20 December, 2016
So, an early start – around 5.15am – to try to see the platypus living next to the Silky Oaks Billabong. Very quiet on the way down by torchlight and a few heart-stopping snake-like shadows! I found a little rock to perch on and waited…and waited…. There were a few interesting things to see; an azure kingfisher, bright red chest and blue back; the little eels and river perch, and plenty of noise from the birds. But no platypus.
The general levels of food and service at Silky Oaks was fantastic, so after a leisurely breakfast we headed off for a croc cruise, about half an hour north of Mossman in Daintree Village. Village is probably an exaggeration though – about four shops and a boating ramp! And not a crocodile in sight, after an hour on the river. The guide was a local with plenty of good stories and information about the local wildlife. I’ve never seen Izzy sit so still, with her hands well away from the side of the boat! But no crocs.
We then headed an hour further north still, to Cape Tribulation. On the way up, we spotted a Cassowary crossing the road. One of only 2,000 left in the wild and a beautiful big bird with bright blue plumage. Fortunately we didn’t run it over as it crossed the road.
Cape Trib beach was beautiful, quiet, bright blue inviting seas – and signs warning of marine stingers, estuarine crocs etc to keep you out of the water! We arrived way too early up there – there is pretty much nothing to do apart from the beach and a small boardwalk. Lunch at a bar called Whet was really good, with an English girl staying locally the main server.
Eventually, the time came for the jungle surfing. Run by typical, dreadlocked, cheerful bearded twenty-somethings, Ben, Astro, Dan, who actually turned out to be brilliant. Knowledgable about the forest, and very funny. Once we were harnessed up, the winch up to the first platform was by ‘hamster wheel’ and then as everyone arrived, set off down eight zip wires to the bottom. There was a good variety; long one, steep one, upside-down one, but no sign of much wildlife; the tree kangaroos were obviously elsewhere! We spotted a golden orb spider about the size of a side plate, but that was about it.
After a brilliant afternoon, back to Silky Oaks for dinner, then another night in the rainforest with all the attendant noise.