After our three days in the rainforest we ventured down the road towards the Daintree river stopping on the way to try some Floraville homemade ice cream. The river crossing (probably the only car-ferry we’ll take on our trip) was low-key, no fuss and all done in about 20 minutes. With a booking at Ellis Beach CP (how could we complete our trip without staying here?) secured the night before, we were able to spend the rest of the day at our leisure at Mossman Gorge. So after making up a picnic lunch we headed in via the visitor info centre. The walking tracks all started about 2 km up the road and our choice was pay $22 for a return shuttle bus family ticket or walk the extra 4kms. Much to Julian’s disgust my preference was the bus.
Once up the hill it was a short walk to the first lookout and swimming area. A few brave souls (probably from Europe or Tasmania) were in swimming but we were not tempted. The river, full of large granite boulders, was beautiful. We headed off on a longer loop walk and were rewarded with plenty of lush rainforest and two stunning creeks, both very different from each other.
Unluckily at the second creek Sam picked up some raspberry-like fruit off the bank of the creek to look at which turned out to be from a nearby Stinging Nettle bush (identified later at the visitor info centre in one of their plant books). This is pretty much the only really dangerous plant up here. It has super fine hollow silica hairs that deliver a neurotoxin into the skin that causes intense pain (the most painful plant in the world apparently). Poor Sam – at first we didn’t know what had stung him, luckily only his index finger was affected. It started to swell and within 15 minutes he had pain in his armpit as well. Needless to say we finished the walk briskly and I was glad to catch the shuttle bus back down to the visitor info centre to seek advice. Thankfully we were given good advice – treat with hair wax strips – it pulls the microscopic hairs out and the pain settles over 12 hours instead of 2 months! Even more luckily I had some of these in the caravan so we spent the next 20 minutes “waxing” Sam’s finger with great results. I am continually amazed at how stoic he can be, despite advising me the pain in his finger was 8.5/10 there was no complaining and only a grim look on his face.
It was only about 40 minutes down to Ellis Beach where we were shoe horned into a small powered site for the night. After recharging everything (there’s not much solar under a dense rainforest canopy) except my batteries (the cars and trucks roared past all night!) we moved to an unpowered site for night two right on the beach.
Once again the boys proved determined to spend the day on the beach digging and building only coming up once it was time to go to dinner. By coincidence my Uncle Andrew (dad’s brother), Aunty Christine and their youngest son Rowan were up from Wagga about to enjoy a fortnight of camping on Cape York. They were staying only a few beaches away so we caught up for a lovely BBQ at their apartment. Sam and James were happy as pigs in mud as Rowan let them play Minecraft on his Laptop (very generous for a 13 yo I thought) and Jules and I enjoyed a great evening chatting with Andrew and Christine.
The timing was perfect as the next day we packed up and left in heavy rain heading just 20 or so km down the road.