One hour north of Port Douglas, you cross the Daintree river by ferry (you can take your car if you have one) and land in a magical wonderland that is the World Heritage listed, Daintree National Park. One road in and one road out. Every house and business must be self-sufficient. Generators and solar panels for electricity, rain for water, and with no sewerage, ecofriendly toilets! I don’t know exactly, let’s move on. From the river I had no phone reception. Except for two people, nobody in the world knew where I was. That’s a really special feeling. Being somewhere in a place in time where nobody knows where you are.
Driving off the ferry was like driving into a deep green sea of rainforest. I have to remember to keep looking at the road as I’m distracted by the Daintree closing in on me. Lush rainforest surrounds me and at times it’s like driving through a tunnel of trees, unable even to glimpse the blue of the sky.
I had decided to drive North to Cape Tribulation, where the sealed road ends and the dirt Bloomfield track which takes you to Cooktown begins. There was a trail up to the summit of Mount Sorrow I had decided to hike.
Stopping at a few bays along the way, they are all equally stunning, with clear aqua water lapping at palm tree lined sand, against a backdrop of towering mountains that rise endlessly into the clouds.
Mount Sorrow sits at an elevation of 680m up a 3km trail (6km return) and promises a stunning vista of the Daintree Coastline, Snapper Island and beyond. I set off early the following day, undeterred by the warning on the QLD National Parks website that ‘only experienced bushwalkers with above average fitness’ should attempt the trail. I barely register as average fitness. Perhaps I was filled with confidence that I had ‘signed in’ at a local organisation that promised to come look for me if I hadn’t signed back out by nightfall. The trail starts out through lowland rainforest and big beautiful fan palms. There has been no rain recently and the track is dusty but solid and dry. The track starts to climb almost immediately, and it only gets steeper. Eventually I am pulling myself over logs and stepping around large tree roots. The rainforest starts to thin out, and it appears I am approaching the summit. I am hot, breathless and hitting that point where I ask myself, why exactly do I find this enjoyable? I remind myself that secretly I love it. The more challenging the happier I am. Which is good, because seriously, how can this mountain get any steeper without me being close to the summit which it doesn’t appear I am. Then I see a rope which I realise is there for me to haul myself up the next section of track. Well here comes the challenge! Eventually after almost 2 hours of steep climbing I break the summit. Naturally, all the pain fades away as I slowly turn circles to take in the view. Towering mountains and coastline that seems to stretch on into forever, and clear blue sky meets clear blue sea. It’s so still and calm, and quiet. The downhill is more taxing than the climb up, but I eventually get down. The completion of what was a challenging track has me feeling energised and in my happy place.
On my way back to Port Douglas, I stop again at my favourite bay, ‘Cow Bay’. I can’t explain exactly why it was my favourite. I think it was what it made me feel. The raw beauty of it was overwhelming. As were the ‘private property’ signs next to tiny little signs displaying the Aboriginal flag. This land belongs to them and I felt their connection to this land. I felt spirits in the wind and a real sadness for the lost connection between man and land. Not just for those indigenous but for all of us. The Daintree is a sacred and spiritual place with such potential to restore and heal souls. I hope that this continues for lifetimes yet, unfettered by the demands of our commercial existence.