We departed Karumba and just thought we would drive till we were tired, We stopped off at Millstream Waterfalls which is the widest single drop waterfall in Australia, it was quite spectacular. From here we set up camp at Ravenshoe. Jenna and I instantly fell in love with this little old logging town, it reminded us so much of Denmark. It boasts Queensland’s highest pub, so we felt obliged to drop in and have a beer. To our delight, it was happy hour where the beers were $2 a pot!!!! I have never in my life had a beer that cheap from a pub. We pulled into the local roadhouse/caravan park, and went for a stroll to the creek where we saw 2 platypus! Very lucky.
We departed Ravenshoe, and headed the most direct route we thought into Cairns. That just so happens it was the Giles HWY, which snakes down from the tablelands into the plains. Well, what a test for the van brakes and my nerves. I’ve never driven on a road like that let alone with the van on, but I was very impressed with how they both performed. We just took it easy, as was everyone else.
We checked in to Cairns Holiday Park, which we were very happy with. The management was lovely, and they let us have Tyson in which they don’t normally allow. The park was the first we’ve seen with quite a few kids running around, which was great for Cedar to have a bit of a play.
We had mum and Trevor arriving late that night, so we set up the camp, went for a walk and had a bit of a rest. Mum and Trevor arrived, and we had a few beers that night with them ready for the next day.
We headed up to Mareeba and the tablelands for the day with mum and Trev. We stopped at the Marreba Coffee Works, which the museum was really good, but the coffee was kind of average. Not the best for a specialist coffee roaster. Still a nice drive and the Marreba visitor center was really good too. We then headed over towards Atherton, where we stopped at a local distillery, a local nut roaster and the curtain fig tree, which was stunning.
The following day we went up to Port Douglas Markets and Mossman Gorge. The markets were a bit quieter than 5 years ago when we were here, but they were still good. I treated Jenna to a massage, and Mum Trev and I went up for a bite to eat. I’m quite fond of Port Douglass and I am looking forward to coming back with the van.
We then headed up to Mossman Gorge. Jenna and I fell in love with this place 5 years ago so we couldn’t wait. But to our disappointment, the gorge is now a major tourism point with locked gate and visitor center. I understand its good for the Aboriginals and for some tourists, but 5 years ago, we fell in love with the fact it was just a small rd. to a piece of paradise. Now you pay $5 for an electric bus from the visitor center, which was great but it just wasn’t the same. Very very commercialized. Needless to say, there is still something special when you dive into the crystal clear refreshing waters of the gorge. It was a bit chilly for Cedar been fresh water, but she still enjoyed the walk and dipping her feet in with granny and Gramps.
While we had Mum and Trevor around, Jenna and I went out for a hot date night. It was great; we dropped into a local pub called the Jack, where they had 2 for 1 drinks. So we sat and reminisced on the trip so far. We then went out to a local Vietnamese restaurant (First house) and ate far far to much. The food was amazing and we went back there 3 more times. We were home by 9pm, a far cry from our previous hot date nights.
The week we had with Mum and Trevor came and went all to fast, and before we knew it it was time to drop them back to the airport. Tears fell, goodbyes were said, and off they went back to Perth.
The following day, we packed up and headed up to stay with our friends Carly and Dave. They have moved to Cairns, as Dave was offered a job at a local solar company, so it was great to see them and catch up. We planned on staying with them for 2 or 3 days, and low and behold, we stayed for 12 days!! It was filled with activity’s including waterfalls, long mountain hikes, drinking at the local Yorkeys Knob Yaught Club and eating way to much good food.
Jenna, Carly, Cedar and myself embarked on heaps of mountain hikes including, the blue arrow botanical walk, Earl Hill, Babinda Boulders walk, Crystal Cascades hike up to lake Morris. All of these walks were absolutely amazing, and involved extremely steep terrain with incredible views and refreshing dips at the end.
