When I first started One Girl And Her Camera I felt the need to record each trip in detail, blogging in chronological order about where, what, why. An informative diary as you were. What has transpired as I get to grips with this blogging malarkey is that in fact not only do I find writing such content heavy blogs rather time consuming (I love writing but I tend ramble) but actually in this day and age no one wants to read all that content either!
So with this new found enlightenment to hand, instead of trying to squeeze my entire Australia trip in to one blog I am going to share snippets, starting with a piece wilderness heaven I discovered on my travels to Northern Queensland. The truly magical Rainforest Hideaway in Cape Tribulation.
Tucked away in the Daintree wilderness is the Rainforest Hideaway, a tranquil eco lodge just outside Cape Tribulation and a million miles from the fast paced modern world. As you approach the property via a typical Queensland gravel roadyou are welcomed by two large carved Easter Island heads, a testament to the artistic owner's talent, before arriving at a brightly coloured accommodation set in 5 acres of privately owned rainforest. It is immediately clear that this place is something uniquely special.
Run as a B&B since 2000 Rob Lapaer bought the land in 1993 and has spent the last 22 years lovingly creating a tranquil jungle haven, designing, building and creating every part more or less singly handedly, a labour of love from the outset. Comprising of the main house - a wooden lodge, a smaller detached timber cabin that sleeps two and a self catering tree house, every element of the Rainforest Hideaway is a work of art, carefully built and carved out of locally sourced materials.
You enter the reception via stepping stones that cross over a trickling stream, the accommodation linked to the main main house is a double room that overlooks a large fish pond with pagoda where Rob's wife Aruni provides Thai massage and the detached timber cabin has it's own private outdoor bathroom and veranda that looks over a small pond frequented by dancing dragonflies. Further into the 5 acre property you will find the jungle tree house, open to the elements this is ideal for those wanting a true 'back to nature' experience.
As you wander through the property Rob and Aruni's passion and dedication for this place becomes evident, handmade pieces of furniture showcase Rob's creativity, like the oak and black bean timber beds and exquisite hard carved Easter Island head stools where you can sit appreciating the Daintree vista whilst enjoying a breakfast of fresh local fruit with homemade coconut yogurt.
Within the grounds they have ensured that the buildings and landscaping compliment the natural habitat. Rob has created a sculpture trail that winds it's way through their jungle property, as you meander along the paths you are met works of arts interspersed with nature, buddhas nestled in trees roots, solitary stone figures sat on sculpted benches lost in thought. Painted cassowaries appear from the ground and mysterious mermaids sit in pools of water.
It is enchanting, calming and peaceful but at the same time with each step you feel a deeper respect for nature as you carefully avoid stepping on brightly coloured yellow snakes or walking into spider webs that are home to arachnids the size of a human hand. But this is all part of the charm, it is truly awe inspiring on every level, it forces you to be in tune with all your senses.
As if the rainforest alone wasn't enough, the Rainforest Hideaway is a 20 minute walk from Myall Beach and a bit further down Cape Tribulation Beach, a beautiful remote stretch of coastline on the edge of the jungle wilderness. Along the North Queensland coast you will see warning signs discouraging swimming due to crocodiles and during the months of November to May stingers, however there is a section of the reef on Myrall Beach that is safe to swim outside these months and for year round bathing a swimming hole at a creek near the Cape Tribulation shop, providing a much needed relief from the Queensland humidity.
The Rainforest Hideaway certainly isn't for those who love their creature comforts but more for those that love creatures and the great outdoors. The accommodation is wonderful and tastefully designed, in fact the bed was one of the most comfortable I ever slept in but you do feel very very close to nature. As I lay awake on the first night, the noise of jungle nightlife was overwhelming and unlike anything I'd experienced before. I had previously lived in Australia (albeit in the city), grown up in the English countryside and used to travelling solo so I hadn't envisaged feeling outside my comfort zone in Cape Tribulation, yet lying in the darkness of the world's oldest rainforest surrounded by the noises of birds, reptiles and other unknown animals I was made to feel acutely aware how small I was in this vast space. However over the second and third night that vulnerability made way for appreciation, I started to distinguish between sounds, realising that the loudest noises actually belong to frogs and insect life, this understanding of the nature that I was surrounded by allowed me to fear it less and enjoy it more.
But is wasn't just the property and it's spectacular landscape that made this stay so unforgettable or that you are forced to disconnect from the world (they have limited Wi Fi access in Cape Tribulation and no phone signal), Rob and Aruni's hospitality was second to non. Aruni's warm and kind personality makes you feel at home straight away and Rob's vast knowledge of the Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation offers a real insight in to the area.
I must finish this with a huge thank you to Aruni who under no obligation helped ease my panic after I feared an insect had crawled in to my ear whilst sitting in the beach, (one of my biggest phobias since childhood) . Miles away from the nearest doctor she offered her help, calmly pouring water into my ear which she told me would force the insect out. As it turns out the insect had long gone but it was above the call of duty for my host and am truly grateful.