Bahana Gorge by Ethan Astall

Just south of Walsh’s pyramid off the highway on the way to cairns lies another swimming hole a little different to how it’s perceived on Instagram.

The start of the trail is the car park for a small water treatment plant, over the swing gates you’ll follow a massive pipe along a 3km paved driveway. Your legs won’t exactly be stoked about it either with long relentless hills and descents. Once at the end you’ll peel off the concrete and down the embankment, before you is an array of small and large swimming holes. She was flowing pretty hectic so we had a quick dip in the corner of one and walked back to the car dripping wet.

Windin falls by Ethan Astall

Two hours drive SW of cairns will find you in the Wooroonooran national park which can be accessed from the table lands or the eastern side off the highway. To get to Windin falls you need to venture in from the table lands otherwise you’ll be stuck driving around in circles on the wrong side of the national park.

The drive in gets a bit bumpy and severely muddy towards the end, on the way in we passed a little Mazda and the people inside obviously weren’t Adventurous enough and had pulled the pin on finding this place. 5 minutes further down the road we saw why but we just parked the car off the to the side of the road and walked to the start of the trail. 

The walking track was once an old four wheel drivers novelty that connected the table lands to cairns. Massive ruts and wash outs filled with water pave the way along this 8km return trail. Some of the spots it’s hard to believe that keen fourbie drivers once tackled these. Cheers but I’d rather not wreck my car. Near the end you will see a simple little map screwed to a tree explainbig the turn off to the infinity pool and top of the water fall. Follow this down for about 10 minutes and HAZZAR you’ve found it. 


Mount hyp-hyp-hyp-hooray, hypipamee - the drive out here through the table lands is rather far but the walk to the crater itself from the car park isn’t strenuous in anyway - but the view and the story behind this thing is pretty bloody crate..

Mount hypipamee crater; NQ, 61m to the surface from the top and a further 85m deep below the surface - the result of a volcanic molten rock explosion a few years back, some gold diggers stumbled upon this place when they almost fell in - seems they were destined for bigger and crater things.

They say the chances of finding the elusive cassowary or tree kangaroo out here are pretty high too, despite continuous tree kangaroo hunting without sighting, we were lucky enough to catch this cassowary who seems to have stuck around on the hunt for his shoes.

Chillago Caves by Ethan Astall

After setting up in Mossman for two weeks and having checked out a few of the local water holes already, we decided it was time to see what was over the horizon of the surrounding mountains for the weekend. Just a short two and a half hours drive away from cairns, lies a bit of a “hole of a town”…with a rather rocky past - chillagoe, North Queensland, and more specifically - chillagoe caves.

The Chillagoe landscape began to form 400 million years ago, when the area was covered by a shallow sea. Today that limestone towers over the surrounding plains as outcrops while underground, caves and caverns created by dissolving of the limestone are decorated by stalactites, stalagmites and flowstones.

We trekked it out here to check out a hike we’d heard of the “royal arch bluff”, given the name we were picturing a bluff walk along the edge of a cliff (can you blame us?), or at least a little something more spectacular then a 9 km return walk through FLAT, THICK, SCRUBLAND - after finishing night shift that morning I easily could have slept through this walk, but none the less we found the royal arch cave at the end (which you have to pay some hard rock price for per person for a tour), so we decided to walk on top of it - which was pretty unreal to picture this flat, desalted ground as a once was land sea with living, swimming, bubbling animals about, now thick tessalted lime stone rock formations.

Walsh's Pyramid by Ethan Astall

20kms south of cairns youl see this HUGE pyramid sticking out of the earth! yes thats it. over 6.3km you gain 900m of elevation and holy dooly your legs hate you for it. The track has very little shade as well and on the rock faces during a sunny day youl feel like your a little egg being fried by mother nature. amazing views at the top we were even joined by a few little birds.

