I have arrived in Australia’s Rivendell and am surrounded by a rainforest that stretches from the inland mountainside all the way to sea. In the last ten days I have followed an ancient lava canal from the central Tablelands to rich fertile cane fields, eventually giving way to acres and acres of luscious rainforest; the Daintree National Forest.
The last week has been spent hiking through the Aboriginal lands of Mossman gorge, pedaling remote coastal roads and camping on deserted beaches. The weather has taken a turn for the worse and has been windy and extremely rainy, leaving most of the park lands vacant. Due to its remote location, there are only 60 people living in the territory north of the Daintree river. Most of these individuals are old hippies in their late 60’s living off the grid on small farms with solar panels, rain catchment and growing exotic fruits such as durian and marijuana.
The only way to describe the feeling of this place would be to call it a mix of Northern California’s Lost Coast and Hawaii’s Napali coast. The entire Daintree rainforest was at one time only accessible by a muddy dirt track that took a high clearance 4w drive vehicle to traverse. In recent years the rough road was paved giving rise to a large increase in tourism and a world heritage status. This is the only place in the world where one world heritage site literally meets another; The Great Barrier Reef begins where the forest ends and extends 15 km from the beach.
To me the most beautiful thing are the silent and untouched estuaries, which pass as rivers in the valleys, streams and creeks near the roads and mangroves before touching the Coral Pacific sea. I am sad to reflect on such a beautiful place as this Thursday I fly from Cairns to Brisbane and begin my southern tour of Australia’s coast. J.R Tolkien’s Rivendell may only exist for the reader in New Zealand but there are many other places which share its mystic beauty.