On thursday, we took Dad and Bella to the airport and packed up our gear and headed off North. The plan was the go all the way to Port Douglas in the one go but some dodgy weather and fatigue got to us so we found a motel in Cairns. After polishing off a few too many bottles of red, we got off to a very lazy midday start. Kerstin knew of a Swedish Cafe, similar to our friends one in Manly, so we went and checked that out and loaded up on some extra supplies.
Our next stop was the picturesque Port Douglas. We took a walk around the main town and instantly fell for the place. With it’s bohemian like shops, cafe’s and pubs, it felt like a mix between Byron and Bali. A must stay on the way back home… After loading up on food for the next couple of days and kept moving on.
Soon enough, we arrived at the door step of the Daintree National Park and caught the car ferry across the Daintree River into the heart of the rainforest. From here on in we were in for a spectacular scenic drive through the park. The thick forest hugs the coastline and the drive weaves in and out beach roads and dense forest canopies. Many say that this drive rivals the Great Ocean Road and we savoured every rolling turn and ocean view. Unfortunately the mighty CREB track was closed due to damage of some sort to one of the bridges so we had to put aside the real 4X4 carnage for another day, maybe on the way back. We stopped at Cape Tribulation and walked out onto the beach, on the way through hungry scrub bush turkeys and guinea fowl run around looking for scraps. The water looked deceivingly beautiful if not for the croc and box jellyfish warning signs.
Further on up the road we pulled over after a water crossing and a guy pulled up along side us. He asked if he could tag along and continue as a convoy, so Mark told him to join us on our UHF channel. He introduced himself as Mitch and Rachel from Rockhampton who were headed for the same place as us. That’s a cool thing about 4 wheel driving, even though you are in separate cars, there is that social aspect of hooking up and chatting along the road, assisting each other through various situations and making fun of various sights along the way. We rolled into our destination for the night, the famous Lions Den Hotel where we camped. On entering the hotel, you are greeted with the most amazing array of quirky fittings and bits and pieces. Flags, stickers, funny old pictures, used hats hanging on walls, international money notes, animal skulls, written names and funny messages on every spare inch of wall. So much to look at and take in. We had a good feed and some cold beers before hitting the hay.