North West Coast 2016-03-05 008w

Explore : North West Coast Tasmania

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With only two days left before we had to head back to Devonport, we raced from Cradle Mountain to Arthur River so that we could get a head start on the north west coast.


We were starting to get crabby with each other because we were so stinky and exhausted from our hike on the mountain, and our camping location had fallen through. We just wanted to find somewhere to stop so we could rinse the film of dried sweat from our bodies and have dinner. We heard of a place near Marrawah but on arrival, it was clear that overnight camping was not permitted. We stopped anyway to clean up.


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What started off as a deserted location soon filled up as beach bums arrived for a final surf and construction workers appeared to lay out some gravel over the car park. Privacy while we bathed became an awkward dance to stay out of sight but we managed to finish the task with our dignity intact.


We had a brief chat with the tradies before they packed up, and we were relieved when they reassured us that we would be able to get away with staying the night.


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Arthur River

A small holiday and fishing village with a long, single-lane bridge over the river, Arthur River is Tasmania’s most westerly town. We crossed the bridge to the southern side of the river and headed to the lookout at Gardiner Point. The point is nick-named “The Edge of the World” because if you were to head directly west, you’d miss the southernmost point of Africa.


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Marrawah Tavern

We decided we were due for a pub meal, so we headed to the westernmost pub in Tassie. The Marrawah Tavern was really busy because it was a Friday night, but also because the local cricket club was having a bit of a shindig.


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The tavern made state-wide news headlines back in 2013, when a man was shot dead outside the pub just after closing time. Police believe the gunman was a local but, as yet, has never been caught. The pub has since changed owners, business seems to be good and the events of 2013 are just a thing of the past that nobody talks about.


We grabbed some drinks and found a table in the bistro area. Dave settled on the $24 schnitzel with mushroom sauce, and Juz went with the $28 chicken parma – both with chips and salad. The schnitzel with fresh, thick and juicy and the chips were ok, but they needed seasoning. The sauce tasted like packet gravy with mushrooms in it and was nice for the saltless chips. The salad was really interesting – it had rice, diced capsicum and onion, beetroot, cheese and half a boiled egg in a lettuce cup.


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The parmi was also a thick chicken schnitzel with thick ham, salsa sauce and generic cheese. It came with the same chips and salad as the schnitty. Overall, the meals weren’t worth $24 and $28, but we were willing to pay because we were hungry, tired and remote.


Green Point

Just a few minutes down the road from Marrawah, Green Point offers a gorgeous coastline and a perfect place to enjoy sunset.  We chatted with some guys from the council who were laying down a new layer of gravel, as we watched some surfers catching waves in the Southern Ocean.


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About 20kms up the road from Smithton, we stopped at Stanley to see The Nut. We pulled over at a lookout on the way into town for our first glimpse of The Nut, which is actually an old volcanic plug.


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Originally named Circular Head by Bass and Flinders in 1798, the name was changed to The Nut in the 1950s. There’s a chairlift that goes up to the top, and a walking track that we would have done if we had time.


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Our stop in Burnie was brief. We swung past the Makers Workshop at the Visitor Information Centre, a display of local crafts – leather goods, paper making, paper sculptures, wood crafts, jewellery, and souvenirs. There’s also a cafe with cheese and whisky tasting.


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Only 20 minutes south of Burnie is Guide Falls, a little picnic area with BBQs and a great place to cool off on a hot day.


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West of Burnie is Wynard, a little town known for its annual tulip festival in Spring. Yes, it sounds riveting, we know.  If you’re craving a lookout, check out Table Cape lookout – the view goes for miles.


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You won’t believe it but the town of Penguin is mad about penguins. It’s the home of the Big Penguin – a 3 metre tall cement penguin that was built to commemorate the centenary of the proclamation of the town in 1975.


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The Big Penguin isn’t the only penguin in town – the street bins are also decorated with penguins, and there’s a huge penguin collection in the information centre.


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Other than all the penguin stuff, Penguin is a picturesque little town with pubs, cafes, a quaint church, beaches, parkland, and a bakery that looked like it made awesome pies.


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Bruny Island 2016-02-27 043w

Explore : Bruny Island

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Every journey to Bruny Island (pronounced brew-nee) starts on the ferry. Our ticket to and from the island cost us $33, which includes a lovely 2×15 minute ride across the D’entrecastreaux Channel. Our journey would take us from the ferry terminal south through the Neck to the southernmost pub in Australia and onwards to Cape Bruny.


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  • Bruny Island is actually two land masses that are joined by a sandy isthmus, which is known as the Neck.
  • The whole island is 100km long.
  • Adventure Bay was named after the ship that was captained by English navigator Tobias Furneaux, who landed at the island in 1773.
  • The island is named after French explorer Bruni d’Entrecasteaux, who sailed the channel and discovered that it was in fact an island in 1792. It was known as Bruni Island until 1918 when the spelling was changed to Bruny.


When we got down south, radio and reception was starting to fail. At one point, all we got was some church radio station. We listened for a little while and chuckled about the breastplate of righteousness that guards your heart against the evils of the world.


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The Neck

The Neck is the sandy isthmus that connects the north and south parts of Bruny Island. There’s a lookout there, Truganini Lookout, and it’s one of the best lookouts we’ve visited on our entire trip around Australia.


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Once you ascend the umpteen timber steps to the top, you are gifted with a 360 degree view of the ocean and the narrow strip of sand that connects the north and south ends of the island.


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Get Shucked

By far the best oysters in Tasmania and comparable to those in Coffin Bay SA, Get Shucked sells pre-shucked boogers of sea-salty delight that slide down your gob with lubricated ease. Give them a bit of punch with a sprinkle of Tobasco sauce.


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The outlet has a great sitting area and they’re licensed so you can enjoy a glass of Seven Sheds beer while you slurp down some oysters.


Bruny Island Cheese Co.

This artisan cheese producer is owned by Nick Haddow, who has been making cheeses around the world for over 10 years. He’s recognised as the finest artisan cheese producer in Australia and is also currently the only cheese maker in Australia that is allowed to use raw milk to make cheese. However, laws have changed recently so there may be more raw cheeses in the future.


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Our tasting session included four cheeses.

  • The Tom – a hard rind cheese that has a complicated and mature taste with a curious dimension of flavour.
  • The Saint – a soft white mould cheese that had a lovely delicate flavour of mould with plenty of buttery cheesiness.
  • The 1792 – a soft washed rind cheese with some pungency but a lovely soft cheese with plenty of salty goodness.
  • The o.d.o – a marinated cheese that is only one day old and is a combination of a feta and a mozzarella. It has a strong lactic acid flavour but would be awesome on some bread with a bit of smoked salmon.


Outside, there’s a fantastic deck space and picnic benches scattered in the surrounding gardens, perfect for stopping for a coffee, cider or cheese platter.


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Adventure Bay


Before stopping at Hotel Bruny for a beer, we detoured to Adventure Bay to see what was the big deal. Adventure Bay is on the eastern side of the Neck and was named after the ship of English navigator Tobias Furneaux’s in 1773.


While it’s mainly a holiday destination with heaps of options for accommodation, we did stop at one of the beautiful beaches and marvelled at the dark coloured sand.


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Hotel Bruny

Australia’s southernmost pub is located across the road from Sunset Bay. Needless to say, the view from out the front is fantastic, the distant mountains reflecting on the water. It’s a small pub with a standard pub menu that is reasonably priced for the location (a chicken parma is $26).


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We stopped in for a drink – Juz enjoyed a yeasty and crisp Cascade Draught while Dave opted for a dark Cascade Stout.


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Cloudy Bay

Located at the southern end of Bruny Island, Cloudy Bay is a great place for a quiet getaway. There’s a 5km long sheltered beach that offers great surfing, and you can drive along the sand to get to the Cloudy Bay campsite on the eastern end.


This is where we camped the night and enjoyed the company of the friendly wallabies.




Cape Bruny

The lighthouse atop Cape Bruny is quite significant. It is the second oldest lighthouse in Australia – first lit in March 1838 and decommissioned on 6 August 1996. It was replaced by a nearby solar powered light.


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Grandvewe Cheesery and Hartshorn Distillery

No, Grandvewe is not located on Bruny Island, but both are attractions of the Huon Trail, and it’s only 10 minutes south of the Kettering Ferry terminal.


Grandvewe is Tassie’s only sheep milk cheesery and is the only place on earth where you’ll find Sheep Whey Vodka and Vanilla Whey liqueur. You’ll notice a lot of sheepy things, like wool in the garden beds and some cute sheep grazing in the paddock near the car park.


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Make sure you taste all the cheeses because they’re fantastic. We particularly liked the smooth and yeasty Brebichon and the Sapphire Blue, a mild blue cheese similar to Rochefort, so we bought a piece of each.


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There were wines and spirits available for tasting as well. The Sheep Whey Vodka had an interesting apple and pear flavour. We enquired how they make alcohol from a by-product that is predominantly protein. It seems that finding the right yeast was an important factor, and of the residual lactose in the whey, the glucose that is separated from the galactose is what is turned into alcohol.


We also tried the Vanilla Whey Liqueur, which was deliciously sweet, smooth and tasted like custard, as well as their lychee-driven Chardonnay and dry but fruity Pinot Noir.


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East Coast Tasmania 2016-02-23 013w

Explore : East Coast Tasmania

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Our adventure down the east coast of Tasmania started at the Bay of Fires, just 10km north of St Helens and finished at Port Arthur.


The coastline is just incredible when the sun is out. There are plenty of beach houses and abodes with a maritime theme, jetties and fishing boats, and quite a few albatrosses lingering around the beaches as well.


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Enjoy the drive…


Binalong Bay & Bay of Fires

Voted the second best beach in the world, the Bay of Fires stretches for 35 km from Binalong Bay to Eddystone lighthouse. The region is so called because the local Aboriginals used to light the beach on fire to clear the land, then drive animals to the coast and trap them in the newly open spaces. We think the red lichen on the rocks also contribute to the name.


