After a wonderful time in Cairns and surroundings, I finally went on my first “road trip” in early October 2017. I travelled along the east coast from Cairns to Brisbane for two weeks with my boyfriend.
Our exact itinerary looked like this: Cairns – Josephine Falls – Mena Creek Falls – Mission Beach – Murray Upper Falls – Spa Pool – Cardwell with a view to Hinchinbrook Island – Ingham – Wallaman Falls (Girrigun National Park) – Jourama Falls – Paradise Pool/ Big Crystal Creek – Little Crystal Creek Gorge with a view of an historic Stone Bridge – Paluma Ranges National Park (McCleallands Lookout,Watts Lookout, Cloudy Creek Falls) – Townville and Castle Hill Lookout – Horseshoe Bay – Airlie Beach – Whitsunday Islands National Park (White Haven Beach, Hook Island, South Molle Island) – Cedar Creek Falls – Boulder Creek – Finch Hatton Gorge – Eungalla National Park (Wheel of Fire Falls, Aralunga Falls) – a lot of driving due to a storm and flooding – Hervey Bay – Rainbow Beach – Carlo Sandblow – Inskip Point – Noosa Heads and Noosa National Park – Tewantin National Park (Mount Tinbeerwah Lookout) – Serenity Falls (Buderim Forest Park) – Bribie Island – Brisbane
We started our road trip by visiting a few waterfalls and went swimming in one of my favourites, Josephine Falls, once again. The next day we reached Mission Beach, a dream beach with palm trees and coconuts, which we really enjoyed eating. Depending on the coconut, you can either enjoy the delicious coconut water or eat the hard core, the coconut – delicious! Actually, Mission Beach is not one beach, it consists of several beaches stretching along the coast for 14km. If you do not go too far into the water, you can also swim here, as the water is much clearer than in Cairns. Nevertheless, one should always look out for the shadows, as even crocodiles live here (and Stingers depending on the season). But it’s just right for a cool down!
The following days we stopped at a series of waterfalls again. We went swimming a couple of times. We also caught a glimpse of Hinchinbrook Island, which is all National Park and looks to be a true nature and hiking paradise.
Our next stop were the impressive Wallaman Falls, which are 268m high and 540m above sea level. They form a pool that is 20m deep and you can swim there. Because of a very steep hike down to the pool, we decided to enjoy the view over the Girrigun National Park instead of taking a dip. We also saw a lot of wildlife: a dingo, lots of cockatoos and a cassowary.
Then we found some fantastic swimming places. There was the awesome Paradise Pool (Big Crystal Creek), which is located in a beautiful landscape. A few miles further south, there was another great swimming hole in the Little Crystal Creek Gorge. Later we followed the road uphill and got deeper into the Paluma Ranges National Park, where we had a good view from McCleallands Lookout and Watts Lookout.
The next day we reached Townsville and drove to Castle Hill Lookout. However, it was so hot that we kept driving. Generally, the area around Townsville seemed to be rather boring. It was more exciting the closer we got to Airlie Beach. The next morning we reached Horseshoe Bay, a perfect place for a morning breakfast on the beach and a dip in the ocean. After that we went to Airlie Beach, where I had planned a two day sailing trip. I was very excited! Before I left for sailing, we explored the area a little bit and noticed the destruction that had been caused by cyclone Debbie (195km/h) in March / April 2017.
Finally, it was the day of my sailing adventure. I boarded a 25.07m long yacht from the year 1989. The crew consisted of four members, who were always in the mood for fun and encouraged everyone to help with the sailing. I can’t remember all the passengers, but we were a mixed group of different nationalities (Sweden, Finland, England, Italy, Germany, Croatia, Netherlands, USA, Australia and South America). We sailed around Whitsunday Island and Hook Island, but we also passed some other smaller islands. The first night we anchored in the Hook Passage. The second night we spent at Stonehaven. During the day we stopped several times for snorkelling (for example in Luncheon Bay and Butterfly Bay). I saw turtles, lots of little colourful fish, corals and a huge ancient fish. From the boat we also saw dolphins, white-tailed sea eagles and sharks. Of course, we also visited the popular Whitehaven Beach, which attracts many tourists with its clean white sand and turquoise-blue water. It is particularly nice to see at low tide when the sandbar appears. I was also able to watch stingrays in the crystal clear water. All in all, it was an amazing trip and an experience not to miss.
After arriving back on shore, we hit the road again. We stopped at Cedar Creek Falls, Boulder Creek, Wheel of Fire Falls and Aralunga Falls for a swim. We also had a look at Finch Hatton Gorge.
Unfortunately after that we had to do a lot of driving – two whole days – due to a storm with a lot of rain and flooding. We were lucky to pass the highway before it closed due to flooding. We had to cross a river that was flowing over the highway. We had planned to visit Agnes Water and Town of 1770, but all the roads were closed due to flooding. After hours of driving and torrential rain we finally reached Hervey Bay. The next day the weather finally cleared up and we were able to see Rainbow Beach. We explored the colourful cliffs and the huge sand dune Carlo Sandblow. In the evening we stayed at Inskip Point with a good view of Fraser Island.
The next day we drove to Noosa Heads, which was crowded with surfers. We went for a walk in the Noosa National Park and kept an eye out for koalas, but we weren’t lucky enough to see one. Later that evening we visited a friend nearby and ate wraps and drank a beer. We stayed there overnight. On the way to Brisbane, we stopped in Tewantin National Park to get a view from the Mount Tinbeerwah Lookout and stopped in Buderim Forest Park to see Serenity Falls. Later that evening we reached Bribie Island. We watched a beautiful sunset over the glasshouse mountains and enjoyed some fries with a glass of wine. We continued on that night and arrived in Brisbane. The next morning I caught a plane to New Zealand for a six week adventure. I would continue my travels in Australia at a later date.
My TOP 10 Highlights between Cairns and Brisbane:
- Josephine Falls
- Mission Beach
- Wallaman Falls
- Paradise Pool
- Little Crystal Creek Gorge
- Horseshoe Bay
- Sailing the Whitsunday Islands
- Eungalla National Park
- Rainbow Beach
- Noosa Heads and Noosa National Park