The morning dawned bright and early for these happy campers at Ellis Beach, just between Palm Cove and Port Douglas. We set our alarm to greet the sun poking over the Pacific at weren't disappointed with a walk along the beach to start our day.
Heading north we stopped at Port Douglas and then Mossman for lunch by the river, continued on to Daintree Village where we spotted our first croc! We crossed the Daintree River on the ferry, driving through the rainforest whilst I tried to book into our campsite online on my phone - no luck, all booked out so after some further googling around (this is becoming a habit, must be a bit more organised!) we found a privately owned little campground, Lync Haven. It was a quiet spot for the night, although lots of wildlife in the bush next to the camper. In the morning the owner had mentioned to Matt they fed the resident crocodile at 9am, so off we trotted to the crocodile enclosure they had on site. Doris (who used to be Boris until he/she started laying eggs in a nest!) was their female salty, about three metres long and not very hungry when we saw her. Apparently she would be lucky to eat 500 grams of meat in a week during the dry?! We got talking to the owner Scott, who looked very familiar and on the information sheet given to us at check-in the owners 'Scott and Jodie' looked familiar to the ones that own the Dargo pub back home in the Victorian high country...well turns out they are one in the same! Small world. So got chatting about all things Dargo/Daintree. As you do. Good people and great little business if you are ever looking for somewhere to camp/stay in the Cape Tribulation area.
Whilst we were stuck in Cairns for a week Matt got talking to a guy whilst watching the Olympics in the camp kitchen in the caravan park who used to run tours up here. One night Matt went and knocked on his caravan door with a pen and paper and scribbled down all the local haunts and off the beaten track notes he could get out of him. It paid big time when we followed the convoluted directions to go down this track, round that corner, walk upstream 100 metres, in Matt's 'neat' handwriting and stumbled upon 'The Big Blue Hole...'
It was stunning. Crystal clear water that pitched into a deep hole and turned a brilliant aqua. Amazing. And so full of fish! And turtles! It was truly one of the most beautiful sights of nature we'd ever witnessed. We sat and just looked at it in silence for a long time. We wandered further up and downstream, beautifully rounded river stone and Luxie and Carrie even got in on the photoshoot action.
The Marrdja boardwalk awaited us further up the road though so we trucked on and walked through the rainforest once again marvelling at towering trees, palms and ferns growing out of the strangest places. Also stopped in at Myall beach for a cheesy honeymoon photo opp.
Continuing north the road turned to gravel and we slowly wound our way up and down some steep hills, leaving the dense rainforest behind us and opening up into more scrubland. We reached Wujal Wujal - a small Aboriginal community and followed our nose/more scribbled instructions on a paper bag to the Bloomfield Falls where we met another Carry Me Camper. Carrie's twin! The falls were a short walk in and had an enormous amount of water pumping over them. I can only imagine in the wet! Matt suggested a swim, I said no way, crocodiles! Later I read croc's do live at the base of the falls. Good one Matt.
Back on the road we stopped in at the famous Lion's Den pub for a beer (went down very well!), got some direction to some waterfalls and then turned left to another tip off from old mate back in Cairns. He told us to stop at the causeway over the Annan River, walk downstream a few hundred metres to see the gorge...
Pretty special. By this time it was getting late so we headed straight to Archers Point, passing a few cattle on the way. Matt seemed to take fooooorrreeevveerrrrr to pick a good enough campsite for the night, finally settled for one on the beach, a bit windy but a great view from bed in the morning! I must say I slept a lot more soundly being up top in Carrie with all these crocodile warning signs about...
This morning after a stroll on the beach at Archers Point we headed backwards to check out the Trevethan Falls, up a minor road then a bit of 4wd-ing, then a small walk up a hill then down some rocks to see the falls. More beautiful waterfalls!
Only another 16km's and we were in historic Cooktown - the 'Queen of the North' apparently. This afternoon we had lunch at the lighthouse and look-out with 360 degree views over the town, river and ocean. We also had a walk around the botanic gardens and went to see the site where Captain Cook dragged The Endeavour ashore after it struck the Great Barrier Reef in 1770. Very interesting stuff. Tomorrow we plan to go to the James Cook Museum and have a better look around Cooktown before heading up to Hope Vale, another small Aboriginal community, and camping at Ellim Beach.
Enjoying ourselves immensely and trying to soak it all in and take our time - seeing as though we have no timeframe really this is the easy part! We're not sure when we will have reception again to use the internet so until then...