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We camped to the north of Binalong Bay at Swimcart Beach. Camping is free, close to the beach and there’s lots of space.


St Helens

This little fishing town on the shores of Georges Bay is actually the largest town on the east coast. While there isn’t much to do, the town is a lifesaver for two reasons.


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Firstly, there is a public toilet down near the marina that offers $2 showers, which can be best feeling in the world, depending on how long ago you last showered.


Secondly, the Banjo’s Bakery next to the IGA makes ripper pies with great flaky pastry.  We recommend the beef and cheese pie.




The Famous Mount Elephant Pancake Barn

We drove past the turn off and Juz’s Hungarian blood yearned for pancakes so she made Dave turn around. It was 8 km off the coast road just near St Marys, at the top of Mount Elephant. It was a cute little place in a European style cottage with wooden walls, floors and ceilings and elephants everywhere.


We sat down in the corner and ordered the chicken, cheese and asparagus pancake for $18.90 to share. The lady bought it out on two separate plates, which was really nice of her but the pancakes were much nicer.


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Filled with a creamy cheese sauce, morsels of chicken and asparagus, the pancake itself was light and fluffy with the integrity to hold its fillings. It was just enough to satisfy our mid morning snack attack, but take note – there are no EFTPOS facilities so bring cash!



This little town is both a fishing port and a popular holiday destination. You can see both of these elements as you go around town – all the tourists and all the maritime themed stuff. Bicheno has beaches, fishing, walking trails, local wildlife, snorkelling and a few cafes and restaurants.


If you’re passing through, our first recommended stop is the Gulch, which is actually the space between Bicheno and the rocky islands that are about 50 metres offshore. It’s a great place to snorkel and there is also a fish and chip shop – obviously selling fresh out of the ocean fish.




Next up would be the Whaler’s Lookout. Park your car at the base of the hill and march up for great views of the town and the Gulch. It’s a great opportunity to stretch the legs for 20 minutes or so.


Lastly, go and see the Blowhole. It’s more like a gaping hole that the sea water spurts out of, but it’s still worth a look. Climb over the rocks and get right up close but don’t fall in!


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If you’re looking for a place to settle for lunch or cook some snags, there’s a Lion’s Park at the top of town with picnic benches, BBQs and public toilets.


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Freycinet National Park

We bought a Parks Pass in Bicheno for $60 to cover our entry into Freycinet National Park. Unfortunately, the pass generally doesn’t cover camping, except for free camping areas, and in this case, we could camp only at Friendly Beach or Bluestone Bay.


No matter – Bluestone Bay is accessible by 4WD only so we found a nice spot all on our lonesome by the beach.


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We did a brief stop at Freycinet Marine Farm for some oysters. We got half a dozen natural oysters for $10 and splashed them with a little soy sauce before sucking them down. They were alright, but not as good as the oysters in Coffin Bay, South Australia.


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Coles Bay is the closest town to the National Park and has a few conveniences such as take away outlets, a tavern and petrol station, and lots of accommodation options, including the Coles Bay YHA.


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Established in the 1820s, Swansea is one of Tassie’s oldest towns. While there isn’t much to do in the town itself, the coastal drive south to Triabunna is just beautiful.


We rested in Swansea briefly for lunch before making our way down the seaside road, admiring the Freycinet mountain range and turquoise water. We also stopped in at the Spiky Bridge.


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As we headed south, we deviated off the main road and cruised along the Wielangta Forest Drive. It’s a relatively easy drive and there are a few lookouts to stop at.


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Another little fishing town with a fabulous view no matter where you look.


We stopped in at the Dunelly Waterfront Cafe for a dark chocolate brownie with ice cream and chocolate sauce.  Boomer Island is visible from the deck of the cafe, distinguished by the large castle atop the hill. The whole island is privately s owned by a local businessman, Gunter Jaeger, who was the previous owner of the Hope and Anchor Hotel in Hobart.


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We found ourselves back at Dunelly later that night, when we found Fortesque Bay camp ground fully booked for the night. The Dunelly Hotel offers free camping in the back paddock, which was an absolute lifesaver!


Tasman Peninsula

There are a few things to see on the Tasman Peninsula. One of our favourites was the Tessellated Pavement, an unusual rock formation of rectangular ‘pans’ and ‘loaves’. Nearby rock formations include the Tasmans Arch, Devil’s Kitchen and Blowhole.


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On your way there, be sure to pay attention to a residential area called Doo Town. All the houses have signs out the front that play with the name of the area – toucan doo, make doo, doo n time, much a doo, just doo it, doo love it, Dr Doolittle, doo mee, doo f#%& all. It was a little funny.


If you need to do any grocery shopping, Nubeena is the place to do it. There is an express IGA just outside of town and a larger IGA in town, opposite the skatepark and playground where the public toilets are locked at 5pm.


The most famous thing to do on the Tasman Peninsula is visit the Port Arthur historic site. We did the night Ghost tour, which has been running for over 20 years.


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Explore : Central Coast NSW

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We spent around 10 days in the Central Coast region and while we didn’t do too much sightseeing because we were busy with various jobs, we did manage to visit all the breweries in the region and a few markets.  The Central Coast is only an hour away from Sydney and covers a variety of landscapes from golden beaches and vast lakes to forests and rolling hills.


Things to See and Do

The main city of the region is Gosford, which sits on the edge of Brisbane Water.  There isn’t a whole lot to see and do in Gosford city other than doing your banking and shopping, so we spent most of our time exploring the other regions.


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Beach Villages

The beach villages of Terrigal and Avoca Beach were bustling with activity.  Think cute little cafes, seaside restaurants, shopping and beautiful coastlines and beaches where the locals spend half of their time.  The Skillion in Terrigal is a popular spot, with lookouts on the headland that are perfect for whale watching.


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Avoca Beach gets busy on the fourth Sunday of every month for the Avoca Beachside Markets. Listen to live music, grab a feed from the food stalls, taste local produce, or buy some fresh fruit and vegetables.  Just off the coast at Avoca Beach is the HMAS Adelaide, an ex-naval warship that was purposely sunk, or scuttled, in 2011 to create an artificial reef.  The site is open for diving and is located 1.8km from Avoca Beach.


The Entrance

We were on the Central Coast during the school holidays and the waterfront park at the Entrance was bustling with carnival rides and activities for the school holidays.  We rocked up at 3:30pm just in time for the daily Pelican Feeding, when the resident pelicans come to a specially made feeding area for a fish or two.  It’s strange to watch the pelican’s enormous bills move in unison.


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Northern Lakes

North of the Entrance is the Norah Heads lighthouse, which offers fantastic views of the ocean and rocky plateaus below.  On the other side of Lake Tuggerah is the gateway city of Wyong, where you can get some award winning cheese from Little Creek Cheese.  They even do körözött, a kind of Hungarian spreadable cheese.  We walked away with a jar of marinated salad cheese which is like a feta but milder in flavour.


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The Peninsula

We made time to drive through the Peninsula region and marvelled at the beautiful scenery around the lakes and lagoons.  We even popped in at the peculiar Ettalong Markets, a long-running undercover market set in a Mediterranean piazza style building.


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Block N Tackle Brewery

While they’ve been brewing for over 10 years, the Block N Tackle outlet has only been open since April 2015.  They do small batch craft beers and also offer snacks like pies and crisps.  We loved the Rip Bridge Golden Ale (5.9%) – it was a delight, with citrus and tropical fruit flavours balanced well with malt, hops and a yeasty finish.  They also brew the Rip Channel Golden Ale, a smoother version of the Rip Bridge that is just as fruity and sweet, and a Coffee Porter that needed just a little more coffee, but it still smelt fantastic.  If you love their beers, grab yourself a cool stainless steel growler that looks like a mini keg, and fill it with your favourite brew.


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Six String Brewing Co.

This brewery was hidden away in a windowless shed but once inside, the atmosphere is rocking!  Near the bar are tables to sit down and enjoy a drink or a pizza from the kitchen, and in front of the fermenting tanks is a little stage for live music.  All of their beers were well balanced and delicious.  Juz favoured the Coastie Lager – yeasty and sweet with hints of grapefruit and bread with a crisp and refreshing finish, while Dave really enjoyed the Dark Red IPA because despite prominent hops, it was balanced with creamy caramel flavours.


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Central Coast Brewery

We had never come across a brewery where you can brew your own beer!  They have a menu of over 160 varieties of beer, and you spend a day at the brewery doing the cook before your brew goes into the fermenting tanks for around 10-12 days.  The full process takes about 2 weeks and you end up with about 6 cartons of beer.  They also have a fridge full of their own brews that have been compared to some well known beers.  They sell three long necks for $13.50, which is a bargain, and all the boys in the shed seem like seasoned brewers.


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Distillery Botanica

Philip is the man behind Distillery Botanica – he found that he couldn’t drink wine or beer for medical reasons so he began to distil pure sprits.  All of his products start out as vodka and he uses plants to add flavour and colour.  All of his spirits are smooth and he has won a few awards.  Our favourites were the Raspberry Liqueur and the Mr Black Cold Drop Coffee Liqueur.



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Town Profile : Port Macquarie

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We arrived in the town of Port Macquarie after completing our tour of New England.  It was just before sunset so we settled in at the Port Macquarie YHA for a quiet Saturday night that turned out to be quite a social event.  We met a few people that night, including Brian, a bloke from Louisiana USA who looked very much like Anthony Kedis from The Red Hot Chili Peppers.  We ended up hanging out with him the next day at the Black Duck Brewery.


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Port Macquarie is 390km north of Sydney and is located at the mouth of the Hastings River.  The area was first explored by John Oxley in 1818 and named after the Governor of New South Wales, Lachlan Macquarie.  It began as a penal settlement in 1821, replacing Newcastle as the destination for convicts from the UK.  There are two things needed to make a good penal colony – isolation and labour – and Newcastle had lost both of these elements, with farmers moving into the Hunter Valley reducing isolation and the cedar industry winding down and producing less work.


