Driving trip along Queensland coast (& photos)

Jun 21st, 2019, 06:50 PM
  #21  
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Lots of butterflies on the lookout walk at Cape Hillsborough.
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Jun 21st, 2019, 06:53 PM
  #22  
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Lovely cocky mural at Emu Park, just south of Yeppoon.
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Jun 22nd, 2019, 10:13 PM
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Good yarn and some great pics!
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Jun 24th, 2019, 07:44 PM
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Wow I didn't think you would see a cassowary at a caravan park. We saw one in the Tablelands when we were walking to a waterfall. We had been told how rare they were, so didn't really expect to see one. Loved your trip report, sounds like something we might do in the future. We saw the turn off to Cooktown when were at the Daintree would like to travel down that road.
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Jun 24th, 2019, 09:28 PM
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Fabulous photos -.great to see
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Jun 24th, 2019, 10:26 PM
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Thanks everyone for your nice comments, I appreciate it.

To nelsonian - the road we took to Cooktown was a paved bitumen road in good condition, still only one lane each way. You take this road from just south of Mossman. The other road, from Daintree, is not made and apparently quite rough. You would need a 4WD to go this way.

Kay
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Jun 25th, 2019, 03:33 PM
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Thanks for report, Kay, lovely to see your photos. The one of the kangaroo is great - and very unusual (never seen a kangaroo on the beach before).
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Jun 25th, 2019, 04:16 PM
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Thanks, there were about 12 wallabies and two bigger kangaroos that morning on the beach. We arrived just before sunrise, it was dark and we needed a torch to make our way from the caravan park down to the beach. Some of the wallabies were there then, you could just make out their shapes in the grey dawn. They were eating something on the beach - seed pods I think. The ranger came about 30 minutes later and gave a five minute talk about the wildlife and scattered some pellets on the ground for them as well. We were told to leave them plenty of room as they are wild and get skittish when people venture too close. I did wonder beforehand if it would be a bit touristy but I loved seeing both the sunrise and the animals.

Kay
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Jun 25th, 2019, 09:20 PM
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Thanks for a great report KayF.
We did a similar trip about 20 years ago in only two weeks with a wedding in Cairns in the middle !
Must do it again, next time with less haste and an off road caravan.
Your experience will be a useful resource
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Jul 5th, 2019, 12:02 AM
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Good yarn and some great pics!
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Jul 5th, 2019, 02:10 AM
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Thanks, glad if this is of some help.

Sartoric - speaking of caravans, we are trying to decide if it's for us. I always had the impression that caravanning was cheap but I don't think so any more. Maybe that was a child's perspective. Vans are expensive, so are vehicles strong enough to tow, and powered sites seem to be about $50 a night. Plus fuel of course. Still considering options...

Kay
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Jul 5th, 2019, 03:33 PM
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KayF, I'm now trying to plan my own quick trip to Queensland (just Cairns, Port Douglas, Brisbane and Moreton Island/Tangalooma Resort) to take place about a month from now. Apart from Four Mile Beach, what are your favorite things about Port Douglas? My husband and I are thinking of doing without a car, but we may rent one for a day for local sightseeing. Would you have a top recommendation for a day drive from Port Douglas (I'l love to walk through a rainforest and/or to see some birds). We've been to FNQ before, stayed in Cairns and Cape Tribulation, visited Atherton Tablelands, Mossman Gorge/Daintree, and did a three-day liveaboard scuba trip to the reef. But it was a long long time ago.

As you live in Brisbane, have you caught the bus around North Stradbroke? My husband and I are thinking of doing a day trip by public transport (train from South Brisbane-then ferry-then North Stradbroke bus). It seems easy. I mainly want to do the North Gorge Walk (Point Lookout). I don't think we have time to do much else. Would you agree?

Are there any must-dos for Moreton Island? We're already set on a whale watch cruise. Have you a favorite Moreton Island walk? (Nothing too steep, please, as I have a wonky knee.) I had a look at this list:
Hiking and Walking | Moreton Island Visitor Information and Tourism Website

We stayed in Brisbane and Mooloolaba on a previous trip, also visited Noosa, Glass Mountains, Australia Zoo., but didn't make to the above offshore islands.

Last edited by Diamantina; Jul 5th, 2019 at 03:37 PM.
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Jul 5th, 2019, 10:31 PM
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KayF, I know what you mean about the cost of caravan travel. We plan on a fair bit of free camping, with a pop top off-roader and being self sufficient, perhaps a caravan park occasionally. It was a childhood reality for me that caravan holidays were cheaper than an equivalent length of time in a hotel or rented holiday house

Diamantina, North Stradbroke is gorgeous, especially the gorge walk.. My trips there were with a car, so I can’t comment on your public transport strategy. Hope it works well and I’d love to know the outcome.
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Jul 6th, 2019, 01:07 AM
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Hi Diamantina, we are far from experts so hopefully others might chime in. We liked the Sunday market at Port Douglas, it was large and didn't have the usual tacky, touristy stuff. Instead it seemed to be stalls run by people who had made the items themselves. Not a cheap range but lovely things. Also food of course to take home or eat there. We went to the Wednesday market as well which is at the marina, it had about 4 stalls.

