Far North Queensland

After a whirlwind trip along the Gulf of Carpentaria we made it to Cairns. Chocco got back from his tour guide duties with Bunga, I got myself a job, Bluey was recovering well from his rally driving injuries so it was the CREB track for us. This track was the old maintenance track for the Cairns electrical board, it runs from the Daintree Village to Wujul Wujul (So nice you say it twice, according to them). Now it’s just a 4×4 track for legends (us). The track was closed…ever-persistent Chocco asked way to many questions and got us access as long as we stayed at Yindali Aboriginal Camp so this was our destination for the night.

The CREB track was a beautiful drive through the Daintree rainforest. At a steady 15kms per hour we got to Yindali Camp 3 hours later, met CJ the camp host and set up in damp, cool, green surroundings. Chocco thought these to be perfect fire lighting conditions, they weren’t and after 30 minutes of trying (patience is definitely a virtue of his) we cooked our dinner on the gas stove I’d prepared earlier, because patience isn’t a virtue of mine. We spent the next morning with CJ in his amazing house while he cooked us THE BEST damper we’ve ever eaten, told us stories and topped it all off with a traditional smoking ceremony. Here’s hoping he thought my tears were of joy and not the smoke burning my eyeballs from the inside out…at least that’s what it felt like.

Time to head back to Cairns along the Bloomfield track which took us through Cape Tribulation, Cow Bay and onto the Daintree River Ferry into Mossman. This was completed minus all but one fan blade that we somehow managed to snap, so it was a slow plod home with the occasional pouring of water over the engine, and no it wasn’t my rally driving this time.

A day off work meant Chocco and I were headed for Green Island for the day, lucky we picked the only day it’s ever been cold and pouring with rain in Cairns *rolls eyes. Green Island is a Cay off the coast of Cairns with a naturally occurring rainforest, there is a beautiful walk that takes about 1 minute to reach the other side of the island so we did that. It was too windy to hire the windsurfing gear (the irony was not lost on us). Chocco, not one to back out of a challenge, unsuccessfully tried to hire gear worth thousands of dollars off professional windsurfers…I nearly died of embarrassment. Safe to say we were having a bit of crap time. Head home on the early ferry? Nah not us…we tripped and fell onto a massage table each for an hour. Not so bad after all.

Next up on the tourist hit list was of course a natural wonder of the world…the Great Barrier Reef. So courtesy of Uncle Paul and Prodive we were off on a live- aboard boat for the weekend to explore the outer reef. You can just call us Advanced Open Water Diver Choong and Chocco from here on in, thanks. What a weekend, an absolute must do. We met some awesome people, saw some amazing coral, a barracuda, turtles, giant clams, sharks, stingrays, the list goes on. Unfortunately we found out that one of us isn’t a good dive buddy, I “apparently” ditched Chocco in a night dive because…NIGHT DIVE!!! I’m not being the sequel to the original couple that got lost on the reef but some might say maybe Chocco wasn’t following me properly. Jury’s still out I say.

Our next road trip was trip to explore the south of Cairns. Nice beaches are few and far between in the top end so we decided to head for Mission Beach. We took off in the afternoon to check out Babinda Boulders on the way and camp there for the night. Of course in the wettest town in Australia it was pouring with rain so a $10 pub meal (or keen for countery Choong? as Chocco would say) at Babinda State Hotel was coming our way. A few concerning factors were the chef holding her can of XXXX and no one being able to explain what the teriyaki chicken on the menu was. We aren’t the type to give up so we ordered anyway and were blessed with oven baked Birdseye salmon and frozen mixed vege for Chocco, and honey soy chicken wings on rice for me. We had a few rum’s to kill any bacteria and had an impromptu dinner date with our mates Crikey and Nettie from Cairns…Choong and Chocco 1, weird country town 0.

We had a swim at the boulders in the morning, a beautiful freshwater (croc free) river that was as cold as Antarctica but a refreshing start to our drive down to Mission Beach.

HALLELUJAH white-ish sandy beach, we haven’t seen one of those in a while! Throw in a few palm trees for good measure and I was one happy lady. Of course our road trips are not complete without me eating my way through a town so Chocco delivered the goods with lunch at a café selling homemade pies. One pie and one white chocolate and raspberry slice later…oh and a takeaway chocolate tart we were off to our campsite at Russell River just north of Mission Beach.

What does $6 get you when you’re camping in QLD you ask? A secluded beachfront camp with dolphins at outdoor step, in the rainforest that’s what! We set up for the evening, cooked Chocco’s fresh caught fish and made our camp look like a church with one thousand citronella tea lights…so $6 also gets you a few mozzies at night whoops!

It was then time for Chocco to head back to work and for me to get stuck into work in Cairns, definitely not the worst place to work and made even better that I get to stay with my family while I’m here. Uncle Paul and I did the 1.5km and 3km ocean swim at Green Island and I road tripped up to Port Douglas for the Sunday Markets. Just a few more weeks and we’re off to explore Cape York.

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