Australia, Road Trips, Travel

Queensland Roadtrip Pt 1 – Cairns to Port Douglas

Every time we go away, I do wonder how on earth we will settle back into “normality’. To a slower pace of life.  Well, compared to the “busy life” of being on the move travelling and exploring every day.

Each time it happens all too quickly, with clothes unpacked, washing machine on, fridge stocked with fresh food, appointments made and completed, catching up with folk.  When all completed and our first few days at home, the inevitable question is always asked,

 “Did we actually go away?”.

The answer is, yes we did, and I have a few tales to share of our time over there.

Hopefully, the sharing will be completed before all those mental photographs become dim with time or embellished beyond recognition. For me, those mental images can be more precious than the ones I capture with a camera.

Luckily I have enough of both to share some of the highlights of our trip.  I am pretty sure you don’t want to read about everything that happened while completing 5000kms [give or take a few kms due to a wrong turning].

Unlike previous trips, we went up a notch in the style sphere, from a campervan to an 8m motorhome. With that change came an increase in size and a few luxuries.

The luxury of having space, to move and to relax in with ease.

One of the biggest bonuses there was no making up the bed at the end of the day. After a long day exploring and travelling, it was great to have a separate sleeping area from where we relaxed with a cuppa or had a meal. Believe me, when you are road tripping for weeks on end the small things become big and gnarly. So for us, having a few luxuries ticked off the wanted list was worth the extra cash outlay.

Then there is the ultimate luxury in having our own kitchen to whip up something to eat when we don’t feel like heading out to dine. When there are no cafes in most areas “in the middle of nowhere” as in the Outback or one of the gorgeous scenic National Parks.

The company we dealt with on this trip and previous ones were GallivantingOz.  We found them professional and easy to work with in choosing which motorhome would suit us.   “Lets Go Motorhomes” was the company we choose from a wide range of options, we picked it up from Cairns.

Motorhome

Before embarking on our roadtrip, we decided a few days in Cairns were needed to adjust to the warmer climate. Perhaps tweaking our itinerary which we did on numerous occasions and this trip was to be the most unstructured ones we have completed.

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Les enjoying his expresso

The few days in Cairns was relaxing with short walks, cafe visits, thought-provoking displays in the local art gallery. Then there were the beautiful sunsets capturing the last light surrounding the mountain range, which was where we would be heading next.  It was a great way to start our holiday.

Sunset2

After a quick “how-does-that-work?” and the necessary paperwork was signed, we and our lap of luxury were headed further north to Port Douglas.

Port Douglas

Climbing the hill for a different view
Climbing the “Flagstaff Hill” was a change from the beach and a view was worth the physical effort

Our first stop along the coast was a very tasty slice of tropical paradise sandwiched between the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef.  Why?  It was both a feast for both our eyes and stomachs. The local market enjoyed during both our first visits, where we purchased fresh and delicious tropical fruits and other local treats.  As well as a popular cafe for coffee and cake.  To be honest, some of the more delightful cafes were away from the touristy areas and where the locals head to be caffeinated and fed.

St Marys by the sea_edited
This was only a small section of a largish local market which is next to a well-visited small church.  Both situated near the marina.
Colourful street_edited
Couldn’t resist capturing the colourful buildings and classic car.  Most other buildings were non-descript unlike these.

Visiting the market is a must-do and believe me, when I say it was well worth getting out of bed early on a Sunday morning.  This was a place where local artists and creatives showed their wares, and I was really impressed with the high quality of goods.  There were undoubtedly more than enough jewellery on sale, and I found it hard to chose and landed up not making a decision.  No big deal, as we weren’t there on a spending spree for “things” it was to experience nature and the World Heritage Sites.

Cyclists on 4 mile beach

The 4-mile beach [which is more than 4-miles] was flat and long enough to satisfy most fitness and relaxation requirements of all ages.  The biggest bonus it was patrolled by the local lifesaving crew, swimming was enjoyed in warmish water without the accompaniment of a jaw snapping crocodile or snark.  Always an added bonus in my book.

