Van Life – Cairns

This was a week I had been looking forward to for long time. It meant total freedom to go drive and stay where we wanted. It was time to live in a van. Such a contrast from being stuck in the outback for three months.  It was a bit of taster as well because I thought I would love to do it long term. I can safely say I would, maybe around Europe.

Some reoccurring themes up the tropical coast were the dangers of crocodiles and jelly fish. (Both want to kill you) and also Mozzies, little shits ate me alive. Oh and rain. It won’t kill you but it will get you wet. It rained a lot for the first three days. The state of Queensland hadn’t not seen rain since June and it decided to come for our trip in November. Didn’t stop us though.

Day 1 – Palm Cove

We picked up Hattie (Becki named it) the hippie camper van at about 1.30pm so we decided to just stay close to Cairns. We went to a caravan site in Palm cove, about 30 minutes from the City. It’s a nice little beach side village with a pier for fishing and what not. Some nice restaurants and bars on the sea front.

We decided to take it easy that night. So after setting up our little camper van we went for a stroll down the beach. Then to the bottle shop for a bottle of wine. Told you we took it easy. When we arrived back at the van we set up the camp stove and made some tasty wraps! Early start the next day.

Australia Camper van
Hattie the Hippie Camper

Day 2 – Port Douglas

The next morning we packed up and made breakfast in the camp kitchen. A kitted out kitchen as well. We were heading up to a rainforest village called Karanda. The idea was to go the Koala gardens but we decided against it when we got there, the rain was just too heavy. Also there are better place to go for an Aussie animal experience I think. The village was nice though had loads of little hippie shops and markets. We bought each other some crystals.

After our brief visit to the wet tropical village of Karanda we headed to Port Douglas. The caravan park/ hostel was nice. Called Dougies and it was only $30 for a powered site. It had its own little rain forest habitat surrounded by trees, forest smells and sounds. There was also a pool table and bar. Cheeky. Managed to pot my last stripe ball and then the black with one hit to win the game.

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Beautiful scenes, beautiful lady

Day 3 – Mossomon Gorge

It was scrambled eggs, beans on toast for breakfast before setting off to Mossomon Gorge. Weather started okay today but as we started our walk through the rain forest to get there, you guessed it. It rained!  They said no swimming when we arrived as it was flooded. Got up to the gorge and people were in there. So I got straight in. Current was strong but it was a nice refreshing dip.

After we headed to the Daintree village area of the forest and parked up and had a pot noodle next to the croc infested river! We decided to go back to the coast and stay at Wonga caravan site which is right on the beach. Yep a croc inhabited beach. Couldn’t even go in the water at this place. We set up camp with an ocean view and just chilled out with a Bundy rum and ginger. We also discovered we had a tarpaulin connector which added shelter at the back of the van!! Happy days.

The Vent
Addition to the van

Day 4 – Cape Trip

Woke up and realised I had been eaten alive by mozzies. They love me. Had a coffee with a Dutch couple in the site next to us. They had pancakes for breakfast and we had full English!! No stereotyping there.

We stocked up on food and beer and headed over the Daintree river on a Ferry to Cape Tribulation. The road on the other side was windy but beautiful. Driving through a rain forest was amazing. We stopped off at Atherton beach and a sign said recent croc sighting. So I was hoping to catch a glimpse. When we got on the beach 3 German lads were trying to swim over to an island. Crazy man. Crocs and jelly fish season!

The campsite, Safari lodge was nice. It had a pool and again was in the middle of the rain forest so beautiful scenery and sounds. It was still raining!!

We also discovered some new tarp connectors that attached to  to the inside of the van as curtains. It was a like half van half tent! A vent! I backed the van into a nice spot and from the chill area we had a nice view into the rain forest. Few bevvies, some chicken sausage hotdogs and a Kitt Proudfoot Spotify playlist was the menu! No phone signal was  a treat. Absolutely loving the van life.

Cape beach, Where the rain forest meets the ocean. Clouds were clearing in the morning. No more rain as the sky draws them back reclaiming them bit by bit. Ocean is as blue as the sky. Empty serene beach. Best beach I had ever seen.

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Cape Tribulation Beach

Day 5 – Ellis Beach

On the way back to the ferry crossing we stopped at the ice cream factory for organic exotic fruit ice cream! We got yellow sapote. Tasted like caramel. The lady who worked there was more cockney that Danny dyer.

On route back towards cairns and we found a beautiful spot to set up and have lunch. Parked up next to Ellis beach. No one around. After we ate I went for a little dip in the crocodile water. Few others further down the beach were at it so I went and dove straight in. Amazing scenery to be taking a dip in the ocean.  I was so happy to be swimming in it.

Luckily there was a campsite a little further up with beach view spots so we basically camp on the beach under some palm trees. Vegi fried rice for dinner. I’m slowly becoming more veggie! Red meat I can easily cut out. But not chicken!! Update – no more chicken.

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Ellis Beach Camping

Day 6 – Beach Hopping

We decided to stay close to Cairns so we went on a beach hop. So many beautiful beaches and some so quiet we were the only ones on there. We went to half moon bay, trinity and palm cove! Fell asleep on all of them. Also braved the water and went for a little swim. Big middle finger to the 9 metre crocodiles. Most of the busy beaches have nets in so it’s relatively safe to swim between those. Not like it’s not always in the back of my mind! Imagine a crocodile stuck on the wrong side of the net, how angry would he be. Ellis beach camping was a firm favourite. I Enjoyed having the van very much. I will miss it. We’ve were able to all sorts places that we wouldn’t never of seen just staying in hostels. It’s made me appreciate the simple life so much more. I would do it all again with my best mate!

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