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The rugged terrain around Port Macquarie was overgrown, providing a great amount of isolation, and there were plenty of aborigines in the area who were more than happy to return runaway convicts for some tobacco or blankets.  The first man to run the penal colony loved dishing out lashings as punishment, and the penal colony soon earned the reputation of a hellish place to be.  By 1840, the penal colony was closed and Port Macquarie became a town for free settlers.  These days, it’s a popular place for retirement.


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Things to Do and See

Hello Koalas Public Art Sculpture Trail

This is the coolest and most colourful thing about Port Macquarie – it was like a treasure hunt to find all the koalas.  Many of the koalas are within the city centre and along the foreshore, but there are some further out past Wauchope and there’s one at Bago Winery too.  While you’re on the hunt, keep an eye out for the genuine Chinese Junk at the marina and the cool graffiti on the rocks of the breakwater.


Koala Trail


Tacking Point Lighthouse

South of the city centre, on a headland by the coast is Tacking Point Lighthouse.  It’s a great lookout over Lighthouse Beach and a perfect spot for whale watching.  The reason it’s called Tacking Point is because when Matthew Flinders was exploring the area, the headland was a tacking point on his map.  Unfortunately, it took scores of shipwrecks around the headland before the lighthouse was built in 1879.


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Koala Hospital and Roto House

Established in 1973, the Koala Hospital treats sick or injured koalas and educates the community about how habitat destruction and disease can affect koalas.  You can visit the koalas during the day or arrive at 3pm for feeding time.


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Nearby is the Roto House, a late Victorian house that has recently been bought and restored by NSW National Parks.  It used to be owned by the Flynn family and was built in 1890.  It’s open for display and there’s a retro café onsite.


Black Duck Brewery

We visited the Black Duck Brewery with an American guy we met at the Port Macquarie YHA, and were greeted at the entrance by a huge Great Dane called Murphy.  With the big black dog by our side, we met Al the brewer, and passed on a message from Ben at New England Brewery.


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“So busy that his customers can’t find a park, aye?” Al said. “Tell him it’s standing room only here…”


We settled at the bar with a huge line of tasting paddles for the ten beers they had on offer.  A paddle of four beers was $5 so it’s around $10 for the full range, including two special beers.  Juz’s favourite was the Summer Swallow, an easy drinking session ale with apple and banana on yeasty bread and a refreshing finish.  Dave’s favourite was the Heron’s Craic, an Irish red ale with a delicious apple pie smell and a creamy caramel flavour.


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Black Duck Brewery has been operational for 5 years.  It’s the perfect place to sit down for a Sunday session, have a beer and a delicious pizza, or take a tour of the brewery.


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Bago Vinyard and Maze

Bago Vinyard is located about 25 minutes south west of Port Macquarie, and is worth the visit, whether you’re interested in the wine or the maze.  The wines are great, and include a few varieties we hadn’t heard of, like Chambourcin and Savagnin.  Once you’ve done a wine tasting and swooned at how delicious the mulled wine is, go check out the biggest maze in NSW.


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On our way to the Hunter Valley, we deviated from the highway to pass through Tuncurry and Forster.  Regardless of which side of the bridge you are, the little parks on either end offer a great view of the bridge that spans the Coolongolook River.


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Just as the sun was setting, we made it to Cape Hawke Lookout, a platform on top of a hill that offers great views of the coast and town below.  Before we ran out of light, we drove past Lake Wallis and watched the sky change colour and reflect on the still water.


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Information & Accommodation

The public transport system around Port Macquarie is operated by Busways and the network covers the city and outer suburbs.  However, if you stay at the Port Macquarie YHA, you will be within walking distance of the city centre.  If you need to travel further, there are buses that travel on nearby Park Street and Gordon Street.


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Cape York

Top 5 Things About Queensland



We crossed the border into Queensland at the beginning of September 2014, and didn’t leave the sunshine state until June 2015.  In the ten months that we spent in Queensland, we drove through the outback, went to the northern tip of Australia, spent time in the rainforests, got jobs in Cairns, watched the sugar cane whirl by, and soaked up the sun along the sandy beaches.


Here are our favourite things about Queensland:


Prehistoric Past

Queensland’s prehistoric past includes dinosaurs, volcanoes and megafauna.  During our time in the outback, we hopped on the dinosaur trail and visited the Australian Age of Dinosaurs Museum in Winton.  It was absolutely fascinating to learn about the dinosaurs that used to live on Australian soil – Banjo the carnivorous theropod and Matilda the sauropod.


Australian Age of Dinosaurs


Further north in Boodjamulla National Park (Lawn Hill) are the World Heritage fossils of Riversleigh, which date back 25 million years.  We got to see even more dinosaurs at the Queensland Museum in Brisbane.  They have a regular dinosaur exhibition that includes information about the dinosaur stampede at Lark Quarry.


Lawn Hill


As we headed towards the coast, we stopped at Undara Volcanic National Park and saw the incredible lava tubes that formed nearly 200,000 years ago.  We saw more evidence of volcanic activity as we travelled east.  Mount Hypipamee Crater and the Crater Lakes on the Atherton Tablelands were all created by volcanic activity, while the Glasshouse Mountains in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland are volcanic plugs of hard rock that have been exposed as the surrounding soft rock has eroded over time.


The Tablelands




The rainforests of northern Queensland are a well known paradise, the most famous being the Daintree Rainforest, which is the oldest and largest continuous rainforest in the world.  Exploring the area is easy when you base yourself at Port Douglas, and while you’re in the area, Cape Tribulation is worth a visit.


Cape Tribulation


Not far away are the rainforests of the Atherton Tablelands.  Right in the heart of the lush forest is Kuranda, which is a beautiful little village with plenty to offer, including a range of fantastic wildlife experiences.  Paronella Park is another magical gem hidden away in the green foliage.


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To the south are the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia, an amazing example of subtropical rainforest that has remained unchanged over many millennia.  Part of this world heritage area is Springbrook National Park, where the Antarctic beech trees reside and the Best of All Lookouts offer views of the valley below (but not for us).




Beaches & Coastline

Known as the sunshine state, Queensland is notorious for its beaches.  Surfers Paradise on the Gold Coast is a huge beach with a big surf culture.


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Up north on the Cape, after visiting the northernmost point of Australia, we camped at Chilli Beach. The isolation of the area and the row of leaning coconut trees along the beach make it seem like you’re on a deserted island.


Cape York


Just off the coastline of Queensland is the beautiful Great Barrier Reef.  Juz had an opportunity to go out and snorkel on the reef, swim with turtles and get severely sunburnt, but if you’re not a fan of sunburn or getting wet, you can easily see the beautiful fish and corals at Reef HQ in Townsville.


Great Barrier Reef - Justine snorkling



There are heaps of opportunities to challenge yourself and your 4WD in Queensland.  Our first major obstacle was the Old Telegraph Track on the Cape.  This was so much fun and there were heaps of water crossings, dips and surprises that required keen navigational prowess.


Cape York


Fraser Island was another 4WDing favourite with plenty of sandy tracks to sink your tyres into and a whole highway of beach to cruise on, while Blackdown Tablelands gave us an unexpected opportunity to cross some rough terrain.


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If you want to do nothing else but get loco on the tracks, head to Landcruiser Mountain Park.  This place is dedicated to challenging tracks of varying difficulty, from relatively easy to “ah fuck – I just broke my car”.  Plus, because the map they give you at reception is so shit, you’re bound to get lost and end up on a track that will push your limits.


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Freshwater Fun

Queensland isn’t all about beaches.  There are some beautiful lakes, creeks and waterfalls as well.  In the tropics, waterholes are the perfect spot to cool off and wash the film of sweat from your skin.  Josephine Falls and The Boulders are popular with locals and tourists alike, while Crystal Creek and Jarouma Falls make quite the pretty picture.


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Up in the Atherton Tablelands, the Millaa Millaa Waterfall Circuit takes you around to three waterfalls set in the rainforest, while Lake Eacham is a beautiful turquoise lake that is great for swimming and kayaking.  Another beautiful plateau is the Blackdown Tableland further south near Mackay.  There are lots of creeks surrounding the camping area but the real beauty is Guddo Gumoo, which is also known as Rainbow Waters.



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In country Queensland, there are three locations that are simply sublime.  Our favourite was Lake Elphinstone, and we were very fortunate to be there on the night of a full moon.  For those who are travelling along the Savannah Way, Lawn Hill Gorge is a beautiful place to get your togs wet, and while we don’t recommend getting into the water at Cobbold Gorge (CROCS!), we do recommend a peaceful boat cruise through the gorge.


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Only 7km north of the border between Queensland and New South Wales is Natural Bridge, set amongst the Gondwana Rainforest.  Natural Bridge is a product of time, as water has washed over the rock, eroding it and creating a hole.


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Camping & 4WDing : Fraser Island

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Heritage listed since 1992, Fraser Island is about 120km long and 24km wide.  It’s the largest sand island in the world, and the largest island on the east coast of Australia.  The island was made over the last 750,000 years by sand accumulating on a volcanic bedrock that acted as a catchment for the sediment.  The island is covered in various landscapes, from bare dunes and coastal grassland to eucalyptus woods and rainforests.  The reason why so many plants can grow in sand is because of a naturally occurring fungus in the sand that releases nutrients which are absorbed by the plants.


The island was named after Eliza Fraser, wife of Captain James Fraser who was sailing the Queensland Coast in 1836.  When their ship struck a reef, they made for the great sand island and Eliza was captured by aborigines.  She was rescued six weeks later.  The traditional name is K’Gari, which means paradise.


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You will most likely see dingoes lingering on the beach.  These dingoes have the reputation of being the last pure dingoes in Australia.  They used to be quite common but their numbers decreased considerably after a tragedy in 2001 when a boy wandered away from his family’s camp and was attacked and killed by a pack of dingoes.  Over 120 dingoes were killed in retaliation for this and since then, the dingo population on the island has been strictly managed.


