First Campervan Adventure to Cape Tribulation

Trip Start Aug 20, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Monday, September 1, 2008

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After our time on the Reef, we spend three more nights in Cairns at Shennanigan's Hostel. We took these three days to research and book our trips to Whitsundays and Fraser Island and, more importantly, we found our new home for the next 60 days.

On Tuesday morning, we we picked up our campervan from the CamperMan Australia location in Cairns. Rex the Campervan has a fridge, sink, one double bed, one single bed  -- complete with linens and dishes. Fortunately there were three front seats (score!), so we're able to navigate our way around with a driver, direction-giver and "stay on the left side of the road" reminderer. After a brief overview (wait, we have to drive on the left side of the road?) and signing our lives away, we began our new adventure. We decided that an RV would be more fun and adventurous than taking the Greyhound bus down the coast and staying in hostels.

We decided that we would begin out east coast adventure by heading north to keep up with the warm spring weather. The roads here are dangerously narrow and windy, especially for three young American girls, with speed limits topping at 100 km/hr (which we estimate to be about 62 mi/hr...maybe...kind of...oh well). After a quick trip to the grocery store and with time to kill and no agenda, we stop at every "scenic lookout" and tourist attraction. The road north cuts through the Daintree National Park -- "where the rain forest meets the reef." We stopped at a few beautiful (and empty) beaches along the way and soon found ourselves in Port Douglas.

Port Douglas is a very quaint and quiet beach town about one hour north of Cairns. We spent two night and two days here enjoying 4 Mile Beach and sleeping on the side of the road (yes, next to the police station). We took full advantage of free restrooms, public showers and scammed our way into closed camp grounds -- hey we ARE on a budget!

On Friday, we continued our trek north with the final destination of Cape Tribulation in mind. We stopped at Mossman Gorge and Golden Drop Winery along the way. After catching a few afternoon rays at Woonga Beach, we took Rex (the van) over the Daintree River Ferry and up the rain forest mountain roads to Cape Tribulation...aka "Cape Trib."

While we never truly know what to expect on this trip, we are more often surprised than not. We drove into Cape Tribulation and stumbled upon PK's Jungle Village, a unique hostel on the beach.  PK's was full for the night, so we found ourselves across the street at another camp site. The place was closed and we enjoy being scammy, so we pulled ourselves up to a camp site and parked Rex for free!

We spent most of Friday lounging at the beach and going for walks in the rain forest (HUGE lizards and croc signs everywhere). Lauren and Stacy did a 2-hour "jungle surfing" adventure trip in the evening... through the tree tops in the rain forest (check out the pics once they're uploaded!). The girls got back and we settled in at the same campsite (ugh, we paid $30 this time... rude) and once again had a FANCY dinner or noodles and sauce. After a STRENUOUS day, we found ourselves asleep in bed by 9 p.m.... we're so cool.

Saturday morning we went for a run, showered, then hit the road again... this time heading South and inland to check out the many wineries, waterfalls, fig trees and CHEESE farms!! At Mount Uncle Distillery we made a new friend - young, innocent Kyle. We picked his brain for suggestions as to what to do in this country land. He directed us to Peeramon Hotel/Restaurant in Malanda... supposedly the oldest pub in the Tablelands. Stacy befriended the owner (Cris) and smooth talked her way into us staying in his parking lot for free for the night... just us and the cows! After a FANCY dinner of cheese and crackers (and too much box wine), we chilled for the night in the pub. 3 bottles of wine later (ugh), we passed out for the night in Rex.

Sunday morning we attempted to wash up and hit the road again South through Millaa Millaa and other small towns towards Mission Beach... south of Cairns and Innisfails. We stopped at yet another winery (Murdering Point Winery), a few new waterfalls and a cheese/dairy farm... life is good. Now, we find ourselves in Mission Beach for a night or two at a campervan place. Nothing fancy, but that's how we like it!
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