Hartleys Croc Adventures by Ethan Astall

Holy Heck hold on to your crocs were going to Hartleys. At this place youv got many options, from choofing around a lagoon on a boat watching crocs get fed, reptile shows, walk in bird aviaries and other zoo like activities such as trying things on in the gift shop.

Daintree Rainforest, The Blue Hole by Ethan Astall

Probably the best hidden gem that you can access in the Daintree without going off a walking trail or through someones property. The Blue hole is a quiet corner of a creek surrounded by tall palms and rainforest, it even has a well positioned log you can jump off.

Cow Bay by Ethan Astall

Sadly no cows to be seen at cow bay although a local wide eyed yahoo in a jacked up four wheel drive intercepted us on the way in asking if wed like to buy some weed. Holding in a few urges of laughter we kindly didn’t take up his offer and found this amazingly fun swing instead.

Daintree Coast by Ethan Astall

Head back south along the coast road we did a few rainforest board walks with sadly no tree kangaroos in sight :(. Giant fan palms block the sun as the board walks take you over fresh water creeks lined with mangroves, an unreal peak into a very rare eco system where alot of animals and plants co-exist.

Emmagen Creek by Ethan Astall

After stumbling down Mt sorrow in the dark we camped at the cape trib car park for the night.

Awoken by the orange footed scrub fowls squawking around the car park the next morning we headed to end of the road (for two wheels drives anyway) past cape trib and had a swim in emmagen creek, which is the start of the Bloomfield track. Nothing beats a rope swing into a freezing pool of water, wearing only ya jocks at 8am in the morning. Along the road out stood this huge strangler fig! FROTH it’d be like 20 vans high.

Mossman Gorge by Ethan Astall

The token attraction of Mossman is no doubt the gorge with amazing Aboriginal history they sting you something like $17 return bus to get out to the walking trail. Bugger that, it advises you not to but we walked to the start of the trail which was about 2km on the side of the road. The trail is a 3.1km loop trail, with lots of goat tracks heading into the creeks. Amongst the amazing rain forest we spotted a little diamond python and some wild pigs as well as some wild tourists. Amazed by the strangler figs I climbed every one i could, they are massive in there. Near the end of the trail elo took a dip in one of the creeks before some foreign tourists ruined our serenity.

Upon reaching the car park the bus driver pulled up being highly extroverted saying “have a good walk and a good day” to the patrons getting off, so i took advantage of this and we hopped on “gday mate! aww that walk is amazing” “aww yes did you have a good morning in there” completely oblivious to the fact we hadn’t payed in the first place, were learning quickly to just fake it until you make it.

Mt Sorrow by Ethan Astall

Sorrow; meaning; a feeling of deep distress or disappointment….just a short drive from cape tribulation and up a steep mountainous climb- you too can find the Daintrees greatest sorrow.

Straight on the fezza and across the river we sailed through the drive along the coast of the Daintree, with Ethan’s head stuck against the windscreen in awe of all the trees. Just past the cape trib look out we found the dicky little sign for the mount sorrow trail head. This trek outline will have you under the assumption the 3.5 km couldn’t surely be to difficult, and with the idea of seeing the Daintree rainforest meeting the great sandy beaches of the barrier reef from a birds eye view - it all seems worth it, at the bottom.

We’d heard (wives tales) of people camping at the top and decided we’d add on a few kilos to our packs by chucking on a tent, litres of water and food for an overnight stay overlooking this magical place. The trek up will have you up and down literally the whole way in elevation and emotions, the real good part is the last kilometre to the top of clambering over root systems and pulling your legs up a steep vertical climb, only to find a 1m x 1 m viewing platform at the peak that is so engrossed in trees surrounding; the view.

However due to our continuous curiosity and this traumatic incline with camping gear on back, then along a barely tracked ridge, only to find there is certainly nowhere to camp as once imagined BUT we found a better (the original lookout), the winds blowing straight in from Antarctica at surely close to cyclone speed, only to turn around and have to stumble down the roots for an hour and a half on strong cassowary watch, with a spot light, in the pitch black.

