Lewis' Exploring Oz

On and off the beaten track…………………….

Mission Beach, Cairns and Mt Carbine – July 11

Posted by lewisfamilyexploringoz on September 2, 2011

Cassowary Crossing sign

Bingli Bay

Elk-horn ferns in the trees

Hi Everyone,

We left Rowes Bay CP, jumped on the Bruce Highway heading north out-of-town. We have done this road late last year but in an XR6 and definitely not towing the van. We are starting to see some of the damage from cyclone Yasi, from earlier this year. Claire had shown us photos of the damage done in Townsville but we were un-prepared for what we saw at Cardwell. We stopped at the same servo for lunch and were just amazed at how much of the thick mangroves had been destroyed along the beach front. It was quite sad to see and some of the houses are still without sections of roofing, using tarps to keep out the rain and weather! It was

Clump Point Jetty

Some of the damage from cyclone Yasi

inspiring to see most of the businesses up and running again.  Back on the road again, we saw the banana plantations seem to have recovered with bunches of fruit encased in foil and bags to protect and ripen the fruit. Woo hoo hopefully this means the price of bananas will drop as produce availability increases. Trivia fact: did you know that bananas are actually classified as a herb and a fruit? The fruit is because it has the seeds of the plant in the fruit and a herb because it’s stem doesn’t contain true woody tissue, therefore it is herbaceous = herb.
Took the T/O to Mission Beach and are staying at the Big 4 in South MB, which is called the Beachcomber Coconut Caravan Village. It is owned by the same mob who own the Cairns Coconut Village Holiday Park. The park is right on the beachfront  with magnificent views of Dunk Is. The staff were really friendly and helpful and we setup on a nice grassed site. I flicked through a photo

Skate park = energy burner

Skate park on the beach

album at the front desk that has pics of the place before and after cyclones Larry and Yasi. The place has made an amazing recovery in such a short space of time -full credit to the managers and staff as they say it was pretty hairy at the time! There are heaps of yellow Cassowary Crossing signs along the roadways too. We’ve seen one at the Malcolm Douglas Wildlife Park in Broome and in the Steve Irwin Australian Zoo as well but never seen one in the bush.
We took a drive thru MB and up along the coast to Bingli Bay. It’s such a beautiful area but loads of coastal damage still. I imagine it would’ve been magnificent before the cyclone damage. We stopped in to chat to a bloke at the tourist centre who informed us that Dunk Is was closed to the public now as the jetty and other infrastructure was flattened from Yasi! They are re-building and hoping to re-open to the public in April 2012! I’m starting to see more elk-horn ferns just growing in the trees. Magnificent and definitely tropical:)
We stopped at the skate park for the kids to burn off some energy then back to camp for dinner and a movie, HP

Happy little fisherman

Nice angle on those palms

Camp site used to be much thicker with rainforest

#4; we’re warming up for HP7, pt2. Next day was a lazy morning of swimming, reading and relaxing by the pool, which was cool and refreshing but couldn’t stay in it for long, just lots of dips. Kids did some schoolwork and then off to the beach for a late fish on the beach in front of the park. No fish but they had a ball and Wade reckons the water was warmer in the sea than it was in the pool!  We took some photos of the beach which shows how much sand was moved. It’s amazing to see some of the palms still growing, some on a 90 degree angle!!
Left MB and heading towards Cairns. We’re undecided about a CP as the Big4 at Crystal Cascades is closer to where my cousin lives but not much for the kids to do, whereas the Cairns Coconut Holiday Resort has rave reviews but is a lot more expensive and not as close to Tanya’s. We decided to give CHP a go for a few nights and see how it goes-WOW- AWESOME!!! I can understand how/why they have won awards for the best CP for the last 5yrs.  The staff took us around in a “nemo” themed golf cart to show us some prospective sites. We thought we’d be okay with a site as it’s no longer Qld school holidays but it’s still school holidays in NSW and Vic. The place was packed! We opted for an un-powered site

Dan, Wade, Tanya and Zephyr

Tanya and Me at Trinity Beach

Trinity Beach

and moved the next day to a powered bus site, which was much longer and bigger than a normal site. The place is amazing, the grounds/gardens are immaculate and green, green grass. There are 2 pools, a playground for the kids, 2x jumping pillows and a water park/playground that was unbelievable. They have outdoor movies screening every 2nd night, mostly G and PG which was great. There is mini-golf, life-sized chess, table tennis all included in the price! The kids thought they’d died and gone to heaven!:) No sooner had we pulled up than we lost

Awesome giant game of chess

One of 2 pools at CP

the kids for a few hours in the pool and playing chess!
Joel and I totally unpacked the Canopy of the car, put the 2 spares on the roof and started to re-arrange things in prep for our trip to Cape York. We have heaps of room on this grassed site, so we checked out the tent, the new tarp for shade and rain and made sure we had enough poles for it all! Did a few loads of washing, kids did more schoolwork and then didn’t see them till dinner time! Love, love, love this park! I can see why it’s so popular with families!
We visited my cousin Tanya for a yummy chicken Kiev and veggies then a few drinks and lots of laughs. Unfortunately I left my red jumper on the patio while we ate tea and Zephyr (the dog) decided he’d like to make it his new chew toy. Poor Tan was horrified but it’s only a jumper I kept telling her! I needed a new excuse to go shopping for a new one!
Spent the best part of the next day doing paperwork and schoolwork with the kids. We are looking

