It is difficult to grasp that 2 months have passed since we returned from our northern Australia holiday. Or rather, it is easy to grasp that 2 months have passed, but hard to understand why I haven't finished writing up my travel posts!
This is the second to last post that will relate to this trip, and it picks up where my two Cairns posts left off. After we left Cairns, we drove 1.5 hours up the coast to the Daintree region, a drive that is as scenic as it is winding.
|Look out point mid-way between Cairns and Port Douglas|
Port Douglas is about an hour from Cairns, and that hour is spent twisting and turning around steep, narrow, cliff-side roads. I had experienced the road on my conference trip to Port Douglas, and told Mr Bite in advance that he would be driving. He actually likes driving on twisting steep roads, but even he was slightly daunted when we passed the signs warning that this was a high crash area.
Fortunately, our camper van proved its capabilities and we arrived in Port Douglas in time for lunch. That was really all we wanted from the town, which is a resort-style location with luxury accommodation, expensive boutique shops, a number of upmarket restaurants. It also has a famous expanse of beach, and is a good spot for tours to the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree forest.
|Port Douglas' 4 mile beach, in mist|
We photographed the beach and then walked along the main street in search of a lunch option that wouldn't send us bankrupt or require a level of fanciness we weren't up to meeting. The place we settled on, Under Wraps, not only satisfied those criteria but delivered a lunch that was one of my best for the trip.
Under Wraps is also well reviewed on Trip Advisor and is effectively a very good version of a sandwich and salad bar. They offer a variety of fillings for different types of wrap bread, regular bread and rolls, as well as fresh salads, juices, smoothies and a nice selection of hot drinks.
|Under Wraps outside seating|
Mr Bite ordered a sundried tomato wrap with tuna mornay filling ("tuna salad, rocket, green onions, celery and tasty cheese"), while I chose the salad of the day, a fortuitously timed vegetarian Vietnamese salad.
With bean sprouts, cabbage, peppers, carrot, peanuts and a gorgeous soy-sweet chilli-lime dressing, I wanted to climb into the bowl. This was definitely the best Asian salad I have had for a while. My chai tea was also well done and I left extremely satisfied.
The Port Douglas Brumby's bakery also deserves note for its generosity, as when we stopped by for afternoon tea provisions, they kindly gave Mr Bite two lamingtons for the price of his requested one. The owner declared the first lamington a "bit small", despite it appearing reasonably robust to us.
Well fed and catered, we left Port Douglas for Mossman Gorge, 20 minutes further north. Mossman Gorge is effectively the entrance point to the Daintree National Park, and it was a great introduction to the scenery we had waiting for us.
|Mossman Gorge carpark|
You may remember that in the Northern Territory, I was saddened to see indigenous Australians on the streets and generally looking disadvantaged and unhappy. At Mossman, I found what I had hoped to see in more areas. All of the staff at the eco-friendly visitor centre were Aboriginal, and they also ran (appropriately) the guided tours available in the area. Because you couldn't drive directly to the gorge itself, the traffic into the national park was minimised and the local people were still able to enjoy the land.
|Mossman Gorge visitor centre (picture taken from one of the shuttle buses to the gorge itself)|
Once you arrived at the national park, a short walk took you to the gorge itself. Most people use the elevated walkways through the forest, but there is also a ground-level riverside path that we took on the return journey. It is a little longer (and a lot muddier!) but worth doing.
I could soak up views like that forever.
From Mossman, we drove further north again until we reached the Daintree River. There is no bridge across, so a ferry shuttles back and forth between 6am and midnight.
|Daintree River and car ferry|
We crossed just as dusk was starting to hover (I think it was about 5pm), and it was exciting to reach the other side and the heart of the Daintree forest. I shall leave our adventures there for my next post, but suffice to say it is an incredibly beautiful region.
Under Wraps is located at 22 Macrossan Street, Port Douglas, and is open for breakfast, snacks and lunch.
Mossman Gorge is 77km north of Cairns, 20km north of Port Douglas, and 2km from the town of Mossman. The visitor's centre is open daily from 8am to 6pm and shuttle buses to the gorge cost $6 per adult return.
Are you a forest sort of person, or do you prefer coastal scenery? I'm definitely the former myself.