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Daintree Aboriginal expedition

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Daintree Rainforest just north of Cairns has an extraordinary range of plants and animals in Australia's largest chunk of rainforest covering around 1200 square kilometres. The rainforest is around 135 million years old — the oldest in the world. There are 430 species of birds, 13 found nowhere else.

Hiking trails, scenic lookouts, camping sites, swimming holes and picnic areas make exploring a pleasure. Visitors can stay in eco-friendly accommodation and eat at cafés and restaurants specialising in local delicacies.

Daintree Eco Lodge and Spa offers tranquillity in 15 rainforest villas. All the creature comforts of a boutique retreat are here. Each one has a jacuzzi on a micro-screened balcony, ensuite bathroom, ceiling fan and air conditioning, mini bar and many other inclusions. There is an undercover pool and sundeck, Aboriginal art gallery and an array of tours and activities.

Daintree Spa has a carefully chosen selection of body wraps, massages, beauty treatments and a state-of-the-art vichy shower. A director of tranquillity is there to tailor a personal journey into revitalisation. They invite you to surrender to the exclusive Indigenous Li'Tya range, where Australia's natural resources are combined with Aboriginal techniques and treatments. Uninhibited by weather, this is another must-do.

Julaymba Restaurant and Gallery is in keeping with the tradition of Daintree Eco Lodge and Spa and in consultation with the local Kuku Yalanji people. Its menu has been carefully designed to balance the tastes of cosmopolitan Australia. Internationally acclaimed chefs work with exotic tropical fruits, reef fish and local product, native and indigenous nuts, berries, flowers, leaves and seeds from the property.

The mood of the tropics lends itself to casual attire. Loose, light clothing, coupled with sandshoes, runners or sandals, is the perfect attire for daytime resort wear. Smart casual attire is suitable for evenings in Julaymba.

The lodge can introduce you to an indigenous guide who will lead you on a 600 kilometre journey, heading north from the Daintree, past Cooktown to the Aboriginal-owned Elim Beach.

This is one of the most spectacular sand dune environments on Cape York, just an hour's drive north of Cooktown. It is accessible by car in dry conditions and a permit from the Hope Vale Community Council is necessary, costing $10.

The scenery is a breathtaking mix of white silica sand hills, rugged escarpments and heathlands. Access to coloured sands at low tide is an easy 300 metre walk. Access is along the beach (4WD only). The best views of the sand are reached by climbing up the soft sand hill on the north side. Sands are not permitted to be collected.

Settled as Cape Bedford Mission by the Lutheran Church in 1886, Hope Vale is home to several clan groups who mostly speak Guugu Yimidhirr, related languages and English. They are proud to display their customs. Learn the ancient art of spear-making and barramundi-hunting, wonder at the natural phenomena of coloured sands and freshwater holes miraculously bubbling in the ocean and in the evening cook the day's catch on the campfire and unwind to stories of the dreamtime. It's an experience like no other.


The far north of Queensland.


Daintree Eco Lodge rooms start at $398 a couple a night. Full breakfast is included.

Three nights for the price of two: this special is offered on full price accommodation only and is subject to availability. It is valid for stays between November 15, 2006, and March 31, 2007.

The first 200 people to book will receive a free spa treatment per person.

Prices quoted are correct on November 16, 2006.

More information

Daintree Eco Lodge
20 Daintree Road
Daintree 4873
Ph: (07) 4098 6100
Fax: (07) 4098 6200

Virgin Blue
Ph: 13 6789

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