Cairns to Whitsundays
31.08.2008 - 14.09.2008 28 °C
Cairns was a welcome relief after the heat and humidity of Darwin with the temperature at a steady 30 degrees instead of 34+. We spent the few days there chilling out and visiting the local town of Kuranda situated within a tropical rainforest area, the town was started by hippies in the late 60’s who were fed up with the touristy nature Cairns offered. They have the worlds longest gondola ride up to the village at 40 mins.
After collecting our steal of a campervan we headed off to Cape Tribulation for the night, we were advised by a few people to stop at Mosman Gorge on the way up which we did but wished we didn’t! The gorge is not much of a gorge, we did the rainforest walk and had a quick swim then had lunch before continuing up to Cape Trib, it was late afternoon when we arrived so we just camped up for the night at a site in the rainforest which was pretty cool. Daintree which is the area Cape Trib is in is really nice and definitely worth a visit but Cape Trib is not that great. By the afternoon we were in Port Douglas where we met up with some friends for dinner.
Spent the next day in Port Douglas sampling some very good coffee in a café aptly named Rehab then I hit 4 mile beach which is really nice. The only problem with the beautiful beaches of Queensland is that you can’t swim in the inviting looking ocean for the worry of being killed or maimed by all manor of creatures.
We left Port Douglas and headed down the coast back past Cairns and inland to the Gilles Range which provided some great views of the range and the coast line. We did a walk around Lake Barrine which was formed by a volcanic crater and then headed to Lake Eacham for lunch and a swim. After lunch we headed to Mt Hypipamee National Park to see the crater which was created as a result of a volcanic vent in the earth, it is over 80 meters deep and 60 meters wide. That evening we stayed at Innot Springs and relaxed in the natural spring pools.
Today we headed back towards the coast and decided to take a minor road through the national park. The going started off good with an unsealed but solid road after we hit the Ranges (Gorge Range) Mt Giringun the going got pretty tough with lots of dips and holes slowing our progress considerably and it seemed to go on for ages, finally I caught sight of the coastline and we began to descend which still took over 40 minutes, when we got to the end of the track we looked back to see a sign saying road closed! It was worth the slog for the views of the coastline and for the adventure.
Spent a day in Townsville which wasn’t terribly exciting but I did see the biggest spider I’ve ever seen in the botanical gardens, this thing was as big as your face! The next day we went to Magnetic Island for the day but the weather was dull and it rained which made the place look dull and boring.
Today we travelled to Bowen which is the home town of our friend Angie, it’s a very beautiful town with gorgeous beaches and not a soul on them. I got some photos of the beaches and the islands off the coastline which is essentially the start of the Whitsunday group of islands. We stayed at Angie’s sister Becky’s that night camping in the back garden and making friends with Diesel the dog, the softest pit bull terrier you’ll ever meet. In the morning we went down to meet the fishing boat that the family run, had a look around and were then treated to oysters Kilpatrick for lunch. After the oysters had settled of which I ate about 10 we headed off to Airlie Beach.
We organised our Whitsunday trip and we ended up getting a deal on the same boat our friends had booked at $200 less than they paid. We left Airlie Beach on our superb luxury yacht and headed to Tongue bay near Whitehaven beach where we spent the night. In the morning we woke up early for breakfast where we were able to watch turtles swimming around the boats in the bay. After breakfast we took the dinghy across to the beach where we hiked up for views of Whitehaven beach which was amazing. We then walked down to the beach and spent the morning enjoying the 85% silica sand. The afternoon was spent in another bay we’d sailed to for lunch where I went scuba diving and snorkelling. Just as we were about to leave the bay a whale and her calf showed up which was a cool end to the day as we sailed to Pearl Bay for the night. The next morning we snorkelled at Pearl Bay where I saw a white tip reef shark followed by a black tip, very cool! On the way back to Airlie one of the people on our trip had a go at steering the boat and at that moment a whale calf breach just a few meters from the side of the boat, overall an awesome trip. That evening we all went out for a meal at this cool fish restaurant and had a few drinks at the Rum Bar.