When-Where-Why?

We chose to start our east coast road trip via Cairns after having traveled 24 hours from central Australia. Cairns is one of the starting points to access the Great Barrier Reef, but I will not talk about this here because it did not interest us since we spent less in Polynesia and Micronesia…

In Cairns there is not only the coral reef, there are also waterfalls, rivers with crocodiles and the rainforest not to be missed!

We spent a little less than a week in the area at the end of December 2019 and are very happy with it. It was the start of the rainy season but we managed to escape it; on the other hand we did feel the humidity, especially after spending a while in the red center!

Before coming

*Money

Here we use the Australian dollar (AUD). 1AUD = 0.62 euros in November 2019.

* Internet & Telephone

There is wifi in a lot of cafes and restaurants but also free wifi in the city.

You can buy phone cards with a lot of internet.

At Vodaphone, for 30AUD you have unlimited calls and messages and 30GB of internet for 30 days.

You will not pick up everywhere. In some campsites you will have free wifi but in others you will have to pay.

* Applications to download

I recommend that you download these applications:

– Great walks: The application of hikes in Tasmania. She will give you the list of the biggest hikes in every corner of Tasmania.

– MapsMe: The best application for up-to-date offline maps.

-Wikicamps: This application lists all camping sites (free / paid), water points, and certain places of interest. It works offline.

– Camper Mate: This application gives you access to campsites but it does not work offline.

-FuelMapsAustralia: This application lists all the petrol stations.

Transport

We rented a camper van on Motorhome Republic.

You can spend time in the Daintree forest by using a tour operator that you can book in Cairns.

Housing

* Cool Waters

Type of Camping: A nice campsite in a beautiful tropical garden. The pitches are large and clean; the kitchen is good even if without utensils.

Where: Outside the city.

Price: 34AUD without electricity for two.

WC: Yes.

Shower: Yes and hot.

Drinking water: Yes.

Kitchen: Yes without utensils.

Good to know: They can organize excursions for you and there is a great swimming pool.

Website :  https://www.coolwatersholidaypark.com.au

* Mossman Caravan Park

Type of Camping: A simple campsite in the city but with the river next to it. The pitches are large and clean; the kitchen is good even if without utensils. The campsite is a five-minute drive from the Mossman Gorges.

Where: In Mossman.

Price: 34AUD without electricity for two.

WC: Yes.

Shower: Yes and hot.

Drinking water: Yes.

Kitchen: Yes without utensils.

Good to know: Free access to the municipal swimming pool which is attached to the campsite.

* Camping Cap Tribulation

Type of Campsite: A basic campsite that deals with one or two nights.

Where: 200m from Masons.

Price: 34AUD without electricity for two.

WC: Yes.

Shower: Yes and hot.

Drinking water: Yes.

Kitchen: Yes without utensils.

Good to know: Next to the beach. Go eat some great emu and crocodile burgers u Masons café; they also have a crocodile-free water hole for swimming!

Food

Don’t miss Mossman Café in the Daintree forest; you can eat super good crocodile and emu burgers !!

You won’t have trouble finding something to eat. There are many producers of fruits, vegetables, honeys, dairy products etc. in the region.

Activities

Cairns

What: A town without charm but which serves as a starting point if you want to explore the coral reef, see the rainforest and some animals like crocodiles! We did not make the coral reef having spent weeks in the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and French Polynesia (suddenly no interest here!) But there are hundreds of excursions possible. The Cairns Botanical Garden is nice and there are hikes that last between 1.5 and 5 hours.

Where: North of the east coast.

Housing: there are dozens of campsites around the city; we chose the Cool Waters (see above).

South of Cairns

Before embarking on the adventure, prepare your itinerary carefully according to the opening and closing times of the sites you want to see. Be aware that in the area people do not work after 4pm in general, which is quite annoying when you visit!

*The Boulders

What: A super landscaped river where you can swim for hours. The place is surrounded by tropical forest. There are three viewpoints, two of which give access to small pools. Well said like that, it makes you want but ek is full of people and it is not beautiful either … especially if you come from Europe and more particularly from the south of Switzerland! It’s a good place to hang out for a few hours if you’re not afraid of ending up with 30 people.

Where: From Cairns, follow highway 1 towards Townsville. It’s in Babida, 50 minutes from Cairns.

Price: free.

Good to know: there are toilets, bbqs and a campsite.

*Millaa Millaa Falls

What: A large waterfall in a well-appointed place for my swim. When it has not rained much it is so.

Where: In Millaa Millaa on highway 25.

Price: Free.

*Ellinjaa falls

What: pretty waterfall in the forest. You will have to descend stairs to get to the bottom.

Where: On the road to Millaa Millaa. Follow the waterfall route before Millaa Millaa.

Price: Free.

*Zillie Falls

What: A pretty waterfall in the forest but it is a little complicated to access it if you do not have sneakers or hiking shoes because of the rocks and the mud.

Where: On the road to Millaa Millaa. Follow the waterfall route before Millaa Millaa.

Price: Free.

*Lale Eacham

What: A very beautiful lake in a crater. It is possible to spend the day there, the site being super well laid out (WC, bbq and picnic tables). You can swim but it is possible to come across so-called non-aggressive freshwater crocodiles …

Where: Minutes from Yungaburra.

*Palm Cove, Trinity Beach, Kawarra Beach & Ellis beach

What: Well, the most normal beaches, except that you may not be able to swim because of jellyfish and crocodiles! There are areas with nets but it’s really small. On the other hand, Ellis beach, which is a little further north of Palm Cove, is very pretty because it is there that you can see palm trees and tropical vegetation. There is a swimming area there too and much less crowded.

