It started as all good stories do, with Sean Connery. And his magnificent ability to rock a ponytail.
Allow us to explain…
In fact, it was the sight of Mr Connery heroically soaring through the Amazon in ‘90s film Medicine Man that planted the seed in the mind and heart of Jungle Surfing founder, Stephen Walsh, to create a system of cables and platforms that would take visitors into the treetops of the world’s most ancient rainforest.
Pharmacist Stephen had a dream – and a spectacular backyard to show off. In 1995, he started selling tours through his Port Douglas pharmacy and operating guided day and night walks through his private rainforest property in Cape Tribulation.
All the while his grand master plan was taking shape. He wanted to share the beauty of the Daintree like never before.
But he discovered building a dream can take time.
What goes into building a playground of this size?
– Nine years of research and development in Australia and overseas.
– Cultural clearance from the elders of the Kuku Yalanji people.
– A team of arborists, engineers, riggers, carpenters and scientists to scale the heights and slowly put the puzzle together.
Working in a UNESCO World Heritage Site is no easy feat. Add to that no mains power, limited access and tropical weather conditions, and you’ve got yourself a challenge of epic proportions.
No heavy machinery was used in the construction of the Jungle Surfing buildings or tree canopy platforms. Every piece was painstakingly carried into the forest and hauled into place by hand. It was a labour of love if ever there was one.
Psst! Engineering geek stuff below:
Happy trees – An ingenious friction system of blocks and chains holds the platforms to the trees without the need for a single nail or bolt to penetrate the tree trunk.
No monkey business – A ‘top rope belay’ system means our guides lower each guest along the spans by rope, so you can travel hands-free and carefree!
Swingin’ since 2003
After more than a few years of blood, sweat and tears, Jungle Adventures’ flagship experience – Jungle Surfing Canopy Tours – opened to the public in August 2003. From small beginnings, attracting guests from Cape Tribulation and nearby Port Douglas, Jungle Surfing now welcomes more than 15,000 visitors from around the world each year.
Sadly Steve is no longer with us, but every harness clipped onto our ziplines and every step taken in our Hamster Wheel is testimony and tribute to his slightly madcap idea, his unwavering enthusiasm and his absolute passion for the Daintree Rainforest.