Well Mount Sorrow - you well and truly live up to your name. But hey, the Daintree doesn’t look so touristy from up here 🐊🌴

TO THE DAINTREE (cue batman theme) by Ethan Astall

We’ve done it, we made it passed where the tuna end up (in cairrrrrns, FNQ) and into THE DAINTREE RAINFOREST! Where the oldest tropical rainforest in the world (said to date back 130 million years old) meets the bloody GREAT BARRIER REEF and in what David Attenborough only describes as “one of his favourite places on earth” (although this may be pre tourist hot spot times).

As you venture along the windy coastal road north of cairns, a back drop of mountains and ocean surround you - that are home to some pretty spectacular flora, fauna and plenty of bloody tourists.

Josephine Falls and Babinda Boulders by Ethan Astall

As you head north along the old Bruce highway towards cairns; the scenery that surrounds is peaks in elevations of mountain ranges and flowing creek beds that are home to some bloody good flora and fauna, and some damn good showering holes, if you’re like us and it had been a while.

Take just about any turn off the main highway and you’ll likely find yourself at a waterfall, if you find yourself on someones cane’ve gone too far. We stopped in at Josephine falls and babinda boulders en route (which it turns out every other person in a campervan does too), but none-the-less, these little places are something pretty special, with crystal clear water flowing through and a chilling water temperature that’s colder then a witches tit.

George Palmer The Cane Farmer by Ethan Astall

George Palmer, a true legend of Australia - found volunteering in his youth at the local Innisfail driver reviver (although surely not a stressful position seeing as it’s only ever open maybe one day a year, but none the less the free tea was warmly welcomed). This young chap, entering his eighties grew up on the sugar cane farms of the tropical north working for his dad soon after popping out of the womb, before then moving to the big smoke of Rockhampton but has gladly since returned to his sugar cane roots after coming to terms that central Queensland was a little to cold to the oven temperatures of FNQ. #facesofaus


HOLY HINCHINBROOK - Thornsborne Trail Hike by Ethan Astall

Just a stones throw offshore from Cardwell or Lucinda FNQ, floats - an island like no other; Hinchinbrook Island, forget the swim up bar and the overpriced cocktails- this King Kong  mountainous magic claims the title of the largest island national park in Australia. With steep mountain ranges reaching peaks of 1121 metres, covered in tropical rainforests, tall eucs, shrub lands, mangrove mud flats, too much lawyer cane then anyone could ever wish for, palm tree swamps, grass tree saddles, sandy beaches and fresher creek crossings then Fiji bottled water with more waterfalls then you can poke a stick at - you’ll be thinking...god i’d love to trek this whole island, and that’s exactly what we did. 

The island itself was once known for the Hinchinbrook Island resort, which was created by Keith Williams. The man was well known for his other more successful tourist destinations of Hamilton island and Sea World, however his creation of hinchinbrook was the least progressive and Williams sadly passed away before the resort could sell enough cocktails to make business and had closed its doors in 2010. Torn apart in true North Queensland style in 2011 by cyclone yasi  it then lost any chance of reopening when it’s standing remnants was burnt down by some local yahoos, (according to Karen at the local iga in Cardwell). 

The island today, is best known to people with legs and potentially legless fisherman keen to wet a line for the Thornsborne trail - named after Arthur Thornsborne. This epic trek is 32 km in length (without detours) and is obviously only accessible by boat (unless your keen to ride a salt water croc 8kms from the mainland with a tent and food) and will have you dropped off in thick mangrove lands that line the island at the western side of Ramsay Bay. Beginning the first km on the beach, you wrap your eyes around the breathtaking mountain ranges in the background, before then commencing the ongoing pass through of forests to beach, trekking 32km south to George’s point trotting every type of terrain you could imagine. 