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Other than dingoes, you will see plenty of tour buses and tag along 4WD groups.  While the 4WD groups aren’t that bad, try to steer clear of the big tour buses because the drivers are jerks.


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Day 1

Our day started slowly as we had spent the night with a hospitable legend from the Troopcarriers of Australia facebook page.  Not only was it great to meet Rodney, but he introduced us to two of his friends, Rob and Leith, who had just embarked on a year long trip around Australia.  We swapped stories all night and during breakfast, and it was great to see another couple excited about what was ahead.


We finally got our shit together at around 10am and booked our barge ride from River Heads over to the island ($95 one way off peak), as well as our camping permits ($11.50 per night) and vehicle permit ($45).  By the time we were sorted, we had 50 minutes to have a quick whiz around Hervey Bay, stop in at the supermarket for some supplies and get down to River Heads for the barge.


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The 50 minute ride over the strait to the island was pleasant.  There was a bar on board and a viewing deck just in case some dolphins wanted to come out to play.  We disembarked the barge and rolled along a jetty to Kingfisher Bay, a resort village.


As soon as the sandy tracks began, we put the Troopy into 4WD and plodded along towards Lake Mackenzie.  The track weaves through forests of varying density, some with ferns, palms and vines, and oscillates between relatively smooth to so bumpy it was as if the Troopy was bouncing on gangster hydraulics.


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Lake Mackenzie is one of the most popular places on the island and is a lake full of clear and beautifully blue fresh water, with shores of white fine sand of near pure silica.  We had a quick dip before realising we had a long way to go before dark.


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We made it to 75 Mile Beach on the east coast of Fraser Island just before the beginning of sunset.  75 Mile Beach is a national highway and there are several sections that are reserved for planes.  The tide was up and the sand was soft so we dropped our tyre pressure down to 22psi.


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Because we were racing the sun to get to camp, we cruised past the Maheno Wreck and managed to get to Dundabara just as it got dark.  The whole camp ground was fenced off and the entrance was an electrified grid to keep the dingoes out.


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Day 2

We got up nice and early to cover as much of the island as we could.  The condition of 75 Mile Beach was a big improvement from the night before.  The low tide meant we had more wet sand to drive on and we even got up to 80kph.


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Our first stop was the Champagne Pools – if it wasn’t so cold and windy, we could have stayed here all day.  The rock pools were a striking turquoise colour, but the shallow parts were coloured peach by the sand.  Every time a big wave crashed over the rock, foam would cover the water.  It was beautiful.  Make sure you bring your snorkel so you can see the colourful little fish in the pools, and don’t miss the brilliant view of the beach and Indian Head from the lookout on the cliffs above.


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It was time to start heading south and the wind was blowing hard by the time we got to the Pinnacles – a haze on the sand was swirling around our feet.  We had a quick look at the colourful sand cliffs and kept moving.


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The most anticipated stop on our journey south was the Maheno Wreck.  This is one of the best landmarks on Fraser Island, and is the rusty skeleton of the SS Maheno, which got beached on Fraser Island in 1935 because of a strong cyclone.


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Before heading back to the lakes, we did a quick walk through the Kirra Sandblow and marvelled at the massive dunes and different coloured sands.


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Before going back to Lake Makenzie for another dip, we stopped by the Lake Wabby lookout.  Lake Wabby is the deepest lake on the island, and the least acidic, making it home to the largest range of fish species on the island.


We stopped in at Central Station and did a quick walk along Wanggoolba Creek.  It’s amazing how different the plants are in this section of the island.  Massive pine trees stand around the old settlement, adorned with huge epiphytes that look like giant heads of lettuce.  Down by the crystal clear creek, the rainforest is super green – everything that isn’t already green is covered in green moss and lichen.


Further south, we stopped by Lake Birrabeen but it was late in the day and the lake was cast in shadow, making it grey and drab, with foam lapping on the shore.  With the sun setting, we arrived at Lake Boomanjin and quickly decided to spend the night here instead of back on the beach.  We simply didn’t want to set up in the dark again.  We went down to the lake at both sunrise and sunset and were treated with gorgeous smears of colours on the water.



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Day 3

Our departure from Fraser Island would be from the south via the Mantaray Barge.  We heard a rumour that the beach to the barge was impassable at high tide and by the time we got there, it was on its way down.  We waited by the mouth of a small creek for the tide to come down, and watched the stained water from the creek mix with the salt water on the beach.


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Soon enough, we were able to get to the barge waiting area, boarded the barge and paid the $75 one way ticket back to the mainland. The barge runs on demand and there were plenty of cars on the other side who wanted to get across to the island and start their Fraser Island adventure.


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City Profile : Gladstone

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While Captain Cook sailed past in 1770, and Matthew Flinders had a brief glance in 1802, it was Colonel George Barney who steered the Lord Auckland into the port of Gladstone and started a penal colony in 1847.  The colony only lasted two months and a few years later in 1853, the area was looked upon again for the beginnings of a new settlement.  By 1863, Gladstone was declared a town of free settlers.


These days, Gladstone has a population of over 35,000 people and is the launchpad for tours of the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef and the surrounding islands.  Goondoon Street is the main street through town and it is rich with heritage and beautifully preserved buildings.


Our visit to Gladstone was supposed to be brief – get in, fuel up, restock the fridge and get out.  After a quick visit to the Information Centre to get a few maps of more southerly regions, we decided to stick around for the day and check out a few of the attractions, before popping into Dan Murphy’s to see if they had any specials.  Not only did they have a slab of Sail and Anchor for half price, we also got to sample a few ports and muscats at the tasting station and got a bit toasted before heading to Benaraby.


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Things to See and Do

Auckland Hill Lookout

Just a few hundred metres from town is Auckland Hill Lookout, which provides awesome views of the marina and Auckland Point, where calcite is stockpiled for shipment to Geelong in Victoria, where it will be used for a variety of things like plastics and toothpaste. There is also what seems to be a manmade waterfall.


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QAL Lookout

The local kids call it the Hogwarts Lookout because of the QAL refinery.  Queensland Alumina is one of the world’s largest alumina plants, refining 9 million tonnes of bauxite a year to produce nearly 4 million tonnes of alumina.


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Gladstone Marina and Spinnaker Park

The Gladstone Marina is a popular spot for boat owners and is the home of the Visitor Information Centre.  It’s a great place to start your time in Gladstone.  Nearby is Spinnaker Park, which is the official finish line of the Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race.  The park has great picnic areas, BBQs and walking tracks.


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Tondoon Botanic Gardens

Specialising in native plants, the Tondoon Botanic Gardens covers 107 hectares and includes a Japanese Tea Garden and a gum forest, as well as picnic and BBQ facilities.


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Gecko Valley Winery

This multi-award winning winery is popular with both locals and tourists for a very simple reason – their wine is good!  Made onsite with local ingredients, they offer a selection of reds, whites and sweet wines.  Because Gladstone is along a similar latitude to the Mediterranean, it makes the climate perfect for growing grapes.  Unfortunately, a recent fire torched Gecko Valley and they lost all of their vines.  They’re waiting for the perfect season to start again, and once that time comes, they will be back to full production within two years.  We did a quick tasting session and these were our favourites.


  • Lightly Oaked Chardonnay – this was our favourite. The smell is very much like apricot and almond cream cheese, which reflects the fruity flavours and smooth finish with toasty oak and a citrus finish.
  • Special Reserve Verdelho – this was another delicious wine with plenty of tropical melon flavours and a smooth sweet finish.
  • Lightly Oaked Shiraz – this sweet red was very easy to drink and had a delicious port aftertaste.
  • Muscat Liqueur – floral, sweet and slightly viscous, this was just like drinking Turkish delight laced with rosewater.
  • Liqueur Mead – made with honey from the property, it didn’t have a strong scent but once sipped, sweet honey bloomed in the mouth.


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Tannum Sands and Boyne Island

About 20km south of Gladstone you’ll find Tannum Sands and Boyne Island, two communities separated by the Boyne River.  The combined population is around 12,000 people.


We rolled in to Tannum Sands on a Sunday morning and drove straight to the Millennium Esplanade, but we couldn’t find a parking spot – it was only 7:30am! What’s going on?  A little further down we found out that they were holding a Mothers Day Classic fun run.  That explains why we couldn’t find a park so we went back to town to get a coffee.


We found a fantastic little coffee place called Say Espresso Bar, and it was packed!  Lots of lucky mums were being treated to well made coffee and delicious breakfasts in the warm sun.  By the time we finished our coffees, we went back to the Millennium Esplanade, checked out the beach, saw an amazing seahorse sculpture and turtle-shaped speed humps that made us laugh.



Agnes Water and the Town of 1770

Considered to be the birthplace of Queensland, it was here that Captain James Cook and his crew from the Endeavour came ashore on the 24th of May 1770.  The exact point is called Monument Point, and a big cairn is there to mark the spot.  Nearby is Joseph Banks Conservation Area with a few lookouts over the headland and deep blue water.


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The area has been hyped as the New Noosa because of the area’s beauty and lack of commercialism.  It’s become a popular place for locals and visitors for holidays and draws in the fishing enthusiasts.  Because it was Sunday, we got to go to the markets and picked up some unpollinated avocadoes for $2 a punnet.  Also known as cocktail avocados, they look like little cucumbers and have no pit.




Deepwater National Park

From Agnes Water, the road along the coast leads to Deepwater National Park.  It was a great opportunity to get some sandy 4WDing in before getting to Fraser Island.   There are three stops along the track.  The first was Flat Rock, which was barely visible under the tide.  Middle Rock and Wreck Rock were the next two destinations that also have nearby campgrounds.  They looked much the same as each other, except the beach at Wreck Rock had shells.


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On our way out, we crossed Deep Water Creek and were amazed at how still the water was.  It was almost a mirror, eerily still and stained with tannin.


