An early start and we were off to the airport for our week trip to FNQ destination Cairns. Booking this trip for 7 days we soon realized we were going to be busy, so much to do in such a short time. But we were excited to visit this area.
Arriving at Cairns airport on time and with no dramas with Tiger Airways ($75 each way) at 9:30am our adventure had begun.
So we were on our way, up the mountain to the Tablelands. Our first stop was at Henry Ross Lookout and the view over Cairns was breath taking.
We headed to Kuranda, but we by-passed the main town and headed over to Barron falls, the walk through was beautiful, a tree top boardwalk took us down to Barron Station to see the falls, it was an amazing lookout with a great view of falls. we spent the afternoon driving around looking at the scenery and decided to spend the night at a free camp at Kowrowa, about 10km out of town. A nice quiet spot on the river no amenities, bush camping at its best.
Our day started early being Andy's birthday I had a special surprise for him later in the day, we were going to ride the Kuranda Scenic Railway down to Freshwater then the Skyrail back up. But first we headed over to Davis Creek National Park we stopped at the first campground and wandering over to the river, the water was crystal clear a beautiful spot, venturing further up the mountain was an amazing waterfall we walked behind the falls and came across an infinity pool, I was so tempted to jump in for a swim but the rain decided to pore down at this point and we made a made dash back to the van. A great place and we will defiantly go back here to explore in the future.
All aboard!!! We boarded the old train and off we went slowly working our way down the mountain through the world heritage rainforest in Barron Gorge National Park. The views were magical and the train had commentary to explain the history along the way. The journey took approx 2 hours.
Getting off at Freshwater there were bus transfers to take us over to the Skyrail Rainforest Cable Car and up we went back up the mountain just meters above the tree line with great views underneath us. The Skyrail has 2 stops along the way were you can get off and look around the National Park, the afternoon went so quickly and we had so much fun. With a few hours left of sun light we headed over to Atherton were we found a room for the night with a great Chinese restaurant next door for Andy's birthday dinner.
Atherton,Yangaburra, Lake Eachem, Milla Milla
Waking up to a rainy morning we got organized and headed off our first stop was the Curtain Fig just out of Yarraburra the fig is one of the biggest fig trees in tropical north Queensland. And wow what an amazing sight, its a short boardwalk through the forest.
Next we headed to Yarraburra and made a turn into Lake Eacham, what a beautiful place. The water was crystal clear and we could see the fish and turtles swimming around on the bottom of the lake. Signs around stated no fishing or feeding fish. There are walking tracks along the lake front, picnic area, toilet facilities, camping and accommodation. The lake is a crater lake formed thousands of years ago and surrounded by rainforest, truly a amazing place.
Over to Milla Milla to the historic town known as the Village in the mist. We had lunch at a local park and headed for the waterfall circuit.
There are 5 falls around area but due to the rain and muddy conditions we had access to 3 which were amazing, Milla Milla being the most popular, with a local swimming hole. With the rainy weather it wasn't to busy this day, so we got some great pictures of the falls without people swimming.
The next along was Zallie Falls which after a short walk comes to a viewing platform near top of falls, this lookout is slightly over grown with trees in front, so we walked half way down a steep muddy track for a better look and it was worth it, the waterfall was amazing and we got to view from half way down.
The following Ellinjaa Falls was also an easy walk down to the falls base, very quiet and peaceful. Driving out of the mountain it had become so misty felt so surreal as were drove without much visibility in front of us. When we were at Milla Milla falls a local tour guide had told us about a river in Yarraburra were platypus are commonly seen and has a breeding program, so we decided to head back that way to check it out. Unfortunately we didn't see any (oh Andy said he did but I scared it away..Mmmmm) but the river had a great walking track and it was a so peaceful and calm. The day had soon passed so we started the drive over to Mount Molloy where they had a free rest area for overnight campers. When arriving we were suprized it was a nice place, little noisy earlier in the evening but soon quieted down later through the night. There is a dump point and flushing toilet with cold water showers and a few picnic tables with a donation box to go towards the up keep of the area.
Mossman Gorge was our first stop this is located south east of the Daintree National Park. Entering through the information centre, a $9 fee to Mossman Gorge which has a bus that takes you further into rainforest, the bus doing a round trips every 15 minutes.
