7th – 13th June, 2015
Our next adventure, exploring Cape York, began with a long, fast ‘transfer’. A ‘transfer’ is driving just to get somewhere else. It took us 4 days to cover the 1833K from home to Port Douglas where we met our friends Gill and Ric. From home we went up the Burnett Hwy to meet the Bruce Highway just north of Maryborough. Stopping at Biggenden we were surprised to meet Keiran and Alan in their Jabiru – small world. Lunch turned out to be coffee and cake – public holiday and only the pub was open. That night we spent at Alan and Cheree’s home in Gladstone. A very pleasant evening.
Next day on to and past Mackay to camp beside the Leap Hotel. The Leap was named after the story of a young aboriginal mother who was being pursued by the police (conflict between aboriginals and white settlers in the early days of white settlement was frequent). Rather than be captured, the mother, carrying her infant, climbed Mt Mandurana (now commonly known as ‘The Leap’) and jumped to her death. Her baby girl survived the fall.
This very well patronised, free campsite is well grassed and pleasant and the Hotel amenities are available to campers. We had an average dinner there before settling down for the night. Not a good night’s sleep though. Getting used to a different bed is always unsettling, but the traffic was just a bit much – after all we were right beside the Bruce Highway!
Off to Townsville next day, but first a stop at Whitsunday Gold just outside Proserpine – a coffee plantation and cafe we discovered on our last trip here. The coffee was just as delicious as ever, and the savoury muffins were to die for. Don’t miss this little gem when you’re up this way.
Arriving in the afternoon at Townsville we booked into the Rowes Bay Caravan Park. It’s fair enough – very clean amenities and a grassy place to set up camp. Because it wasn’t such a long day today we went for a walk along the coastal walk from there to The Strand and back, stopping for a meal on the way. The council has done a lot of work on this part of Townsville. The walk follows the coast all the way, with a very impressive boardwalk to take you around Kissing Point. Also the area that had been army land on Kissing Point has now been redeveloped and is excellent – lots of sculptures, information about the indigenous and white history, a layout of the Battle of the Coral Sea and first hand reports of being in Townsville during WWII when it was being bombed. Excellent work Council.
Next morning off to Port Douglas, via Cairns where we stopped for lunch at the Paleo Cafe. Arrived in Port Douglas about 3.30pm relieved we’d be having a rest for a few days. Here Ric and Gill had very conveniently arrived a few days earlier and booked into a two-bedroom apartment. We’ve spent the last 3 days here relaxing, soaking up the tropical, tourist atmosphere, doing an anti-rain dance (it’s rained heavily every night – not good for our 4WD tracks) and eating way too much. This is a beautiful place. It’s great to be in the tropics this winter, and Port Douglas just shouts of tropical paradise.
This afternoon Gill and I re-provisioned and now we’re prepared for every eventuality, we hope!
To see more photos from this part of the trip CLICK HERE.