Page 15

Cape Tribulation, the Daintree and Cool Waters Tourist Park

Cape Tribulation

This was more a funny day out than a fun day out. It was spoiled just a little by overcast skies which later developed into rain. To reach Cape Tribulation you drive north from Cairns, past Port Douglas and straight on through Mossman until you reach the Daintree River. Stop there, especially if the ferry is at the other side. For $16 return, the ferry will take you to the opposite bank. Continue driving north through beautiful rainforest until you run out of bitumen - and there you are, Cape Tribulation. Note that you have run out of bitumen but not out of road. To reach the most northerly tip of the Australian mainland, Cape York, by car involves a drive of a thousand kilometres over dirt roads. How bad those roads are seems to depend on who is telling the story. We decided on a different method of reaching Cape York, but that's for another day.


Left: Waiting for the Daintree River Ferry.                                     Right: The Daintree River Train

The name Tribulation was bestowed by Captain James Cook in 1770 when his bark, Endeavour, bumped into a reef. The reason for his choice of name was, in his own words, . . . because here begun all our troubles. In our opinion the Tribulation area is in danger of becoming over-commercialised. Its attraction is in its natural beauty and its remoteness. Today there are all the usual businesses springing up; accommodation, cafés, camping, tours galore, jungle adventures, discovery centres, horse rides, museums, boat hire, shops and more. Because the area is so large and these operations are well scattered, it isn't yet too 'tacky'.


We were really lucky; at the beach car park we came across a family of cassowaries, a rare and endangered species.

At the beach car park we came across a family of cassowaries There was mum, dad and two chicks. Signs warned of the dangers of approaching too close to these large, colourful birds when they have young. They are capable of inflicting fatal injuries if provoked. Just look at those claws on the adult in the left picture. Unfortunately I wasn't able to obtain any good photographs as the birds kept wandering around the cars and other photographers were always in the way. I've selected the best here. The right picture shows more clearly the cassowary's peculiar crest which looks quite rubbery, and also its bright pink, red and blue head and neck colouring. Only one of the adults sported the long, dangling wattles, presumably the male.

The Cape Tribulation beaches were lovely – rainforest running all the way to the water's edge except where there was sand. We sat on the beach and ate our lunch, watching families enjoy the calm water as rain clouds rolled in. Behind us a most irritating young fellow was knocking down coconuts, and a good deal of foliage, from the tall palms. The rain started as we left the beach to set off for the Daintree Village.

What we expected of this village I'm not sure, but certainly not what we found. The place consisted of a large parking area with a museum on one side, some tourist-type shops on the other and boat access to the Daintree River at the far end. Amongst the shops was a café where we went for an afternoon drink. Outside the café door sat an extremely scruffy bloke - looked like a bikie - who was obviously fairly full of grog. He was holding a loud and slurred conversation with a brassie blond sitting several metres away.

Inside the cafe Pam requested a cup of tea. The cups, tea bags and hot water were pointed out to her. She had to make her own. Everybody was referred to as Darl by the strange-looking woman behind the counter. I think the best thing about the Daintree Village was the road out.
Some Amusing Modifications to Road Signs

On our way to Cape Tribulation we had passed some 'modified' road signs. We thought they were funny though the authority responsible for their upkeep might have a different view. See what you think.

Altered road sign

Left: The top sign warns of speed bumps ahead and the lower sign of cassowaries on the road.
Right:The signs as we saw them. Some quick wit had seen the potential and applied a little black paint.

Two more road signs

Left: Couldn't help smiling at this one.                                     Right: Don't try this at home, Folks.

Meanwhile, Back at Cool Waters Caravan Park

On arriving back at the Cool Waters Caravan Park, Andrew, one of our hosts, showed me the weirdest creature I've ever seen. It was a male Rhinoceros Beetle (Xylotrupes gideon). I knew that you'd demand some pictures, dear Reader, so naturally I've obliged.

To help you to get an idea of his size, I got him to pose on a 20 cent coin (the beetle, that is, not Andrew). Poms, a 20 cent coin is the same size as your 10 pence coin. The beetle's forked horn is made of hard shell but I couldn't guess its purpose. Opening beer bottles, perhaps? The female beetle differs in that she doesn't have the forked horn and her shell is a matt black. Both genders squeak loudly if disturbed but are harmless.

If you look at these pictures and decide that I'm 'having a lend of you' and the thing is really made of plastic . . . well, I wouldn't blame you. If I hadn't seen it walking I'd think it was something dreamed up for a Star Wars movie. Hey, come to think of it, it does bear a striking resemblance to Darth Vader, doesn't it? May the force be with you.

Rhinoceros Beetle

A Rhinoceros Beetle. Kids, why not put one of these into Mum's bed? You know how she loves a good joke.


While I was looking at the Rhinoceros Beetle, what should come along but Emily, Andrew's pet Rainbow Lorikeet. Or rather one of them, for he has two.

Emily, the Rainbow Lorikeet. Beautiful, isn't she?

The story of Emily is interesting . . .

Andrew had Remo, a male Lorikeet, which had the run of the place. Remo always confined himself to the area outside the rear of the office, never the front, so it was with some surprise that 'he' was seen at the front. Somebody took the cage out and opened the door. Remo normally hopped straight in but not this time, so 'he' was picked up and put into the cage. On re-entering the office it was discovered that Remo was, in fact, happily playing at the back. So who was in the cage? Emily (as the new bird was christened) was kept in the cage for a few days and then released. She's been around the place ever since - company for Remo.
Pam Takes To The Water - Gives the Red Wine A Rest

The Cool Waters Caravan Park has a beautifully landscaped swimming pool. The shallow end was so shallow that Pam, not normally one to venture into water over her ankles, began to gain confidence. She went out and bought a boringly modest swimming costume and slowly, day by day, she ventured further towards the deep end until the water came up to her neck!

Two Views of Pool

The pool at the Cool Waters Caravan Park.

Pam in Pool

As Pam gained confidence, she was seen many times in the pool.

As winter turned to spring and the daytime temperature rose into the thirties, that pool was a godsend. The best part was that we could enjoy it as much as we liked but somebody else cleaned it. Some mornings we'd set out early for a walk - eight o'clock is early - and return hot and sticky. The sun had quite a bite, even at that hour. Then, after a quick shower, into the pool before breakfast. Half an hour of lazing in the pool reduced our core temperature nicely.

Core temperature is the 'in' expression this season. It was started by good old Ross and Jan Taylor from Jimboomba, Brisbane. Cheers, Ross and Jan. How are the Happy Hours going? Are there still 180 Happy Minutes in one Happy Hour?
Warnings On The Dangers Of Alcohol

Talking of Happy Hour, our lovely niece Hannah must worry about us. She sent us some warnings about alcohol:
Thanks, Hannah, but many of those are the reasons why we drink alcohol - especially when we sing and dance like retards. And with the exception of the pregnancy warning, I find that advancing old age has very similar effects. Now where did I leave my bra and panties?
This is the end of Page 15. On Page 16 we go north on a cargo ship, stand on Australia's northernmost tip, and one of us is pronounced dead.

Footnote: This re-working of Page 15 was completed on 18 March 2013. It conforms to HTML5 and CSS level 3.

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