With Directed Research starting last Monday, my research team began our data collection. Our research topic this semester, under the supervision of Professor Justus Kithiia, is on indigenous tourism. We set off to the town of Port Douglas, about 2 hours north of the Centre for Rainforest Studies. We spent our first night swimming and settling into our hostel, and we made homemade lasagna and garlic bread.

We started the next day bright and early and drove to the Mossman Gorge Centre, a local indigenous tourism attraction. The Center was located about 20 minutes from our hostel, and offered the Ngadiku Dreamtime nature walk with Aboriginal guides and a swimming hole — Mossman Gorge. My team and I experienced the walk and conducted surveys afterward to gauge tourist participant demographic information and satisfaction. When the nature tour hours ended for the day, we headed to Four Mile Beach for a short swim. The number of stingers in the Australian ocean is high, so we had to stay within the boundaries of nets put in place to protect beach visitors from harmful stings. The day was concluded with pizza, ice cream and a stroll through downtown Port Douglas.

Early the next morning we returned to the Mossman Gorge Centre to conduct more surveys. In between tour groups, we chatted with the indigenous guides and learned about shamans, natural plant remedies, and local history. We even got a chance to swim in the gorge after we finished our data collection. The water was freezing and the waterfall currents were strong, but we made our way to the tops of scattered rocks and enjoyed the pre-sunset sun. After our swim, we departed Port Douglas and headed back to our home base in Yungaburra to join the rest of our classmates for dinner.

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