Weekend escape to the end of the world…

… or at least to the end of the sealed road :)

Two and a half hours’ drive north of Cairns lies Cape Tribulation, the only place in the world where two World Heritage listed areas lie side by side. The Wet Tropics Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef meet here at’ Cape Trib’, with just a long thin crescent of sandy beach between them.

The whole trip was a surprise for Nico, so while he and Maria were out shopping, I picked up our bright green campervan from Cairns and stocked it with all the essentials for a weekend in the rainforest: sausages, potatoes, bacon, eggs, chocolate frogs, custard, iced tea… you know, the essentials. You should have seen the look on Nico’s face when he discovered that the large green campervan on our front lawn was OURS for a couple of days, and that we were about to embark!Despite a holdup due to a traffic accident on the Captain Cook Highway just north of the Cairns Beaches , we made good time to Cape Trib, and selected a site in the campground at our Cape Tribulation accommodation, Jungle Lodge.

The next day was a serious chillout. Apart from one short walk to the beach, Nico and I spent the day just reading books in the van and lolling in the pool at Jungle Lodge.

But the relaxation was not to last forever. At 3:30pm, we made our way to reception to await pickup by Peter, who runs Cape Trib Paddletrek,offering sea kayaking tours of the area. Guests can choose from a 3.5 hours sunrise trip (too long for a five year old, I felt) or a full day trip (too long for an out-of-shape 46 year old) or a 2.5 hour sunset paddle… which sounded juuuust right!

Now I have done the occasional spot of kayakking before; in New Zealand, in Florida, through a swamp in Louisiana, and most recently in Laos. But I quickly realized that kayakking in the open ocean adds another dimension to what I had previously thought of as a very tranquil activity. I am not too proud to admit that the kayak did throw me into the water one time… although Nico somehow stayed high and dry. hmmmm…

We were both ready for dinner that night, and one of us was ready for a couple of cold beers in the rainforest bar. But the story ain’t over yet… far from it.  After another comfy night in our Cairns campervan, we rustled ourselves a quick breakfast and headed down to reception again, this time to board our snorkelling trip aboard Ocean Safari!

This is one seriously fun boat. Powered by twin 350HP V8 outboards, we were at our first snorkelling site within 25 minutes! Nico had his first proper snorkelling experience, and even got to handle a starfish. I saw rays, clownfish, and a greater range of corals than I think I have ever seen in Cairns. We visited two sites and were back to Cape Trib by lunchtime. Both sad to be leaving, but we vowed to come back again soon :)

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