One of the most beautiful aspects of the Waterfalls Tour with Barefoot is its flexibility. Depending on the conditions we can adapt where we go to give passengers the best once in a lifetime experience. As a guide it is phenomenal to work in in Far North Queensland as there is so much variety in the region to keep every day exciting, no matter what the conditions. On most days we would frequent the Babinda Boulders for it has a truly majestic rainforest, the granite boulders and an idyllic calm swimming hole.
Babinda Boulders Blog
At just over an hour from Cairns, the Boulders tend to be either the first or last stop of the day. Generally it is great to get there before the crowds and have some time to ourselves. On a usual day we would spend quite some time here as there is so much to sustain the senses. As you leave the bus, it is sensational just how well kept the National Park is, good ammenities and the perfect spot for morning or afternoon tea. With such a vast picnic area what better place could you find to indulge in some of our finest local ingredients including Black Mountain Coffee (from near Kuranda) and Nerada Tea (grown in Malanda) and a banana or two from the fresh stalls nearby.
On tour we split our time here between the Devils Pools and the calmer pond where you can go swimming. There is always enough time to embrace the environment and even relax in the refreshing stream coming down from Mt Bellenden Ker. These waters have meandered down the sandstone and granite ranges for millions of years. It is one of the wettest places in Australia which has allowed the waters to etch out an awe inspiring view of this natural wonder. From the carpark it is a short walk to the Devils Pool, here the water has exposed ancient granite boulders, eroded and smoothed over the centuries. On this side of the park you will not go swimming. It is banned as it gets dangerous when the water level rises. We don’t know how many people have lost their lives here. The Traditional Owners of the region even have a dreamtime story warning people not to swim in these deadly waters of the Devils Pool. For when the wet season comes and the water flows strongly it is very easy to get trapped in the eddies and drown. This side of the park is to be viewed from the sidelines, there are other areas where to swim.
If you were to turn to the right, instead of the left towards the Devils Pool, you are greeted by the calmest swimming hole where you can gradually meander into the luscious waters. It is distinctly different from the other pools and most passengers will go for a refreshing float. This is why we spend time at each stop, so everyone can get what they want out of the day.
Now, as you know, this area is home to some of the world’s oldest low lying rainforest in the world and this comes with its wonders. Throughout these blogs you will hear countless adjectives to describe the vast flora thriving through the region, and no matter where you go, you are in for a treat. One of my favourite varieties of plants are epiphytes. Epiphytes quite simply are organisms (generally plants) that grow on other plants and attain their food and water from debris surrounding it. Quite literarily, they are plants growing on plants, neither hurting nor harming the host. They are quite the wonder of the rainforest including tree ferns, orchids, bromeliads, mosses and many more. At the beginning of the Devils Pool walk there is one of the most sublime Birds Nest Ferns (Asplenium Species) you will find. It grows near the base of a rainforest giant and is over a metre in size. It is one of the best specimens of this variety you will find. As you continue down the path to the Devils Pool Lookout you will be bedazzled by the numerous epiphytes you encounter on this easy 1.3km return walk.
After having enough time for a peaceful stroll, some local tea and coffee, and a swim it is onto our next stop for the day.
Even if you decide to head down to Babinda on your own, you will enjoy the vast array of things to do in the are. During times we have frequented the park without a group of tourists my partner and myself have camped at the free camping area nearby, using the BBQ facilities and generally hiking, swimming and soaking up the rainforest. What a sensational place to waste away a day.
The next blog will include further experiences we encounter on our day tour around the Far North Queensland Waterfalls Tour.
Next Stop Millaa Millaa Falls.