16 Jan 2001

Further North
North Of Cairns
In December 1997 I was in Townsville, North Queensland for a few days, so I decided to take the weekend in Cairns. Cairns would have to be one of the best tourist places I've been to (not that a tourist place is necessarily a good thing). With only two days I didn't see much, but I did get out to the reef, which was great, and do a few other things.

I drove from Cairns up the coast road to Port Douglas. This is quite spectacular, although not really greatly different to the coastal scenery around Newcastle that I am accustomed to. The main difference is the flat ocean water courtesy of the reef. It provides the illusion of great swimming water, but in practice it can be dangerous due to the presence of the potentially fatal box jellyfish close to the coast. The reef and islands are not affected by the jellyfish.

Port Douglas
Port Douglas itself is a small resort town about an hours drive north of Cairns. It is at the northern point of the good roads, and close to the start of the Daintree national park. Despite the nearby Mirage Resort complex, there is still a relaxed feel to the township.

Pebbly Beach
On the way back to Cairns, I stopped at Pebbly beach. The claim to fame for this place is that the beach is made up of white stones. North Queensland beaches are normally have quite yellow sand, and Cairns itself only has a mudflat. The white from the stones is then quite rare, although the stone converage is not really as good overall as the photo suggests. Again, it is dangerous to swim here for much of the year due to the jellyfish.

Cairns at Dawn
Shown here is a photo of Cairns at dawn, taken from the mountains to the west of the city. At the time, I was looking for a good sunrise view, so I started exploring for a good vantage point while it was still dark. Unfortunately, the clouds meant there was no colouring to the sunrise that day.

While taken in the mountains to the west of Cairns, there is nothing particularly distinctive about the location of this photo. Perhaps the most attractive aspect of North Queensland is the Great Barrier Reef, but it is also the most difficult to record on film. The reef doesn't look at all interesting from the surface, and I don't have any underwater photos.

To the West
A winding road.
The mountainous territory to the west of Cairns is also spectulacular. I didn't have time to travel into this district, but this picture is looking westward, toward the Atherton Tablelands.