07.02.2014 - 13.02.2014 27 °C
The past two weeks, we've been road-tripping the east coast of Australia in a campervan with our travel pals Conny and Marcus - it has been lots of fun, with the odd bizarre encounter along the way...
Days 1, 2 & 3:
Day 1 in the campervan we decided to drive up from Cairns to Mossman Gorge in The Daintree Rainforest - it was very rainy (I guess it wouldn't be a rainforest without rain!) but the scenery was stunning! The huge boulders within the gorge are amazing, and help produce beautiful waterfalls and cascades. Sometimes you're permitted to swim in the water, but due to the weather we weren't - the immense rain helped make the rapids and cascades of the creek especially spectacular though.
Stunning Mossman Gorge.
We stayed our first night at Palm Cove, which is near Port Douglas. The campsite was really nice, right on the beach with great amenities and an outdoor BBQ area - it was just a shame the weather was so rubbish! Never mind - the next day we escaped the rain and travelled a mammoth 8 hour journey to an outback town pretty much parallel to the coastal town of Townsville, called Charters Towers. On this journey, I did my first bit of driving!
We opted for a free campsite 'Macrossan Park', situated a few kilometres from Charters Towers. The campsite sat above the banks of a river - we saw the below sign upon arrival!!
Beware of crocodiles!!
As we approached the campsite about 10 kangaroos jumped past the camper, which was really cool. Then we saw a snake slither through a puddle - not so cool!
The campsite was very basic, but considering it was free, we couldn't complain! The amenities had showers and proper toilets, although one of the group (not mentioning names, although it wasn't me!) had the unpleasant (yet hilarious) experience of discovering a toad which had come up from the pipe after they'd done their business.. Upon the toilet being flushed, the toad then jumped out of the toilet basin!! That's just a few of our absurd experiences at Charters Towers...
Our second night there, a fellow camper (an Aussie) came over to us as we were attempting to keep alight the BBQ fire we'd been trying to light for two hours, and said, and I kid you not: "PUT ANOTHER SHRIMP ON THE BARBIE!!" waving freshly caught shrimp as he walked over! We proceeded to tell him about the croc warning and he replied: "well, I've been living off the river all week. Plus, there's ducks swimming you see... They won't eat me with all those ducks to bite"... Hmm.
We nicknamed him Johnson Shrimp (jawantsom shrimp with an Aus accent) and he, after unsuccessfully trying to persuade us to put our fingers in the shrimps claws, left without putting his shrimp on our barbie. We spent the rest of the evening worried Johnson Shrimp would come back and murder us all, hiding our bodies in the Aussie outback never to be found! Minds definitely on overdrive that night, as we survived to tell the tale!
Ben cooking a barbie!
Ben and Marcus cooking us breakfast on the BBQ - first time I've had an omelet cooked on a barbie!
We woke up on the third morning to horses grazing outside our camper - very surreal.
Apart from our cool outback campsite, Charters Towers had little else to offer so on day 4 we started the drive back to the coast.
Days 4, 5 & 6
We firstly drove to Townsville and along the way spotted a road for a scenic viewpoint so decided to take a small detour via there. The road was crazily windy up the side of a mountain, one side of which was army land only and had signs like the below as a constant reminder.
Needless to say, we didn't do any trespassing!
Upon arriving at the top, we were greeted by a peacock, of all things!! (things get stranger by the minute...) And were then molested by hundreds, no THOUSANDS, of mosquitos...
The view of Townsville (above photo) was quite cool, but was tainted somewhat by the snake we spotted on the viewing platform! Conny screamed and it then army rolled off the edge. Ben then scared the absolute sh*t out of me by telling me it was on me - I've never screamed as loud or said as many expletives!! In fairness though, he was only getting me back for the fake tarantula I'd scared him with the day before...
The night of the fourth day, we'd planned on staying at Aligator Creek campsite (ominous sounding, I know) which would have been really cool, as it had loads of wallabies hopping about, but when we got out of the camper and were greeted by yet again hundreds of mosquitos, we got straight back in and drove off. We then drove through a small village called Giru, voted Queensland's friendliest town (2009 and 2011 no less!). It was getting dark so we thought we'd best stop here for the night. Living up to it's 'friendliest town' title, the lady in the post office said we could just park up by the green, where there was a public bbq grill and toilets... Sorted! Until we got out of the van and were greeted by, you guessed it... Herds of mozzies! Ah well, suppose they were just being friendly!
The pretty village green.
Parked up by the green, next to the sugar cane mill.
Day 5, we left Mosquito County (after waking up to the townspeople around us going to work etc... Again, things keep getting stranger) and drove down the coast to Airlie Beach. We had a slight mishap along the way, involving a lower than expected carpark roof and the top of the camper, so once in Airlie we stopped for a quick fix job. $200 lighter, we cruised into the campsite.
Fed up with free campsites, we decided to stay two nights at a Butlins-esque holiday park, with amazing amenities, a swimming pool and crazy golf!
Increasing my handicap - I got a hole in one on a par 3 and an albatross on a par 6! (Ben was more excited by this than me and made me pose for this photo).
Ben Big-Kid Smale enjoying the slides!
One evening we made dinner for Conny and Marcus - sautéed potatoes, roasted (on the BBQ) chicken stuffed with cheese and tomato and wrapped in bacon, with a side of roasted veg - who says backpackers can't eat well!!
After a refreshing few days in Airlie, day 7 marked the day of another huge journey driving 13 hours to The Carnarvon Gorge. This was also the halfway point of our campervan roadtrip!
You'll have to check out my following blog on our second week in the camper