Hol­i­days made easy

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Mike D’Arcy

ROLLO and his Melbourne fam­ily Caro­line, Sammy and Harry made a Great Es­cape to Port Dou­glas re­cently, and an even Greater Es­cape on a guided 4WD tour along the Bloom­field Track. They were, of course, es­cap­ing the Melbourne win­ter.

What do kids like Sammy and Harry en­joy most?

They love the bumpy ride along the Track (not so bumpy ac­tu­ally); 4WD cross­ings through wa­ter; the crocs on the Bloom­field River; colour­ful birds on the beaches and for­est; zil­lions of sol­dier crabs at Cowie Beach; draw­ing in the sand; stran­gler figs and other strange plants; pretty flow­ers; swim­ming and face paint­ing in the crys­tal clear wa­ters at Woobadda Creek; a tour of the Wu­jal Falls with lo­cal In­dige­nous tra­di­tional owner, Fran­cis Walker; and a chance to meet the artists and buy some Kuku Yalanji me­men­tos at Yir­riji Arts Cen­tre, Wu­jal Wu­jal. Pretty eas­ily sat­is­fied, ac­tu­ally!

Kids also love hear­ing sto­ries about our spe­cial rain­for­est an­i­mals. Real-life na­ture sto­ries, where they can add their own spicy imag­i­na­tion.

Par­ents like Rollo and Caro­line usu­ally en­joy the dra­matic views, the lush rain­for­est and an in­sight into the his­tory and ecol­ogy of this spe­cial part of the Wet Trop­ics World Her­itage Area. As well as happy kids and the - not so bumpy - ride, of course.

There are plenty of ways to en­joy the re­gion. A nice day out vis­it­ing the area north of the Dain­tree River can start with an early break­fast be­fore jumping into the car at about 8am for the beau­ti­ful drive north. Ac­tual driv­ing time from Port Dou­glas to Jin­dalba - the first board­walk north of the river and next door to the Dis­cov­ery Cen­tre (with com­pelling kids’ in­ter­ac­tive au­dio) - is about 60 min­utes. The early start max­imises the chance to see the morn­ing birds and beats the mid-morn­ing traf­fic on the ferry.

The ferry cross­ing it­self is a very pop­u­lar at­trac­tion and it’s ac­tu­ally the only way to get to Cow Bay and Cape Tribu­la­tion with their many beaches — Cow Bay, Thorn­ton, Co­conut, Myall and Cape Trib Beach are the most pop­u­lar. Find­ing the wildlife some­times is not so easy, so try Lyn­chaven’s free mini- zoo with kan­ga­roos, colour­ful noisy par­rots, snakes, and even a cou­ple of crocs; the Bug House on Tur­pen­tine Rd has a won­der­ful and colour­ful world dis­play of in­sects and but­ter­flies; and the Snake House at Cape Tribu­la­tion pro­vides an eas­ier way to get up close with some in­hab­i­tants of the area.

Choose one of the three free fan­tas­tic National Park Board­walks (Jin­dalba, Dubuji or the weird but fas­ci­nat­ing Mar­rdja). Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber are the best time for or­chids and we’ve spot­ted at least four dif­fer­ent flow­er­ing or­chids at Mar­rdja in the past few days.

Some of the beaches and board­walks have pic­nic ar­eas and there are cafes and eater­ies along the way.

Pic­ture: MIKE D’ARCY

SPLASHING: Harry and Sammy en­joy­ing Woobadda Creek’s warm wa­ters

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