Port Douglas has grown enormously, I was initially shocked at how much it's changed. I enjoyed browsing the many shops and there are some nice casual places to eat. The Bookshop Cafe was a favourite. Also walking along the beach is lovely, watch out for coconuts falling. We heard one crashing and watched it hit the ground, I was glad I wasn't sitting beneath! You could go to Mossman Gorge, we have been there before so didn't go on this trip. Things have changed and you have to pay and travel by bus to the gorge now. They do guided walks through the rainforest. Years ago we did a day trip, driving from PD to Cape Tribulation and really enjoyed it.

If you want a recommendation, we stayed at a great place in PD called By the Sea. Cost $90 per night for a self contained studio, that was a last minute booking in a slow season, so no doubt dearer at other times.

We've stayed on North Stradbroke and enjoyed it but took our car on the ferry (which is not cheap). I'd check bus timetables or maybe the Trip Advisor forum to see how easy/difficult it would be get around the island by bus. I think you get the train to Cleveland, then a bus from the station to the ferry terminal. The Point Lookout walk was terrific, we saw kangaroos and a pod of dolphins. There are some stairs along the route but it's not a hard walk. If you can get the bus from the island ferry terminal to Point Lookout, do the walk, then maybe visit a cafe or get fish and chips, then get the bus (or taxi?) back, that would be a nice few hours. There is a small group of shops right near the North Gorge Walk.

We haven't been to Moreton Island, I've been put off a bit by some reports and also cruises stop there now so it sounds like it would be over-run at times. Seeing whales would be wonderful but we've done that before, from Hervey Bay.

Hope this helps a little. If you are in Brisbane and feel like meeting my husband and I for coffee and a chat, let me know. It's always nice meeting fellow travellers.

Kay
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Jul 6th, 2019, 04:51 PM
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We visited Stradbroke Island a few years ago using public transport, but staying a few nights. There are limited bus services on the island - limited routes and restricted timetable - but workable if that's your preference, as it was ours. We found the bus timetable online but don't still have the link.

I agree with Kay about the Sunday market in Port Douglas - we also enjoyed it. The earrings I bought there have become a real favourite and we managed to snack our way around the market.

A car in Port Douglas itself isn't essential at all but once you move beyond it on a regular basis then it comes desirable. There is a bus and shuttle services between Cairns and Port Douglas if just wanting to get there. There's also no shortage of tour offers. We took the evening cruise on the junk, which was a pleasant few hours (but not unmissable if not your thing). There was also a delightful (mostly) vegetarian cafe on the main street, towards the road which comes from the south (and four mile beach).
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Jul 7th, 2019, 04:26 PM
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Thanks, Sartoric. That's nice to hear about North Stradbroke. Sounds like it'll be worth the effort. I hope I'll be able to tell you the outcome (that is, if we can make it happen).

Thanks so much for the helpful hints and recommendations for Port Douglas, Mossman Gorge and North Stradbroke, KayF. And the warning about falling coconuts! That's interesting how Port Douglas has changed. Too bad I never got to see it when it was still a sleepy place, but I expect we'll still enjoy it. We're mainly seeking rest and relaxation, and warmer temperatures.

By the Sea looks really nice and the location couldn't be better. Sadly we already booked a place as affordable accommodation was getting scarce. Out of curiosity, I looked at By the Sea rates for July. I'd say you got a great deal! It's obviously very popular because they had no availability for our dates. We'll be staying at the not-as-nice Oaks Resort, which I chose because they have a lap pool. I wanted to be able to swim laps without worrying about crocodiles, which I've read can be a worry if one goes swimming in the sea here. I love wildlife viewing, but not in this case.

We're sure to enjoy Whileaway Bookshop Cafe! In fact, I have hard time extracting my husband from bookshops.

I can understand your hesitance to visit Moreton Island. I had some reservations about booking Moreton Island as TA reviews weren't great. The accommodation at Tangalooma seems pretty basic and overpriced. The resort's restaurants also seem overpriced and not very good. We'll only be there for a couple of nights, which will probably go by fast. I'm hoping it won't be cold, windy or wet so we can make the most of our visit.

That's funny when I first read your report, I had thought to ask you about Hervey Bay, and wondered why it was not on the list of places you'd visited on this last trip and now know the reason: you'd been there before. We'd thought about going to Hervey Bay before we settled on Cairns/Port Douglas, but it seemed harder to get to and not quite as warm as FNQ (we need a respite from NZ's South Island's bone-chilling cold). Plus, your photos made FNQ look irresistible. Hervey Bay must be the top Australian destination for whale watching. The winter whale migration sounds incredible.

Thanks kindly for your lovely offer to meet up. I will send you a PM. And sorry for briefly "hijacking" your thread; I'm grateful for advice received.

Thanks Dreamon for your very useful and encouraging advice on going car-free in PD and to NS. I'll print out NS ferry and bus schedules well in advance of our trip. With preparation and co-ordination, I'm optimistic I can make our day trip work. There is a company that offers guided day tours to North Stradbroke from Brisbane, but in winter they only go twice a week and not on the few days we'll be there.

We'll be getting up to PD on a Sunday, but try to get to the market before it closes at 2 p.m., and definitely look out for earrings, though I'm incapable of not losing them. I have a growing collection of single earrings, one of my favorite former-pairs being from the HIlo Hawaii Farmers Market. Will also look for that mostly vegetarian cafe. We'll pass on the junk cruise, but try to find a snorkeling trip to Agincourt Reef, preferably a smaller cruise boat. I still have loads of research to do.

Cheers to all!

Last edited by Diamantina; Jul 7th, 2019 at 04:40 PM.
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