What better way to celebrate Australia Day than taking a roadtrip to explore some of the most beautiful parts of this great country…

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We started out from Innisfail and headed up the Kuranda Range which was an experience in itself… between the mix of roadworks and a close call with a loaded timber truck coming down the range we were glad to see the back end of the range and settle into a straight road again..

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The mighty Palmer River was one of our overnight stops, catching up with a couple of Dad’s mining mates and hearing a few yarns about mining and the good old days… and the excitement of what’s still to come.  The Palmer River would certainly have been a buzz of activity in the gold rush days. There would be so many stories of adventure, hardship and determination of the men and women that chose to take the challenge of following the gold fever.

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Eddie is certainly a character that I enjoyed meeting… he has a small gold mine near the Palmer River and a spirit of optimism that is admirable.  The barefoot, happy go lucky, slightly mysterious bloke has a wealth of information he has gained over the years.  He has a belief and talent in divining for mineral exploration and even though I’m a bit uncertain about the whole ‘power of the sticks’ I have to say I got a bit of a shock when I had a go at it for myself (under Eddie’s guidance) and actually felt something that wasn’t ‘me’ moving the sticks… Regardless… there is a whole lot of hard work involved in this sort of mining and not just a magic wand so if there is anything that can make it easier (or maybe just a bit more intriguing) than I’m all for it….

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That’s my Dad there on the left… the handsome bloke in the blue shirt!

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Eddie’s grandkids, Hayden and Cara were spending some time with their Grandad over the school holidays. I can just imagine the stories they will have to tell their mates back at home. What a great experience for them and they were loving it.

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Leo taking a well earned break….

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The kookaburra is one of the iconic Aussie animals and these ones were getting a bit spoilt by Tess and Jay at their mining camp.

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The mighty Palmer River…

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Another mining operation on the Palmer.. this time meeting up with Jay and his workmate Tess.

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Jay explaining a few of the finer points of his mining plant…

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This is what happens when you get a couple of mining blokes together, wandering over some good ground…

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The lovely Tess… this lady has a pioneering and outback spirit that runs deep in her family roots.  I happened to see an old photo on display at the Palmer River Roadhouse of a proud man and his young daughter, Tess..(I think the photo was from the 1950’s from memory). I was thoroughly surprised and excited to realise that we were meeting with the very same ‘Tess’ at her mining camp.  Tess works as hard as anyone in the mining game and seemed very content to be living in this peaceful and picturesque part of the world.

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It was time to leave the Palmer River… just in time before the rains arrived…

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If there is one place that every Australian school child should visit I would recommend Cooktown be it!  This place is steeped in history, culture and natural beauty.  There are enough activities and attractions to keep occupied for at least a few days visit…  the views are amazing…


The streets are lined with historic old buildings that have a real charm about them…

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Cooktown is a fisherman’s paradise!


I’m not sure there are too many places with beaches as pristine and beautiful as Cooktown… where the rainforest meets the sea… only downfall is the crocodiles that await in the waters…

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Did I mention the views…



We had the van park all to ourselves… one of the advantages of visiting in the ‘out of season’ time….  We had to contend with the humidity and mozzies though… but we were lucky to have rain during the nights and still have sunshine to explore during most of the day.

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The Esplanade… with monuments of Captain James Cook, the weekend markets and even a musical ship!


Off to seek his fortune…. a tribute to the pioneering men and women of the gold rush days!

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The James Cook Museum hosts an incredible record of the history of the region… an insight into the seven weeks that Cook and his crew spent at Cooktown, repairing their ship after running aground on a nearby reef…  the interaction between Cook an the local aboriginals… the influence of the gold rush days… the merging of cultures and traditions… the changing face of Cooktown over the years… the museum is truly an incredible place to visit…

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The Cooktown Cemetery… a walk through the cemetery reinforces the hardships and tragedies of the early days..

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Archer Point… remote and stunningly beautiful coastline…

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Lunch stops don’t get much prettier than this one…

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It was worth a visit to Elim Beach to see the Coloured Sands

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You could be mistaken to think we came across snow capped hills… but this white silica sand extended for miles around the Elim Beach region…

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We got out just in time before the rain settled in…

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Isabella Falls

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Black Mountain National Park

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On the road again…

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The Lions Den Hotel was a little gem of a pub in the middle of nowhere…

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Onward and upward… taking the plunge to drive home through the Bloomfield Track… We had been warned it was 4WD country and could be a bit steep and I think that was an understatement but we were lucky enough to have a sunny day and not in tourist season so we took the challenge. I would NOT recommend this track for towing a caravan unless the conditions were right.  Even on a fine day the track was a bit slippery in places and very very steep.  You need to pick the time for the river crossings and beware of the tide times and cautious of every corner (and there are many….)

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Gorgeous views along the track…

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The Bloomfield River crossing… (under repair…)

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A glimpse of the coast from the rainforest track…

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A few obstacles made for an interesting trip and this one even warranted the chain saw to help clear the roadway. Just lucky my Dad was a timber cutter from yesteryear… thanks Dad!

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Yet another creek crossing to venture…

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Cape Tribulation and the Daintree region offer spectacular rainforest, creeks and beaches to explore…

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The Daintree River Ferry Crossing…

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My wonderful parents…

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If you ever get the chance to venture to the Cooktown region I would have no hesitation in recommending it… I think I may just have to go back again one day too :)

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