We also went on a day out with Dave and Carly on the Sunday, where we visited Mila Mila Falls, Zilie and Elinja. The day was great, and Jenna and I were treated, by been chauffer driven by Dave. The icy cold water at Mila Mila was so refreshing, but the highlight for Jenna and I was the small waterfall called Elinja. It was only a short stroll down the steps, and we could hear the roar of the waterfall. It was just stunning. Jenna, Carly and Dave jumped in, and swam straight up to the waterfall, while cedar and I threw rocks into the water. Magic!
The next day we went out to Babinda boulders, we undertook a nice walk thru the rainforest which wasnt very well used. We came across quite a few large spider webs across the track with man eating spiders the size of your fist. I think they were golden Orbs, Harmless enough but definately wouldnt want one sitting on my face. We just moved them across with a stick and continued walking. We also came out with leeches on our legs and it was quite a site to see us all laughing picking leeches off each other. At the end of the walk we swam in the water and spoke to some locals who told us that 13 people had drowned in the water.
We also visited Josephine Falls. Josephine Falls took the mantle for my favorite waterfall of the many we saw. It is a nice walk thru the rainforest then down the boardwalk, and it’s just the most picture perfect rock pool with a natural slide into the cool refreshing water.
The day we visited Crystal cascades, we discovered with a bit of research, you could walk the 7km up the mountain all the way to lake Morris, which is actually Cairns water supply. This was the hardest track we did by far, it was so steep, Cedar was on my back, and by the end she felt like she was about 90 kilograms!!! But it is all worth it, and the top of the mountain, you reach the lake, where we met the ranger who looks after the entire area. There is a large deck, with a canteen, but sadly its not operating any more. The ranger was great with heaps of local info about the dam and surrounding area.
Another of our favourite walks was the Douglas track. This starts from a local swimming hole called stony creek. This was another long walk of about 7.5 km’s, and again, it has very challenging parts, but an absolutely spectacular view of Cairns Township and Yorkey’s Knob as well. We actually tackled this walk late one afternoon, but didn’t make it all the way due to time, so we returned and tackled the beast and we completed the track all the way to Glacier lookout. We took my old mate Tyson on this walk, but I think that will be his last massive walk, as he struggled a fair bit towards the end. But, he was first in at the bottom for a refreshing dip in stony creek. The locals really are lucky to have this on their doorstep. No photos can justify just how truly beautiful the rainforest here is.
The next weekend that Dave had off, with the help of Carly, we organized our very first Baby sitter so we could have a night out on the town with our hosts. We put Cedar to bed, and took off to a Japanese BBQ Restaurant, where you cook all your own food on a BBQ in the middle of the table. One of Dave and Carly’s mates, Robin joined us on the night and it was great. We topped the night off with some espresso martinis at a local bar, a nice finish!!
Cairns is a great place with so much to do and so much infrastructure aimed at both locals and tourists. The entire foreshore has so many activities to do. With a huge infinity pool, kids playgrounds, free aerobics classes, Skate Park and much more. We definitely fell in love with Cairns and will stop there here on our way back down.
Millstream waterfalls, the widest single drop waterfall in Australia.
Local Kookaburra at Millstream Fals
Ravenshoe service Station Camp grounds
$2 Beers at Queenslands Highest pub in Ravenshoe
Cheesy Photo for Cedar with her Name
Windmill farm outside of Ravenshoe
Haircut with Granny
Mareeba Visitors Centre great piece of history
Mareeba Visitor Centre
Curtain Fig tree Atherton
Curtain Fig Tree Atherton
Mossman Shuttle Bus to the gorges
Mossman gorge walk
Infinity pool at Cairns Esplanade
Skate Park with Dad
Esplanade Beach Cairns
Camping On Dave and Carlys front Lawn
Swimming at Mila Mila Falls
Mila MIla Falls
Zillie Falls Walk track and falls
Stoney Creek Walk
Stoney Creek Bridge
Douglas Track Walk
Douglas Track Walk
Bambinda Falls Walk
Carly and I at Babinda falls.
Babinda Swimming Hole
Our Fabulous Hosts Carly and Dave
Lake Morris Walk
Easter egg Hunt
Douglas Walking Track to Glacier Lookout
Family Photo Glacier Lookout
Shopping Jenna Style