Cape Tribulation has been an open tick on my bucket list since I visited Australia briefly in 2010 and didn’t make it the two hours-plus up the coast from Cairns ….
So, despite barely being capable of driving a manual car, I threw a suitcase in the back of my little red Lancer and took to the open road to experience a place where “rainforest meets reef.” After a nerve-racking ferry ride, coupled with traversing narrow, hilly roads while learning gears, I triumphantly stood at the first lookout in Cape Tribulation:
However, I imagine my journey was still cruisy compared to that of Captain James Cook who is credited with initial explorations of the region. When Cook’s ship, the HM Bark Endeavor, ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef in 1770, he and his crew found themselves attempting to make repairs in a relatively unknown land with difficult terrain. Cook named the area Cape Tribulation because this is were his troubles began — and he named many natural features in the area with a similarly gloomy outlook.
Local aboriginals were the first to name the region Kurangee, meaning place of many cassowaries. (While I have yet to see this endangered rainforest species, I hope to catch a glimpse of these large birds before leaving Queensland.)
Cape Tribulation is also nestled in the Daintree Rainforest, a World Heritage site, where I did some “bush walks.” The diverse flora and fauna again captivated my imagination, and I wondered what it would be like to live amongst the tree tops.
While I didn’t take the opportunity to visit the reef at Cape Tribulation, I have heard rumors of sea cows or manatees inhabiting Cow Bay in this region. Allegedly these are the creatures responsible for inspiring mermaid tales among sailors. I will visit the sea cows someday, but not on this jaunt.
One last glimpse before heading back to Cairns!