Considering the restricted space in Anastasia we slept well and didn’t wake up until about 8am. Simon has a streaming cold and we decide that we probably won’t go too far today. There are some beautiful beaches along this coast so the plan is to drive along and stop when we get to somewhere pretty.
It’s so hot already which is great. We have had lots of fun camping in Cornwall with our friends Alli and Adrian around this time of year for mine and Maisie’s birthday, but we usually freeze at night despite large amounts of gin, wine and beer. It’s so good to be walking around in shorts and t shirt late at night and I would love them to be here also.
Simon and Ali walk to the shop and get some bacon. Anastasia is well equipped with a fridge, grill and gas rings so we decide bacon sandwiches are in order. After breakfast we take the tent down, pack up our stuff and set off. Just up the road (The Captain Cook Highway) we stop at Four Mile Beach for a walk. Oh wow so beautiful, the beach stretches out in front of us and although not deserted the huge expanse of space makes it seem almost that way. We wander along and stand and watch a group of people having life guard instruction and watch children swimming within the confines of the stinger nets.
Back in the combi, we motor on for another hour or so. We stop off on the way at a few lookout spots. This part of Australia is really interesting and one of the only places in the world where the tropical rain forest meets the ocean. We drive through the rainforest and past miles of sugar plantations and mangroves. We see signs for Cassowary birds and to our amazement one suddenly steps out in front of us and ambles across the road. It’s massive, nearly as tall as Maisie and I can hardly believe my eyes. We have read that there are only 1200 left and they are endangered so we were really lucky. Increasingly we start to see more and more swamps and when I read that a few more miles up the road and it is unsealed (Not tarmaced) I realised how close to the wilderness we are.
We cross the river at Daintree on a car ferry and carry on towards our destination Cape Tribulation. It is supposed to be one of Australia’s premier attractions due to its remote location and diverse flora and fauna. When we arrive I’m a bit surprised to see exactly how small it is, just a couple of shops and around 4 campsites to choose from. We try a couple before settling on Cape Tribulation Camping Ground. It costs 40 dollars for the night which is slightly less than 20 quid, not too bad for a powered site with hot water showers, kitchen, BBQ’s etc. Also only 30 metres from the beach and fairly close to a shop.
We take a path through the trees towards the beach and follow the signs to the shop. We pass a swampy looking creek and as Simon wanders towards the water to take a photo I call him back telling him he may get eaten by a crocodile. I was joking and it comes as a complete shock when we stop and chat to some people riding horses, they point to a huge crocodile lying on the other side of the creek in the sun! Oh my god! What a shock I don’t think I actually comprehended for one minute that we might see real crocodiles in the wild here and I feel really awed by it and a bit creeped out.
We get some supplies from the shop and head back to the campsite. In the evening we cook steaks and sausages for dinner before making our way back to the VW for the evening. We sit having a few drinks, telling jokes and stories. The kids love it here and when it pours with rain strip off and have a water fight with water balloons. We see a possum wander past and I realise that despite having seen all sorts in Asia, Australia is really different and is definitely rocking our world. From what I have seen so far here I can sum up Australia best by saying it makes you feel good. The combination of the good weather, clean air, friendly people and varied landscape is intoxicating. Really feel like I’m getting the bug for it now and can’t wait to see a bit more.