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Cow Bay Homestay was build by the previous owners of the property in 1988.
It is a cypress pine pole house, located on the banks of an unnamed creek ca 1 km west of Cow Bay Beach. Wattle Close is one of the typical cul de sac streets in this area and the south boundary of the property is the Daintree National Park ,Alexandra Range, part of Cape Tribulation section.
Brian and Marion bought the house in 1996 and have been running Cow Bay Homestay as a Bed & Breakfast business since 1997. Brian has transformed the original building by adding a dramatic roof line and complementing the original layout with sky lights, deck and open spaces. After installing bi fold louvered doors, we can now open all the outside veranda walls to the gardens, which really bring the outside in. We can close all those spaces in winter when it may be a little cold or windy. Last year Brian remodeled the bath rooms and we polished all the internal floors. We also relocated the office to the front of the house making it a cool and bright space to work in, with a fabulous view into separate sections of the gardens and the occasional cassowary striding past.
A wood stove placed at the centre pole gives a nice ambience in winter and takes the dampness out of the air during monsoonal rains. Antique Queensland squatters chairs invite guests, (and the owners..) to put up their feet at the end of the day, connect with their heritage past and relax with a cup of tea ..watching the wild life in the garden.
Play board games at the other end of the vast veranda, browse in our library, no guarantee what you will find . Or lay on the deck at night and check out the star display of the Milky Way over head. Marion will give you a tour of the gardens, a mix of natives and exotics around the house and an organic vegetable garden with the beginnings for a small orchard next door. We have maintained a boundary walk along the perimeter of the two properties and a short 20 minute walk shows off the dense rainforest in this area. There is a path around the Mango trees next to the house and another one on the creek with a chair for anyone, who would like to sit and watchlisten.
The creek provides welcoming cool swimming holes poolsduring the summer months and a permanent pool below the bridge in winter time. Jungle Perch are there, some of those growing rather large, small turtles and fresh water crayfish take up residence. Watch out for the King Fisher flying through the bridge in search of insects. Butterflies are in abundance, and the Ulysses and Cairns Birdwing are striking in their colours and size. The pagoda plants in the garden are striking and provide a good nectar base for these big butterflies.
White cockatoos can give the first wake up call in the morning and can be seen against the green back drop of the forest in many areas here. Torres Strait Pigeons come from New Guinea for the summer and are heard right though the forest depending which tree is in flower or seed. During the day there is constant chatter and whistling, buzzing and chirping and dropping of leaves, seeds, rattling of skinks, lizards or the rustling of the goannalace monitor-- in the leaf litter. The Orange-footed Scrubfowls live in pairs and can be heard and seen often. These very industrious scrubfowls are rather entertaining to watch. There are also Wompoo Fruit Doves and the very tiny Yellow-bellied sunbirds.
Spiders can provide startling experiences for the new visitor but are usually harmless.
The Long-nosed Bandicoots seem to be part of the dinner entertainment in all of the restaurants here. Watch out on the road for Cassowarys, in summer often with chicks, and also red legged pedemelons.
Marion is the host in the B&B and has a number of other jobs, all part time. Marion delivers organic produce to a number of local restaurants. The garden produces garlic chives, seasonal herbs, coriander, parsley, basil, mint, rosemary, rocket, curry leaf, lemon grass, ginger, tropical spinach, tomatoes, passion fruit, limes, oranges, lemons, mandarins, grape fruit, bananas, lychees, cashews, mangosteen and a large variety of flowering ginger/haliconias. Marion is a qualified chef and works at a local restaurant, and she also manages a holiday house in Cow Bay.
Brian is an electrician and after years working in varies parts of the construction industry in Australia and overseas, he is now opening his own business from home. Brian is a keen fisherman and will go fishing inshore or out to the reef whenever he has time. Brian has traveled widely and can tell a good story over a glass of red wine.
Then there are the cats, called, Boy and Girl , and they have their special kind of purrrrfect hospitality.
