After all the time we spent in the Cape and the Daintree, as much fun as we had, it was nice to get back to civilisation. We arrived in Cairns, a town both of us had been to before and we were both looking forward to spending some time here again.
We checked into the Big 4 Ingenia Coconut Resort and caravan park. This place has to be seen to be believed. It’s probably the very best caravan park we’ve ever stayed at. It’s also one of the most expensive too…! That said it is worth every cent. The sites are a decent size and all have plenty of shelter from the sun. The amenities are first class. There’s two pools, one for families and one that is adults only. The café has a great food and regular happy hours. They have an outdoor theatre and activity room for the kids. The management are fantastic and they were very generous to allow us to bring all 3 girls as that is outside their normal dog policy.
Cairns is great town with lots to see and do. We caught up with our great friends Graeme and Katie who came up from Gippsland and managed to time their visit with ours. We had a fantastic dinner at the marina and took the spectacular train ride up to Karanda. Here we took in the views and browsed all the unique shops. Here’s a tip. If you do this trip, take the gold glass option. You get a nice 4 seat birth and a waiter serves you food and drinks. Its absolute luxury.
As we were staying for a couple of weeks, we took the opportunity to get a few mods done to the van. We installed a VAST satellite TV system as well as some bug proof lighting. Both have proved to be great additions to the van and have worked really well.
After Cairns, we started to make our way west along the Kennedy Hwy towards the Queensland/NT border. Our first stop was at Innot Hot Springs. Seriously, blink and you’ll miss the place and it would be a shame if you did. The caravan park behind the servo isn’t much. In fact it’s a dust bowl but the springs are something to experience. They have several pools all fed by different springs and all differing in temperature. There’s also a small stream that is fed by the springs. In the morning, the sight of the steam rising from the water illuminated by the morning sun is stunning. It’s definitely worth an overnight stop.
Next destination was the historic mining town of Croydon. This is a fascinating town that is obviously very proud of its history. The visitor information centre is full of things to do that the friendly staff are only too happy tell you about. A walk around all the beautifully restored buildings wont disappoint. The court house has a fascinating ‘virtual reality’ trial that is very entertaining. A visit to the mining museum on the outskirts of town is worth a look around. Diehm’s lookout has amazing views of the surrounding country. We were lucky to get a decent thunderstorm while we were there. The caravan park is brilliant. I had the pool to myself most of the time and good meals are available at the Club Hotel.
The Kennedy Hwy and the Gulf Development Road make for a fascinating drive and a great way to explore the north central Gulf region of Queensland. There’s surprises at every stop that you just don’t expect and the locals’ dedication to their history makes for a great trip.
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