Coastal Roads

whale doodle

Whale feeding

We’d decided to spend our last 4 weeks in Queensland returning to Brisbane via coastal roads.

First stop was Cooktown, thus named because in 1770 James Cook beached his ship the Endeavour here and remained for many weeks carrying out repairs.   It’s one of the few large towns in the Cape York Peninsula but  it’s still a small, cosy place with a few restaurants and bars.

cooktown.jpgDave had a chance to mingle with the locals:

Sam

Dave and Sam

Our most scenic route to date took us to Cape Tribulation. An amazing place and a real little paradise.  It’s  along the Daintree Coast and amid the World’s most ancient rain forest. Getting here involved some very bendy roads, steep climbs and descents and even a ferry:Ferry crossing

Which led to views like this:

View on the way to Cape TribulationAnd cosy bars with interesting menus:bar and menu

For the first time we’re on an obvious tourist route. Up until now everyone we’ve met has been Australian – Grey Nomads or those just exploring their own country. Our campsite In Cape Tribulation was full of hired camper vans and European tourists. We never spoke this much Dutch when we lived in Holland.

We spent 5 days on a great campsite.  To the East of our “front door” an amazing beach:

Beach run Cape Tribulation

Me on a beach run

And to the West, Rainforest:

bamboo

Big bamboo

We’d seen lot’s of signs warning us of something called a “cassowary” crossing the road.  Having no idea what it could be, I was sure it was a large lizard of some kind whereas Dave was convinced it was an indigenous person of the “Cassowary Tribe”.  Turned out we were both wrong and all became clear when we saw this sign – It’s an over-sized chicken/turkey thing.

dead bird
Needless to say, we never saw one.

After 5 great days it was on to Port Douglas.  We didn’t spend long there as it’s an upmarket resort town and not really our thing.  Fortunately we arrived on a Sunday and could spend our time visiting the local market.

market tucker.

More good Aussie tucker!

We stocked up on fruit and veg but also treated ourselves to a new candle holder.  It cost us 20 AUD and came from Bali where we would have paid under 2 AUD for it – Ambiance doesn’t come cheap in Australia:

Ratty

The pet rodent and the new purchase

Now we’re in Cairns. What can I say – It’s a big town with lots of people and we’re moving on tomorrow. The journey down along the Cook Highway was very scenic though:View along the Cook Highway

On to the Bruce Highway and we intended to get all the way to Townsville which would have been a 5 hour trip. However, after 2 hours we turned off to Mission Beach to have a coffee and ended up staying for 3 days. Fortunately we’d stocked up on food – This seems to be a very affluent area and the two restaurants within walking distance dished up at best mediocre fare for exorbitant prices. Once again though the beaches and surrounding scenery were compensation enough.Mission Beach

Heading further south the great views continued:

Girringun National Park

Sugarcane is Queensland’s largest agricultural crop and harvesting was in full swing.

Cane train

Small trains take the harvested sugarcane to the sugar mills

With a few days to spare before our 90 day visa stay comes to an end we arrived in Hervey Bay.  This is one of the best places to see the humpback whales during their migration to Antarctica (from July to November).  Together with their calves they hang around in the waters just off the coast of Fraser Island, preparing for the 5000 km trip South.

The  tour we did to see them was certainly the highlight of this visit.  What an experience seeing these huge, inquisitive but gentle animals so close up – Unforgettable!

 

Today we put the camper into storage near Brisbane airport

storage

See you in a month!

and tomorrow we fly to Fiji for a month! Very excited to be going somewhere completely new and looking forward to the luxury of a private bathroom again 🙂

Below is a map of our trip this time round.  Click here to see our complete travels around Australia to date.

South Pacific, here we come!

2 thoughts on “Coastal Roads

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