Cow Bay Homestay seems to do its own magic on visitors. We have been WWOOF ing hosts for over 10 years with interesting helpers to assist us with our projects and exchange stories. The Bed & Breakfast guests have been from varies continents, countries and backgrounds. It is the recurrent note in the guest books how quite it is here, how relaxing and peaceful, how one can hear the wind, the ocean or the creek.
What we like to share with our guests is the closeness with nature, one can experience here easily and safely. The thrill, that it is real, and the discovery, that one has arrived.
How to travel to Cow Bay:
Find us on google map by using our street address,
160 Wattle Close, Cow Bay Qld. 4873
Public busses are available from Cairns and Marion will give you times and costs, ca $ 80.00/person, you can be dropped off at the driveway or make arrangements for Marion to pick you up. We have a bicycle for guests use to get around the area, but it is not that far to walk to the beach. Conventional car hire is very popular and a number of business in Cairns or Port Douglas offer good deals. A car gives guests a wider range to explore the area.
Cow Bay Homestay is 2 hours drive north from Cairns, follow the signs to Port Douglas, Mossman and Daintree/Cape Tribulation National Park. Turn to go the Daintree River Ferry and here the adventure starts. The ferry delivers you to the green curtain of the forest and the 15 minutes drive over the Alexandra Range is a breath taking, winding path through tall trees and along steep valleys. In Cow Bay turn right after the Cow Bay Hotel and after ca 5 km turn right into Wattle Close. You will see our sign and after you drive over the bridge the house is on the right. Now you have arrived at Cow Bay Homestay and the base for your visit of the Daintree Coast.
This is the wet tropics and the wet or rainy season starts around Christmas. Heavy rain, with falls up to 400mm are increasing or it drizzles all day long. Usually the middle of the day is fine. This time of the year it is not very windy, we can have thunder storms and cyclones. Temperatures are around 30 33 degrees, 24 25 at night, humidity 80 %.
By April the humidity drops and rain becomes less, it is cooler below 30 degrees and until July we can still have a lot of rain and wind. Usually it is fine during the day.
From June to August it is very cold, sometimes 12 degree at night and 25 during the day. The days are clear and sunny. In September it starts to warm up, the winds are less and the days warm with some cool nights still, but little rain. Humidity increases again by November and another wet season will start.
Cow Bay area:
Cow Bay is the area north of the Alexandra Range and south of Baileys Hill. It forms a big valley flowing from the ranges of Thornton Peak into the coral fringed bay. A number of permanent creeks and rivers, Hutchinson Creek, Baileys Creek, Fairy Creek and numerous unnamed creeks provide the drainage for the summer rains. After prolonged rains it may flood here, but 1-2 hours after the rain has ceased all the water has gone, turning little creeks into torrents.
There are over 100 different types of rainforests here, depending on elevation, soils structure, and location. The Discovery Centre in Cow Bay is a good source of information to learn more details about this fascinating area. During walks one can easily see how the vegetation changes from the gullies of small creeks to the steep slopes of hills.
Cow Bay has quiet a bit of history with people settling here ca 1930, trying all different types of farming, rice, sugar cane, cattle. There was no road access until the 1950s and all transport was by boat at the beach and through Baileys Creek. People from Daintree Village used to row to the community hall on Baileys Creek for dances. Now Baileys Creek is only accessible by boat from the sea and the whole area is National Park.
The cows on the beach apparently gave the area its name, the dugongs, or sea cows which are feeding on the sea grass banks off shore are another explanation. Aerial photographs from 1980s show a very different lay out and vegetation of the area. Then the big pastoral properties were subdivided into 1 ha blocks, sometimes without anyone knowing that the land was unusable due to steep banks and wide gullies. People from all over Australia bought land here and a number of people started building their dream. The architecture here is unique and adapted to the tropical climate with some amazing styles emerging by tireless home owners/ builders. The road to the Daintree River was still not sealed and trips into Mossman or Cairns took several hours. People were very independent and autonomous.
