Doesn’t Jungle Surfing sound so much more fun than zip lining? When I saw this listed under things to do in Cairns I immediately told my friends that we were doing this. No excuses. For an activity under $100 they didn’t hesitate. However, it wasn’t exactly located in Cairns but a scenic 2.5 hours drive north to the Daintree National Park. So we rented a car (my first left side driving!) and bunked a couple nights in Port Douglas.
The drive through the rain forest was quite windy but had picturesque scenery. Since October is their Spring season, the mild sunny weather was the perfect day to be active. The drive was pretty much a straight shot along the coast with signs directing us to the meeting place of the canopy tours. We arrived to a quaint souvenir store with the bus waiting just out front. But before we could even step into the bus we had to sign our lives away in the form of a waiver.
A 10 minutes drive through more rain forest brought us to our final destination. We were greeted by a happy crew of jungle surfers who gave us a brief introduction before getting us geared up. As my first real zip lining experience I was so giddy with excitement. They first started handing out helmets all appropriately labeled with fictional characters. I was named Snow White but I did express to one of the guys that I wanted to be Darth Vader or something Star Wars related. Next, they strapped on full body harnesses making sure that our lower body straps were secure but comfortable. When everyone was set we followed the crew uphill to the first platform.
There are technically 6 platforms in total which isn’t a lot but, with the crew having to get 10 people through the jungle, it takes some time. The first platform is the labeled the exit platform and is reached by walking to it. There, you are winched up to the 1st (and highest) tree platform completely man-powered by the crew. Afterwards, they mix up things up by having you go solo, paired, fast, slow, and the best – upside down. While we waited to zip line to the next platforms the crew would educated us about the rain forest, the history of the area, and the construction of the platforms.
The flora and fauna in this part of the world cannot be duplicated. It is continually evolving. No where else can you see a tree kangaroo hanging out on a branch or (only hope to see) the endangered cassowary. And as you can tell by my pictures, I saw neither one that day. Ha! The Daintree is also home to 2 World Heritage sites – where the rain forest meets the ocean – as they have coined it. Learning a little bit about James Cook’s exploration of this area of Northern Queensland was interesting as well.
It was just off this coast where the famous British explorer hit a reef leaving the whole ship stranded until it could be repaired. They aptly named the cape Tribulation because “here began all our troubles.” To make matters even worse, a few men from the ship surveyed the area from a nearby mountain but never returned. This hikeable mountain is now named Mount Sorrow. But probably my favorite little lesson was about the construction of the platforms. I’m not usually into construction but I thought it was so interesting. Each platform is built with cables, chains, and blocks of woods around the tree. There are no nails, screws, or bolts drilled into the tree. This is to ensure that the trees are not harmed and continue to live long healthy lives.
While I did exciting and fun things in Australia every day, I would have to rank this as my second favorite activity (after diving the Great Barrier Reef, of course. Marine bio undergrad here!). What impressed me the most was their eco-conscious viewpoint which have won them several awards throughout the years. So if you ever make it out to Cairns don’t think twice about doing it. It’s great for all ages, weights, and sizes. And if zip lining doesn’t interest you then perhaps their night walk tours will. That’ll definitely be on my to-do list on my next visit around!
But again, this wouldn’t have been so memorable without the happy crew. If you guys ever stumble on my blog, I want to thank the three of you for your easy-going attitudes. (And I’m so sorry but I forgot all your names! My bad.)
If you want to learn more about Jungle Surfing and Cape Tribulation then check out their website here.