The journey from Cairns to Cooktown.

Cairns Travel Blog

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The Cairns esplanade and veiwing platform to watch the birdlife from.

Exploring Cooktown Australia.

The Journey there.

We had only been in our lovely new home when Erle got the travel bug itch, we had just had the worst rain storm in decades that had kept us locked in-doors for several days, so he just asked the travel agent to get us plane tickets for Cairns as soon as possible; three days later at 7am, we were on the ferry from Picton to Wellington to catch the plane to Cairns! I can’t say I really wanted to go, I was just starting to relax and enjoy the new house, but once we got started ofcause I enjoyed the travelling, how could anyone not?

It did take a very long time before we arrived in Cairns late at night just before midnight.

The esplanade Cairns

Before we left home I had emailed Leo’s backpackers, where we have stayed before in Cairns, asking to reserve a room, but had received no reply so we thought maybe Leo’s was no longer operating, but I though I shall just phone when we arrive at the airport, however there was no Leo’s in the phone book so we had to just choose a backpackers of the wall of motel and accommodation places using the free phone we contacted Castaways Backpackers and were given instructions on how to break and enter and find a key to any of about 5 rooms that were available. Jumped into a taxi and before we knew it we were at Castaways breaking and entering! We found ourselves a nice double room with a fan and air-con but no en-suite but as the bathroom was only next door, that was no problem, we were able to go to the big kitchen and make ourselves free coffee and relax briefly while watching TV with the other guests, before we went off to bed.

Next morning we were up early walking down to the shopping centre only 500 metres down the road, to buy supplies for breakfasts and lunches for the next few days.

Captain Cook's Statue in Cairns near the backpackers.
  We walked past a giant statue of Captain Cook pointing away out yo sea.

Wandered back to join all the others for breakfast on the deck in the tropical sunshine, where we decided the plan of action for the day. Decided to stay another night here at Castaways, while we hired ourselves a small car. The hostel supplies a free shuttle to the city centre and also a free evening meal voucher for the Woolshed Restaurant also in the city centre, such a great service and good value, so we took the free shuttle into the central city and walked all around refreshing ourselves with the layout of the city, enjoying coffee a the street café, doing a little shopping and enjoying a lovely walk along the esplanade looking at the huge man made swimming pool where masses of folk were having such a great time we wished we had brought our swim suits in with us. We did a little bird watching from the platforms built out over the mangrove mudflats, there were lots of birds feeding.

After wandering around most of the day we went and arranged to hire a nice yellow bug size car called a Hyundai getz  only a two door wee car but big enough for us and our luggage, we shall pick it up tomorrow.

Four mile Beach port Douglas.
Then we walked all the way home in the hot sunshine, fortunately we did have our hats and sunglasses with us, having just come from our winter we could of started our holiday with sunstroke, but ofcause we didn’t.

Had time to jump into the hostel swimming pool for a lovely cooling swim and a long laze on the sun lounges.

We even had time for a short sleep before we caught the free shuttle back into the city for our free meal.  After a few drinks and a few coins spent on the poker machines we went in for our meal, it was pretty basic, but there was a choice of about 4 different meals, I chose Chilli Erle chose a noodles meal, both were smallish but adequate meals specially when you consider that they were free.

the Sugar cane squashing man with his bicycle.
We only had to wait a few moments to catch the free shuttle back to the hostel.

In the morning we got up and although we really didn’t need to, as there was some available in the fridge, we decided to walk before breakfast back to the shopping centre for some milk, as we shall need it when we leave shortly. We kind of like these walks before breakfast, maybe we should start doing so back at home.

After breakfast we picked up our small yellow car, came back for our luggage, checked out and drove in to Cairns City to Rusty’s Fruit Market to buy lots of wonderful tropical fruit, banana, pawpaw, passionfruit and a big bag of mandarins that will keep us going as we drive up to Cooktown, the destination we are heading to, with a short stop at Port Douglas.

Shopping at the Port Douglas Markets.

The drive to port Douglas is very nice with some lovely views of the pretty beaches, this is one of our favourite places, the temperature just suits us and the relaxed atmosphere does too, it’s the third time I have been here and we are sure to be back. We quickly notice things have got a lot more expensive at Port Douglas, it’s a major tourist destination and everything seems have doubled in price in the last 3 years. We went back to the Pandanus Caravan Park and were given the very same cabin we stayed in last time, at twice the price, but it was still a comfortable cabin didn’t look any different to last time. We quickly went to the pool for a nice swim, and then we worked on acquiring a suntan, reading our books in the sun. Drove into town for an hour or so visiting lovely Four Mile Beach and the lookout point, the main street shopping centre and the waterfront of the town where we found Combined Clubs of Port Douglas, building, now I am a member of the Combine Clubs of Marlborough so we just went and signed ourselves in and had a good look around.

Water features and some of the treesin Cairns Main street
We found that it is not affiliated to the Club I belong to but still we were very welcome to enjoy the facilities • so we did. We chose a wonderful table overlooking the harbour and ordered a reasonably priced meal and drinks. Watched the sunset over the ocean while enjoying our meal; very nice.

Next morning we headed for Cooktown, but before we did, we walked all around the big Market where everything you can thing of is sold, we got some homemade banana and ginger cake, more sugar bananas and passionfruit and a pineapple, some homemade fudge, a little blue glass turtle for my small animal collection had a glass of sugar cane juice Yummy, prepared by a little man pedalling a bicycle squashing the cane, real pedal manpower! Ogled all the lovely fresh prawns but we couldn’t buy them at this time, not with an all day journey ahead of us to Cooktown.

Three years ago, we came to Australia to attempt to drive to Cooktown for the anniversary re-enactment of Captain Cook’s landing in Australia, but we were unable to do so, the coastal road was only suitable for 4 wheel-drive vehicles and the inland road was also an unsealed road and was closed due to flooding at the time.

Veiw from Port Douglas Lookout
So we always wished we had been able to visit the isolated area, which has the distinction of being the first European settlement in the country.

Now we were on our way there on good sealed road in our little yellow car.



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The Cairns esplanade and veiwing p…
The Cairns esplanade and veiwing …
The esplanade Cairns
The esplanade Cairns
Captain Cooks Statue in Cairns ne…
Captain Cook's Statue in Cairns n…
Four mile Beach port Douglas.
Four mile Beach port Douglas.
the Sugar cane squashing man with …
the Sugar cane squashing man with…
Shopping at the Port Douglas Marke…
Shopping at the Port Douglas Mark…
Water features and some of the tre…
Water features and some of the tr…
Veiw from Port Douglas Lookout
Veiw from Port Douglas Lookout
Sunset port Douglas.
Sunset port Douglas.
Castaways Backpackers in Cairns
Castaways Backpackers in Cairns
photo by: Katie_Kate