Drive north to Cairns from there is trully magnificent and you should make sure to book yourself plenty of time for all the wonders lurking just a short drive off the main road. This includes waterfalls, swimming holes, broad beaches, wetlands and tropical rainforests, just to name a few.
A short detour will take you to the elevation of 540 meters where you can stare at Australia’s tallest single drop waterfall – Wallaman. On you way there the meanding road will take you to the top of the hills where you can enjoy views of vast open land. You should drive slowly tho as it is a territory of endangered giant bird – cossowary. If you are into hiking you should definitly take the steap, muddy trail to the bottom of Wallaman fall. The view from down below is as breathtaking as from the top and yet, it is a whole new experience as the wind throws a wet breeze from 250m above to cool you down after hiking in these tropical conditions. You should be also able to see the rainbows as the sun shines on the water drops scattered in the air. This is an amazing spot!
As you press forward to the north you will pass some lookouts to the Hinchinbrook island which is largest island national park in Australia. It is famous for beautiful Ulysses butterfly which lives in this area. Next stop is Mission Beach where 14km golden sand beach is set against a rainforest backdrop. The place is popular with variety of activities such as windsurfing, snorkeling and skydiving. The sand is full of small holes which are crabs appartments.
To the west from the shore laies Atherton Tableland which rises sharply from the costal plains of Cairns. Rich volcanic soil makes it a famous farming ragion. It is also abundant with waterfalls. The 15km waterfall circuit will take you to 4 of them but there is much more of them in the neigbourhood. You can also visit the green crater lake of an extinct volcano – Mt. Hypipamee.
Both Cairns and Port Douglas are main tourism hubs that offers wide range of excursions, trips and boat rides to the Great Barrier Reef. It seems to be difficult to pick the best operator and the best reef to visit when there are so many options to chose from. It is a good place to try out diving too. We did it for the first time here and it was brilliant, we hope to do some more of that soon! Unfortunatelly when we were in Cairns it was very low tide so there was no water at all in the bay, which made the city look preatty creepy.
Between Cairs and Port Douglas there is a streach of the shore full of smaller villages, resort and tranquil beaches. Some of them are more popular like Coral Cove and Trinity Beach and some of them hardly have a name of their own. You should be able to find your own perfect spot!
Further north you can cross the Daintree River with a ferry to get to the national park with the same name. It is claimed to be the oldest rainforest on the planet. The river itself is popular for crocodile cruises and it is quite common to spot those animal there. The rainforest is home to cossowarys and countless species of plants, animals and insects. You can enjoy the one of a few available boardwalks to see them from up close. Cape Tribulation marks the end of the sealed road. From there straches one of the last untached wilderness in the world which covers entire Cape York. As we were driving the small city car this was the end of our journey up the coast. It is time to head west. More about that in the next posts 🙂