Category Archives: QLD

QLD travels

Cape York – Day 1 & 2 – The Accident

Day 1 – Cooktown

The drive from Mossman to Cooktown takes about 4 hours through some stunning rainforest and mountain scenery.

While in Cooktown we stayed at Orchid Caravan Park which is located behind Charlotte st (main street), $30/night unpowered. Everything is in walking distance in the main part of town.

We stuck our trailer into storage, we’d decided not to take it to the tip, and walked up the main street, looking at some of the historic buildings and to the wharf.

For lunch we visited the historic Top End Pub for some lovely pizza and cold beers, bliss. It was a real  scorcher in Cooktown and finally the rain has stopped!

Day 2 – Cooktown to Hann River Roadhouse

Pick up last minute groceries from IGA, cash from ANZ or Westpack ATMs, fuel ($1.72), maps, gas, medication e.t.c

Headed north towards Hope Vale and in about 30kms turned left onto Battlecamp Rd.

Our first river crossing was at the Normanby River where we were stuck for 2 hours. The river had risen higher than we were told, a young guy had tried to drive through and had stalled in the middle. Hubby was finally able to use our winch and winched the guy out with the help of a number of visitors who were also stuck on the bank. A tag along tour came through from the other side, the current was flowing with them and they had no problems but still no one from our side was game to try the crossing again. Thankfully the guy we winched out was working in the area and a backhoe was coming to get him across. As a thank you for helping we we’re snatch strapped to the back and followed behind.

Apparently there is a massive croc that lives at this corssing. No one was game to stay in the water when we found that out!

Apparently there is a massive croc that lives at this crossing. No one was game to stay in the water when we found that out!

We had a quick stop off at Old Laura Historic Homestead for some pics. We continued until we reached Peninsula Developmental Road, the road to the tip, we turned right with the plan of stopping at Hann River Roadhouse for the night.

Old Historic Laura Homestead

Old Laura historic homstead

Unfortunately it was between Laura and Hann River that we had our accident.

The roads were wet, slushy and slippery with mud from all of the late rain the area had recently. The mud was so thick that even though we were only going 45kms the ass of our car slid out, the wheels locked up, we slide around and the car tripped on the side and over we went.

It happened in slow motion. Everything loose in the cabin went sideways. Thankfully we had a cargo barrier in and we had our seatbelts on.

Johny yelled “kill the engine” so from my side position I reached up and hit the kill switch.

We were in shock, I kept saying, “we’re ok, we’re ok” over and over and thankfully we were. Johny undid his seatbelt and stood on my window. He pushed up  to open his door and crawled out. Once he was sitting on top he helped me out and I jumped onto the muddy ground, no time for shoes.

We just stood there. I had my camera bag and mobile phone on my lap at the time of the accident and so crawled out of the car with it. No service. I tried 000 and 211, nothing. All we could do was wait for someone to come past.

A lady stopped and gave me a lift to Hann River Roadhouse where I sent some guys out to Johny who stayed with the car. The lady does the trip every week to her husband who is a commercial fisherman in Weipa so she’s basically a local.  She warned us that as it’s a remote area that one of us should stay with the car as there was a good chance it would be gone when we got back if we didn’t stay with it.

Thankfully once the car was back on all 4 wheels it was still driving so Johny drove back to Hann River Roadhouse to take stock of the damage.

The accident had caused our roof rack and tent to snap off the roof, so with our accommodation on the ground we stayed at Hann River Roadhouse in a donga overnight.

The car the day after. The perspex window covers smashed, the front panel under the snorkel is pushed in and so was my car door, it only opened half way until we popped it back in. The roof rack is gone and the side light popped out.

The car the day after. The perspex window covers smashed, the front panel under the snorkel is pushed in and so was my car door, it only opened half way until we popped it back in. The roof rack is gone and the side light popped out.

 

From Cairns to Mossman

From Cairns we followed the Captain Cook Highway to Port Douglas and Mossman. This is the most stunning stretch of road I have seen so far, with rainforest on one side of the road and beautiful beach on the other.

