Honeyeater, Daintree RainforestDAINTREE RAINFOREST& CAPE TRIBULATIONThis dense precious rainforest sports a millionshades of green, outlandish fungi shining in thedark and a chorus of curious sounds. Anenvironmental jewel that dates back 100 millionyears, making it the world's oldest, it reachesfrom Mossman through Cape Tribulation toCooktown and plays host to a bewilderingvariety of plant, animal, insect, bird and reptilelife. Across the Daintree River the dense forestoverhangs the twisting road that leads to CapeTribulation, named by Captain Cook in ruefulacknowledgement of the trouble he experiencednavigating the Great Barrier Reef. Breathtakinglybeautiful with rugged mountain ranges andrainforest that tumbles down to the beach,there are endless ways to explore: kayak gentlyalong the shoreline, rise high into the canopy ona crane giving an amazing perspective or takean interpretative walk accompanied by theguides who are only too happy to share theirpassion for the area. Crocodile spotting in theDaintree River is fascinating, especially at night,when the forest's nocturnal residents come intotheir own. The Daintree Rainforest heaves withlife: butterflies flit through the trees, tropicalbirds squawk frantically and the ancient treescreak. Amazingly, it is all so accessible fromCairns, reached in less than a two hour drive.28Silky Oaks LodgeSilky Oaks Lodge,MossmanThis lovely lodge overlooks the Mossman River and isan idyllic and luxurious base from which to explore.There is no sense of 'roughing it' as your home is in abeautiful timber Treehouse either overlooking theriver or within the rainforest. With an understatedtropical style of natural tones and timbers whichcreate a relaxed environment, huge glass doorsopen onto wide verandas where a hammock isperfectly positioned to make the most of the views. Daintree Wilderness LodgeCockatoo Hill RetreatGreen tree frogCockatoo Hill Retreat,Cape TribulationSet against the hulking green backdrop of MountThornton, this retreat's position is truly breathtaking:high on a rainforest ridge projecting you into therainforest itself with wrap-around views. Immersed ina garden of palms, bougainvillea and frangipani arefour shaggily-thatched bungalows providing coolenclaves of white walls and gleaming timber floors.Each king-sized bed has a mosquito net, and privatebalconies provide wonderful treetop views over thehillsides. The main lodge is crafted from localtimbers and serves as a dining room and lounge.The swimming pool is cradled in forest and has viewsover the Coral Sea and your hosts, Carmen andGilles, are friendly and welcoming.Daintree Wilderness Lodge,Cape TribulationThis natural hideaway offers tranquility in the heartof the rainforest. Each of the seven simple yetcomfortable guest bungalows offer privacy and arelinked to the main lodge by a series of boardwalks. Aswimming pool shaded by beautiful fan palms is awelcome finale after a day spent exploring the forestand the casual dining room specialises in localseafood and platters of colourful tropical fruit. Thelodge offers guided rainforest night tours or if youjust wish to take things at a more leisurely pace,then the beach at Cow Bay is a short drive away.The lodge supports a small community ofcassowaries, and your hosts, Kerry and Peter, arepart of a care group working towards protecting thehabitat of this vibrant and rare flightless bird.
QUEENSLAND29COOKTOWNAND SURROUNDS The Bloomfield Track from Cape Tribulation(accessible only by 4WD vehicle) follows therainforest as it weaves its way to Cooktown.Captain Cook spent a number of weeks hererepairing the 'Endeavour' as it made itsunexpected stop on the Great Barrier Reef andin the local museum you will find bits ofmemorabilia, including the old anchor from thevessel. A hundred years later the town becamerather rowdy as gold was discovered but todayit is much quieter and a superb base from whichto explore. Black Mountain National Park is anarea shrouded in Aboriginal legends andgalleries of rock art can be found here. Thedeserted coast at Archers Point plays host tobreeding turtles (October and February), whilst avisit to the wetlands at Keatings Lagoon offersbird watcher's an array of migrating birds.Nature is the entertainer and although there areplenty of marked walks, the region is bestexplored in the company of an Aboriginal guide. Mungumby Lodge,Near CooktownThis lodge, south of Cooktown, is on the northernedge of the Daintree Rainforest. Timber bungalowsare set amongst the beautiful gardens that arecrammed with a dazzling array of tropical plant andbird life. The main lodge is spacious with open livingareas and overlooks Mungumby Creek. The friendlyservice here puts guests at ease and the hosts arehappy to arrange tours to satisfy your interests.Rainforest,island & rock artCombining the World Heritage listed DaintreeRainforest and the northernmost reaches ofAustralia's Great Barrier Reef, staying in some of itsmost stylish and secluded accommodation.Day 1:Drive north from Cairns to CapeTribulation and cross the Daintree River.Day 2:Spend the day cruising, swimming andsnorkeling on the magnificent GreatBarrier Reef.Day 3:Take a guided walk through the DaintreeRainforest and take the opportunity tolearn about the many rare and protectedspecies that inhabit the area.Day 4:Fly via Horn Island to Poruma Island.Days 5/6/7:Three days to do as little or as much asyou please. Swimming is fantastic in theclear waters as the reef and corals brushthe beach outside your lodge. Day 8:Return to Cairns.EXTENSIONThis unique journey will take you to Cooktown andbeyond, through areas of ancient rock art, desertedbeaches and stunning coastlines.Day 1:Fly to Cooktown over the sublime bluewaters of the Great Barrier Reef, onarrival the rest of the day is yours toexplore the area.Day 2:Travel deep into Aboriginal country,viewing rock art and learning of thehistory and legends of this fascinatingculture. Visit the deserted coastlinewhere you may be lucky enough to seenesting turtles. Day 3:Enjoy an afternoon tour of Cooktownand visit Keatings Lagoon, a favouritewith migratory birds. Return to Cairns.tailor-made travelAll our travel arrangements are on a private,individual basis to offer you complete freedom ofchoice. The itineraries and accommodation optionsthroughout the brochure are designed to give you aflavour of what is possible and can be tailor-made tosuit your preferences. Prices vary according toselected accommodation and season. Please callour Australia specialists on 01869 276 345 todiscuss your individual requirements.Mungumby LodgeTORRES STRAITISLANDSThis string of palm islands likened to steppingstones, divides Australia and Papua NewGuinea. Torres Strait Islanders are of Melanesiandescent and the islands are geographicallydiverse, some with rocky mountain tops, othersa collection of coral cays or of volcanic origin. Ahandful of these islands are inhabited and fewpermit visitors, one of which is the capital andone-time pearling hub - Thursday Island,another is Poruma. This narrow coral cay, a milelong but less than a third as wide, has just onevillage. With homes encased by strands ofbougainvillea and hidden by pink frangipanitrees this unspoilt island extends a genuinelywarm welcome and an experience like no other.Poruma Island Lodge,Torres Strait IslandsTwo enormous open-plan timber lodges with lovelyverandas face the island's best beach - a long sandyspit. An elevated bedroom with a soaring thatch roofensures the air is cool and breezy and a plunge pooltakes the sting out of the sun. Snorkelling here ismagnificent as warm waters and few pollutantsresult in a perfect undersea world. Spend the dayfishing with the locals, head out to one of the islandsthat dot the horizon, take a walk through the villageor simply relax on the beach. Whatever you choose,this very different culture presents altogetheranother side of Australia.Poruma Island LodgeCooktownPoruma Island