Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Daintree Rainforest!

From the desert to the rainforest in only a couple days (and a few kilometers of driving).  Daintree National Park came highly recommended, and for good reason.  Lots to see packed into a small area, and notable for being a World Heritage Site that is next door to another one (The Great Barrier Reef).

We tore ourselves away from Coffee World in time to make the last tour of the day for the Solar Whisper Wildlife Cruise on the Daintree River.  Looking for crocodiles with solar panels on the roof of the boat, that's all us.

The river is tidal/brackish at this point, being close to the ocean.  So the plants have to adapt, e.g. the mangrove trees that don't mind their roots being out of the water part of the day:

The first crocodile sighting!

Quietly gliding in for a closer look - very cool:

More roots, sticking right up into the air...

...with a baby crocodile hiding among them!  Hard to show (or remember) how small this one was, maybe 1-2 foot long (maybe John will remember):

A big ole' croc hanging out on the bank, catching the last of the afternoon sun:

Lizard on a stick:

Bright green frog on a steep muddy bank (yeah, several reasons not to jump into the river, difficulty getting out while a crocodile chases you probably being the main one):

Our guide found several varieties of birds and a couple more crocodiles as well.  Excellent!

Sitting in the Jucy on the ferry across the Daintree River:

Jucy in the rainforest - we're a long way from the Outback, Toto.  Jucy tends to blend in better here:

View through the ferns looking toward the ocean:

Orphan wallabies at Lync-Haven Rainforest where we camped overnight - they were hopping around an enclosure and fascinating to watch.  Here they were just served dinner:

Video of the wallabies - I wouldn't mind being a wallaby (or a roo), with those strong hind legs, an awesome tail for balance, bouncing around everywhere, only needing to deal with the challenge of those little arms and bending over to eat:

It was very important to watch for cassowaries (large flightless birds) while driving near the coast.  Lots of caution signs (the top one) and the bottom one is either a speedbump caution sign, or a funny comment on what happens if you drive too fast around here (not to mention what that would do to your car):

We did several boardwalk walks and saw some amazing flora, like fig trees that engulf other trees in interesting patterns:

Giant ferns:

Palm fronds:

Places you don't want to have to adventure race through:

Plants taking over other plants (a common theme):

More mud bogs:

Lovely root patterns in the trees near the river:

Not sure what this thorny thing is:

Mossy tree base:

And - a beach!  We stopped to explore near Cape Tribulation and John got to run on the sand again:

Something was digging holes in the sand and tossing out tiny sand balls:

Really cannot explain this:

Tide receding, with rainforest hills in the background:

Be careful where you swim during the summer - as I understand it, jellyfish are some of the worst animals you can run into in Australia.  We've never seen a bottle of vinegar on a beach before, well, now we have:

Another funny sign.  I never did get a picture of my favorite, "Indicators show depth," always made me think it was psychological.  Love the Aussie variations on the English language.

Jucy deep in the rainforest:

Another comical speedbump sign, someone had fun with the black paint:

Stop, John, there's a cassowary!!

Son of a gun, we didn't really expect to see one, but here he is just hanging out beside the road:

So very cool!  Thank you, cassowary!

It was looking less and less like I'd want to seek out another wildlife park, as we were happening upon so many animal species in the wild (along with all the awesome creatures we saw at Cleland near Adelaide).  If only we could find an echidna...

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