Where: North of Cairns 15min.

* Platypus – Tarzali lake

What: In a private location with a nearby lake, you may be able to see bird watchers.

Where: If you come from Millaa Millaa, take the direction of Tarzali then turn right towards the lake.

Price: You have to pay for a drink.

Hours: 8m-4pm and it works by turn.

* Platypus – Yungaburra

What: When the guy from the Cairns tourist office told us about it we thought it was some kind of secret place … well not at all! There is a platform to try to see platypuses. It does go early in the morning or at the end of the afternoon but nothing is guaranteed, especially when the people around you make a noise show … we haven’t seen any for example!

Where: In Yungaburra.

Price: Free.

* Tree Kangaroos – Nerada Tea

What: In a tea factory you can see tree kangaroos. No need to enter the visitor center, park in the street and look in the trees there are some who walk around! On the way too you could be lucky by stopping from time to time.

Where: At Nerada Tea visitor center. You will have to go to Malanda and then fork onto Glen Allyn.

We didn’t hike because not enough time, but if you are interested here are some ideas:

* Walsh’s Pyramide – 922m – 4.5h round trip

* Bartle Frere – 1622m – 2 days round trip with overnight camping

Do not hesitate to go to the Cairns visitor center at 36 Aplin Street for information.

What: Spanish colonial-style castle built for José Paronella in 1930. The castle is covered in moss for what is left (ps great). There is a 45min guided tour of the castle and a waterfall to see. We feel a little overwhelmed because even if the park is pretty, it is really expensive for what is left of the castle.

Where: 1 hour 20 minutes from Cairns to Mena Creek. Continue on “Old Bruce Highway” to South Johnston. Turn left at Silkwood.

Tariff: 47AUD, the price is abused knowing that it includes camping but that almost no one stays overnight! If you are European do not go there, you already know this kind of building!

Website : www.paronellpark.com.au

What: Two magnificent trees that have intertwined. That’s wonderful! In the evening you can see luminescent mushrooms and all kinds of animals.

Where: In Yungaburra.

North of Cairns – Daintree Forest

To get to the Daintree Forest you will need to take the ferry across the Daintree River. Round trip costs 30AUD.

What: A short 10 minute walk on hard ground will give you a view of the bay.

Where: Turn right at the sign for Kulki.

What: The region is famous for its big crocodiles, so it’s impossible to ignore this! You will take a boat trip on the river with lots of mangroves and wait for the moment when a crocodile will appear in front of you … Of course it is not guaranteed, we have not seen any 🙂

Where: There are several companies that will offer tours, but we have chosen the only tour that operates in the “Cooper creek”: “wilderness cruises” with Ernie.

Price: 35AUD per person.

Contact : 0457731000

*Myall beach

What: Very beautiful beach where you can see a nice sunset and sunrise. It allows you to see the cape and is right next to the campsite.

*Thornton beach

What: Superb beach between two bays. You can see a small island in front.

Ne pensez pas vous baigner dans la mer à cause des crocodiles et des méduses!

*Cow Bay beach

What: Nice discovery in the south of the park; small beach with beautiful mountain view.

*Kulki beach

What: Cape tribulation beach. Beautiful beach with access to the viewpoint.

*Mount sorrow lookout

What: A fairly complicated hike in the rain forest. You will have to climb fairly steep slopes, and walk on roots, in mud, on pebbles, to reach a mediocre view of the bay. They put on some sort of platform but there are so many trees that you can’t see well.

Where: Not easy to find. Just after the bend (after the Cap Tribulation lookout), you will have a mini car park (it doesn’t look like a car park) on the right and the path will be on the other side of the street.

Duration: They indicate 7 hours but we did it in less than 4 hours.

Difficulty: Medium to difficult because of the type of terrain, the humidity and the leeches !!!

Tip: Put on long clothes to avoid having leeches. Take enough water.

*Jindalba

What: There are two possible walks, a large 2.7km loop and a slightly smaller one; the two meeting. They are pleasant and allow you to admire the humid forest; there are many birds.

Where: 10 minutes from the ferry.

Duration: The small one lasts less than 30min and the big one will depend on your rhythm.

Difficulty: Easy.

Tips: If you do the big take good shoes because you will not walk on a platform as for the small.

There are a few other possible walks in the park. Look at the card that you will be given when you arrive otherwise go to the Manson viditor center; the ladies are good advice and have documentation on the rides.

What: A beautiful tropical forest with majestic trees, and a river in which you can swim. This place attracts a crowd of tourists which is why we advise you to go there very early. There is a small walk to do on a platform and a larger one in the forest, it is 2.4km.

Where: Departing from Cairns towards the Daintree Forest, in Mossman. The road is very beautiful.

Price: Free. But the shuttle to go to the starting point costs 11AUD round trip.

Tip: If you don’t want to pay for the shuttle, you can walk to the starting point by walking on the road. The journey takes less than 30min one way. In addition, know that this would allow you to start before 8am so before all the tourist tours arrive en masse!

What: If you don’t like zoos then forget about it. By cons if you would like to see lots of animals including the most typical of Australia such as crocodiles, caswaries, snakes etc then go to this park! It is really great, we spent 4 hours there! There are quite a few animals and we are very close to crocodiles. There is also a boat trip where you can see them up close in the water. The guides make attractions to feed the animals where they explain lots of interesting things.

Where: 15min after Mossman, going back down to Cairns.

Price: AUD 41 per adult.

Good to know: There is a restaurant but you can bring your picnic.

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