We got to seem some live wildlife as well. We were treated to the rare sight of a cassowary on the way to Mossman. They are native to Australia, and they are pretty much only in the rainforest, so even locals don't see them very often. Not only did we spot one, but it came right up to our car and pecked the tires! That actually made us a bit nervous as they are aggressive birds known to attack humans. Here's an up close pic of this very unusual looking bird:
I also got a short video you can click here that shows it inspecting our car:
Mossman had several hiking tracks including to a river, and a loop through the rainforest, so we ended up hiking a couple of hours. It was very pretty but very hot. Here's the river:
You aren't technically supposed to swim, and I can't even remember which big bad Australian thing was supposed to get you here, but eventually we got so hot, we did at least stick our feet in. Here's Daniel sitting on a rock trying to keep cool:
It was a little surreal sitting in the rainforest with our feet in the water and all these technicolor butterflies flying around us. Of course the blue, green, or red ones wouldn't cooperate, but this more sedate orange one was obliging:
Here you can see the three of us toward the end of our hike, when we were absolutely dripping with sweat. That's a giant fig tree in the background.:
The rainforest at Daintree was impressive. It's actually the oldest rainforest in the world, as it escaped some volcanic eruptions and an ice age that got the rest of the world's rainforests at some point. When we emerged from the forest we saw a decidedly newer invention, and a welcome one: an ice cream truck! It actually had softserve instead of just popsicles, so it was even better. Here's another good pic of the rainforest mountains:
After Mossman Gorge, we took a river cruise on the Daintree River to see if we could spot some crocodiles. This was our boat, piloted by a great old guy with wild stories who had been giving the same cruise for years, so he new all the crocs' hiding spots and even had names for all of them.
We got to see two. I was so busy taking pictures of the birds, I didn't even realize there was a croc sneaking up on them (the bump closer to the left hand bird):
Eventually, he got enough out of the water for us to get a better look. This one our guide said was 7 years old, so a good size, but not a huge fat one yet:
On our way back, we could go a little closer to the other side of the river, where we found a baby croc that he said was just born this year. He still looked plenty big to us:
Still sweating buckets, we decided to keep head to Cape Tribulation, where the rainforest meets the ocean, and about as far north as you can get in Australia without a 4 wheel drive. Even, so we had to take a cable ferry across the river in order to reach it. You can see on the right hand side of it the cable track it follows to keep the platform steady so they don't have to tie it up each time it goes back and forth:
It was worth the effort, because I think Cape Trib might have been the prettiest beach yet. The water was really warm, although you couldn't swim because of jellyfish and crocs. You really weren't supposed to even walk with your feet in the water because of the crocs, but we were feeling dangerous :) I just walked along the edge, but we actually saw two kids swimming in the surf. I don't know if they didn't see the signs everywhere or what, but they did get out pretty quickly, so maybe someone told them. I mostly looked for shells while Daniel walked pretty far up the beach. He's the distance speck in this picture:
We ate at an Irish pub in Port Douglas for dinner, where I had a fish pie, which was definitely a new experience, but it was good. We were so pooped when we got back to the hotel, we basically went straight to bed.