It doesn't however prevent larger visitors and last night, as we drank our post dinner cup of tea, the noise which Sue heard under the table was an inquisitive Northern Long Nosed Bandicoot called Simon, well known in these part and a fairly regular visitor to campsites. It would be a lie to say we weren't startled but we soon recovered and just stood and watched Simon literally nose about to see if we had discarded any offcuts to the ground. He wasn't in anyway perturbed by our presence in his oversized larder and moved about, sniffing boots as much as anything else and then waddled back the way he had come, not to be seen again.
The onslaught is aided and abetted by tours which arrive in their Croc Dundee livery and of course, are allowed to park right at the entrance. As a result, our hour walking in the gorge was marred somewhat by a constant stream of singletted blokes in shorts and thongs, women in skimpy fashions down to bikini tops and shorts which must have been applied by skin graft and kids. Actually, most of the kids were pretty cool because they were asking questions, often really good questions and credit to most of their parents, they were having a good crack at providing good answers.
About 40% of those present just wanting to breeze in, do the circuit and then hop back on the bus: tramping along, seeing little but a background of green and the water cascading down the Mossman River. I wonder what the traditional owners think, the Kuku Yalanji, as they man the gates of the park, waving politely to every blurred minibus that flashes by. Their own community precedes the park, a place where they live and work, including a group of artists who stock a fine little gallery and another who run interpretive tours in Mossman Gorge, the southern most extent of the The Daintree. Very few visitors today were asking to be dropped of at the community's attractions.
Boyd's Forest Dragon on a tree not far ahead of us. It was our distinct impression this was a privilege.
We found the creature and took some pictures and when others stormed on past, we thought it might be best to keep our knowledge to ourselves.
The views of the river were spectacular as it was flowing vigorously after weeks of rain. The town water for Mossman and Cairns is taken from a lake above this point and has, amazingly, never been in short supply. In the end, the freeway of people zooming up and back as we tried to watch little birdies and forest critters got too much for me and I was happy to leave. I was also cheesed off, as this was a bushwalk we had planned since before leaving Tamworth and the main reason I had worked so hard with exercises to get my knee in working order after I injured myself at the start of the tour in the reunion game in Armidale. Before we started the walk I had a near collision with one of the Flash Jack tour operators as I was entering the toilets, twisting the same knee and putting myself back three weeks. It's swollen tonight.
We returned to the carpark to find a dopey bugger had boxed me in in their effort to make sure they got the car parking space they wanted. I had to cut and fill, backwards and forward with the trailer on, to extricate myself. I left him/her an explanatory note as to the inconvenience they had caused.
In the afternoon, our major stop was at the Mareeba Wetlands, a privately run facility which is like an oversized bird hide. This was a real treat and it included a pot of the local Nerada tea. The birdies were beautiful and the company was very pleasant. The place has rather expensive lodges (no camping) and tours at different times of the day to observe birds on the wetland. Entry to the visitors centre and bird watching from their is free.