Crocodile lunch among eucalyptus trees
From Russia to Australia fly eighteen hours, with two transfers. This is if you choose a shortened route – through Tokyo. And if you get to the fifth continent via Amsterdam or Cairo (some Moscow travel agencies offer such flight options), then not a day is enough to reach Australian land. But having stood the test of many hours of flight, the tourist will undoubtedly be rewarded. Australia is, without any exaggeration, a unique country, with a completely unique wildlife, but at the same time very rich, extremely well-maintained and completely calm.
The most popular among foreigners is the state of Queensland, which is in the north-east of the country. It is best known for its Golden Coast and Great Barrier Reef. Every second tourist arriving in Australia comes there. On the Gold Coast, the traveler offers entertainment for every taste: a casino, scuba diving, horseback riding and light airplane walks over the ocean. And, of course, here is a real paradise for fans of surfing. But an entertainment enthusiast will also not be bored. Here, let’s say, the town of Cairns, where almost all tourists drop by. It is known for its bars, discos and noisy theatrical performances.
However, it’s worth a little bit to move away from the places inhabited by people, as everything around is changing. Skyscrapers and six-lane highways give way to the rainforest, which, according to scientists, has been preserved in the same form as 110 million years ago. In this forest, an hour and a half drive from Cairns, the Daintree Eco Lodge is located.
Daintree Eco Lodge – an unusual hotel. It has only 50 rooms and it is built from the most natural materials: wood and wicker from coconut tow. The hotel was built very carefully. They tried not to disturb the vegetation. Guest houses stand on high stilts. This is done primarily to protect against dampness – the jungle around is absolutely authentic, and in the evening, water accumulates at the roots of the trees. High piles are also needed so that some lost platypus, a healthy orange cricket or some other exotic animals do not climb into the room.
A brook flows between the houses, running around granite boulders scattered by nature along its channel. Melancholy lemurs of iridescent color sit on the vines, encircling centuries-old eucalyptus trees the height of a fifteen-story building, birds flashing among the leaves with sparkling plumage. At the entrance to the hotel lobby, a small koala bear is hanging on a branch. And not a scarecrow, but a real one. True, he did not come from the jungle – for the entertainment of tourists, the hotel owner took it from the zoo. Koalas in Australia are now rare. In vivo they are difficult to meet. But other animals in the surrounding forests are full.
The hotel is located away from the centers of civilization (50 kilometers to the nearest town), but in guest houses reminiscent of traditional Aboriginal dwellings, there are all amenities: air conditioning, TV, telephone, shower. So in the thick of the rainforest you can feel like in a regular city hotel. There is a double room in Daintree Eco Lodge in October-November – $ 85.
The hotel also has a pool. It is closed so that leaves and insects do not pour into the water. Near the pool there is a veranda with a magnificent view of the tropical jungle. Along with the majestic centennial eucalyptus trees, wild skinny palm trees and three-meter ficus trees with round oily leaves grow. They don’t take money for a view of the jungle, but you will have to pay for excursions that the hotel administration offers tourists.
First of all, the administration offers its guests excursions down the river Daintree, by whose name the hotel is named. On a motor boat with a flat bottom and low landing, so as not to touch the bottom (the Daintree river is shallow, in places its depth does not exceed one meter), tourists will sail to the ocean. Within three hours of traveling, they will see crocodiles, aquatic turtles, dozens of species of tropical birds and, of course, the eternal jungle that surrounds the river channel from two sides. Having reached the mouth, they will admire the powerful ocean surf and coral reefs. If desired, the boat can deliver tourists to a quiet secluded beach, where there is a campfire site and picnic benches. Return to the hotel in a minibus owned by the hotel. Such a river cruise costs $$ 45-70, depending on the season.
Another fascinating tour is a hike to the Aboriginal settlement. Tour price – $$ 65-80. The indigenous people of Australia settled very close to the hotel – an hour’s walk along a gentle path. The natives, to which tourists are led, have maintained an almost primitive way of life. They hunt, fish, and collect only edible roots and herbs known to them. Tourists will also be treated, but not with roots, but with a full dinner made according to grandfather’s recipes.
Among the main delicacies is the tail of a crocodile baked in the sand. According to eyewitnesses, crocodile fillet, cooked by indigenous Australians, is very tasty.