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We stayed at two rest areas near Gladstone – our favourite was the Calliope River Campgrounds.  Despite the mozzies, the camping area was spacious, free for 48 hours and campfires were allowed.  The other rest area was near Benaraby. It was much smaller and crowded, but at least it had a toilet block with cold showers.


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Port Douglas

Town Profile : Port Douglas

Port Douglas


We’ve visited Port Douglas three times and found all occasions to be quite pleasant.


The first time was for our birthdays in 2013, when we flew over from Darwin and met up with our friends and family, who flew up from Melbourne to celebrate with us.  It was a week of eating and drinking, late nights and plenty of injury, and it was during the peak tourism season so there were plenty of holiday makers around.  The second time was with the Troopy, as we began our descent down the east coast of Australia.  Tourism was still bustling in October but it just seemed a lot quieter without our mates around.



The third time was during our seven-month stint in Cairns.  We’d been playing trivia every week at the Red Beret Hotel and the prizes were vouchers for various places in Port Douglas.  After collecting a booty of vouchers, we put aside a day to drive up and use them.  Despite being warm and sunny, March is right in the middle of cyclone season, and one was expected to hit the coast in a day or two – Port Douglas was deserted.


We felt like we had the whole town to ourselves and had an amazing, action packed day that included a delicious breakfast at Cafe Fresq, shopping at various gift stores, a mind-blowing sandwich from the Little Larder, a walking tour around town, and a sunset dinner at the Yacht Club.


Port Douglas


Port Douglas is essentially a tourism town that can be fully experienced in a day or two.  If you can’t afford to stay at one of the lavish resorts and spend the rest of your time drinking cocktails by the pool, Port Douglas has a few budget accommodation options, including a YHA, and is a great place to base yourself while you visit the various attractions in the region.


Fast Facts

  • Port Douglas is #3 on Australian Traveller magazine’s list of Australia’s 100 Best Towns. It’s about 1 hour north of Cairns.
  • It is the gateway to two World Heritage listed areas – the Daintree Rainforest and Great Barrier Reef.
  • There have been several films shot in and around Port Douglas – Sniper (1993), Paradise Road (1997), The Thin Red Line (1998), Paradise Found (2003), Fools Gold (2008) and Nim’s Island (2008).
  • Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, died off the coast of Port Douglas after a stingray shot its barb into his heart. He was filming a new documentary called The Ocean’s Deadliest.



The traditional owners of the area are the Kuku Yalanji people, and their country stretches from the Mowbray River to the south of Port Douglas to the Annan River just south of Cooktown.


Port Douglas was established in 1877 after the discovery of gold in a valley near the Mowbray River.  At its peak, it had a population of 12,000, with 26 legal and registered pubs and even a few opium dens!  The schoolhouse built in 1878 and it is the oldest building in the region and was still operating until the 1960s when it was closed due to lack of population.


Scandal hit Port Douglas in 1887 when Ellen Thomson was convicted of murdering her husband. She pleaded innocent but she and her lover were both sent to Brisbane where they were sentenced and hung.  She became the only women to ever be hung in QLD.


In 1911, a devastating cyclone hit Port Douglas and once it had past, two people were dead and only seven buildings were left standing.  The impact of the cyclone lingered for several decades, and the population dwindled to abound 100 people in the 1960s.


christopher_skaseWho would have thought that the town’s saviour would later be known as Australia’s most wanted fugitive and fraudster.  In 1988, Christopher Skase unveiled his new 5-star Sheraton Mirage Resort, which triggered a massive tourism boom.  Because of this, it’s said that Skase is responsible for reviving Port Douglas and thus creating a successful tourism-based economy.  He is also responsible for the relocation the St Mary’s Church from up on the hill to down near the water’s edge in 1988, because its position was on valuable real estate land!  The non-denominational church was originally built in 1880 but was flattened by that cyclone in 1911.  It was rebuilt and remained in its spot on the hill until Skase’s arrival.


These days, the St Mary’s By The Sea is a popular place to get married.  Port Douglas is a thriving tourism town with a population is around 3,200, but this figure can double during the tourist season between May and October.


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Places of Interest

There are a few things to do in town, such as browsing shops along the main street, having a drink and a meal at one of the pubs, or lazing on the best beach in town – Four Mile Beach. The sand at Four Mile Beach is so flat and firm, that many years ago planes were often landed on the sand.  There’s also a market on every Sunday in the park opposite the Courthouse Hotel.


If you are interested in learning about the town and the area, we recommend going on a K-Star Walking Tour.  Kevin is really knowledgeable about the geography, history and flora in the area and it’s a great introduction to tropical Queensland.  Alternatively, hire some electric bikes; an easy and super fun way to get around town.  Prices start at $20 for 2hrs.


Port Douglas


As we said earlier, Port Douglas can be explored in a day or two, but it is a great place to station yourself while you explore the surrounding wonders.


Cape Tribulation

Located within the Daintree Rainforest, Cape Tribulation is a headland that was named by Captain Cook after his ship was damaged on the Great Barrier Reef.  It was named so because it was where Cook’s troubles began, but despite this, it is a wonderful beach to visit.  On the road to Cape Tribulation are various cafes and ice creameries which certainly don’t hurt to visit.


Cape Tribulation


Mossman Gorge

Due to efforts to conserve this naturally beautiful place, a regular shuttle bus that runs from the Mossman Gorge Centre is the only way to visit the Gorge.  It has a relatively low fee and does allow multiple trips on the day of purchase if required.  We recommend exploring the walking trail before having a dip in the cool waters.


Mossman Gorge


Flames of the Forest

This is a very indulgent experience for special occasions only.  Enjoy a gourmet meal in a romantic atmosphere of illuminated trees while being serenaded by a wonderful performer.


Flames of the Forest


Bloomfield Track & CREB Track

For the off road enthusiasts, check out the two tracks that go through the Daintree.  We only did a small portion of the CREB Track before turning around to follow the Bloomfield Track.  Our brakes weren’t in great shape at the time and we had been told by locals that the Bloomfield Track was the safer option – plus, there were a few bush fires around and we needed to put safety first.


CREB Track


Food & Drink

There are heaps of places that offer a great feed in Port Douglas.  For a decent coffee, check out Moonshine Bay and while you’re there, browse through all of the colourful things in the shop.  Moonshine Bay uses coffee from Four Mile Roasters, local coffee bean aficionados who have a great little cafe called Origin Espresso.  Located in the backstreets away from the hustle and bustle of the tourist-ridden main street, sip a quality coffee while sitting on hessian sack milk crates and contemplating which baked treat to eat next.  Very Melbourne…



Many of the good cheap eats in Port Douglas are on Grant Street.  The French toast at Cafe Fresq is delicious, all the food from Menu Thai Restaurant is incredible and for a late night snack after the pub, go to Get Ya Kebabs for a juicy meal.  However, one of our favourite places was an award-winning bakery…


Mocka’s Pies

Not only do they have a great selection of pies, including Kangaroo and Crocodile Laksa, but they are absolutely scrumptious.  Mocka’s regularly participate in the Official Great Aussie Pie Competition and their pies win medals every year.


Mocka's Pies


On The Inlet

This restaurant is a little on the pricey side, so it should probably be put aside for special occasions, but the food is quite good and they have a resident groper called George… and by groper, we mean fish, not pervert.


The Little Larder

This place is a popular spot amongst the locals and visitors alike.  They do a wicked breakfast and cup of coffee but the main attraction is the ‘serious sandwiches made by chefs’.  We had lunch here and our lives are ruined because all future sandwiches will never be as good as the sandwiches we had here! Check out our post about this excellent food outlet…


Port Douglas


Off The Track

There is a wicked food joint on Warner Street, just behind Coles.  They have an awesome selection of gourmet burgers, including beef, pork, chicken and vegetarian, and each burger comes with a little pile of perfectly cooked chips.  They also do breakfast and can brew a very nice Lavazza coffee.


Port Douglas


Port Douglas Yacht Club

For a more local experience, you must visit the PDYC!  This open air bar and restaurant is a great place to meet friendly locals and watch the sun set over the estuary.  We enjoyed a delicious and well priced dinner that included fresh, crisp chips and a lovely side salad.  Their chicken parma is juicy and thick with all the correct toppings, and they also offer Cargill steak.


Port Douglas


Information & Accommodation

The Port Douglas Tourist Information Centre is located on the main street at 23 Macrossan Street, or you can visit these websites: or


Port O’Call Lodge YHA – 4 green star eco-lodge.  To make a reservation, call 07 4099 5422 or email


Cape Tribulation YHA – nestled deep within the Daintree rainforest.  To make a reservation, call 07 4098 0030 or email


Port Douglas




Town Profile : Cooktown



We were expecting to linger around Cooktown for two nights before heading to Cairns for work, but just as we were making plans, a fantastic opportunity presented itself.  The owner of a local farm needed some help for the week, and it was just the kind of experience we were looking for.  Now that we were locked in to stay in Cooktown for a week, we had a little more time to get to know the town and the locals.


Fast Facts

  • Cooktown is the northernmost town on the east coast of Australia
  • It sits at the mouth of the Endeavour River, named by Captain James Cook after his ship
  • There are two seasons – the wet during December to April, and the dry from May to November.
  • The region is very rich in biodiversity because it covers three major ecozones, and therefore is a place of interest for botanists.



The traditional owners call the region Gan gaar, which means place of the rock crystals because of all the quartz crystals.


In 1770, Captain James Cook arrived and moored the Endeavour at the mouth of the Endeavour River for shelter and repairs after running aground on the Great Barrier Reef.  As the repairs were underway, botanist Joseph Banks and naturalist Daniel Solander explored the area and collected over 200 species of plants for documentation, and they also learnt words from the local people, like ganguru (kangaroo).  There was an artist on board, Sydney Parkinson, who was the first British person to draw Aboriginal people from direct observation.




In 1872, gold was discovered on the Palmer River southwest of Cooktown and the site was populated by many diggers from all over the world.  Cooktown was selected as the port through which the gold was exported and supplies were imported.  Two years later, Cooktown’s population grew to approximately 4,000 people and it was established as a town.