Lipstick Palms = gorgeous

Waterpark in the caravan park! Very cool!

after a couple of investment properties ourselves whilst on the road – helped tremendously by the fact that we have brilliant tenants who make our job so much easier; well one does anyway! Managed to get another jumper which is very toasty and warm. I’m hoping the weather improves and we get to some warm stuff soon so I won’t need the jumper! Joel made a delicious chilli con carne and Tan joined us for tea and laughs. Next day was rainy but a perfect excuse to see HP 7 Pt#2. It was a fantastic movie, but a bit sad that the series is finished though. It has been wonderful to share these movies with the kids. I don’t know who has enjoyed them more, us or the kids!
My friends Rina and Dave (from Rutherglen) are here in Cairns atm, so we caught up for dinner and a chat. They had some friends from Rutherglen who were in town, heading to the Cape like us, so lots to chat about over dinner! We ate at the Red Beret, a trendy pub in Freshwater where the food was delicious!
We went back to the house they are staying in, a big, old Queenslander for more drinks and coffee. Great food and great company = great night!
Buntings was our destination the next day  to pick up some last-minute things for the trip and some plastic 45L containers for food Nd storage. We ordered our meat from the butcher, Mighty Nice Meats Cairns at Stockland in Earlville, to be cryovacced and we’ll pick it up on Wed. Back at the CP Joel put the snatch strap around one of the trees and unwound the winch as we still hd not re-tensioned it but the winch wouldn’t wind in. Bugger and many other expletives later we rang the guy who was servicing the car tomorrow and he’d said he’d have a look at it for us as they are the local 4×4 Ironman distributors.
Put the car in for service and check at Nathan Lockyer 4×4 in am. Looks like winch motor is stuffed as when originally installed they didn’t put in an isolating

Packing and sorting for The Cape.

switch and a bit of water has gotten in and fried the motor. Not happy Jan! He didn’t have another motor for our model (of course not that would be too easy!) and a new one would take 7-10 days. Joel had the whole winch and motor replaced instead. They also need the car for another day as they need to remove the bull bar to install the new winch. Rang Tan as we were supposed to go over for dinner but she came and picked us up and dropped us off afterwards. She is a LEGEND!!! Clint and Tanya have a keyboard that wade has been bashing on and he’s actually not too bad on it! He keeps asking for one and maybe we should look into it before he decides he likes the drums even more!! Next day was spent converting movies and music to fill our iPods. Last round of washing, cleaning and schoolwork as well. We don’t make the kids do schoolwork when camping in the tent but they must keep a daily diary. We did a massive shop and picked up our meat order too. Went to Dan Murphy’s for some alcoholic beverages but Cairns local council does allow casks to be sold until 4pm! Went back later to p/u some cask wine and beer for Joel and a few Smirnoff Vodka and cranberry casks for me! MMMMM we have found that casks pack much easier in the car and Engel than cans – also they don’t make alcoholic cider in a can yet either and we don’t take glass stubbies with us camping! We went out to dinner with Tanya at the Trinity Beach hotel, busy place and meals were okay. The fish wasn’t really that fresh unfortunately which was disappointing when u consider where we are.

Look how clean it is - Cape York here we come!

Next day was spent packing all the food for the next 4-5 weeks into containers and trying to remember everything else too! Final iPod loadings and we’re ready to Rock and roll!
We were going to leave our van at CHP for $6/night storage fees but had heard and read that u could leave them at Mt Carbine for $0, I rang Rob at Mt Carbine CP and yes we can leave our van there so long as we stay the night before and the night after we return and he would indeed store our van there!
So we left Cairns next morning and wound our way over the mountain, thru Kuranda and Mareeba and headed to Mt Carbine. We travelled through some beautiful rainforest here. We set up the van in the same spot as we would be storing it so we didn’t have to move it in the morning. I defrosted the fridge, (hate this part) and cleaned it out so there would be no mould on our return like there was when we returned from the Gibb River Trip! Phewwweee!
Next was packing all our clothes and ticking off the list for the rest of then packing!
We were all stuffed so we decided to go to the pub for a drink and see what the meals were like.We made it about 1/2 doz steps towards the pub door when a group of people yelled at us to join them and have a drink and a chat! They were a bunch from SA who’d been warming the pub seats for a while during the arvo:) As usual Joel got lots of questions about the car and the conversion and the WA plates. This mob is also on their way to the Cape, just waiting for a few more from SA to join them. Mt Carbine has a Caravan Park, pub and servo and we managed to visit all 3 by the time we left the next day. The meals were great, big pub meals and quite delicious too! Rob, the owner/manager of the CP has a meet’n’greet @4pm where he told us all about the history of Mt Carbine and the mining in the area. It was all quite fascination and nice to meet some other happy campers, some who’d been to the Cape and others, like us, still on their way up! Back to camp for some sleep as our new adventure to Cape York starts tomorrow!
Till next time


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