Not many people can say they’ve lived part of their life in the Rainforest. One of the oldest rainforests in the world to be precise. I count myself one of the luckiest humans alive for having had this experience. The Daintree Rainforest, it’s a pretty awesome place. But what makes it awesome enough to make a home? Well, stay seated and let me tell you why we decided to stay a little while…
I’ll start with the location. Big cities and me, we don’t click. I prefer countryside and the quiet life which is why the Daintree and I get on so well. The Daintree Rainforest is approx 1hr 45 minutes north of Cairns. Some may say it’s a little remote, but for me it is a dream. We experienced the real definition of ‘remote’ in the outback. Compared to that, the Daintree is quite the opposite. With empty roads, a peaceful neighbourhood, lush greenery absolutely everywhere and being the heart of two world heritage sites; the rainforest and the reef, this place is incredible. The Daintree lifestyle suits me just fine. I am in agreement with David Attenborough that this might just be my favourite place on earth.
Mother Nature shows her magic everyday here. One minute we have glorious beaming sunshine with humidity through the roof, the next gale force winds, thunder, lightning and the heaviest rain you ever did see in your life! I can’t keep up with her. I guess that’s why they call it a rainforest! Even when she decides to flood the village for over a week and you can’t get home to your bed, you have to get a boat to work and the risk of crocodiles is even higher, it’s a bloody amazing site to see. I have never seen anything like it before in my life. It’s unreal! The only trouble that I have found with living in the Daintree, is that whenever we now go to the bigger cities I am thrown by the amount of cars on the road and the herds of people in the streets. It overwhelms me! Honestly, I get heart palpitations! I have become so use to the company of bugs, birds, butterflies, lizards and crocodiles.
I know everyone that lives alongside me in the Daintree feels the same way as I do about the Nature and Wildlife. The next reason as to why we chose to make a home here for a short while. From what I know, there are over 3000 species of plants in the Daintree, some of which are over 135 million years old! I mean come on, does that not just blow your mind! This rainforest has probably been the home to dinosaurs!
Speaking of which, I feel the cassowary bird (aka T-Rex) is a descendent of the dinosaur family. The southern cassowary is just one of the endemic species of the Daintree Rainforest. Others include the green and ringtail possums, tree kangaroos, buff breasted paradise kingfisher, ulysses butterfly, Boyd’s forest dragon and so much more. These animals can’t be found anywhere else in the world. I feel lucky to have come close to some of them.
Every day that I have spent living in the Daintree, has always been filled with wildlife. The ulysses butterfly that flutters past the hotel reception, the golden orb spider that has built her web outside the main entrance, the sun bird and her chicks in their nest on our front porch, the python that lives under our house, the water dragon and his family that make mischief on the deck, the friendly turtle that lives in the lagoon, the green tree frogs that hang about in the restaurant jumping on guests legs and the tree snake that likes to sunbath outside the treehouses. The wildlife is everywhere and it fascinates me. Just look… I haven’t even mentioned the animal that the Daintree Rainforest is most famous for; the saltwater crocodile. I’ve absolutely loved having crocodiles as my neighbours. Even though they would probably take the first chance they got to death roll me should we come within close proximity, I think they’re so bloody cool. However, one minor problem with the crocs is that they stop me from being able to enjoy a swim in the ocean! We can’t have it all though can we. This is has been another hurdle for me whilst living here. Before settling in the Daintree, every other day was spent at the ocean. We dived the Great Barrier Reef, snorkelled with turtles in the Whit Sundays and swam with humpback whales in Hervey Bay! Some of my favourite and most memorable bucket list moments have been out at sea.The beaches in the Daintree Rainforest are what I like to call my ‘paradise hell’. There are so many beautiful tropical oasis-like beaches that run along the coast that are unbelievably inviting but, and there is alway’s a but, at the same time way too dangerous because of our crocodile friends and the jellies, hence my ‘paradise hell’. For now, as I can’t go in the ocean, I keep my ocean swell necklace from Kembali Collections close to my heart. It is a reminder of the memories I have had in Australia’s ocean and the adventures that are yet to come.On the subject of adventure, another reason the Daintree is a place we decided to settle was because of the opportunity we’ve had to explore. You may think the Daintree Village is small, remote and not much goes on, but the places you can go and the things you can see is endless! Every day off is spent doing something new, something out of our comfort zone and something we will remember forever. I have showered in the most spectacular waterfalls, hiked the most incredible mountains, swam in magical rainforest pools, set sail on the Great Barrier Reef, camped under the stars, came close to some very dangerous animals and witnessed stunning sunsets over the Daintree River. And that is not even close to half of it. Every moment here has been a bucket list moment. I cannot express how grateful for the travel opportunites the Daintree has given me. The final and most important reason we chose to call the Daintree our home was, if you hadn’t guessed already, the community. In September we were strangers. ‘Silly backpackers that know nothing’ was the term used by one local. That hit a nerve, and I was deeply saddened that they had this opinion of us. This term ‘backpacker’ seems to suggest all these bad connotations and portray us in a negative light. It couldn’t be more inaccurate.
I knew I just needed to prove them wrong. As I do in every job I have ever had, I worked my ass off. I knew nothing about this place but now, (not to brag), I actually know a lot about the Daintree. And I am so proud of myself for that. After a week of living here, locals started taken me seriously. They knew I was committed, passionate and would be sticking around for a while.
Everybody knows everyone here, and to be honest, I kind of like that. As you drive through the village you can guarantee a wave, a smile or a big ‘HELLO’ from those you pass. If you need a helping hand, you don’t have to ask twice. If you’re feeling lonely, someone is always up for a chat. When you think you’re out of food, a neighbour will show up at your door with a bucket load of home grown tropical fruit. And when things in the village don’t go to plan or natural disasters happen that are out of our control, everyone works together to fix it. It is an inspiring community to be apart of.
The Daintree has taught me another level of community. I have gained the respect of the locals and they have gained mine. I have made friends here that will be a part of my life forever and although we move in less than two weeks, there is no doubt in mind, that one day I will return to the Daintree community.
So, location, nature, wildlife, the opportunity to explore and the community are the reasons we chose the Daintree Rainforest as a place to call home for a little while.
The Daintree is special. It is unique. And I still can’t quite believe I have been able to live part of my life here, in the oldest rainforest in the world. As well as the nature, the magic and the beauty of it all, it has opened my eyes to what sort of community I want to be apart of when I grow up. If, I ever grow up…
The Daintree will forever hold a place in my heart. I’m not quite ready to say goodbye.
See you soon,