Sunday, 3 February 2013

Cairns to Airlie Beach

Sorry for the delay everyone! Who knew driving a camper van the length of the Pacific HWY could be so much fun! (We did!!! :D) Anyway it's the update you have all been waiting for... Cairns Onwards! I'm afraid this post is going to be more like a book of short stories so, stop reading, grab a tea/coffee/coke/beverage of your choice and make sure your chair is comfy then sit back, relax and enjoy our ride!

As you know we flew into cairns from Melbourne at 0400am in the morning. From 4-8 we managed to find quite a comfy sofa that fitted us both on quite easily and slept. When the bus was up and running we jumped on to start our adventure in cairns city centre. First stop... Awesome campers!! To pick up our home for the next 2 months! That day we chilled out, in and around the swimming pool in the camper park trying to get used to the 35 plus heat!

Over the next few days we visited cairns night markets, the esplanade (with the massive public outdoor free swimming pool!!) and spent a day at Crystal Cascades! Crystal Cascades was by far the best. With natural swimming holes, waterfalls and jumps, we spent the day well entertained.

The jumps were crazy high and Alec managed to jump from the 15 meter (aprox) rock and said 'that took more balls than my bungee jump!' I only managed around the 3 metre mark as I kept envisioning impaling myself on some hidden rock. There are videos of the jumps so if you don't believe us, we have proof!!

We were lucky enough to have a quick trip up to Port Douglas to see the beautiful beaches. Unluckily though our trip included a minor problem with the van which required a mechanic and turned out to be a lose connection on the battery. All sorted by awesome campers though!

Driving back down on our way to Townsville we stopped in a few places to see the sights.
Innisfail, Cardwell and Ingham were all lovey small towns where we whiled away a few hours getting lunch and visiting the beaches.

One stop we made was in Mission Beach. We spent the day there and did things such as beach walks, bush walks, sunbathing and croc hunting. The lady in the info centre highlighted (in red) the rivers not to go to due to crocs! So we naturally went to all of them to get a good look at one! We stayed firmly in the car though and with the doors locked!! We thought we saw one and decided that it wasn't a log because it definitely moved. Looking closer we couldn't make out if it was a massive snake or a small croc!!

The best places (despite the marsh flys) were the ones in the national park camp sites were we woke up next to waterfalls and ate breakfast by the beach!

Paluma National Park was our last stop before Townsville and included trips to Little crystal creek and Big crystal creek. Again there were countless swimming holes, waterfalls and better yet... Rock slides! Oh and don't forget more rock/cliff jumping!

When we got into Townsville we made our base for a week or so. We met up with my friends taryn and Steve (now Alec's friends too) and it was lovely to see them again after 2 or so years! Taryn was kind enough to let us stay at her house and we kicked back in a double bed and an air conditioned room!! Unfortunately the seasonal cyclones decided to hit while we were visiting and flash flooding meant we spent a few days catching up on admin in the library. Well I guess it had to be done at some stage! However 3 days of rain has been a small price to pay for heat over 30 and sunshine everyday for a month now! By staying in Townsville we have managed to miss the worst of the weather and haven't caught up with it yet as it and we move down the south cost!

While in townsville we visited Magnetic Island! And what a visit it was! With the cyclone weather still raging we thought hiring mopeds would be an amazing idea! And indeed it was! Racing up and down the deserted roads in the rain was so much fun! Our top speed was recorded as 60kph which, when on a moped, feels like you're flying!!

When we arrived in Airlie Beach we headed for Cider creek which, on Australia Day, seemed the perfect place to while away a long afternoon in the sun! Lots of people where enjoying cider creek and one or two actual ciders when we arrived and we joined them in swimming through and climbing up the waterfall.

The next day in Airlie beach brought with it the booking of a shared 4 man dorm on the Solway Lass! The biggest, oldest and best sailing boat of the Whitsunday's region.

The tour of the Whitsunday islands on the Solway Lass was so incredible, however, that it deserves its own post. So until next time you survey dogs!

Yo ho yo ho and a bottle of rum, it's a pirates life for meeeee!

Ps: Just a quick shout out to Arthur and Betty (My next door neighbours)who recommended slim Dusty for our driving playlist! We are somewhat hooked! Our favourites include: A pub with no Beer, Three Rivers Hotel and G'day G'day!!