We may not be able to travel overseas for holidays due to the Covid pandemic, but there is plenty to see in Australia. In July, my husband and I headed north towing our new Aliner (a compact pop-up caravan). After a short stay in the sleepy fishing village of Harrington and surviving torrential rain at Hastings Point, we crossed the border into Queensland. We spent a relaxing week at Hervey Bay, enjoying coastal walks, bike rides and a magical day trip to Fraser Island, whale watching, snorkelling and canoeing.
Heading further up the coast, we camped at Kinka Beach (south of Yeppoon), with a salt water lake and beaches nearby. Our day trip to Great Keppel Island was a highlight – bushwalking, snorkelling and whale watching. The water was a bit chilly so wetsuits were a must. The weather was a hot 29 degrees when we arrived at secluded Rollingstone Beach, north of Townsville. After setting up the van and annex, we waded in the warm tropical water, until a concerned camper warned us not to go swimming because of crocodiles. Fortunately there was a salt water pool at the caravan park that we could swim in.
On our way north, we stopped at Cardwell, with stunning views and delicious crab sandwiches. We camped at Mowbray for five days with easy access to Mossman Gorge and Port Douglas, which was uncharacteristically quiet due to the absence of international visitors. Spent a glorious day snorkelling on the outer Great Barrier Reef, with magnificent coral and countless tropical fish, all colours, shapes and sizes. We left the Aliner at Mowbray and drove north to stunning Cooktown, where we stayed in a guest house. Cooktown is one of the most beautiful towns we have visited in Australia. The 360 degree views from Grassy Hill are amazing. We loved the tropical Botanical Gardens, the Indigenous galleries and the James Cook Museum, which is housed in an historic convent. We drove back along the Bloomfield track, through three creek crossings to get to Cape Tribulation. After hitching up our van, we headed to Cairns for our next adventure.
After a couple of wet and windy days in Cairns, we drove over the mountains to the Atherton Tablelands and to Undara Volcanic National Park, where we stayed in a converted railway carriage. We spent most of out time bushwalking and going on guided tours of the amazing lava tubes and caves. Lots of wildlife, including brown tree snakes which feast on micro bats inside the caves.
Back in Cairns, we stayed at Crystal Cascades with its tropical bushwalks, waterfalls and waterholes, before heading back down the coast to Rollingstone Beach. We saw a cassowary for the first time at a wildlife park near Townsville.
We loved the cafes and food at Airlie Beach and had a fun day trip snorkelling, bushwalking and whale watching on a Zig Zag Whitsundays boat trip to Whitehaven Beach. We then drove south to Tannum Sands, where we took it easy for a few days before heading to the Sunshine Coast. There was so much to see and do in and around Noosa – lovely drives, coastal walks, swimming at Noosa Heads, browsing the shops, sipping coffee and eating ice-cream.
We drove up to Montville, browsing galleries and craft shops, lunching at Secrets on the Lake and viewing the awe-inspiring Glasshouse Mountains while wandering through the Botanic Gardens at Maleny. Had no idea the Sunshine Coast hinterland was so beautiful. On the way back, we stocked up with goodies from the Ginger Factory and Nutworks.
After crossing the border into New South Wales, we stayed in beautiful Ballina. On one of our swims at Lighthouse Beach, we watched whales frolicking not far offshore. The final stop on our 8000 km road trip over 9 weeks was Harrington, and our final sunset there was a stunner.
We met many interesting people on out travels and we read lots of books, but alas, not much writing was done. Can’t wait to head to the outback, Northern Territory and Western Australia in 2021. We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful country!