Saturday, February 11, 2012


We broke the golden rule of road tripping - never drive the same road twice. There is a stretch of road between Cairns and Port Douglas that, when all is said and done, we will have driven four times.

We landed in Cairns a week ago today with plans to drive south. We decided that we would stay a night in Port Douglas before continuing on to Airlie Beach the following day. The problem was that Port Douglas is actually north of Cairns - not south. The map of Queensland in my mind was proving to be a bit inaccurate. But we had already paid for accommodation, so we drove an hour north for the night. The next day started a bit earlier than planned so that we could backtrack to Cairns before driving the seven and a half hours to Airlie Beach.

After four great days sailing, our boat arrived back to the marina in the morning. We hopped off for an even longer day of driving and backtracking. This time we drove north along the same road back to Cairns, passed Port Douglas, and continued on to Cape Tribulation. The drive was easy through Cairns, but then it got dark and rainy. Lucky me, it was my turn to drive. To get to Cape Tribulation you have to take a cable ferry across the Daintree river (which is crocodile-infested), drive through miles and miles of rainforest that looks exactly like Jurassic Park (a/k/a the wet tropics), reach a dirt road and drive another mile to find the Cape Trib Beach House. The beginning of the dirt road marks the end of paved road on the eastern coast of Australia. It was 10 pm at this point.

All David and I wanted were showers and A/C, neither of which was looking promising. First, we had to find where we were staying, which meant a quarter-mile walk through rainforest in the pitch black carrying our backpacks using our headlamps . . . Honestly, how do I find these places?

Someone was smiling down on us because the cabin in the rainforest ended up having a kitchenette and bathroom! But first we had to get inside the door which had been locked from the inside by the cabin's other guests. This required several loud knocks to wake up some nice Germans who didn't expect new cabin mates to arrive after 10 pm. After quite a few "Entshuldigung"s and "Es tut mir leid"s, we finally got some sleep. What a day!


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