Bus tours are controversial. Lots of people try to say that it's a tourist, not a traveler thing to do. To these pretentious people, I roll my eyes. What's fantastic about bus tours is that you get to see a lot in a relatively short amount of time. Why not see a much as you can so you know what you should explore deeper next time? What can I say, I'm a tapas kind of girl. Also, if you do your research, you can get a tour guide that actually extremely knowledgeable and passionate about wherever you are going.
This crazed lunatic was our guide on a bus tour to visit a string of tropical rainforest waterfalls near Cairns, Australia. Don't let the dopey, stoner look fool you. Our guy, despite being literally barefoot all day, was all about the science and could thoroughly answer any crazy rainforest question I could dream up. Because I am a winner and the fastest, I snagged the front seat of the bus and got to both bombard him with questions and take some killer shots through the windshield. One of the many things taught to me by my good friend Brett is that an Australian redneck is called a "bogan".
|This was my view from the front seat!|
We had to drive up the mountains to get to the rainforests. Our first stop is to visit a gigantic tree in the Atherton Tablelands, the Cathedral Fig Tree. It's a parasitic, strangler type of tree that attaches itself to a host tree and absorbs it (this one looks like it ate all the trees).
|A great shot of both this ginormous tree and my gams! |
(stolen from Bethany's Facebook)
|Danbulla National Forest|
|Like toilet water, the vines twist in opposite directions depending on which hemisphere you are in.|
Also, notice how in all these pictures there are cloudy skies. That would be because it's raining most days of the year over here, keeping the plants happy and lush. The cloud cover plus the tree canopy create a surprisingly cool climate here, which unfortunately I did not plan for in a sundress and bathing suit.
Our next stop is Lake Eacham, a dormant volcano lake that is 215 feet deep all the way around. It's important to note that over here, Aussies rarely go swimming in lakes/rivers/the shore to avoid becoming a crocodile food. Fortunately, the crocs aren't into elevation so we were free to go swimming in the rainforests. This idyllic picture totally masks the fact that this water is absolutely subzero freezing. We were both extremely hesitant about getting the lake, especially me because I'm a baby. Beth rallied and said, "If you don't swim in this freezing water, you will literally regret it for the rest of your life." So we got in and didn't dry off for the rest the day. The motto of the day was born.
|We can't feel our faces but hey, at least we're |
swimming in a volcano.
(stolen from Beth's Facebook)
|Dinner Falls, Mt. Hypipamee National Park|
|A flowing glacier|
|I guess cows are more aggressive here...|
|Millaa Millaa Falls, Millaa Millaa Park|
|So beautiful, so few degrees|
This is a rainforest wild turkey! They were constantly underfoot everywhere we stopped. The real question is where did this corn on the cob even come from? We are way deep in the bush at this point.
|Josephine Falls, Woonooroowan National Park|
In the end, we were very glad that we YOLO-ed our way through the cold waters, even though they definitely got progressively colder. I can't decide if the Great Barrier Reef or being in the rainforest is my favorite thing to do in Australia. Cairns is absolutely incredible. Although this the first trip into the rainforest, it definitely isn't the last! Stay tuned for more tales of rainforest adventures, including an awesome ziplining course down the mountain. Please enjoy this video of us completed exhausted on the way back home.
This Barefoot tour is non-negotiable on your Cairns itinerary
Bethany took some great iPhone snaps in the water with a Watershot case
Fall in love with Australian Brush-Turkeys (just kidding, ew)
Learn how the Cathedral Fig Tree claims its victims
Plan your trip to Lake Eacham
Dinner Falls also has a buddy attraction called The Crater at Hypipamee National Park
Watch Millaa Millaa Falls hypnotically cascade
Wooroonooran National Park is huge and full of natural wonders to explore
did you like these australian waterfall pictures? check out more on my flickr!