Australia – A Trip to the Rainforest

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While on our Great Ocean Road tour earlier in our trip, we had a nice little walk in a temperate rainforest. Before then, I didn’t know those existed. And there are even a few in the U.S.

But in Queensland, Australia we had the opportunity to visit a Tropical Rainforest, which is what most people think about when they think of a rainforest. We took a day tour with Billy Tea Safraris to visit the Daintree Rainforest, the oldest rainforest in the world!

It is estimated to be over one hundred and thirty-five million years old.

After a lovely drive along the coast via shuttle from our accommodation in Cairns to Port Douglas, we hopped into this rugged 4WD vehicle that seats 16 people:

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I got myself a little refreshing beverage that morning.

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Our first stop was the Daintree River. We had a little coffee and tea and then boarded a covered boat for a nice little ride down the Daintree.

IMG_0125Our guide instructed us to keep our hands in the boat. She didn’t want any limbs dangling overboard!

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We spotted many egrets, like the one above and the congregation in the trees in the shot below.

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Our guide was really good at navigating to get us a closer look at the flora and fauna. There were mangrove trees with incredible root structures!

But what many of us were really interested in was spotting crocodiles!

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Sure, Rob and I got to see some crocs up close and personal at the Ballarat Wildlife Park; but they were not in their natural habitat. Here we could see them in the wild!

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We saw two different crocs in separate areas that day, one male and one female. But of course, I was totally entranced, so I took a gazillion photos!

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This is why it was important to keep all of our limbs inside the boat. 🙂 Our guide also spotted a python in a tree and tried to point it out. However, only about half of us could find it. Talk about camouflage. I would have never seen it!

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There were some pretty narrow passageways. It was a lovely day to be floating on the river. But the ride was also our transportation to the other side. On the way back, we’d be needing to take a cable ferry.

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After our tour of the river, we made some lovely stops along the way, with beautiful views of the wet tropics and the sea!

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We enjoyed a beautiful walk through the rainforest. Our guide was not only knowledgeable, but passionate. You could tell he loved doing the tours to educate people on how important the rainforest is to all of us. Until then, I guess I didn’t know very much.

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Our guide offered more information than I could ever store in my brain. I took pictures of flora that he pointed out and explained throughout our stroll.

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But let the takeaway from this tour be that rainforests are very important to our survival.

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The Daintree is home to more around 3000 species of plants. It also has more animal species that are rare or endangered than anywhere in the world.

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Some plants will host off other plants and trees.

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You’ll also find some of the tallest and oldest trees in the world. Check out these roots!

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Can you see some sort of blue fruit we spotted on the rainforest floor?

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Why are rainforests important to our survival?

  • Climate Regulation
    • The millions of trees and plant life in the rainforest absorb massive amounts of carbon dioxide, which help balance and regulate global warming, as long as we don’t destroy the forest, that is.
  • Oxygen Production
    • The high density of flora also produces the oxygen you and I rely on to breathe every day. Rainforests are often referred to as the “lungs of the earth.”
  • Contribution to the Water Cycle
    • The large amounts of rainfall produced by the rainforest contribute to our water supply.
  • Pharmaceutical Properties
    • Many of the world’s treatments and cures come from plants from our earth’s rainforests!

No matter where you live, rainforests are vital to your existence.They are important to the survival of life on our planet!

After that wondrous walk through the rainforest {it did not rain while we were there, if you were wondering!}, we stopped to have some steaks on the barbie! After lunch, we were able to feed some ‘roos at the wildlife refuge.

Yes, we had a magnificent experience doing this already at the Ballarat Wildlife Park. But it never gets old! There were some big ‘roos this time!

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There were even some wallabies!

Our guide pointed out that the wallabies will eat with one “hand,” while the kangaroos will eat with two.

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I got a snap of one with a Joey. So sweet.

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Here is a wallaby next to one of the big ‘roos.

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Take a look at how strong that tail looks. Yikes!

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One of the little girls wanted to feed him, but kept backing up because she was a bit afraid. He was bigger than she was!

 Then the guide gave this guy the whole bucket.

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He really got his head in there!

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In the afternoon, we went deeper into the rainforest. If you don’t have a 4WD vehicle, you probably won’t get this far. When we stopped at a creek, we watched some trucks go right through the water to cross! A few others struggled.

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We made a stop at Emmegem Creek where some small fish were swimming around in the fresh water.

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We had the option, so some people decided to take a dip.

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We had some afternoon Billy Tea as our guides set up a tropical fruit tasting!

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I can’t tell you what they all are, but of course there are bananas and papayas. There was one that was nicknamed “Chocolate Pudding.”  I loved them all, but I think one of my favorites was the soursop!

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After our afternoon tea, we made our way to Cape Tribulation Beach, which is absolutely breathtaking.

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During our rainforest walks, our guide kept saying:

“I can feel it! We are going to see a cassowary today!”

At this point in my life, I had never heard of a cassowary. The cassowary is a flightless bird, like the emu or ostrich. Tthis animal is one of the many things that could kill you in Australia, due to a vicious claw on one foot. But it’s highly unlikely. As long as you leave them alone, they keep to themselves.

The cassowary is also the most endangered bird in the world.

There are only about 1000 estimated to remain. We never did see a cassowary on your walk.

But… on our drive back to Port Douglas, one was spotted! We pulled up as close as possible, but all stayed in the vehicles so as not to disturb it.

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We also stopped for some ice cream on our way back…

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Four scoops of Aussie delight – soursop, blackberry, passion fruit and wattleseed ice cream

What an absolutely wonderful day! The tour was fantastic. I learned so much and saw so much beauty that our earth has to offer. I am grateful for the rainforests. We need them!

Ecotourism is huge in Australia. The purpose is to educate about the environment and to support conservation efforts, but to do it in a responsible way with minimal impact to the environment.

Do you support any conservation efforts?

How do you help preserve the environment?

Other posts about our trip to Australia:

Cheers~
Carrie

 

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4 responses »

  1. Such a cool trip!
    We have some rain forests near us (I had no idea there were rain forests in Australia before I moved here) and they are full of koalas! It would have been so neat to see those crocs in the wild!

    I never knew that wallabies eat with one hand and kangaroos with two. Now I’ve got a bit of knowledge next time I visit my boyfriends family on their outback farm. 🙂

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