After a day exploring, we finally purchased tickets to go snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef.  This was basically our main reason for stopping in Port Douglas as the camping facilities [visualise being packed in like sardines, though the showers and camp kitchen were usually largish and well equipped] are very overpriced and the area has a leaning towards supporting the luxury resorts than motorhomers wanting a good deal at the local camping site.

Quicksilver_edited
The catamaran we went on to snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef
The learner bay and beyond on the GBR_edited
The enclosed area that we snorkelled around

That aside, our boat trip was to be the major highlight of our trip [more on this at a later stage, too many words and photos to be placed here].

All in all, our first taste of the Tropical North exceeded our expectations.

Our second stop for a few days was to be another World Heritage Site.

The Daintree Forest.

That gem will be written up in Part 2.

Queensland Roadtrip Pt 1 Cairns to Port Douglas.jpg

 

45 thoughts on “Queensland Roadtrip Pt 1 – Cairns to Port Douglas”

  1. Hi Suzanne, I like your phrase “mental photographs.” We often use this phrase in our home. We have a less than 3 metre camper and every little bit of space is important. Not too bad with 2 adults. We used to camp with 2 children plus a dog. All I can say is “why did we do that?”

    Thank you for the information on your motorhome company. Australia is a possibility for us. We are still basking from the afterglow of New Zealand this year.

    Your photo of the sunset is spectacular! All of your photos are interesting and beautiful. A great post and I look forward to reading more:)

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  2. I had a lovely wander down memory lane then. I have travelled 3 times along the Captain Cook Hwy from Cairns to Port Douglas. Driving with the top down on a rental by myself was F U N. I loved the whole area and admit I am not a camper so it was pretty good 4 star accommodation. Stayed in Port Douglas once and Palm Cove which I much prefer twice. Did some tours to the hinterland and Mossman Gorge and The Daintree but not a reef excursion, just to Green Island. Thanks for sharing the pics…and the story. Denyse #mlstl

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  3. It all looks fabulous Suzanne – I have a bit of a hankering to travel in one of those larger campers and I think the Queensland coast might be a good place to try one out one day in the future. Your photos made it all look very tempting.
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

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    1. Thanks Anabel. Oh my goodness at the broken foot. Now that would’ve put the holiday plans in disarray to say the least!! Glad to hear you still want to go back and give it another go.

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        1. Once you were plastered up the pain issue would’ve gone and the enjoyment of being somewhere new would’ve helped. Good on you, Anabel, for having a positive attitude and of course the same goes to John. It certainly helps having a “I can do” type of partner, I have one 🙂

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  4. One of the best sunsets I have ever seen was over Cairns in the month of August. I used to like Cairns because of all the Aussie cities it seemed old-fashioned and a sleepy beachy town. Now I see from your photos that the high-rises have appeared. We loved PD and stayed in the YH there which at the time had a really good chef working for it. Great memories nudged by your lovely photos (some very similar). I’m not sure I’d be happy driving such a large motorhome though!

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  5. Nice to read your reflections Suzanne, and lovely pictures. Thanks for sharing. I’m already wondering about the “did we really go away” thing and how to counter it.

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  6. Such a beautiful part of Australia. I love Port Douglas and FNQ. We went there the year after we got married (a long time ago) but I still have fond memories of 4mile beach, snorkeling and the rainforest. Sounds like your van was great too. Nothing better than being self sufficient. Loved your pics too. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

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  7. Great post Suzanne. We visited FNQ last year by caravan &, like you, enjoyed a fabulous trip. I totally understand your appreciation of the extra comforts after a day of exploring the sights. I agree, these little extras make a massive difference. 😀

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  8. A really interesting read Suzanne. I read your post with great interest. We enjoyed exploring Far North Queensland last year by caravan. I understand completely your comment about appreciating the little comforts after a day of exploring – and how this is worth the extra dollars. We too enjoyed a trip to the Barrier Reef, and visited Port Douglas and the Daintree Forest. I’d love to visit again one day? Who knows … it is a long way away 😀

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    1. I can understand your ambivalence about Cairns. We enjoyed the waterfront, cafes and Art Gallery in Cairns though as a whole the place wasn’t appealing. Just another stepping stone to what was important for us and beautiful. The GBR and the Daintree Rainforest.

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