Saturday, January 31, 2015

No Fixed Abode - Road Trip part 1

If you are reading this, and know that I am without gainful, paid employment, there is no need to worry that I am finally destitute, and now living on the streets of Sydney.  No, that is not going to happen for at least a few weeks yet.

The title refers to the recent road trip, and not my current living arrangements.

Inspired by writers such as Kerouac, I have long wanted to be “On the Road”.  Set free to explore, windows down, wind in my hair, no agenda, and a very loose itinerary, I finally got to tick off another item from the bucket list.  A camper van road trip. 

"Chubby" - how I miss this little van!
However, not one that didn’t start with a little trepidation.  Neglecting to pay for additional insurance (well, I am still a Yorkshire man), thus leaving me with a $3000 excess should anything happen to the van, had me ever so tentatively reversing the camper out of the parking spot in Cairns, after checking all mirrors so often my neck was hurting.

The road trip started in Cairns, after flying up from Sydney two days earlier.  Cairns has continued to develop and improve over the years, now catering for a slightly more up market clientele, and not just for the hundreds of backpackers that have a visit to “The Woolshed” as a rite of passage on their overseas adventure. 

New waterfront developments, bars and restaurants, targeting the cruise ship arrivals no doubt, add some much needed drink and dining options if you tire of the $10 beer and burger offers proliferating central Cairns.

And as an element of this trip morphed into being a search for the east coast’s best coffee, I found a definite contender in Cairns.  If you ever find in town, and in need of a caffeine fix, head to “Caffeined”, a Mebourne-esque alley way coffee shop, with coffee that will make you want to stay in Cairns.

Hipster-ville, in the centre of Cairns

From Cairns, the plan was to head north, across the Daintree river, all the way up to Cape Tribulation, until the road runs out.  Literally.  The sealed road ends in Cape Trib, only allowing for 4x4 vehicles to travel past that point.  From Cape Trib, we were going to turn around (it is one road in, and only one road out), and then head south, back over the Daintree, back through Cairns, and continue until we hit Brisbane, a few weeks later.  It was in Brisbane that we had arranged to drop the camper van off, hopefully strike off the $3000 excess on my credit card, and then continue by bus to Surfers Paradise and Byron Bay.

The state of Queensland

Quite an adventurous undertaking, with some 3000kms of road to cover.  All of our road trip would be done in Queensland, Australia’s second largest state.  To provide a sense of perspective, Queensland is about seven times the size of Great Britain, covering an area of 1,727,000 square kilometers.

But we were in no rush, had no constraints, and set off with a great sense of adventure.

My next instalment will be to cover off the highlights, and lowlights, of the trip.  Make sure to keep reading.

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