A lot of the land had been cleared and busy gardeners created fabulous mixtures of native and exotic gardens. The majority of those early gardens are now fully established with a top canopy and shade plants underneath, quiet often to the delight of the native wild life especially, when fruit trees were planted as well. Residents here always talk about what animal was seen recently in the garden or on the road, and compare notes on the movements of the cassowaries and so forth. Feral pigs have become a big problem in recent years are actively hunted and trapped. Talking to people living here, you will always hear the love they have for this area in their voices. Cow Bay is a young community and right now changes are taking place with properties sold and new residents moving in.
Now there are several areas in Cow Bay where people live. There is Maple Road on the left before the Cow Bay Hotel, Pandanus Road on the left before Hutchinson Creek Bridge, Buchanan Creek Road on the right leading to the beach and a net work of cul de sac streets on either side with very different vegetation in all of these areas. North of the Daintree River has no mains electricity and generators are the source of power generation for the major resorts. A lot of the private house holds have solar panels, combined with battery banks and back up generators to produce electricity. Some house use hydro set ups as well. Yes, we do not pay an electricity bill, but visitors can take the opportunity to talk about alternative energy with locals, who have had 10-15 years experience.
At Cow Bay Homestay we inform our guests what they can use, and hair dryers are definitely OUT. We all have to source our own water, rain water, bore water, creek water. With a big underground lake in the Cow Bay area, the bore water is extremely beautiful and fresh to drink, and the annual water tests at Cow Bay Homestay show this. And up to now there is no mobile coverage here, and the mail is delivered 2 days a week.
Where do we go shopping? There is a small super market at Rainforest Village and Mossman is the commercial centre of the Douglas Shire soon to be Cairns City Council- one hour away.
Things to do
Cow Bay On Foot
Each walk starts at the airstrip in Cow Bay
Distances are approximates only
Please use the Map for Cow Bay, below, to assist you
The beach walk Green
Distance: 6 km plus 1.5 km for the loop -- one way
Turn left after the war memorial and follow the foot/bicycle path along Buchanan Creek Road. After ca 3 km, second road on your right past Crocodylus Village you can add a loop to this walk by turning right into Spurwood Road. When Spurwood Road comes to an end, turn left into Quandong Road. Quandong Road then crosses Buchanan Creek Road. Turn right here to walk to the beach or, continue on Quandong Road. Turn right before the waste transfer station at Cedar Road. The 2 road on the right is Bloodwood Road, which meets up with Buchanan Creek Road again. Turn left to do the final kilometer to the beach.
This walk brings a lot of different environments to the visitor from heavy forested to fully cleared, from farm land to fully revegetated areas in the residential parts. You have different elevations some beautiful creeks and can sneak some good views of the surrounding mountains. This is the Daintree Lowland Rainforest and you can see how it travels from the mountains into the sea. The Alexandra Range to the south or the right as you walk towards the beach and Baileys Hill/range to the north are the main ranges here, with Thornton Peak providing a stunning back drop on the return to the airstrip.
It is not very obvious that people live here, please do not enter any driveways/ properties
The mountain walk Blue
Distance: 5.5 km -- one way
Walk past the war memorial, cross Buchanan Creek Road and use the foot path past Flora Villa and the Cow Bay Hotel. Walk up past the sign to the Discovery Centre and it is 2.5km to the Alexandra Range look out. On the way back turn right to the Discovery Centre and follow the road, Tulip Oak Raod to Jindalba National Park walk. After completing the loop here walk back to the airstrip.
Most of this walk is on the main road, but this is a spectacular part of Cow Bay. Walking up to the look out , you can see mighty trees, fantastic vines and,.. just listen to the birds. During the wet there are creeks cascading from the steep slopes over boulders and under the road. At Jindalba the board walk makes it easy to experience the normally inaccessible dense rainforest. This area is very different to the beach walk as it is elevated and provides quite different vegetation and creek environments.
