A Rainy Rainforest Walk By The Crystal Cascades

Ready for another free trip courtesy of the hostel, I woke up at 9 and got dressed so we could go and sit out on the deck for a bit. Admittedly I had been woken up at half 8 so we had time to get the free breakfast which ended at 9 but I just couldn’t face dry toast and jam so used that time to have some extra sleep instead.

IMG_4143After being told that, for the time being, the trip to the rainforest was still running  we went back to the room to collect the Go Pro and our towels before going to the TV room to wait for everyone else. I wanted to take my DSLR but since it was raining quite heavily and it’s not at all weather-proof, I decided not to risk it and just use the Go Pro instead. After all, I’d still get some really good photos of the cascades, I just wouldn’t return with a soggy, damaged camera as well. That’s always a good thing!  As we sat waiting, a German couple came over and we spoke to them for a while until a few others appeared and the guy leading the trip turned up with bad news. He told us that due to the risk of flash flooding in the area, we would not be swimming and instead would just going on a walk in the rainforest. I was really disappointed as it was the first time we’d actually got on this particular trip because of the huge waiting list. It’s not everyday you get to swim in a rainforest so it would have been amazing but then again, it’s not everyday you get the chance to walk around one either. I’d loved the Daintree rainforest in Cape Tribulation and it felt magical wandering around it and so rather than complaining and focusing on the negative, I decided we should still go to have another look at such a complex environment. A couple of people weren’t as keen and opted out of the trip which was a bit weird; it was a free trip to the forest as opposed to staying in the hostel or wandering around Cairns, why would you turn it down? I couldn’t understand that at all!

IMG_4150Once the formalities were over and we’d heard the health and safety rules, we all jumped into the minibus and strapped ourselves in for the half an hour journey north west of Cairns. The rain continued to pour down as we went along and with Codie having his window open, I found myself being sprinkled with water. It was quite nice though, the air was still warm and it did a good job of cooling me down but it did get a little bit nippy in the end. As I glanced through the windscreen, I realised that in the rain and with the clouds sweeping low over the mountains, the landscape reminded me a lot of Scotland. It was really pretty and mysterious looking which is what I love about the highlands and now I’m really looking forward to visiting there again soon; it’s definitely one of my favourite places. The guy had said that if it was still pouring down with rain then we would have to turn and go back due to the flooding risk so I kept my fingers crossed that it would hold off for a while longer.

IMG_4151As we pulled into the car park, we all climbed out of the bus and most people disappeared off to the toilet as otherwise they’d have to wait a whole hour until they got the chance to go again. I’ve never understood why people never go before they leave on trips like this as it just holds everybody else up and cuts trips short. Eventually, though, everybody came back and we began our walk into the rainforest. Well, I say walk, for a while we all just stood there while the “guide” told us how terrible Cairns is, how there are no jobs for anyone and why backpackers shouldn’t even bother visiting. I can safely say that we haven’t had any bad experiences whilst we’ve been here so  I disagreed with what he was saying quite a bit and I’m quite glad we didn’t hear his opinions of it when we first arrived! I think if we had have done, it would have played on the back of our minds and we might not have stayed as long as we have done and ended up missing out on so many things.

About half an hour later and we found ourselves walking through the rainforest and along a slippy and quite bumpy path. We’d learnt quite a few things like how the American Army had been held up for a considerable amount of time after they’d not been supplied with toilet paper and had resorted to wiping themselves with leaves from the stinging tree. Now from our trip to the rainforest we knew too well how painful that would be, let alone because the pain lasts for 6 months, but we weren’t entirely sure whether the story was true. Back when we’d been stood talking about the origins of the rainforest we’d been told that the Amazon was around 40,000 years old however in Cape Tribulation we’d been told that it was 55 million years old so that definitely didn’t add up! It made it hard for me to believe what he was saying throughout the rest of the trip which was a shame as all we really did was wander around listening to facts. Luckily, we’d heard a lot of them before either by my own online research or at the rainforest discovery centre so we were able to dismiss some of them we knew weren’t true but for those who didn’t, it saddened me to think that they were leaving with what was probably false information.

DCIM101GOPRO

The walk went on for about an hour and a half and I don’t think I was the only one who was quite pleased when we turned back and headed to the minibus. We hadn’t gone very far into the forest and so it hadn’t been as interesting or as exciting as we’d hoped and were now ready for a sit down and a shower. Before we left, however, we were taken to see the Crystal Cascades down quite a long road. They were really beautiful and the water splashed off the surrounding rocks, erupting in a fountain of white, covering the people swimming around in the rocky pools. I could imagine how nice it would have been to actually get to swim in there and it felt a lot like we were having in rubbed in that we weren’t allowed but never mind, they were still nice to see. We stayed there for a little while, soaking in the atmosphere of the falls as well as the rain which was starting to fall once again and I enjoyed just being there. It would have been much nicer to have gone there by ourselves and I think we would have got a lot more out of it but for a free trip, we couldn’t really complain! Once we’d been shown how similar the leaves of the stinging plant are to others and watched a couple of blue dragonflies lying on some leaves, it was time for us to leave and we all walked back, ready for a rest.

Crystal Cascades
Crystal Cascades

The trip back was fairly uneventful although we did get to hear about how overpopulated Cairns is and how it couldn’t support everyone. The guy really was making Cairns seem absolutely amazing, especially when he’d been telling us about how they relied on tourism, but I just looked out of the window and made the most of the amazing view. Queensland is such a beautiful part of Australia and I’m so glad we’ve had the opportunity to really absorb it all and I hope I’ll get to come back at some point in the future. It’s definitely to nice to only visit once! When we got back to the hostel, we  made beef sandwiches, had showers then went to make tea before having a little go on our laptops  and going back to the room. Considering we hadn’t really walk far, today’s trip out had really taken it out of me and I was ready for a nice sleep. It’s such a shame that we didn’t get to swim in the cascades and the commentary wasn’t exactly the greatest however I enjoyed being able to explore a different part of Australia and seeing some more of the rainforest. Who knows what we’ll be up to tomorrow however as long as we’re out and about and exploring life in Cairns, then I’m sure it will be a really good day.

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