Captain cook highway

 

We continued into Port Douglas and then into Mossman to see the Mossman Gorge. Unfortunately it kept raining which made visiting the gorge rather unappealing. For this reason we decided to skip the gorge and Cape Tribulation and instead we prepared for our trip to Cape York and headed off to Cooktown.

The cane fields with mountains in the background at Mossman

The cane fields with mountains in the background at Mossman

 

Snorkeling The Great Barrier Reef

Unfortunately as the weather turned bad we decided to skip Atherton Tablelands and drove from Paronella Park straight to Cairns. Apparently they have have a really late wet season up this way we’ve been told by every tour guide, receptionist, tourists e.t.c.  The four days we were in Cairns it rained and rained and rained. For the first three days we sat in the camp kitchen at our Caravan Park and played on the internet.

We really, really wanted to go snorkelling so on the 4th day we went out on the boat, regardless of the weather.

The ride out to the reef was horrible with at least 75% of the boat puking out the back deck, Johny included. Thankfully the outer reef was calm and visibility was pretty good. Here are some of the pics I took with the underwater camera we hired.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The dive company we went with was Down Under Dive who were just fantastic. They had free sea sick tablets, really friendly and entertaining staff, well organised and monitored dives and snorkeling and great value for money!

Note 1: Cairns Holiday Park is the closest to the CBD; however it’s full of backpackers. Usually this wouldn’t worry me except when they are obnoxious, messy, rude, slamming doors and screaming at 3am. We had to be moved into the powered (and much nicer) section of the caravan park for 2 of the 4 days.

Note: we hired the camera at the caravan park. Quality turned out to be fairly average and I’ve had to enhance these pics. There were more expensive cameras on the boat for hire and the quality of their pics was way better.

Through the Ruins of Paronella Park

The Tea Rooms, Paronella Park

The Tea Rooms, Paronella Park

José Paronella arrived in Australia from Catalonia in Spain, in 1913. In 1929, after spending a number of years in Australia, José purchased 13 acres in 1929 and started to build his pleasure gardens and reception centre for the enjoyment of the public.

there was a waterfall, hydro electricity, tea rooms, a castle, a ballroom, swimming pool and over 7000 tropical plants in the extensive garden, all built by José.

A view from the Falls at the front of the Park. On the left is the castle and at the bottom left is the hydro plant

A view from the Falls at the front of the Park. On the left is the castle and at the bottom left is the hydro plant

Unfortunately there was a flood and then soon after José died of stomach cancer, his wife died some years later and his son as well. His son’s wife was left to run the park and in 1977 she sold it.

Sadly, in 1979, a fire swept through the Castle. There were a number of cyclones and floods in the following years and the park fell into ruin.

A pic from the night tour, this is the castle

A pic from the night tour, this is the castle

In 1993 the current owners found the park, bought it and work on maintaining and preserving, rather than rebuilding.

The park has won a number of awards and it’s easy to see why.

We purchased our tickets through RACQ for a 10% discount so it was about $39 each. This includes entry into the park, a day tour, a night tour and 1 nights accommodation in their campground and your ticket is valid for entry up to 24 months. Really it was great value.

The park itself is just stunning! I was able to get some lovely daytime and night time shots.

The Tea Rooms

The Tea Rooms

We loved our time here! The guides were fantastic and the staff in the cafe/reception were amazing. The park is beautiful and a truly unique attraction in FNQ.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

A Walk Through Townsville

The day after our trip to Maggie Island I took a half-day off to myself without the Mr. We were staying in Rowes Bay so I walked along the boardwalk to Kissing Point and into the Strand.

Rowes Bay

Rowes Bay

The Council had really excelled in the design of the facilities along the bay to the city. There are lovely parks, a brand new wooden boardwalk, local artist installations, mainly relating to Aboriginal culture, an outdoor museum at kissing point and then the Strand. It really was a stunning walk.

