Published: July 4th 2011July 4th 2011
So we drove north of Airlie beach heading towards Cairns and its surrounding areas and decided to sleep at a rest stop for a free night after about 6 hours of driving. The next day we went to go and check out Mission Beach which turned out to be pretty rubbish... There was lots of damage from the recent cyclone and apart from that only a few cafes and places to stay. We decided to carry on further north pretty sharpish and after a rare Mcdonalds pit-stop we headed inland to the Atherton Tableland which our friends Dave and Sarah had recommended. It was strange because the landscape up there is very different to the rest of Queensland, it felt like being transported back to the Chilterns with lots of rolling hills and green grass everywhere. We stopped off at three waterfalls before heading to a caravan park at the town of Innot Hot Springs which we had seen in the trusty lonely planet . It was about 40 mins out of the way but worth it because of the 5 hot pools the park had. After a lazy afternoon chatting to Aussies in the pools we called it
The next day we headed back to the Tableland and went to a Chocolate and Cheese farm where we met some baby cows which were very friendly. From there we went to a coffee and chocolate shop/cafe/factory and had some awesome hot chocolate. We then drove to the popular day trip town of Kuranda which was a bit odd, lots of hippies and aboriginals hanging around not doing much. A woman told us about a nearby national park so we stayed there for the night as it was free. In the night we had lots of animals bumping into the van, no idea what they were though as it was pitch black and I wasn't about to open the door!
We decided to drive up to Cape Tribulation the next day and on the way we stopped at Mossman Gorge which was rammed with people, the Gorge was alright but not jaw dropping so we carried on and got to Cape tribulation after a river crossing and many twisty roads. We took a walk through the rainforest and onto the beach but it started to rain so we came back. The rain then didn't stop for
the next 2 nights so our time in Cape Tribulation wasn't the best! We drove down to Port Douglas and the weather improved so we went to the beach for a few hours which was nice. In the evening we stayed at a backpackers place which allows vans to park up but I was sick of pasta and tomato sauce so we went and had a Kebab which was a welcome change!
We still had one day to kill before dropping the van back so we drove to the Beach town of Palm Cove, the weather was awful all day and we did very little but catch up on some washing and read our books (not every day is an adventure!).
It was then time to drop the van back in Cairns, we were so glad we chose to do the camper van option and I would recommend it to anyone thinking about doing the east coast. We checked into a hostel called the Northern Greenhouse and set about choosing a Barrier Reef trip, we ended up going with a boat called Aristocat which departed from Port Douglas and went to the outer reef which is supposed to
be better due to less visitors. I then went to hire an underwater camera to have a go at taking some fish and reef photos. We had to wake up bright and early to get our shuttle to Port Douglas, the boat was pretty nice and we met some Irish girls and an Ozzie guy who we spent the day with. I had booked for 3 dives and there were 3 other certified divers so we had a nice small group. The first site was a bit boring but the second and third were much better with some cool coral and fish. To be honest I was expecting a bit more from the Barrier Reef but I still had a good day and Hevs really enjoyed her snorkelling (as you can see from the pic!). We went out last night with the guys we met on the boat which was a good laugh, they were staying at a 5 star hotel which felt very alien to us!
We fly to Auckland tomorrow and it will be sad to say goodbye to Oz which has been really fun over the last 5 weeks, but as they say, all good things
must come to an end!
Sorry this hasn't been the most exciting or best written blog, I will try harder on the next one!
(more pics at the bottom of the page)
There are more photos below