Any research into the trek including Queensland national parks site (which you’ll also need a compass to navigate) recommends the trek to be taken over at least 3 nights and four days, so it goes without saying, you may be used to hiking...but are you used to hiking with a ten kilo pack on your back containing ten cans of tuna, 4 cans of baked beans, 2kgs of trail mix, 10 muesli bars, 6 L of water, a tent, a first aid kid, two yoga mats kept together with a tourniquet (in case of snake bite), bushmans, sunscreen and a change of clothes? Can confirm, this was the REAL challenge. 

The first day - we hiked from Ramsay bay to banksia bay, along the way we passed through beaches and eucalyptus forest, took a  fresh dip in a fresh water hole, where the base of a mountain meets the beach. Up over the next headland at banksia bay, we decided to set up the $12 Kmart tent at about 2 pm and rest the shoulders from the tonne of a pack and scope out the local croc grounds. What banksia bay lacked in banksia, it sure made up for in mosquitos - in terms of camp grounds about the island - this one probably wasn’t the pick of the lots, and we instantly missed the van and all its comforts of a real mattress - but hey we could only get up from here hahaaaa. 

The second day - HECK!!, without a doubt this is the most monotonous part of the trail , this stint we walked was from banksia bay to Zoe bay measuring in at 10.5km and is under the canopy of rainforest the entire hike,  below our feet was mud and swamp for most of the trek. But hey, take your shoes off and really get those negative ions flowing with some stagnant swamp water. There are no stops or camp grounds this entire stint, you do not pass through any beaches and you don’t pass go or collect $200. We both ran to the beach at the site of the opening to Zoe bay; for the pure excitement at the change of scenery and to sit down and snack on, again - trail mix, sharing the views with a half dozen goannas and a brown snake.

Zoe Bay has a large camp ground which is next to the opening of a large creek, with as you can imagine, has large mosquitos (cue, hand slap). Without much thought and after a draining day, we set up camp at this site then headed to Zoe falls which were only a short walk away. The trail opens up to the base of the falls, dropping twenty metres into a surreal, crystal clear, aqua swimmin ole beneath it, with its only inhabitants being a group of curious and toe nibbling jungle perch. From here, the trek ascends up a short, steep trek to the top of the falls - this infinity pool is like no other, overlooking Zoe bay with rising mountains in every direction that are covered in thick vegetation and clouds. It goes without saying we rethought the camp we’d set up and were quick to climb back down, pack up the tent to then unpack it at the top of the falls, for a much more serene nights camp, “how’s the bloody serenity up here darl?”.  Although seems we weren’t the only ones atop Zoe falls that night, we woke at 2 am to the sound of what we thought was an insect making strange sounds, which turned out to be a rat eating through our tent and into our only breakfast supplies of muesli. (Mouselie)

Day three - Waking to the feeling of melted bushmans sticking the yoga mats to our legs, we took a swim in the top of the falls while the sun rose and ate the mouselie bars before packing up the tent (now complete with airing rat holes) and hit the frog and toad. Today’s walk was planned to get us to mulligan falls, about 8km - the trek on this route reaches the highest elevation of the trek at only 260m elevation, and continues on a little saddle which is lined with shrubbery and black boys - overlooking sunken reef bay and again the many glorious mountains of hinchinbrook.

1 km from the falls the track Y’s to sunken reef bay (one hour return). It was only 9am so we thought...why not? On arrival the water was murky, the beach littered with drift wood and rubbish and there certainly wasn’t any reef that was sunk beneath the croc waters. We perched up for some smoko before spotting a coconut to crack open. Very underwhelming but, hey you never know until ya go. We hit the trek again towards the next falls, after Zoe falls we were pretty set we’d peaked for scenery, but yet again trekking into mulligan falls bloody blew us away again! Not a person in sight, just some lonely jungle perch  (not keen on a nibble), we took a dip and had some tuna and basked in the sun like the filthy island goannas we’d become. 

