From Brisbane to Cairns
September - October 1994
Part II

Magnetic Island

Our friend was already waiting for us in a backpacker hostel in Townsville. He was a young German on a world trip after he had received his diploma in engineering. We met him already in Noosa together with his companion who just received a message from home that he was hired by Lufthansa to become a pilot thus having to interrupt his world trip. The engineer (I forgot his name) was now left alone and he offered us to share his rented car with him later on. After we had been using so many different types of transport we were now traveling by car.

But first we had to take a car ferry to get to Magnetic Island just 8km from Townsville. James Cook named it after his compass ran crazy when he encountered the island. There is actually no proof of magnetism but many inhabitants and tourists have been pulled to this fantastic island.

Click the small picture to get it enlarged

From Townsville to Magnetic Island
Also many Koala Bears like it here because of their national habitat with many eucalyptus trees and protected in a sanctuary as part of a national park.
This is a sanctuary for the Koala Bear Taken as a model for the Teddy Bear
Also the landscape was fantastic with small bays and beautiful secluded beaches of which we tried one by walking down a steep foot path. We were not alone. Some travelers joined us who also stayed in our backpacker hostel. One guy was already a companion of our "engineer" for a short time before we joined him in Townsville. That guy was from Canada and already 80 years old and traveling alone. He used to stay in expensive but boring hotels before, as he told us, but now never again after he experienced backpacker hostels for the first time.
Maggie has more to offer Beautiful beaches all around
It was not easy to reach this secluded beach
A little swimming and lying on the beach in the sun or walking along the beach, that`s enough to be done
Looks like driftwood washed ashore. But a nice background, what to expect more
After Magnetic Island we were on the road to Cairns, the capital of Queensland. And it was hot, more hot as at the time a couple of weeks ago, what Brigitte even wanted to avoid by going to Brisbane first. And the bush fires made the air even more hot while passing them. We wondered that there were no fire fighters around. So it did not seem to be too dangerous. Or?
Bush fire at Ellis Beach Safely Cairns we reach
We found a nice backpacker hostel, even with a small swimming pool, in the middle of Cairns. The proprietor was a nice guy. When we arrived he offered us to join a free barbecue with bread and salad. He introduced us to other backpackers who already stayed there or also just arrived. So we became like a big family. Australia is one of the best backpacker countries.

There was also a tour desk, like in most backpacker hostels. They usually have cheaper deals than travel agencies. So we booked a Great Barrier Reef Cruise for the next day. And it was a good deal: It included lunch and drinks and snorkel gear. The skipper was very funny and a memory genius: You introduced yourself with your first name while boarding his ship and at the time of disembarkment he remembered them all.
Getting on a cruise to the Great Barrier Reef Ready for scuba diving or just snorkeling?
I knew how to scuba dive so I did not join the introduction trial course. Brigitte was not allowed because of her asthma problem. But we did snorkeling a lot and it was fantastic. Also fantastic was a visit of a sand island on the way back.
What a nice island Let's walk to it
A vendor with refreshments is already waiting for us I wonder how he did get on the island before us
What a wonderful island to stay But we can survive only for one day
Walking around gets bored Better get back on our boat
Next day we went to the Cape Tribulation National Park close to the sea. We had rented a 4WD Suzuki for that trip, because our normal rented car was not allowed to be driven on a dirt road which began just right after crossing the Daintree river with a car ferry. Maybe that road has been sealed by now.
Renting a 4WD for the dirt road To head into Cape Tribulation National Park
With mangroves and the beach in front And with high mountains in the back
Walking through the wilderness To get to the wide stretch of a beach
The beach really looks deserted The island in the sea, too
You think just the two of us could live on an island? Or just all the time in the wilderness?
And walking all day along a beach? Or lying all day on an empty beach?
We stayed overnight in a nice backpacker lodge. We had a cottage close to the sea where we more relaxed alone than at the busy swimming pool. But in the evening there was party time with barbecue and a show performed by a backpacker guest.
Or rather live in a backpacker accommodation and meeting a lot of people at the pool
Next day we went on a cruise on the Daintree River. There were supposed to be many crocodiles. I was afraid that one beast would jump onto our Daintree Rainforest River Train. But what a pity: No one we saw but a lot of trees.
Going on a river cruise can get dangerous
But only rainforest trees, trees and trees have been seen
To see a real croc we had to visit the Rainforest Habitat in Port Douglas. If you haven't seen any of the species endemic to Australia yet then you can find them here. And you can get very close and almost pet them, like the cangaroos but not the crocs, of course. Also beware of the parrots settling down on your head and shoulders.
Some animals like to eat people But some animals are used to people
You know this animal is living in Down-Under Also the Flying Fox is hanging Upside-Down
There were also many kinds of birds Especially some naughty beautiful parrots
The surrounding countryside is very beautiful, too
Also Port Douglas is worth a visit. Look up some photos of my Australia trip in 2007. But there was still another interesting spot worth a visit: The Mossman Gorge as part of the Daintree River National Park. There you will be set back in time before mankind interfered with nature. But killing was always part of nature, not only in the fauna but also in the flora, if you see how the Banyan tree strangles and kills another tree.
Unspoiled rainforest with many ferns
Killing a tree by a banyan tree
Before leaving Cairns we were driving up to and through the Atherton Tablelands. It's a must, because the landscape with its mountains, lakes and waterfalls is fantastic.
From the seaside up to the Tableland
With crater lakes and waterfalls
Swimming in the waterfall pool But I wouldn't stand under this one
The landscape is impressive
Good bye pelicans Good bye tablelands
Ok, that was Australia , though only a very small part of it. I could have seen and done a lot more. Also I could have written more. If you want to know more all about the places I have visited, then just look up any of the many guidebooks or in the internet.

© WEW Tours

Created March 2015