No Australian road trip would be complete without the legendary East Coast road trip. I have decided to split this into different parts, as if not your brain might explode.
I also want to give you guys the best information I got from my trip, and try to inspire some of you to go!
The East Coast: Part One.
Where to begin? Maybe right from the top, almost.
My East coast road trip began in Cape Tribulation.
The East coast is best done in a car or campervan, this gives you the most flexibility and the freedom to explore. Although you can easily hop on and off the Greyhound buses for a good price.
I loved living in our car, my boyfriend and I, we bought a Ford Falcon station wagon, and slept on a mattress in the back.
We had a camping stove, and chairs, cooked all our own meals, and camped wherever we could for free using the Camper Mate App.
The furthest most people go on the east coast of Australia is Cape Tribulation. Cape Trib is located in the heart of the beautiful Daintree Rainforest, it is a tiny little area surrounded by nature.
From the mainland you have to get a ferry across where you pay a small toll to Cape Trib. Although very much off the beaten path it is easy to get to and explore.
There isn’t a great deal there but that’s the charm of it. You are surrounded by the magnificent rainforest, the windy roads twisting and turning, with signs warning of cassowary and crocodiles. Then you reach the beaches.
We stopped at one of the main beaches, Cape Tribulation beach, surrounding by mysterious mangroves and vast sand and ocean, it truly is spectacular.
It was here that I found a fascination with mangroves, there is just something about them. I already have a huge love for nature and trees, so it proably wasn’t surprising I loved them, and of course proceeded to take a million photos.
The whole experience of Cape Tribulation is captivating, you feel totally absorbed by your surroundings. You are only two and a half hours from Cairns, yet you feel isolated, engulfed by the rainforest. You could spend a day here or a week here. I personally fell in love with Cape Tribulation, it encompasses Australia’s beauty and makes you feel like you’re really travelling.
Further down from there is Port Douglas. Port Douglas reminded me of a place I went to every weekend as a child. It is a small town two hours from Cape Tribulation.
We spent a lazy afternoon wandering aimlessly through the town, there is shops and restaurants as well as a picturesque beach.
All in all it is well worth a visit, if only for an afternoon.
Whilst you are heading down the east coast and you’re in the area one place you must fit in is Mossman Gorge. Located in the southern area of the Daintree rainforest the gorge contains various walking tracks for all levels.
We enjoyed walking through the gorge, on the boardwalks you are submerged in nature, experiencing views of the mountains as well as the famous Mossman River.
Although warning, we were eaten alive by mozzies, so bathe in repellent!
On the way own to Cairns there are little pit stops you can make to admire the scenery.
Next stop Cairns. Where do I begin?
Every backpacker going to Australia will have heard of Cairns. Every traveller will most probably make it there at some point in their trip.
Cairns is most well known for the Great Barrier Reef. It is here you come to experience scuba diving and snorkelling the iconic reef.
We were gutted however as it rained for basically our whole stay here, so we did not get to scuba the reef up north.
Cairns is a typical tourist town, the esplanade is at the heart, streets lined with shops, hostels, bars and restaurants. It’s basically a backpackers paradise.
There is a pretty lagoon if you fancy a swim or a sunbathe, as you can’t go in the ocean up here.
Personally, Cairns wasn’t for me. It was too touristy, too overcrowded. All the people we met seemed to do is go out and get drunk, and that’s fine, I am guilty of doing the same, a lot of the time. But I think it was after being up in the breathtaking scenery of the north that clouded my view of Cairns.
Yes, it’s a great holiday destination, weather permitted I think scuba diving would have made it better. But, there wasn’t much to it. I would say go, but only for 4 days at the most. If you’re looking for an amazing time, you may be disapointed.
The weather here is however unreal. It is mostly always hot and humid up in Cairns, which is why travellers and holiday makers alike choose it as a destination.
The final section of part one had to be mentioned. I had to end the post on a high, as well as with a standard travellers tale, of adventure and mishaps.
By now we’d only owned our car a week, if that. After leaving Cairns we headed south to Mission beach.
This is where we had booked our sky dive!
Yerp, of course I did a sky dive! Would I be a backpacker travelling Australia if I hadn’t?!
So we left Cairns elated, too excited for the sky dive the next day. The drive itself only takes around 2 hours, it’s a nice drive, an easy one.
As we pulled into Mission beach, taking in the small town feel we heard a noise. A very loud noise. A noise that indicated our cars muffler had fallen off at that exact moment.
Wahey. We’d had the car less than a week and the muffler fell off. At the time we were slightly stressed but my boyfriend being the one always full of ideas, the practical one, came to the rescue. He managed to cable tie the muffler back on, for now.
This helped us move the car to a safe place for the night, without waking the entire area with the sound of the car.
Mission beach is a very tiny little town on the coast, it is a pretty and serene town. Most well known for people jumping out of a plane on to it’s famous beach. It is the only sky dive where you jump directly onto the beach in Australia.
We only spent one night here, as we had to be at our sky dive at 7AM the next day. But I soon fell in love with Mission beach, it is very quaint and relaxed. We spent our evening googling mechanics for the next day, making some food on our stove and enjoying a beer in the local pub.
Now, the sky dive. What can I say? It was phenomenal. Unreal. Aweinspiring. Formidable. Everything I wanted in an experience.
I would highly recommend it, the Sky Dive Mission Beach company were great, the instructors were professional and made you feel at ease. If you get the chance, do it!
Now that brings me to the end the East Coast part one. I have taken you from Cape Tribulation down to Mission beach. Look out for the next installment when you will learn all the must go places to travel on Australia’s east coast!
‘Til next time.