How do you travel from Sydney to Cairns, then Cape York and back to Cairns in 10 days, in reverse, without a 4WD of your own?
First arrive at Sydney airport early, for a full day of adventure. Jump, on a plane in Sydney fly to Cairns, and about 4 and half hours later you’ll arrive at a tropical paradise. We are picked up in a limo, and within 15 minutes were at the Novatel Oasis Resort. Wow pools, swim up bars, restaurants, and a short walk to the main town. Cairns has grown up since we were here about a couple of decades ago. St Monica’s Cathedral, Cairns Museum, and Botanic Tropical Garden to explore.
Day two, back to the Cairns Airport to fly to Horn Island in the Torres Strait. Many people from Horn Island are on our flight. We, travelled by boat to Thursday Island by the old Pearl Lugger. Arrive, tour around the magical Thursday Island, its beauty is majestic. Off to Green Hill Fort Look out, the beauty embraces you as you rise to the top of the hill. Next the underground Japanese Pearl Divers Memorial, located at the Thursday Island Cemetery. So many treasures to see.
Thursday island lunch? Well if you can afford it, a sandwich $20, five pieces of chicken $55. The freight to arrive here, on the island, would be enormous. We settled for a protein bar, drink, and walk around the town.
After we hopped on a cruise boat to Seisia Wharf, the beauty is specular. Crisp, aqua blue ocean, feel the sea air, warm sun on our faces. Torres Strait you have put on an unbelievable show for us. We arrive at Seisia Wharf and see our tour bus. Our tour guide is not there at first. He was helping unload the boat, as staff is short in Torres Strait.
Off to Seisia Holiday Park Villas. The weather is very hot, lucky we have air conditioning.
After a cool drink, we walk around the tourist park. Red soil everywhere. The aqua clear blue sea, palms, and sand. What more could you ask for? A local dip in the water? We are advised crocodiles are here, ready to greet you, especially at night. No strolls along the water edge at sunset, due to crocs waiting for you. Instead, we are greeted at the restaurant for a hearty welcome drink, and a banquet to follow. After dinner a sleep is needed, as we had an early start.
Let’s go to the Top, or as the locals call it the Tip of Australia. A short drive in our tour bus around the local streets, then it’s off to the Tip we go. We arrive and notice the peaceful nature that surrounds us. Its early, and the tide comes in super-fast here. We walk cross the mud flats and climb the mountain. It has a track, so easy to climb, and make our way to the Tip. The excitement we have travelled to parts of Australia many have never been. A few crocs are in the deep blue ocean. The breeze is strong, the magic of the Tip is special. A kiss, and photo and plenty of time to see our great land, the Tip of Australia the highlight for all.
It’s time to go, we make our way over the mountain as the tide is already rising fast, and back to our tour bus for morning tea.
Now it’s off to Somerset, home to the Jardine family, then a picnic lunch at Anchorage Beach overlooking Albany Passage. Back to Seisia Park for a rest and hearty banquet, and sleep. Morning, full breakfast, and early start to Bramwell Station.
Today we are off to Fruit Bat Falls. A great natural place to see, waterfalls you can swim in, relax, and enjoy without the crocodiles. Natural beauty, the smell of the bush, the sound of the scarters, the sound of the falls. Feel the power of the water on your back, like a soothing cascade. Natures natural spa bath. Feel refreshed, and at peace as you greet the day. A welcome picnic awaits us, after a relaxing day.
On our way again by bus, cross the Jardine River, many before us waiting their turn for the car ferry, tour buses have priority, so we are next to travel to river.
We travel the Old Telegraph Track to Bramwell Station, a true-blue cattle station. Huts for us to stay in. A walk around the station, wildlife, birdlife, and a small museum to enjoy. A concert and comedy show at night for all to have a laugh. A drink or two at the bar, and a barbie Bramwell style, under the covered outdoor dining. Plenty to eat and drink and visit Australian history at Bramwell Station. Ozzie icons that make our country proud. A visit you will never forget, another memory, and story to tell back home to all friends and family. An Ozzie breakfast, then off to Weipa.
We travel along the Wenlock River to Weipa. A small town with homes, shops and built on the mining industry. Rio Tinto has a beautiful waterfront for the managers and huts for the men and woman to stay.
Scenery, beautiful wildlife, a harbour on Embley River with many crocodiles, history, and culture. Visit a Wildlife Eco Cruise and the Rio Tinto Working Mine Tour.
Finish the day off with a drink, and sunset dinner at Albatross Resort, magical as the sun hits the water and colours you never normally see.
A long tour bus drive today, lucky we can rest and enjoy. Today it’s off to historic gold town Coen, we travel along the beautiful landscape and Magnificat Archer River. A small town with lots of character. A life from long ago.
Now it’s off the Musgrave another magic moment as we travel our great land. We arrive, the sight is unbelievable, all the cattle are waiting to welcome us, outside the post and rail fence, in front of the Musgrave Roadhouse. The red soil, cowboys, cattle, and specular farmhouse. Land afar, and rooms for us waiting as we look forward to a rest.
Our room was built for a Prime Minister, the size was unbelievable compared to the city. Its country living, hospitably and fun. A crocodile show is next, followed by a clever bird performance.
Now is time for afternoon siesta. Happy hour before a hearty banquet. A huge room and bed to return to, complete with views of cattle and land wide and far. Termite nests in the distance, they’re like tall buildings, sculptured by nature, a very special sight.
A peaceful sleep, and a full breakfast, now off to Cooktown.
Discover famous Cooktown, where Captain Cook landed long ago.
Visit the famous museum, so may amazing treasures to see. A walk in the town, many arts, and crafts to buy, Captain Cook monument. Black Mountain (Kalkajaka meaning place of spear) in the distance.
Now we settle in the Sovereign Resort Hotel. A swim in the resort style pool. A drink at the bar overlooking the mountain. Sunset dining in the balmy breeze, overlooking the town and Black Mountain a magical sight for all. Another swim, and restful sleep in our resort room. We watch on the balcony the sunrise with fresh brewed coffee, overlooking the pool. A buffet breakfast with fresh tropical fruits awaits us.
Now it’s down the Bloomfield Track.
A trip to the famous Lions Den Hotel. Queensland’s oldest pub is built in 1878. A drink, souvenir, and many quirky sites the pub has to offer. A friendly smile, a warm welcome, a photographer’s moment for all to see.
Now it’s off down the famous Bloomfield track, a bumpy ride. It takes us to the World Heritage listed Daintree Rainforest, and Cape Tribulation. Daintree beauty and magic, natures famous site.
We travel along the scenic Captain Cook Highway, its beauty is unsurpassed.
Back in Cairns to the Novatel Resort, just in time for happy hour by the beach, happy hour by the pool, and make our way to a a tropical meal by the moonlit sky. Sparkly lights in the tropical garden overlooking the pool.
Cairns our last day. A short walk to the cruise boat. A cruise to Green Island, snorkelling in the deep blue ocean, followed by a seafood buffet. A small animal sanctuary to see. Back at the resort in time for happy hour by the pool. Pack our bags and be ready for our early pick up to Cairns airport. Fly to Sydney and home by late afternoon. Amazing we can travel this distance in Australia by plane, by boat and bus.
By Liz Shaw