I didn't fancy catching the Greyhound from Carnes to Port Douglas so hired a camper for the week and headed north from Carnes to Port Douglas.An absolutely stunning drive up the coast road through Mossman, Daintree and eventually up to Cape Tribulation.
Port Douglas is a beautiful little town, immaculate in every way, lots of designer shops, coffee bars etc.It could so easily have been full of pretentious idiots like Leigh-on-Sea but it wasn't it was really friendly.
Because the Government is trying to limit damage to the reef, there are only two boats that are licensed to dive at the outer reef, I managed to get myself on one of them.Completely different from the dive boats in Thailand & Malaysia, this was a very plush catamaran which took us two hours off shore to the first dive site.The reef was an amazing sight before we had even got in to the water, the water was fairly choppy and there were some big waves breaking on the reef.There were three dives off the boat, including a drift dive and my first dive through (diving through an underwater cave).The reef was phenomenally beautiful and so diverse, I saw some amazing corals, fish and my first shark, a white tip about eight feet long!
I found a beach car park out of town at the opposite end of four mile beach and camped for the night, a couple of the locals came down to the beach with a few beers, we got a fire going on the beach and before you know it there were about twenty of us sitting on a deserted beach, huge fire, a bloke with a guitar, few beers and a couple of million stars! Cracking night!
I left Port Douglas early doors and headed up to Cape Tribulation, Cape trib is the oldest rainforest in the world, the headland is accessed by a chain ferry and a long twisty drive up through the rain forest, the road traverses the coast so the views are amazing.The only thing that spoilt it slightly was the huge signs on every beach warning you of Saltwater Crocodiles, Jelly Fish and Tigers! Through fear of being stung, mauled or eaten I opted to stay in the National Park Camp Site before the long drive back down to Carnes the following day.
I was tempted to head to Cooktown, but the roads were unsealed, so my insurance would have been void, everybody I spoke to seemed to conclude it was another small Aussie town in the middle of nowhere, so I opted not to do the eight round drive and head back down to Cairns.