4th- 5th July 2012
It’s time to go Camping again!
After an amazing reef trip yesterday when I was finding Nemo, Smera and I were pretty enthused to leave Cairns as we felt we saw of Cairns perhaps too much and wanted to start our odyssey down the East Coast of Straya! So what did we do? We found a Campervan after researching a few options. This time as it was going to be the 2 of us as Elsie is leaving Australia for an amazing adventure in Malaysia, Smera and I would be sharing a 2 berth campervan hence smaller and more compact.
The rest of the day was spent getting some food, researching the east coast and having a pint at the infamous Woolshed, where apparently its a free for all if you are looking for a special someone to spend the rest of the night with.
Back early, we all had early starts and went to bed.
Next morning, we had to say goodbye to Elsie, as she was leaving Australia this morning to go to Singapore and Malaysia. After lots of hugs and laughs, she departed with a wealth of information from Smera and I about the food based countries and we would miss her terribly. Elsie can be described in one word. Crazy. But good crazy. As a Norwegian mother of one, she’s not your stereotypical ma’am but rather a hippy like, tree hugging and very expressive woman who has a loud button on her. She’s constantly smiling and laughing and many a time I would be in stitches with her over something completely random. She could be easily teased but she can give something back as she learnt phrases in English such as ‘Don’t flatter yourself’ ‘Get Over Yourself!’
Smera and I had a few hours to kill before picking up the campervan so we decided to hit up the tourist information centre to take advantage of their free wifi to get a bit of work done. I checked out the reef photos given to us by the photographer yesterday. They are pretty sweet as.
Picking up the campervan, we hauled our bags and too much food onboard and picked up Phil from yesterday who was looking for a ride down to Mission Beach as he was looking for some work.
So here we go! This would be the last time Smera and I would be in Cairns again! We cheered as we left the hostel. Cairns has been okay but it’s too touristy and a little depressing that there’s not that much culture involved there.
But it seemed that Cairns refused to let us go as it removed the street signs to get out south and onto the Bruce Highway. We were lost!
Stopping off to get some bread, we asked a few locals how to get out and they pointed us the way. Why didn’t we do that in the first place?!
It was already half 1pm and we wanted to get to Mission Beach via the Atherton Tablelands as Smera and Phil hasn’t seen it. I would be their tour guide for the afternoon!
As we bombed down the Bruce Highway (equivalent to Britain’s M1), I loved this campervan. Now a 2 berth, it wasn’t high but it was very easy to drive. The steering was brilliant and despite a very high biting point, Smera and I grew to like it. It had us in stitches when we realised how to get the water out of the tap….you had to pump it up and down.
After checking out the vehicle registration, the first 2 letters are BF so we decided to call the vehicle Bruce (after the highway) Freddie. It would do us in good stead.
So after turning off the Bruce Highway at Gordonvale, and on the road towards Yungaburra, we were soon at the Crater Lakes National Park. I showed them and bragged that I swam in Lake Eacham as part of my Uncle Brian’s Tour. I knew I would be returning to this place no doubt. It’s ever so peaceful. It was slightly suspicious at first when we saw a steady stream of bubbles coming up. I think it may have come from the volcano below but Phil reckoned it may be Australia’s answer to the Loch Ness Monster. I told him wrong, i was outraged. I pointed at Smera and told him she’s there instead! Smera gave me a dark look. Oh dear.
Next I took them to Yungaburra (my 3rd time!) to do some platypus spotting. Unfortunately, the river and the viewing platform didn’t let us discover one lowly platypus. My wildlife spotting skills were in question…oh dear. I better take them for a guaranteed spot.
But first, I took them to the Curtain Fig Tree to see how wowed they would be. I still can’t get over how massive it is!
Then noting the sun was starting to make its descent, I took them quickly to Malanda Falls, just down the road and showed them their first wildlife spot. Tree Kangeroos! Hooray! Smera and Phil were pretty impressed with them. The platypuses were meant to be out in force as well, downstream of the falls but we didn’t spot any.
However, I was pleased to see the Falls itself as it would be the one thing today that I haven’t seen.
Next, I took them to Millaa Millaa Falls. They said it was absolutely beautiful. I did have to tell them that Peter Andre couldn’t be with us today and perform another rendition of Mysterious Girl.
Now, we really needed to get to Mission Beach. It was slowly getting dark and we had some kilometres to kill. Pushing the campervan, we finally found the Bruce Highway again at Innisfail and headed south to El Arish, the turning off point towards Mission Beach. It was now dark and I had to drive slowly as huge Cassowaries have been reported crossing the road. Last thing I needed was to have a huge bird slung over the bonnet and windscreen.
But the road to Mission Beach took forever and it was so so so dark! We ended up making a wrong turn and headed north away from the beach. We needed to drop Phil off at his hostel and he didn’t know where it was. Knowing I was going the wrong way, I slammed on the brakes, I was getting ratty from driving too much, and took control of the navigation. Figuring out where we needed to be, I drove back, took the right turning down south of Mission Beach to Wongaling Beach where his hostel was based. Dropping him off, we found a nice Car Park by the Beach with public toilets and decided to stay there for the night as we were too tired any more to find anywhere else.
Cooking some rice dinner and having a good talk with Smera over a cup of tea, our day was nicely wrapped up with an appearance by a Wallaby dropping in to stare at us.
Looking back at the sound of the sea of Mission Beach in the dark, I was glad to know we were ready for some beach time tomorrow. Bring it on!