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Cape Tribulation, Queensland


By Suzanne Ball

Lao Tsu said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step.” So take that first—or even second—step toward Cape Tribulation, Australia. The Great Barrier Reef meets the Daintree Rainforest, and it’s the only place on Earth where two World Heritage sites converge. Nestled in the heart of the oldest continuous rainforest, the only way to access Cape Tribulation is by crossing the Daintree River via ferry. The hidden cape offers Aussie attitude at its best. Frond flopping palm trees, private beaches and snazzy scenery, this is serious seclusion.
Relax in the arms of the ocean’s breeze. Witness a wicked lightning storm stretching miles down the coast. Local accommodations tout bush hiking, bush horseback riding, kayak journeys and nightly creature crawls.
Looking for some party action? Head to PK’s Jungle Village, a backpacker’s tropical haven. Its pool, log cabins, cheap meals and lively bar create a relaxed, ambient environment in which travelers revel through the night. Looking for something mellower? Try the Cape Trib Beach House. Perhaps more couples-oriented, it’s still a great find for the independent traveler who just needs a break. A secluded beach is just 10 feet from the main deck.
A word of caution: Mind any posted kitchen rules and keep all food safely secured. Unattended grub often gets visits from a hungry, oversized mega-rat, not the friendliest—or prettiest—of the rainforest’s night creatures.
A trip to Cape Tribulation wouldn’t be complete without a snorkel or dive in the nearby Great Barrier Reef. (Rum Runners offers an economical package and a killer on-board lunch.) As the sailboat pulls away from shore, watch the mangroves stretch into the water, its branches twisting and twining. The deserted coastline suddenly appears dwarfish and the low, forest covered cape is mesmerizing.
Wherever your journey takes you, Cape Tribulation is one place you don’t want to miss.

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