These days, Cooktown’s population is less than 2,000.  It has reached the status of a tourist destination because of its relaxed atmosphere and proximity to Cape York, the Great Barrier Reef, Lakefield National Park and the rainforest.




Points of Interest

The James Cook Museum

Whether you’re interested in the landing of James Cook in 1770 or not, a stroll through this fantastic museum is a must.  See the original anchor of the Endeavour, learn about Cooktown’s Chinese history and local aboriginal culture, and discover the original use of the museum building.  Fascinating stuff…




Nature’s Powerhouse & Botanic Gardens

Essentially, Nature’s Powerhouse is Cooktown’s Visitor Information Centre.  Get a map, stroll through the neighbouring Botanic Gardens or have a toasted sanga and a coffee on the deck.


The gallery and museum are also worth checking out if you’re interested in flora and fauna.  The Charles Tanner Gallery is a great exhibit of local animals such as snakes, bats, lizards and butterflies.  The displays were both interesting and educational.  The Vera Scarth-Johnson Gallery pays tribute to an artist and botanist.  While we were there, they were showing the ‘Botanical Endeavour’ – Sir Joseph Banks’ Florilegium Exhibition from 1770.



Grassy Hill

OMG – one of the best lookouts we have come across on our journey.  Stunning views of the surrounding mountains, the Endeavour River and Cooktown.  Amazing.


Finch Bay

Follow Finch Bay Road all the way to the end, past the Botanic Gardens, and you’ll arrive at Finch Bay.  It’s is a great little beach with an estuary.  We saw a big crab in the shallows and wished that we’d had a net with us to scoop him up!


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Black Mountain

About 25km south of Cooktown is Black Mountain National Park.  It is a massive pile of granite rocks that has developed over the last 260 million years.  Due to an unusual joining patter in the granite, fracturing and exposure to water has caused erosion and weathering of the boulders, but while the surface is just a mess of boulders, the solid granite core is underneath.  There are three animals that are completely unique to the park – the Black Mountain boulderfrog, skink and gecko – making Black Mountain one of the most restricted habitats in Australia.


The early settlers and local indigenous folks both have stories and rumours about quite a few people (often criminals) venturing into the caves among the giant black boulders and getting lost.  Whilst the people have never been seen again, the locals reckon you sometimes still hear them…




Food & Drink

Cooktown Hotel

This was the first pub we visited, and for a Saturday afternoon, it was fairly busy.  Then we remembered – AFL Grand Final weekend.  We sat outside in the beer garden and had a lovely lunch of pizza and parma before getting on with the rest of the day.


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Cooktown Café

More like cranky-pants café!  The owner of the store had a serious attitude problem, but the coffee was good, which is why people keep coming back.  We found out later that the owner had had a tiff with his partner the night before and was therefore in a particularly cranky-pants mood that day.


The Italian (aka De Wogs)

Opposite the road from the Top Pub is a popular Cooktown institution that dishes out mountains of risotto and pasta, tasty pizzas made with fresh ingredients, as well as Chinese food at a dearer than average price.  While Juz’s soggy but yummy parma lacked ham and chips, Dave’s capricciosa pizza was perfection, but to be perfectly honest, neither seemed to justify the price.




The Lions Den Hotel

About 30km south of Cooktown is an old pub called the Lions Den.  It’s named after a mine in the area, which got its name when a stowaway named Daniel was working at the mines and while standing at the entrance of one of the tunnels, the mine’s owner said, “Daniel in the Lions Den”.


The pub has plenty of character, with scribbles, business cards and stickers all over the walls, as well as old hats, thongs, license plates and stubbie holders.




Information & Accommodation

Nature’s Powerhouse is on Finch Bay Road and is open from 9 am to 4:30 pm.  Contact them for information about Cooktown by emailing


Pam’s Place YHA – on the corner of Boundary and Charlotte Street.  To make a reservation, call 4069 5166 or email


Archer Point

About 15km south of Cooktown is the turnoff for Archer Point.  Continue along the dirt road until you get to the end. It’s a great place to camp provided you don’t set up right on a headland.  The wind is strong and constant, but the views at sunset are breathtaking.




Cape York

Experience : Cape York – Part 2

For Experience : Cape York – Part 1 – click here!


Bamaga Tavern


Day 5


We completed the rest of the 5 Beaches Track and made our way back to Bamaga.  When we took the Troopy out of 4WD, Dave noticed that one of the front spring mounts had snapped. Afraid that the other mount would snap too, we crawled to Bamaga and went straight to the wreckers.  A new mount was an easy $10 and Dave installed it in about 30 minutes.  We then met an inquisitive local named Mark, who worked in one of the aboriginal communities and was interested in hearing about Our Naked Australia.


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It was about lunchtime so we lingered around the Bamaga Tavern for a drink and a meal at the northernmost pub in Australia.



To be honest, there isn’t much to see other than the wharf and jetty.  Fishermen of various ages were trying their luck with the massive schools of fish hanging about below the surface of the water.  One man was even spear fishing.


Cape York


DC3 Plane Crash Site

On the 5th of May 1945, a DC-3 VH-CXD aircraft that was operated by the RAAF, was flying from Brisbane to Port Moresby to deliver meat to troops.  It needed to refuel in Bamaga but due to foggy conditions, it clipped some trees and crashed about 3km short of its target.  All on board perished.


Cape York


If you have a chance to swing past and see this crash site, then definitely do.


Muttee Head

This was a great place to camp.  It’s right next to the beach, the camping permit is included with the ferry pass, and the sweet scent of fig trees perfumed the breeze.  It looked like someone thought it was a great place to live because there was a campsite with a makeshift sink and little garden.  Perhaps a recent bushfire had chased the beachside hermit away.


Cape York


Day 6

In the morning, we headed straight to the Jardine Ferry, but the ferryman hadn’t turned up yet.  It was still early so we hung around for 45 minutes with a bunch of other people waiting for the ferry to open.  The guy eventually turned up at 8:15am and got to work straight away.


Old Telegraph Track

Today we would complete the northern portion of the OTT, but because the road was closed from the Jardine River, we had to travel a few clicks before finding the side track in.  We checked out Eliot Falls, Twin Falls and Fruit Bat Falls, did a nerve-wrecking water crossing, and headed back to the southern portion of the OTT.  The Jardine Ferry ticket included camping at Bertie Creek so that’s where we spent the rest of the afternoon.



Day 7

After a quick wash in Bertie Creek, we decided to continue down the OTT instead of taking the Gunshot Bypass back to the main road. We usually avoid back tracking but we liked the OTT so much the first time, we were happy to do it again.


After a brief stop at Bramwell Junction Roadhouse to pump up the tyres and stock up on some more water, we went to Moreton Telegraph Station to book our campsite for that night in Iron Range National Park.  The lady at the station was really helpful and told us that Telstra customers can get a few bars of reception at Chilli Beach – if we wanted, we could book our site once we checked out the campgrounds.


Frenchmans Track

We took Frenchmans Track into Iron Range National Park, and found the track to be thoroughly unpleasant.  It alternated between unavoidable corrugations, soft sand and the occasional creek crossings.



There are two rivers that intersect with Frenchmans – Wenlock Crossing is fairly easy to navigate through but watch out for Pascoe Crossing.  It’s steep and rocky and you’ll definitely need a high-clearance 4WD vehicle to get through.  Unfortunately, the Troopy got hung up on a rock and while trying to get free, the brake booster blew.  Highly inconvenient – Dave had only one shot at guiding the Troopy down the steep rocky path into the river and he did a bloody good job.


The great views that followed the Pascoe Crossing were besmirched by the brake booster busting.  And to make matters worse, our water goon bag had bounced around in the back and tore on a bracket holding the curtains in place.  We dealt with the goon, ate a banana to cheer us up, and made an effort to appreciate our surroundings before continuing on.


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Kutini-Payamu (Iron Range) National Park

Once off the Frenchmans Track, we followed the tarmac road through the ranges to suddenly be surrounded by rainforest.  We even saw a cassowary hurry off into the bushes!  The road alternated between paved and gravel road, and the rain made it easy for Dave to see pot holes.  The smell of the forest was wonderful, and we were amazed at how thick the foliage was.


There are two camping areas in Iron Range.  The rainforest campsites are nice and shaded right amongst the rainforest, but Cooks Hut is the only site that forbids generators.  It’s a large communal clearing with picnic benches and toilets.  Chilli Beach is the other camping area.  While reception is available on the beach, you can actually pick up a signal from the highroad on the way in.  This is where we made our first Queensland campsite booking.  The guy on the other end was really friendly, but we still have to wonder whether this micromanagement of parkland campsites is really the way to go.


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Chilli Beach

The sun had set by the time we got to our designated camping spot.  Dave was so frazzled from the day that when he opened the back of the Troopy to find that the goon water had leaked all over the bed, he refused to have anything to do with it and sat down to relax.


Juz sorted out the wet sheets and cooked a quick dinner of chicken and broccoli on rice cakes.  We both felt a lot better after a meal so we went to the adjacent campsite and met our neighbours.  Palm Cove locals, Symon & Robyne were holidaying with their kids and while we were on our way south, they were heading to the Tip.  We shared tips, exchanged details, and agreed that it would be good to meet up for a drink once we got to Palm Cove.


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Day 8

Juz crawled out of the Troopy in time to catch the sunrise on Chilli Beach.  After 4 days of overcast skies, the sun was finally out.  Eventually Dave woke up too and we went for a walk along the beach, picking up shells, spotting beached jellyfish and terrorising coconuts that were still hanging from the tree.   We also did the short forest walk behind the campgrounds and spotted lizards and butterflies amongst the undergrowth.


Cape York


Portland Roads

A short drive from Chilli Beach is Portland Roads, a cute little seaside spot with a few holiday houses and the Out of the Blue Café.  If you’re in the vicinity, stop by and get some seafood and chips – amazing!  We were also lucky enough to walk away with a big soursop fruit from the garden, compliments of the chef.


