Sydney To Cairns By Camper – days 16-18

day 16

After all the hoofing about our time at Airlie Beach was ear-marked for a bit of proper chillin’. And this was the place to do it. With beautiful views,

it's good to be the king

a swimming lagoon (because, as we found out, it was stinger season and you couldn’t go in the sea for fear of a possibly fatal jellyfish encounter),

Airlie Beach Lagoon

and nothing to do but hang out and eat good food (from somewhere that had an awful lot of meat on it’s menu for somewhere calling itself Buddha Burger)

Happy Buddha

things were looking good. Mostly…

Our first night (previous we got to just hang out, but today we had shopping and internetty stuff to do. Thankfully everything is a short walk in Airlie Beach, so we got most of it out the way easily enough. I even managed to get a haircut.

What time that wasn’t spent in ‘life maintenance’ was spent at the lagoon. We had a good swim (I find I’m really getting into swimming these days, and I blame yoga! The added upper body strength actually makes swimming fun again) and worked on out tans, then we hand just enough time to grab some food before enjoying the sunset by the beach.

whitsunday evening skies

capturing the sunset

sunset at airlie beach

day 17

Today all we’d planned for was for a long drive, but we were pleasantly surprised along the way, first by a nice view of more of the Whitsunday Islands,

gloucester island

whitsunday, beach rest stop

where I finally got my headstand shot. Then we came across a Big Mango,

mango mango

where we got some delicious mango sorbet! Just what was needed on such a hot day.

The scenery is lovely along that way,

the great dividing range

even if the road is, to quote an old guy I got chatting to in the supermarket car park a few days earlier, “…a goat track from here to Cairns.”

We kept ourselves amused along the way, me by avoiding pot-holes, Lena by playing Sudoku on my phone, lol.

someone's been playing sudoku

By the time we go to Mission Beach, our final night’s stop in the camper, it was getting dark. Just enough time for one final beach sunset,

mission beach sunset

island moon

before it was off to bed.

day 18

Our final day on the road. A quick check on our distance traveled showed we were tantalisingly close to 4000km! But we still had a way to go. Now I like a challenge, so even though we had to have to camper back by 4pm, we started planning side trips on our way up to Cairns. But first, yoga!

Yoga at Scottie's

BTW: If you’re in Mission Beach check out Scotties, it’s quite nice (as you can see).

how can we go wrong?

Our first stop was to be Josephine Falls. It was going to be tough squeezing it all in, but we thought we could do it. But when we got there we found this,

josephine falls, top pool

and this,

josephine falls

and best of all this,

water slide

and that was it, we were going nowhere. Swimming cossies on, and five minutes later we were diving in pretty chilly water, scrambling up big rocks, and sliding on our behinds down a natural water slide. It was, quite simply, brilliant. 🙂

Of course, it meant we wouldn’t make 4000km, but it was worth it for these smiles.

been swimmin'

We enjoyed some nice landscape on the last run into Cairns.

clouds, cane

north queensland

nearing cairns

As a friend of mine said, it’s like being in Jurassic Park, lol.

We made it to Cairns just after 3pm, dumped our stuff off, then we returned the camper at 4pm (to the second, almost). It was a little sad saying goodbye to our home for the past eighteen days, but it had to be done.

We came close to cracking 4000km (I was well up for driving round in circles just to see the numbers turn but we simply didn’t have the time). We did….. Y’know what, s we walked into town we realised that we’d forgotten to check the total mileage on the clock before we handed over the keys! Can you believe that? How dumb can you be? We were gutted!!!

But! not to be defeated, we started thinking round the problem. We were too far gone to walk back, so I called the company who patched me through to the depot where a very helpful man took my details and said he’d call me back, an action that yielded absolutely zero result.

It was only later I realised I had the solution all along. I had the two log sheets for the pick up and return. They each had a total mileage on them. One, minus the other, would give us our total. 😀

So, Sydney to Cairns (via the Blue Mountains, Jenolan Caves, Grey Gum Cafe, Port Macquarie, Byron Bay, Nimbin, Coolangatta, Surfers Paradise, the Glass House Mountains, Australia Zoo, Hervey Bay, Airlie Beach, the Whitsunday Islands, Mission Beach, Josephine Falls) = 3856km. Total spent on petrol = $551:50 (more or less). Fun had = priceless.

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