Spiders as big as your fist!   (05/04/04)

Last updated 05/16/04                                                                                                                               

If I told you that we stopped in a coastal beach community to do some serious "bush walking", you'd probably think that we're crazy. However as the welcome brochure for this place indicates, Mission Beach is "one of the most unique" sections along the North Queensland coastline. The reason is that apart from your usual beach scene, Mission Beach, home to the cassowary (an endangered, 1 meter tall, flightless bird -- they have warning signs for these all over the place but we didn't see any), has lots of surrounding rainforest and is designated part of the World Heritage Rainforest. We went for a nice long hike through the rainforest in pouring rain and discovered that we probably would never go for another hike in the rainforest ever again. Apart from housing clouds of persistent, hungry mosquitoes and spiders as big as your fist, the rainforest is a pretty spooky place and halfway through Daria was wishing she was back at the car, or anywhere else for that matter.

Daria's take: The hike was not a loop, so after walking some 6 muddy kilometers under the dripping leafy canopy we had to retrace our steps back to the carpark. On the return journey I heard sounds in the bush that must have been generated by cassowaries, or else by dinosaurs from Jurassic Park, judging by the decibels. The noise frightened me enough to produce a kind of tunnel-vision effect, such that for the rest of the hike I saw and heard nothing around me and concentrated solely on putting one boot in front of the other at the fastest sustainable walking speed. Need I say that, for once in my life, I was not at all disappointed at our not seeing the animals supposedly inhabiting the area? Usually I wouldn't rest from the moment I see a sign "koalas (or any other beasts) next 2km" till the sighting of the promised species, or else until we have covered twice the distance without spotting anything (and then I sulk), but this time I was praying not to come face-to-face with the "lord of the rainforest" as they dub cassowaries. This rainforest proved to be just a little too real for me... and rainy, too.

A walk through the rainforest is NOT recommended for those of you with overactive imaginations ("what was that sound?", "look at the size of the spider!! It could eat a small dog!!"), but if you want an interesting time then maybe this is your ticket.


Below: Proof that I've actually driven on the left (wrong by US standards) side of the road. No accidents yet, so it's all good (it's a real mind trip though).

Our rental car -- Toyota Corolla Ascent hatchback                See -- the steering wheel's on the right!

Below: Images from our rainforest walk.

Spiffy in Pink                Rain? No worries, bring it on!                One big spider                Closeup of the monstrosity