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Cape Tribulation is a special place
Cape Tribulation is a small valley in the Daintree rainforest, two hours drive north of Cairns - and one of the few places in Australia which can grow tropical fruit from the equatorial regions. The high temperatures, the high humidity and the high rainfall which occur throughout the year provide the right conditions for fruit trees which are normally only found in the Amazon and the South East Asian jungle. So this is the place to taste rare tropical fruit.
The rainforest at Cape Trib. is defined as tropical humid lowland rainforest.
It is only found between Ingham and Cooktown, and vast areas of it have disappeared under sugar cane, cattle pasture and towns. The Cape Tribulation rainforest was able to escape much of this development because of its isolation and high rainfall which made it a very unattractive proposition. There is no bridge across the Daintree River - you enter the area by crossing the river on the ferry.
They are a rare and endangered bird which can be found in the area.
During the Ice Ages, when the climate was cooler and drier than it is today, the Australian rainforests retreated and survived in small moist pockets, and the rainforest has existed continuously in these areas for over 100 million years. The Cape Tribulation area is one such pocket or refuge. The rainforest has been able to evolve undisturbed for this immense length of time. It contains many primitive, restricted and rare species of plants and animals. There are plants found in this area which grow nowhere else on earth, and which provide primitive links to the origin and evolution of all flowering plants.
This area encompasses the most beautiful areas of lowland and upland forest, beaches, rivers and mountains in the whole of Australia. In most places, there is little human activity - it is possible to walk for days within virgin rainforest and restore your soul.
The fringing reef
Adjacent to the coastline at Cape Trib. there is an extensive fringe of coral reef. This combination of a continental tropical rainforest and coral reef is rare and unusual as it would be expected that high levels of freshwater run-off from the forests would be detrimental to reef development, yet the reef exists and appears to be unique in the world.
During the 1980s the Douglas Shire Council tried to bulldoze a road through the rainforest from Cape Tribulation to Bloomfield. A huge public outcry developed into a major environmental issue. People gathered from all around Australia to physically stop the bulldozers decimating the rainforest by chaining themselves to trees, and placing themselves in the proposed path.
With the support of large numbers of police, the bulldozers built the new track, and the council had their victory.
Out of this controversy, there came a determined and sustained effort from the conservation movement to have the tropical rainforests of North Queensland listed on the World Heritage List. This became a reality in December 1988, when the United Nations World Heritage Committee made a unanimous decision to accept the nomination.
The Wet Tropics Management Authority and the Douglas Shire Council have now developed a policy to protect the outstanding natural attributes of Cape Tribulation and at the same time allow visitors to enjoy the area. For the first time, significant Federal and State funds as well as money from the ferry, are being allocated to the area.