Cape York


Lockart River

If you need fuel, go to the local aboriginal community of Lockhart River.  It’s only $1.89 for diesel but remember – no photos while in the community. There isn’t much to photograph there anyway.


On the way out of Iron Range, we noticed rising smoke in the distance.  A bushfire was slowly burning through the dry scrub, and Juz told Dave to drive faster because the heat was too intense.


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Archer River Roadhouse

This was the last stop before the Quarantine checkpoint so we ate the entire soursop fruit for an afternoon snack.  Turns out, the quarantine checkpoint was closed anyway, but no matter – the fruit was delicious.  It was green and prickly on the outside with white flesh full of big black seeds like watermelon but five times bigger.  The flesh is stringy like pineapple or mango, and the flavour is slightly tart/sour.


Back in Coen

We got back to Coen just before dinnertime and had two long-awaited drinks at the SExchange.  We spend the night at the Bend again, and it was wonderful to have a wash in the fresh, croc-free water.


Day 9

We had another morning wash in the river before heading out to Lakefield National Park.  It was going to be a short day of driving because of the shot brake booster and poor quality fuel, so after swinging past Lotusbird Lodge, gazing at the flowers at Red Lily Lagoon and spying a kookaburra at White Lily Lagoon, we got to Kalpowar Crossing and relaxed.



Because of the croc-infested river, we had a cold shower in the toilet block and spent the rest of the afternoon reading.  Once the sun went down, we noticed that the ground was moving and found tiny little frogs everywhere… as well as big ugly cane toads.


Day 10

Because we didn’t have a boat for fishing on the river, there was nothing else to do at Kalpowar so we set off early for Cooktown.  This would be the final destination of our Cape York adventure, and what was supposed to be a two day stop ended up stretching to 10 days because of an unexpected Helpx invitation.


Overall, we enjoyed our time at Cape York.  The two biggest highlights were definitely being at the northern most point of mainland Australia and four-wheel driving along the Old Telegraph Track.


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Cape York

Experience : Cape York – Part 1

Cape York


Cape York was not what we expected.  We thought it would be lush and tropical with thick rainforest everywhere, but it wasn’t like that at all.  The roads were dry and dusty, and there was a lot of mining activity around Weipa because of the bauxite mine.  Also, an unusual blanket of cloud was cast over the sky for a number of days, which was both welcomed because of the coolness of the days but cursed because sometimes you just want sunshine.


The landscape of the Cape is very diverse and includes areas of bush scrub and heath lands, pockets of rainforest and coastal scrub with coconut trees and mangroves.  All the rivers rise from the Great Dividing Range, which extends all the way to the Tip.  The road conditions are also variable, with corrugated dirt roads broken up by sections of sealed road, as well as sandy or eroded 4WD tracks.


The main attractions of Cape York are the Tip and the Overland Telegraph Track.  Many 4WD enthusiasts flock to the Cape for some serious off-road action, while a picture at the northernmost point of Australia is worth framing.  There is also plenty of fishing to be done, as well as camping and bird watching.


Before you head to the Cape, check out information on camping permits, alcohol restrictions and quarantine zones.



We woke up at Rifle Creek Rest Area just south of Mount Molloy and got going fairly early.  The plan was to get all the way to Coen before dinner and we had about 450km to travel.


As we passed through Mount Carbine, we saw the open mine to the right, and stopped at Bob’s Lookout as we travelled along the windy road past Mount Desailly and Mount Elephant.  We had a quick lunch at Musgrave Roadhouse before finishing the last stretch to Coen.


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A very small town with all the basics – the SExchange Hotel, a post office combined with a grocery store, a takeaway joint and a mechanic, as well as a health centre and other government buildings.  It was established as a fort on the river in 1873 due to a gold rush in the area.  We went straight to the SExchange for a beer and were a little surprised that we were the only ‘white fellas’ in the place, other than the tiny Asian bar wench.  It’s to be expected, considering that 80% of Coen’s population are indigenous.


That night, we camped at the Bend a few clicks out of town.  It’s a beautiful spot right on the Coen River, with clear water for bathing and plenty of birdlife to gawk at in the morning.



Day 2

Today was Dave’s Birthday and his present was a tilt level orb for the Troopy – it couldn’t have come at a more perfect time with all the 4WDing that was ahead of us.


We continued on the Peninsula Developmental Road for another 25km and arrived at the quarantine check point, where we learnt that we can bring fruit into the Cape but can’t take any fruit that we’ve picked off trees out of the Cape.  Many pest insects have blown over from PNG and infected fruit trees such as mangos, bananas and any other tropical fruits.



The road to Weipa was shithouse – full of corrugation, bouncy bumps and bull dust with only a few sections that are paved.



Weipa is an odd town, with a landscape ruined by the local mining industry.  It’s not organised like other towns – there is no main street with all the shops that you need, everything is spread out, which is a little inconvenient.  There’s a Woolies supermarket for stocking up on groceries, Telstra reception (but no Optus), cheap fuel ($1.63 for diesel), and camping permits can be booked at the caravan park.


Our first stop was the Albatross Hotel for a drink, and we were inundated with friendly locals who, after about 20 minutes, revealed their motivations for chatting to us – they wanted a lift to Mapoon, about 90km to the north.  We then moved to the Weipa Bowls Club for Dave’s birthday lunch.




Once we had done everything we needed to do, we did some sight-seeing near Evan’s Landing and continued our journey to the Tip.  On the way, we crossed the Wenlock River and noticed a sign in the tree…


Cape York


Moreton Telegraph Station

With no free camps in the area, we pulled in at Moreton Station.  It cost $10 each to camp and we had the luxury of a hot shower and flushing toilets but the annoyance of generators running until about 10pm.  Camping permits can also be booked at reception.


Day 3

In the morning, we were woken up by the hideous squawk of birds that sounded like the freakish score from Psycho.  We packed up, showered again and hit the road.


Bramwell Junction Roadhouse

This is a great place to stop before embarking on the Old Telegraph Track.  Get information about the condition of the track, top up your fuel tank or tuck into some food.  There are also toilets and a tap with drinkable water, if required.


Cape York


Old Telegraph Track

The OTT is remnants of the original telegraph track from the 1880s that connected Cairns with Thursday Island.  The last Morse code message was sent in 1962 and then systems upgraded to microwave repeater towers.  The Cape York Developmental Road replaced the track in the 1970s but it’s still used today by 4WD enthusiasts.


We loved the Old Telegraph Track – check out our post here.


Cape York


Jardine Ferry

The price for the ferry might be extortion, but it’s the only way to get to the Tip by road.  Not too many years ago, you could follow the OTT all the way to up to the Jardine River east of where the ferry runs.  The crossing point has now been conveniently dredged and is unpassable, thereby forcing everyone to use the ferry.   The $129 fare is supposed to maintain the ferry and other stuff, but we didn’t see how that could be true considering the state of the place.  The ferry is owned by the Northern Peninsula Area council, who hiked up the price in 2013 because they were financially screwed.  Until they build a bridge, tourists heading to the top are going to have to pay the piper.


Croc Tent

We cruised through the aboriginal communities and headed straight for the Tip, but we did stop at the Croc Tent, and we recommend that you do too.  It was by far the most informative place we stopped at since we left Mareeba.  The guy gave us a free map of the Tip, and made a few recommendations on where to camp.


Cape York


The Tip

We made it to the Tip car park just before sunset and because the tide was down, we walked along the beach to the rocky headland to find the infamous sign.  The Tip of Australia is located 10° south of the equator and is only 180km from PNG.  After Dave made a phone call to a mate, we headed back to the Troopy for some dinner.


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In the meantime, a guy we met on the OTT, Tony, rocked up with his friend Tim.  After a quick chat in the dimming light, we went to check out a nearby abandoned resort for a potential place to camp.  We found an overgrown driveway, slowly inched the Troopy in but found the whole place way too creepy, so we slowly inched the Troopy back down the driveway and CLUNK!  We couldn’t figure out what we had hit so we turned the Troopy around and went back to the beach.


Tony and Tim were just about to set up on the beach when we returned.  We let them know that the resort was not an option, and the beach was too risky because of the tides, so we ended up setting up camp in the car park.  This is when the CLUNK revealed its point of impact – the Troopy’s bumper, which bent upwards to jam the back door – where we sleep, where our food is, where Dave’s tools are to fix the bumper.  We spent the rest of the evening laughing at how funny it all was, while Tony and Tim helped out with tools and beer.


Cape York


Day 4

We had a slow start in the morning because the bumper and rear lights needed to be put back on, and we didn’t leave the car park until about 10am.  We explored the abandoned resort and it was much less scary than it was the night before.  We then went to check out a camping spot near Somerset that was recommended by the guy at the croc tent.



Despite being a dull, cloudy day, the beach at Somerset was beautiful but there was still a lot of junk everywhere.  There was even some sort of junk shrine, decorated with thongs, bottles, buoys and hats.  The hellish toilets show no sign of benefitting from the Jardine Ferry fare and the campground was scattered with collapsed humpies.


Cape York


5 Beaches Track

Following the coast in a south easterly direction from Somerset, the 5 Beaches 4WD track crosses rocky headlands and sandy beaches, and is a relatively easy track with some great views.  There is plenty of colourful washed-up rubbish and coral on the beaches if you’re into fossicking for crap that may have potentially floated over from PNG.  We spotted bush tucker on the side of the track too, and would have tried to get some if the bushes weren’t infested with green ants.



Once we got to the 4th beach, we found a track leading to a clearing of oak trees that was reasonably sheltered from the wind.  We set up camp and tried a new SPAM recipe – Spam Bacon Carbonara – which ended up being quite good.  Check out the recipe here.



