10 June: Hiking in the tropical rainforest of the Daintree National Park

Author: Mr A

Location: Newell Beach & Daintree National Park

Today (Sunday) was the first time we experienced thick, jungly rainforest, in all its prickly, sweaty, slippery, mosquito rich glory. Only a short drive from our caravan park we disappeared up this goat track (the Manjal Jimalji Trail or Devil’s Thumb trail), kindly signposted with pink ribbon.The walk was a tip from the waiter at our restaurant last night. He did try to diplomatically point out it was quite a tough walk, casting his eye at me when he said that. Little did he know the young beast that lurks under this ageing frame.

We were quickly absorbed into the atmosphere of this other worldly forest, with strange bird calls, and a narrow path that was only apparent a few metres at a time. We forded this river quite early on.

Then it was pushing on up through the creepers and vines, with thorny strands ready to latch onto your clothes or exposed skin and hold you in its grasp. Why do they call it “Wait-a-while”? Mmmm..

It was a stunning place…so of course there was a rusty car….in Australia they go together like Vegemite and toast. What was the story behind this long abandoned vehicle? Would love to know.After nearly 3km of bush bashing up this path, we beat a tactical retreat. Three kilometres doesn’t sound like a lot, and its not, unless every step is fought uphill and against the scrub. So it was a slip and slide back down the path, with a “ouch” punctuating every few minutes from one of us.

It was great to experience such a different terrain, with more to come over the coming weeks. Must pack the tea tree oil though!Back at Newell Beach, birds were everywhere – Australasian Figbirds (yellow one with red eye band), Rainbow Bee Eaters, and honeyeaters:And down at the boat ramp a view towards Port Douglas looking tantalisingly close, but further by road.After returning to the Zone we decided to bite the bullet and have a go at fixing our Dometic window, as the fly screen was failing to retract and flapping about. Now we had been given some tips by the ever useful resource of the Zoners Facebook group, but still, this was new territory for us. Screws were undone, and the window taken off, (quite a feat given I barely know one end of a screw driver from the other)! Thank goodness for my ever practical wife.

It was pretty obvious what had happened, one of the retaining lugs had fallen off the bottom. So that was pushed back on and after a few attempts we had it re-assembled, with a very timely phone call from Peter Thomson, a fellow Zoner with deep expertise from his past life with Bushtracker Caravans. Peter recommended we glue it to prevent future issues, so we took it off again and did so. The proof will be after 24hrs when the glue has dried, does it work? Your lives will be a chasm until then right?

We settled in to a few sunset wines with our fellow campers, and sighed with contentment at this view from our caravan, Love this area.

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