Groper Creek

Jul 25 to 29  After an overnight free camp at Home Hill it is back to an old favourite – Groper Creek. Steve and Marilyn Redman first introduced this fishing and crabbing haven to us 2 years ago and it is impossible to pass the turn off without wanting to visit again. Groper Creek lies very close to the Burdekin River mouth and offers great opportunities for fishing and crabbing for someone (ie us) who does not have a boat.

After a quick phone call to Steve Redman to remind me how to throw a cast net to catch our shrimp live bait, we start fishing. Some people do not like catching catfish but we were very happy to get one as it is excellent bait for our crab pot. And we were rewarded the following morning with 2 large mudcrabs which were enjoyed immensely fresh for lunch.

The barramundi that Siobhan is holding was not caught by her … but watch this space.




Jul 18 to 24  Lucinda lies directly opposite the southern tip of World Heritage-listed Hinchinbrook Island. The eye-popping pride of Lucinda is a six kilometre jetty stretching far out into the Coral Sea. The jetty is the world’s largest bulk sugar loading facility and is so long it actually curves with the earth.

When conditions are right, you can sometimes see the dugongs and sea turtles at play. There is also a smaller jetty with ample opportunity to catch Mangrove Jack, Coral Troat, big juicy mud crabs and the fighting Barramundi which are all in plentiful supply. 

All the above fish species are theoretically available but we had to satisfy ourselves with a few bream and whiting which were still very tasty treats.

We have a game of golf at the local 9 hole course and meet one of the locals – a beautiful yellow-bellied black tree snake !




Jul 15,16  Cardwell is half way between Cairns and Townsville, with Hinchinbrook Island just offshore and a long jetty to wet a line off. Just recently it was badly damaged by Cyclone Yasi which hit the area on Feb 3 2011. A local newspaper reporter described the event :

“I don’t know what to say except that Cardwell is surely ground zero for cyclone Yasi, it has been utterly decimated,” she said. “As we drove in we saw a church where the only thing left standing are church pews, with a few bibles and prayer books strewn around, everything else of the church had been blown away. There are big trees absolutely everywhere, every single tree has been uprooted. You cannot tell that where I am standing there is bitumen on the Bruce Highway, it is now just covered in sand and trees. Many buildings and homes have lost their roofs.”

Take a look at the photograph of the tree snapped in 2 – that is not an actual tree but it was a metal sculpture before it was broken in two by Yasi.



Jul 14  A quick overnight stop at Innisfail. Nothing remarkable to speak of … except this is our very first ‘free camp’. These are rest areas with some basic amenities that are designed for short 24-48 hour stays. They are maintained by local councils and are excellent to assist with budgeting on a very long trip with the costs of a powered site in a caravan park rising. We will probably free camp 2 to 3 nights per week.



Jul 11 to 13  Time to move on from Mossman for a quick stop in Cairns for 3 nights. We fit in a round of golf at the unique Half Moon Bay Golf Club at Yorkeys Knob and also visit the Barron River power station just up the river from the Lake Placid Caravan Park – any caravanners reading this – don’t bother visiting this van park unless you really really like mosquitoes !! The weather is starting to deteriorate and really closes in as we leave Cairns to head further south.



Jul 9  The World Heritage listed Daintree Rainforest is less than an hour away from Mossman. This pristine rainforest is one of the most diverse and beautiful examples of nature in the world. Breathtaking scenery abounds as rainforest-clad mountains sweep down to long sandy beaches that meet with the edge of the Great Barrier Reef. What makes this area more spectacular is that it is the only place on earth where these two World Heritage sites exist side by side.

We take a cruise on the Daintree River and meet some of the locals.



Jul 4 to 10  Left Cooktown after nearly 3 weeks to start the long slow journey back to the Sunshine Coast – 2,000 Kms to cover before mid August. First stop is Mossman, just north of Port Douglas and 75 Kms north of Cairns.

Mossman is a picturesque little township nestled at the foot of the mountains among bright green fields of sugar cane. The region’s sugar capital, the Mossman Central Mill throbs and hums its way through the sugar cane crushing season (June – October). The quaint cane trains rattle back and forth through the town hauling in the harvest. 

Five minutes west of Mossman is Mossman Gorge, a very accessible and scenic section of the World Heritage listed Daintree National Park. Here the Mossman River tumbles its way over huge granite boulders that line the gorge, creating cool clear freshwater swimming holes. Awe inspiring tree-clad mountains rise sharply up from the river banks.

A most unusual sight greets us from a balcony in the centre of town – see what you can make of it.


Had a game of golf at the local Mossman course which was an interesting layout and in very good condition. Managed to snap one of the cane trains which comes through the centre of town.


Hired A Tinny

Jun 29  Hired a tinny for the day and headed up the Endeavour River. Had some great fun but, unfortunately, the camera missed the barracuda and the king salmon … honestly ! Even tried our luck with a crab pot for a muddy – good job we had a booking at the Italian for the evening.


More From Cooktown

Jun 23 to 27  Invested in a new led light to help at the BBQ at night … did some fishing from the wharf (not quite the barra I was looking for !!) … saw a huge groper come up and steal hooked fish from other fishers – it was the size of a bus – really … also visited the museum which gave the history of Captain Cook’s first visit to Cooktown in 1770 – fascinating.