February 20

A North Queensland Road Trip

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A couple of months ago we decided to head up to northern Queensland to see what it had to offer. Having lived in Australia my whole life, I have only ever got as far north as Brisbane. If it was anything like south Queensland then I know I’d be in for a treat. If you want to see everything Queensland has to offer, a road trip is probably the most rewarding way of experiencing the beautiful northern state.

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Car hire at Cairns airport was a breeze. We opted to hire a car as we thought it would be the best way to get around from town to town. We started off driving to Mission Beach, a beautiful unspoilt beach and also the birthplace of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. With 14 kilometres (9 miles for the yanks), deserted islands and white-water rivers – it is the perfect destination for those who just want to kick back and relax.

We made our way up to the Beaver Reef Dive Site, which is located in the Beaver Cay Marine Sanctuary, just off Mission Beach. It is here we saw the unspoiled reef covered in soft corals and large gorgonian sea fans, giant schools of large cods, white tip fish sharks, barracuda and Manta Rays. A truly remarkable experience – I would recommend it to anyone.

We then drove up to the Djiru National Park – located within the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. The park is home to unusual and endangered bird species, the southern cassowary – which we saw during our stroll on the circuit walk through the forest. We finished off our day with a barbeque at the Lacey Creek picnic area where we indulged in a delicious sausage sizzle with all the trimmings.

After a long day of snorkelling and bush walking, we drove into town looking for a popular night spot where we could share a beer with the locals. We ended up at the Pier Bar and Grill, conveniently located in the heart of Cairns. We watched the sunset from our table, sipping on a cold beer and sharing our stories with some locals, the perfect way to end the day. We then made our way to Gilligan’s Backpackers Bar – which we soon found out was popular among locals and backpackers alike. We continued on into the night.

We spent the next morning at our beachfront tropical hide away – soaking in the sun and waves. After lunch we drove up to Ellis Beach – a short 30 minute drive from the centre of town. I have never seen such a beautiful beach in my life – the sand was white, the water was crystal blue – It was perfect. We spent the remainder of our day there before we headed back to town for dinner – followed again by drinks with locals.


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