Cooktown is a sweet little town. We explored the sights the morning after we camped there, checking out the Grassy Hill lookout and the Captain Cook statue.
We stopped off at Bloomfield Falls, the first of the waterfalls we explored in the region. They are magnificent! Out of the waterfalls we visited it had the most impressive flow of water.
We followed the coastal road stopping in at iconic sites along the way. It is a very windy road but in pretty good condition. There unfortunately is very little opportunity to pass slow vehicles, though, so you will need a good dose of patience if you choose to come this way, but the views make it worth it.
We were keen to drive the Creb Track but didn’t get the chance. Due to conditions the track is still closed.
Cape Tribulation was one of our scenic stops. It’s a very pretty beach but you can’t swim here as like any beaches in northern Queensland there may be crocodiles. There were also warning signs and vinegar stations for stingers in the warmer months.
We camped the night in Cairns at at caravan park, and spent the next day exploring the local sights, only progressing to Mena Creek the next night.
We drove the waterfall road through the Atherton Tablelands. The whole area is simply breathtaking – lush green rolling hills dotted with cows as far as the eye can see! The landscape is comparable to the Timboon area in Victoria. There is so much to see and do in the area that we decided to put it in the to-do list as a trip in itself.
The first waterfall we stopped at was the Millaa Millaa Falls. If you’re looking for a lovely swimming hole with a beautiful waterfall then this is your Place! It was a very popular spot with tourists as a swimming hole despite it being the middle of winter.
The next waterfall we made it to was the Zillie Falls. There is a fenced look-out at the top, but make sure you keep walking along the dirt track to the bottom. It was very muddy – incredibly slippery – but still worth the walk to the bottom. There is no swimming hole here but the photo opportunities are beautiful! There is a spot on the walk down where I snapped a photo that is so picturesque! Photos at the bottom of the falls will require rock scrambling but are worth it.
We also stopped at Ellinjaa Falls but it was harder to capture a photo that I felt was worth posting.
We camped the night at the Mena Creek Hotel. It’s a great spot with free camping if you purchase a meal at the pub. Food is very reasonably priced, tasty, and service was friendly. With toilets and hot showers in the bargain it really is a worthy overnighter stop! The grassy area out the back is flat and suitable for tnts, camper vans, caravans, etc. It did get a little muddy underfoot with the light rain we had while we stayed but that is to be expected.
This morning we explored the iconic Paronella Park. The $44/adult entry fee was a little more than we’d expected but worth the privilege of access to the grounds. We went on the tour and enjoyed hearing about the history of the park. The current owners have done a great job turning the ruins into a safe and interesting tourist destination. There is something for everyone – history both on the tour and on show in the museum, wildlife with fish, turtles and eels looking for a feed (food supplied), gorgeous rainforest gardens and the ruins to explore, and a cafe to relax in afterwards. The Black Sapote brownie is worth trying – its made from a locally grown fruit known as the “Chocolate Pudding Fruit” and while different to a regular brownie was still very enjoyable and enough to satisfy any chocolate craving!
Our final sight-seeing stop for today was the Wallaman Falls. They are huge, towering at 268m! They really are a sight to behold. You can’t get too close here – there is a well-fenced look-out providing a decent view of the falls, and another 300m along providing a view of the gorge. There is a walking track that went for a few kilometres that I wish we’d had the time to do today.
We’re camping the night at the Aston Hotel in Long Pocket, 23km outside of Ingham. Its roughly a 30 minute drive from the Wallaman Falls, too. Cathy, the owner of the pub, offers free camping behind the pub with showers by donation or free if you make a purchase at the pub. She’s up for a chat with those of us travelling through so make sure you stop in the pub to say hi!
Tomorrow is the first day of long kilometres of driving heading home. We’re hoping to average roughly 500km each day. I’m sad that the trip is coming to an end, although we’re keen to see the dog seeing as we had to leave him at home this trip!