The creek walk - red
Distance: 6-7 km, 1.5 km for the loop -- one way
You head north from the airstrip and cross Hutchinson Creek., walk past Alexandra Bay State School and the Daintree Ice Cream Company and turn right into Palm Road . At Palm Road you can see old Fan Palm Forest, which is highly concentrated in this area. This loop brings you back to the Cape Tribulation Road, where you turn left. Lynchaven is across the road. Walking back south, you can decide which place you like to visit or go for a swim in Hutchinson Creek, before arriving back at the airstrip.
This walk will show you part of the community infrastructure here, with the school located next to Hutchinson Creek, and Diwan Community Centre in Tea Tree Road. The green tunnel you walking through until you pass Daintree Wilderness Lodge, was planted by the Cassowary care group. There is some farming here and you can see the fruit orchards around the Daintree Icecream Company. 20-30 years ago this area was totally cleared for various pursuits in farming. It is due to the residents here that is it looking greener every year. You will notice the different vegetation on the right and the left side as you walk north. Around Daintree Wilderness Lodge is some amazing stand of undisturbed forest with extensive wild life.
There are local tourist information facilities at the Cow Bay Airstrip, Crocodylus Village has a tour desk and all the private accommodation houses are happy to advise their guests on the varies activities and make the bookings. Of course one can go on - line.
Guided Day walksguided night walkshorse ridingsea kayaking for 2 days or 4 hours in the morningvisit Flora Villa Art Galleryice cream companyboard walks at Jindalba National Park and Fan Palm Caféself guided walks at Crocodylus Village and Lync HavenEntomological Museumfishing at the beachlaunch boats at the Daintree River or Thornton Beachsnorkeling on the fringing reefs off Cow Bay Beachwalk to romantic Robison Crusoe Bay south of Cow Bay Beachday trips for diving or snorkeling to the Great Barrier Reefguided 4WD trips to Bloomfield Falls or CooktownJungle Surfingwide choice of boat trips on the Daintree River and fishing charterscamping at Koala Beach Resort, Lync Haven and Rainforest Villageswim in Hutchinson Creek or in the creek where you are stayingwalk to the 3 different bays at Cow Bay Beacheat and drink in the different Cafes and Restaurants in the Cow Bay area.
Some Visitor comments are below
Thank you for your wonderful Warmth, fun stories and the best time with great facilities- High ratings with lots of stars. Kaye, Melbourne
Marion was a terrific host, we loved our time here, Beautiful home, everything was perfect. Kelly, Arizona, USA
Liebe Marion, Wir werden die Tage in Deinem wundevollen Haus nIe vergessen, Du hast uns grossartig verwoehnt und und in gemuetlichen Stunden am Abend das Leben in und mit dem Rgenwald naehergebracht. Gaby, Vienna, Austria
If we were a lonely planet writer we would tell about the peaceful staying in veranda of reading and relaxing, about the attention to every detail in interior design and especially aout the extreme kindness of Marion and her delicious breakfasts. The honeymooners, Chiara, Italy
You have made us really welCOme and we really appreciated your tips on seeing the area.We look forward to visiting again. Geoff, Melbourne
Thank you for a lovely stay. It was the perfect place for us to explore from and reminded me of being home in Maui! Megan, Oregon, USA
Very fascinating region indeed. I will remember the long walks on the beaches and in the forest.This was the most enjoyable home I stayed in so far in Australia. Thank you for the hospitality. Michel, Canada
I don't know where to start, if we could we would never leave. Holiday with the big wow factor.AIrlie Beach and Stuttgart/Germany
We enjoyed the wonderful Cow Bay beaches early in the morning. The quiet surroundings, comfortable( sleepy) chairs and the great breakfasts! Nicole, St.Gallen, Switzerland
After 14 days of Crocodile Trophy in the Out Back, your place gave us 3 wonderful days of relaxation. Thank you! Linda, Denmark
Lovely spot, great company and no mobile phones- a sweet getaway/hideaway. Pete, Cairns
Thank you Marion for a wonderful 3 days in the beautiful Daintree. I can't belivee there are so many things to do, we really needed a week. Renate, Australia
Marion, your wonderful home met all our expectations and more. We had a charming stay with you and fell in love with the rainforest. Ingrid, Turkey