Cable Beach

Town Profile : Broome

Located at the southernmost tip of the Kimberley about 18 degrees south of the equator, Broome was the first example we’ve seen of an Australian tropical town.  Palm trees and boabs line the streets, birds of prey circle the skies and everyone walks around like they’re on holiday.  The atmosphere is really laid back and after a while, you’ll learn about Broome time, which ticks at a much slower pace than Melbourne time.  Monsoon season between October and March can make some of the more remote areas around the town inaccessible due to rain, so if you plan to visit and want the best weather, make it between April and September.



William Dampier was the first to visit the area in 1688 and Roebuck Bay on which Broome sits is named after his ship, the HMS Roebuck, but it wasn’t until 1883 that Broome was declared a town. The largest pearl shells in the world were discovered in Roebuck Bay, and this led to Broome’s establishment as a pearling town.  People from Japan, China, Malaysia, Europe and the Philippines arrived to seek out the ‘Pinctada maxima’ shells, and while pearling was super-profitable for the pearling master (or as we see it, the pimp), the divers had it tough and suffered from the bends, shark attacks, cyclones and drowning.


During the first decade of the twentieth century, Broome produced 80% of the world’s Mother of Pearl shells, but after the plastic button was invented and cultured pearls were introduced in the 1970s, they were only producing about 65% of the world’s stock.  Paspaley is the largest and oldest pearling company in Australia and the producer of the most beautiful pearls in the world, and it has an outlet in town.  Juz took it upon herself to try on some pearls; about $98,000 worth to be precise, and while we were there, we also learnt about how pearls are valued.  They need to be smooth, unblemished, round and shiny, and there are different types of pearls that are available (black, white, gold, champagne and baroque).  Baroque pearls are asymmetrical pearls that are made when the oyster tries to spit them out before they’re ready.  The pearl ends up developing an irregular shape instead of a smooth spherical shape.



If you’re lucky enough to be in Broome during August/September, this is when they hold the annual ‘Festival of the Pearl’ called Shinju Matsuri.  The town celebrates their history, the pearl harvest and their multicultural heritage, which includes all the Asian and European folk, as well as the local Aboriginal people.  We were really happy to have a chat with a few of the locals, including a lady who was brought up by the Sisters in Beagle Bay, a super happy guy carving a boab nut in Chinatown, and another guy who came and sat down with us in the park while he waited for his mates to hurry up.  They were all friendly, welcoming and happy to share their stories.


There are two movie outlets to cater for all sorts of weather – Sun Cinema, which is indoors, and Sun Pictures, the oldest operating outdoor cinema in the world!  You can also enjoy the Staircase to the Moon at certain times of the month, when the full moon reflects on the mud flats and creates the illusion of a staircase.


So, whether you enjoy picking up some noodles in Chinatown, trying on expensive pearls or lazing on the beach, Broome has something for you.




The original commercial centre of Broome, Chinatown demonstrates the multiculturalism of Broome.  While we were expecting more Chinese restaurants and tacky neon lights, we were satisfied with the Asian architecture on telephone booths and Johnny Chi Shady Lane, which mainly contained clothing outlets that sold colourful dresses, a café with a terrible soundtrack and lots of souvenirs.  A great place for kooky food items is Yuen Wing Grocery Store…



Town Beach

A great spot to spend the day!  There is a great little park with BBQ and picnic facilities, right near Pioneer Cemetery, and the beach is clean with safe waters and outdoor showers.  We had lunch here with our travel buddies, Mark and Alexis before they hopped on a long bus ride to Darwin.


Cable Beach

This beautiful beach that stretches for 22km is named after the underwater telegraph cable that links Australia to Indonesia.  It is one of the most famous beaches in the world and is a great place to go swimming, play beach cricket, and watch the sunset.  Be careful though – between November and April, box jellyfish and stingers like to hang about, and if you get stung by one of those, you’re gonna have a bad time.



If you go north of the rocks, you can get your kit off in the nudist section (yes – we did), which also happens to be the 4×4 section and the area that the camels are parked to advertise the tours.




We considered going on a camel ride, but after walking past a group on their pre-sunset tour, we decided against it.  The camels stunk and we figured that we could get a much better photo off the camel rather than on top of it.  We did appreciate that the camels had shit bags attached to their bums to stop poop from getting on the beach.


Juz works on healing - at arms length...


Japanese Cemetery

There are over 900 Japanese divers buried in the Japanese cemetery, which shows just how dangerous the early pearling days were.  What makes the Japanese cemetery a beautiful place is the raw sandstone headstones that are inscribed with ornate Japanese text.



Courthouse Markets

We got up nice and early on Saturday morning to check out the Courthouse Markets, which were just down the street from the Kimberley Klub YHA. The markets run from 8am-1pm every Saturday and are the largest art and craft markets in the Kimberley.


Stalls surround the courthouse, selling pearls, semi-precious stones, tie-dye t-shirts, hippie clothes, summer dresses, jewellery, exotic food and soap while musicians were dotted around with their hats out.  One kid really stood out – long blonde hair covered his face as he smashed out wicked riffs on his electric guitar.  He was totally grunge and had a sign out that said “Need money for a haircut” – what a cool kid.


Gantheaume Point

The weather was precarious when we got to Gunatheaume Point (which Juz called Guantanamo Point because she couldn’t pronounce ‘gan-thoom’ point).  We walked past the kooky lighthouse to see the dinosaur footprints, but unfortunately, the tide wasn’t low enough.  It has to be at VERY LOW tide (1.3m or lower) before you can see the real footprints, so the concrete mould at the lookout would have to suffice.


We did climb down the cliffs to check out Anastasia’s Pool, which was built by the former lighthouse keeper for his arthritic wife, who found relief in the warm salty water.




Matso’s Brewery

The first place on our list of places to go to was the Matso’s Brewery.  This award-winning full mash hand-crafted brewery created the Smokey Bishop, a dark larger that was awarded Australia’s best dark larger during the 2006 Australasian Beer Awards. If dark ale isn’t your thing, there are fruity beers, hoppy beers, refreshing light beers and ciders, so there is something for everyone.  Matso’s Brewery is open 7 days a week from 7am until late, and they also offer tours on Wednesday and Fridays.



We spent the afternoon in the awesome beer garden drinking and chatting with our new mate Billows, who works for the local radio station.  The beer garden has a small stage for live acts, as well as the Curry Hut, which is run by an Indian chef that makes his own authentic North Indian curries.


  • Hit the Toad Lager – 3.5% yeasty and fruity with a hint of lime and minimal hops.  Very refreshing!  The beer was named to support the Stop the Toad Foundation, which works to raise awareness about the cane toad invasion across the WA/NT border.
  • Monsoonal Blonde – 4.7% a cloudy wheat beer with a fruity, floral taste and no bitterness. Very easy to drink.
  • Pearlers Pale Ale – 4.5% rich and heavy, full malt beer that is smooth and hoppy.
  • Smokey Bishop – 4.9% full bodied, dark, caramel and toffee flavours, deliciously smokey.
  • Mango – 4.5% sweet enough to be a dessert beer, it was fruity and tropical, very smooth with a hint of hops.
  • Chilli – 4.5% not for the faint hearted.  Juz’s lips were burning as soon as they touched the foam!  A great chilli flavour in a light, refreshing brew.
  • Chango – 4.5% Juz’s favourite! half chilli beer, half mango beer.  The sweetness of the mango was great to diffuse some of the chilli burn.  A beautifully tropical beer.
  • Lychee – 4.0% smells very much like lychee but the first taste is like a light, refreshing beer with a fruity aftertaste.
  • Ginger Beer – 3.5% not as sweet as expected.  Herbaceous and smooth without any ginger spice.
  • Mango Lime Cider – 4.0% a clear, light green cider with lots of fruits flavours and a smooth, buttery finish.


We headed to the Broome RSL after Matso’s Brewery and on the way out, we spied a raised up, 4WD HQ station wagon.  Dave creamed his pants…



Broome RSL

The first thing we noticed was the yellow lights, which were probably installed to deter the insects.  The Broome RSL is a friendly, welcoming place full of happy locals having a great time with other happy locals.  We were there on a Friday night and took advantage of the $10 meat pack offer.  The meat pack contains two sausages, a chop and steak that you cook yourself on the BBQ. The RSL provides salads and veggies to accompany the meat you’ve cooked up.  What a great feed!


Before we entered the Broome RSL, we met a great lady outside walking her three tiny dogs.  She was an aboriginal woman of the Stolen Generation who grew up in Beagle Bay with the St John of God Sisters.  She told us about her dogs and her upbringing before inviting us back to her house for more chats.  We told her that we’d love to come over after a few drinks at the RSL but unfortunately, the more drinks we had, the fuzzier the directions to her house became.  After wandering around in the dark for about 20 minutes, we admitted defeat and went back to the hostel.



Divers Tavern

A short walk from Cable Beach will bring you to the Divers Tavern, a nice place for a meal and a drink, until they turn up the volume on the footy so you have to yell at your friends just to have a conversation.  We went here with Alexis and Mark after a few hours north of the rocks at Cable Beach.


They have a few meal specials, including a $20 schnitz and chips that we couldn’t overlook.  We ordered a serving with mushroom sauce and within 10 minutes, it was presented in all its deep-fried glory.  The chips were fairly average and the sauce was basically gravy with mushrooms, but the chicken schnitzel was crispy and hot.  Juz sampled the quesadillas and they were actually delicious and great value at $4 a serve.


The Roey

Popular with the locals, the Roebuck Hotel is a cool place to catch up with mates for a drink in the Asian-style beer garden, adorned with red lanterns hanging off the ceiling.  Dave’s cousin Tony met his wife here back in the day – they were both shitfaced and it was love at first sight.


We met Tom and Bella here to catch up and have something small to eat.  We shared two sides because we weren’t super hungry – the chips were delicious and well seasoned and the onion rings were crisp and tasty but not the best.  Later on, Billows turned up and we were happier and with our mouths open!




The Broome Visitor Centre is located on Broome Road, right in the town centre.  Their phone number is08 9192 2222.

Kimberley Klub YHA 62 Frederick Street, 08 9192 3233.  Check out our post on the Kimberley Klub YHA.