Tucked away in the Daintree Rainforest near Cape Tribulation hides one of the best hikes for any adventure seeker. The trail takes about 5-6 hours to complete, surrounding you with nothing but raw tropical beauty all the way up to 680m where the lookout lives. If you’re lucky enough like we were, you may even find that you have the entire 7km return trip to yourself. Do me a favor though, please take a proper pair of hiking shoes. This is not a trail where sandals are appropriate at all.
Welcome to the Mt Sorrow ridge trail.
We left that morning in some pretty crummy weather. To really understand, have a look at the photo below and see if you can spot the Daintree River. It’s there, I promise. Maybe just squint a little.
By the time we parked our car in the Kulki day-use area, the rain had passed. So we headed back up to the main road in search of the trail head to start our journey on Mt Sorrow. I’m glad the National Parks website told us where to find the trail head. It’s tucked away in a spot easily missed, unless you’re specifically looking for it. The webpage also has some great information about the trail including maps, details on the hike and safety tips. So make sure to check it!
Stepping into the Daintree we were instantly surrounded by a sea of green. Green on top of green in the leaves, the vines and the branches. Opening our eyes and mind to what it really means to trek through the rainforest. Dare I say, this is as raw of a trail you can experience, unless blazing your own path. It certainly is one of the most natural hikes I’ve been on.
With such stunning surroundings I couldn’t help myself, I kept stopping to take it all in (without tripping). But it was pretty clear to me that I was going to have to put my camera away. Moving between vines, avoiding massive tree roots and needing to scramble were tasks that required my full focus and two hands. Both things I wouldn’t have if my camera was out, tempting me to take more photos. I also didn’t want to accidentally grab onto any wait-a-while vines or stinging trees (haven’t heard of these? Read more about them here). Or worse end up with leeches on my hands – yuck! At least I knew the GoPro was running 😉
It’s kind of strange, but it wasn’t until we went higher up that we started to encounter leeches. If you’ve been reading our blog, you’ll remember me whinging about the leeches in Strickland State Forest . There’s just something about these slimy little buggers that sends a shiver down my spine. With the wet weather having passed, it increased our odds of running into them. But we were prepared and took frequent leech check stops!
One of my favorite parts of the trail was when we reached the rope! I can’t remember the last time I hiked a trail with rope tied to the trees to help you scramble up. Not knowing how long (or how well) it had been tied there for, I had to remind myself not to put too much of my weight into it. Just in case it gave out and I went tumbling down the hill instead.
Along the way, the trail is marked with little pieces of pink/orange plastic tied to the trees. Use these, follow them. Hikers have gotten lost on the trail before. The first 2km of the trail have markers at each kilometer point to let you know how far you’ve gone. We either both missed the 3 km marker or it didn’t exist. This made the final 1.5 km climb to the top feel much longer than it probably was. After much scrambling and hiking we FINALLY reached the lookout! I read over here that back in the day hikers used to enjoy the view from a big bolder. Now, there is a raised platform that was brought in by helicopter!
There was nothing but beautiful sunshine to welcome us to the Mt Sorrow lookout. What a change from the stormy morning we started with!
By this point we were STARVING, more than ready to devour our delicious lunch that I had prepped that morning (sweet chili tuna mixed with quinoa, brown rice and chickpeas). It was in that moment I realized, I had forgotten to pack any sort of utensils!! Brad being the creative hiker that he is, whips out his duct tape (which I had no idea he was carrying) and gets to work creating a makeshift spoon for us to eat with. Surprisingly, it did the trick and saved us from eating like a pack of wild dogs! Thanks boy scouts for teaching him to always be prepared.
The trail itself was more challenging than I had expected but it was still quite manageable. I used to be under the impression terms like “for experienced bushwalkers” were meant to discourage the type of people that would lets say, wear heels to visit the Grand Canyon (we’ve seen it). Being winter, the temperatures were really comfortable. If you’re going to head up in the summer though, take lots of water and start early to avoid the heat!
I have to admit, while on this trail I kept an ear open for any suspicious sounds of leaves or twigs crunching. We were after all, in cassowary territory. It’s not common to see them in the wild, but we had already driven past 3 that morning.
Now if you aren’t familiar with cassowaries, they are this really large emu-like bird with crazy claws. They are also known for being territorial, so I’ve always been a little nervous about coming face to beak with one of them. And after a friend showed me this photo, I’ve never forgotten about them.
For those of you like me, wondering what to do if you should come across a cassowary, check out this advice sheet. I kinda hoped they’d have more tips, but I think the most important thing to remember is to respect its space.
The Daintree Rainforest is such a special place. As the oldest rainforest in the world its a must see when visiting Australia. For those looking to get back to nature than the Mt Sorrow ridge walk is not to be missed!
Keep sharing your stories,