One pm on the clock and 7.5km to go until the end of the hike. We glanced the map to see if anything else was in between of interest..... there wasn’t. It was 5km along the flat deserted beach to the pick up point back to civilisation, we combed the beach for shells and choofed along the beach eager to complete the journey. Whilst walking the beach there are some drastic signs of erosion with massive eucs fallen over and others struggling to survive the salt water infiltrating their roots. We even found a coconut palm’s root ball still alive and hosting a little casuarina and young coconut palm that had been swamped by sand but still surviving. 

We rolled in to George point at around 3:30 in the afternoon and with high hopes, aching bodies, filth and mud in every crevice of our bodies, and a distinct lack of food left, we rang the ferry company to see if we could be picked up earlier then our planned departure of the following day, we were salivating at the idea of getting off this deserted island and into a real meal, imagining a real life castaway “WILSON” scene at the point. Bbzzzttttt, “nah mate no can do”... we set the tent up and battled the mozzies one last time, dreaming of the van, hot showers and a delectable Napoli topped parma coupled with a schooner; we tucked into our last can of cold baked beans and settled in for a five round game of uno, with fifteen hours left until pick up...but, who was counting.

All in all, mud and swamps aside - this trail takes you through almost as much emotions as it does terrains, and will leave you with just as many good memories as it does mosquito bites. 

Kuranda Bird World by Ethan Astall

Ever wanted to walk around, have a bird on your shoulder that talks and feed three other birds at the same time?? WELL LOOK NO FURTHER. Kuranda Birdworld is home to over 60 species of birds thatl have you sqwarking with excitement as soon as you enter the door. Upon entry one Macaw took to my hat ripping the button off and hooking into half of my nuts. After this an eclectics parrot became me mate and we shared a few hellos and sqwarks before another group of people came in and took his interest. Elo became good friends with a little galah and tried to persuade the major Mitchell cockatoos to come home with us but they wernt’t to keen sadly.

Lambs Head Hike by Ethan Astall

We woke up to the sun shining ( a miracle in FNQ ) and we’re headed for the general direction of cairns - along the way we noticed Dinden national park along Davies creek road, about twenty kms along this road from Mareeba - We’d talked about doing a hike called lambs head before with minimal real knowledge on it, we decided to do it anyway, getting to the walk sign it says 12 km circuit return and judging from the flat line around it- looked simple, right?

HOLY HECK, unsure if gradual Incline or random increments of ankle snapping steepness are better- but this one has the latter, and about 4kms of it to be precise. The trek up the hill was mentally hard - more so, as we hadn’t researched it’s difficulty or prepared for it, and at every steep come to, said “THIS HAS GOT TO BE IT”, but the flora and fauna was not to be beaten. The start of the trek was a maze of casuarina and eucs and as you get gradually further up the vertical hill it transforms into thick, tropical rainforest with moss growing over the bouldering rocks of the top, ferns towering the canopies and strangler figs taking hold on any plant they can call home.

We pulled up at the top - surrounded by cloud, but none the less, still an epic view to be had, pulled up on a piece of (what looked like moon) for cheese and crackers (grommit) and had some lunch, before the litres of sweat became ice on our back in the clouds and headed for the further 10kms tredge back down the circuit trail to the car park, taking some of our own bark off slipping in the mud on the slide down the hill, six hours later…we were home.

Mareeba Drive In by Ethan Astall

The idea of a long haired yahoo, pulling up at your mums house in a campervan to take your daughter to the drive in has mum and dads of the 80s quivering everywhere, but here we are having a bloody good time over a bottle of stones.

Mareeba (preferred way of saying is AREEBA, with an M) is at the northern side of the tablelands, it’s the dryer side of the area and claims to have 265 days of sunshine a year - the wettest part about it, is the locals (as the dude at the bottlo told us). Not a great deal going around the place - except of a weekend…the local drive in put on two movies a night for $14! which includes camping under the bloody Milky Way!! HOW BLOODY GOOD!!!

We cooked up some on sale chicken Kiev, drank some stones, patted some doggos and watched detective pikachu, what more could you want!