There are a number of walks when arriving at the Gorge, easy boardwalk's to the rainforest circuit walk which is 2.5 km this was our favorite walk. Starting just after the suspension bridge, the path leads to a lookout, past the river, through scenic rainforest and huge ancient trees, there was so much to see. The water was again so clear and blue with huge bolder like rocks scattered the river. We spend a few hours here exploring the Gorge having a picnic lunch back at the information center where they have a café, gift shop and picnic grounds. The Gorge is well set up and run by the aboriginal local people.
Next stop Daintree Village, a very small street with only a few shops and a caravan park on the river. They run river cruises from here and also crocodile tours.
We were thinking of spending the night here but decided to head over the river at the ferry crossing to the Daintree Rainforest. We headed to Cow Bay where we decided to booked a few nights in the Rainforest in a eco tent at Crocodylus Village. An awesome place hiding in the middle of Daintree. A glamping style tent/cabin, with toilet and hot shower and no electricity except lights in the room.
The village is run on generators, and there is common eating area that also sold food and drinks for guests and visitors. Guests have access to the kitchen to cater for yourself and a laundry . The manager was a lovely a local lady who was very helpful and great explaining local attractions.
Daintree, Cape Tribulation
Sleeping in the rainforest is one of those things you will always remember, the amount of rain that fell the first night was huge, all night and pretty heavy. Laying there in our tarp style cabin listening to the rain was so cool. The wildlife we saw as we ventured out to explore were green frogs, big spiders, fireflies, cane toads, and all kinds of big bugs. One of the main attractions we wanted to see and hoping to avoid was the local cassowary, it was of those animals that you really want to see in the wild but cautious as they can attack by kicking with both feet at once and those claws are so big.
Our morning started with a wander through a local walking track, (Jindalba) a boardwalk through the rainforest a free walk and pretty impressive.
A look down the local beach then over to the Daintree Discovery Centre we arrived early and only had to share the place with a couple of other people. The staff were lovely and full of local knowledge and willing to share information, although we really enjoyed the time wandering through and the canopy tower which was 23 meters high above the rainforest. I felt it was a little over priced considering there is so much free stuff you can do in area that is similar. But saying that I'm not complaining, it was a nice couple of hours wandering through the rainforest, and they had some good displays of snakes, also the audio setup if you wanted to know the information.
The drive up to Cape Tribulation was also a highlight of the trip, a short trip from our accommodation with lots of stops along the way to look at.
The furthest point we could drive was a lookout and Cape Tribulation beach. As you walk through the mangrove to beach the heat of the day just hits you so does the magical beauty of the rainforest meeting the lovely beach. Unfortunately the water is a no go area with stingers and crocodile's which was such a shame as the beach was amazing and looked so inviting.
The Daintree also has its locally owned tea plantation were it produces, fields and field of it, we stopped for a look. The farmer was cutting the tea and gestured we could take a small amount of leaves. we drove back to our accommodation.Our last night at our tent so we relaxed with a few cold beers, dinner and an early night.
Coast road to Trinity beach
A lookout between Wangatti and Red Cliff, some creative person has stared to build the rock style tower so we stopped and added our own also.
Palm Cove was a nice spot we wandered the beach jetty. The road was a nice easy drive, with beaches and lookouts along the way.
We were at Trinity beach before we knew it were we decided to spend the night. Although beautiful as we live close to the coast at home and it was hard not to compare the coastline as they are very similar.
We had dinner in our apartment and later had a spa and finished the night off with a couple of cold beers watching the fire flies across the road.
We spent a few hours taking a trip to Cairns Zoo we looked around at all the animals, our main attractions we wanted to see were cassowaries and crocodiles. (as we didn't see any wild ones) A really good set up and a nice lazy walk around. Another great display of snakes and lizards. It was a good way to spend a few hours before having to clean and return our hire car. As we walked to our hotel we stopped for a yummy Thai lunch in Cairns.
After lunch we checked into the Hilton Hotel which we had purchased months ago on a special for half the price. The room was great with amazing river views we spent the whole afternoon and evening hanging out in the room we were both worn out and wanted to relax. We spent hours watching ribbons of small birds across the sky and millions of bats heading towards the ocean, a truly amazing sight.