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Tuesday 12 Aug 2003
Daintree National Park, Australia

Arrived in Port Douglas

Headed off this morning northwards and took a quick trip to Karandu on the northern section of the Atherton Tablelands. I met a couple last night parking in the Esplanade in Cairns so we headed out for a drink. In the course of the night they told me about this beautiful little town, Karandu, in the mountains with some fantastic look-out points.. they also filled me in on good places to park for free in Port Douglas and around Daintree National Park!

Indeed they werent far wrong with Karandu. Its a cute friendly place with a huge dramatic waterfall drop valley (the "Barron Falls") and, yep, some really great look out spots. I literally had the place to myself while looking down at Cairns from a vantage point.

It would have been a nice place to stay the night, but I wanted to push northward.

Back on the road north of Cairns I passed by the "northern beaches" above Cairns. Whereas Cairns itself has no beach to speak of, but rather a large ugly mudflat (thankfully forgiven on account of the splendid lagoon nearby!), the beaches north of Cairns are tropical paradise locations in their own right. The tropical forest comes right down to the shore, meeting the glistening white sand and aqua-marine waters. A lovely (albeit HOT) drive!

I arrived in Port Douglas around 2 pm - just south of my intended destination: Daintree National Park. This port town is very classy; its got a great laid-back vibe. Id certainly recommend staying here over Cairns, since there is an abundant array of restaurants and shops here - but without the crowds.

On the advice of Les (from last night) Im parking at the Marina tonight which is a lovely spot with plenty of shops in its own right. Apparently the rangers in Port Douglas are very vigilant to watch for backpackers camping in unofficial spots, so the Marina is ideal since plenty of people leave their cars/vans here while they sail away on their multi-million dollar yachts. There are toilets and showers here too... nice!

Tommorrow Im up early and off to explore the (reportedly) beautiful Daintree National Park. Ive been hearing about this place since I left Sydney so should be amazing. Camera is ready and waiting!

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