Castle Hill from Kissing Point

Castle Hill from Kissing Point

I was so invigorated that I decided to walk the track up Castle Hill. Just for some context, I was on my own, it was really hot, I had no water. The climb was hell! But the views at the top were worth it!

Magnetic Island View from Castle Hill

Magnetic Island View from Castle Hill

Then I did the very thing that everyone should do after a long hard walk, I walked to the brewery and had a beer or two at Townsville Brewery.

This walk was definitely the highlight of my time in Townsville!

The Brewery, Townsville Brewing Co

My Paddle

My Paddle

I really like to eat and drink and unfortunately Queensland isn’t really known for its gourmet food and alcohol products, they do exist, they just aren’t well known or as predominant as other states. So to satisfy my cravings I did some research into breweries and wineries in Queensland that I might be able to visit and Townsville Brewery came up as the only boutique brewery in Far North Queensland.

Townsville Brewing Co

Townsville Brewing Co

The brewery is located on Flinders St, Townsville CBD. The building was originally a postal and telephone office, the military communications headquarters during World War 2 and then back to a post office before being redeveloped into a brewery, restaurant, bar and function centre.

I knew that they brewed on site so I was completely unprepared for the dark and opulent feel of the venue as I walked in. The inside was all high ceilings with simple chandeliers gracing the roof, heavy wooden tables with intricate designs carved into them and bar tables made from old barrels. There were dark leather couches scattered around the space, a ceiling to floor wooden bookcase, a simple and understated fireplace and a gold gilded mirror, I was in love.

The bar staff were lovely and yes they do have tasting paddles, my favourite. For $12 I was able to sample  their 7 beers on tap that are made onsite.

  1. Townsville Bitter Premium Light
  2. Townsville Bitter Premium
  3. Bandito Loco, Mexican Lager
  4. Belgian Blonde, Wit Beer
  5. Digger’s Golden Ale
  6. Ned’s Red, Red Ale
  7. Flanagan’s Dry Irish Stout
The Belgian Blond

The Belgian Blond

My favourite, the Belgium Blonde. “A naturally cloudy ale brewed with pilsner malt, unmalted wheat, malted wheat and flavoured with coriander and ginger. It is bittered with Saaz hops and fermented using a Belgium yeast strain resulting in light-bodied refreshing beer with a slightly fruity and complete aroma.”

They also had a lunch special going with a chicken BLT and a schooner for $10, bargain. All in all a great place, great beer and great service.

Townsville Brewery_A Girl A 4WD And A Trailer.JPG-4

The island affectionately known as “Maggie”

Magnetic Island, Townsville

Magnetic Island, Townsville

From Mackay we continued northward to Townsville. We did stop along the way at Bowen and took a couple of pics with the big mango. A local news crew accosted us on the way back to the car and asked us some questions about what we thought of the local area from a tourist’s perspective. Having not prepared for the interview and not seen anything of the local area, our responses were somewhat lacking and rather embarrassing ‘cringe!’

Anyway we arrived in Townsville and we did a day trip over to Magnetic Island, also known by the locals as “Maggie”.

We found that as we are RACQ members we were able to get a 10% discount off the ferry to Maggie, bargain! We caught the early ferry across and waited until the car hire place opened. We wanted a Moke to get around the island, but they were really expensive so we hired the Topless instead.

Me in a Topless, Magnetic Island

Me in a Topless, Magnetic Island

Picnic Bay Wharf

Picnic Bay Wharf

The island is only 12kms long so we drove From Nelly Bay down to Horseshoe Bay to see if there was any good snorkeling to be had. Unfortunately there was a strong breeze and the lifeguards told us that there probably wouldn’t be any decent snorkeling that day.

Undeterred we drove down to Picnic Bay, changed into our snorkeling gear and attempted to go in. Dammit, the lifeguards were right, we could barely see a metre in front.

So we had a quick stop off at the local museum and the island’s memorial park and drove back to Horseshoe Bay for some lunch.

Lunch at the local pub was lovely and after a quick lie down on the beach we drove back to the ferry and called it a day.