that makes the use of solar panels more restrictive. We often saw lace monitors (goannas) and brush turkeys patrolling the campgrounds for food scraps.

Daintree National Park features long sandy beaches, rocky headlands, steep mountain ranges blanketed with dense tropical rainforests and intersected by numerous creeks and rivers. One of Australia's last extensive stands of lowland rainforest is found here. Daintree National Park is in the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area (WTWHA). Proclaimed in 1988, the WTWHA extends for about 450 km between Cooktown and Townsville. Vegetation in the area's 900,000 ha includes tropical rainforest, open eucalypt forests, wetlands and mangrove forests. About 30% of Australia's reptile, marsupial and frog species, 65% of the country's bat and butterfly species, and 20% of Australia's native bird species can be found within the Daintree National Park. The Daintree Rainforest is the largest rainforest in Australia, covering an area of about 1,200 square kilometers. Around Cape Tribulation there are two boardwalk tracks that give you easy access to experience the rainforest.

Cape Tribulation was given its European name by Lieutenant James Cook after his ship, Endeavour, was damaged on a reef in the area in 1770. Cook wrote: 'I named the north point Cape Tribulation because here began all our troubles'.

From Noah Beach we travelled south through large parts of the Daintree rainforest and crossed the Daintree River by ferry on our way to Port Douglas.

Black Mountain

Black Mountain


Noah Beach from Noah Range

Noah Beach from Noah Range


Noah Beach

Noah Beach


Forest canopy

Forest canopy


Daintree Rainforest

Daintree Rainforest


Mangroves

Mangroves


Reaching for light

Reaching for light

Basket fern

Basket fern

Boardwalk

Boardwalk

Fascinating tree

Fascinating tree

Scavenger goanna

Scavenger goanna


Hang in there!

Hang in there!


Australian brush-turkey

Australian brush-turkey

Posted by KobusM 00:58 Archived in Australia Comments (1)

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