Just up the Cook Highway from the jump-off points for the Great Barrier Reef, lies an eco-system possibly more breathtaking, slightly more dangerous, and thankfully less affected by our civilization, called the Daintree National Park.
Daintree is the world’s oldest rainforest, (65 million years older than the Amazon), and is the only place where dense rainforest hits sandy beach without any buffer eco-systems in between. There, where the highway, and all other real road systems end, lies a maze of pathways and airy (but don’t worry, netted against bugs) cabins and at least a handful of little beach bars so you don’t go hungry.
For all the magic and other-worldliness of the place, they are rooted in honesty, and signs depicting little stickmen getting attacked by the various rainforest dangers offer a touch of comedy to the scenery on your way out, and a touch of anxiety and excitement on the way in! Our poor, brave, explorative stickmen get simultaneously attacked by crocodiles, jellyfish, the prehistoric-looking cassowary, among others. Luckily, we escaped our time there unscathed, although we did get within feet of 10 ft. long crocodiles, and saw at least one cassowary darting through the dense underbrush.
We also were able to taste wild and exotic rainforest fruit, listen to riflebirds call to each other from the trees, trace our names in the purest white sands, and forge new friendships with our adventurous brethren during all night parties at our nearest beach bar, all things that they don’t illustrate with signs, but maybe should. We left enlightened about an all-too-rare ecological marvel, and thankful we’d been some of the lucky few to appreciate it.