Cardwell, Mareeba to Cooktown

Leaving Townsville we headed north and stopped at our favourite little seaside town of Cardwell for one of its famous crab sandwiches. A must do if you’re in the area. Hinchinbrook Island lies directly out from Cardwell. Its now a national park and forms part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park; apparently there is an abandoned resort on it somewhere.

Wanting to avoid Cairns due to its COVID19 lockdown, we headed inland to Mareeba for an overnight stop. Having an ensuite in our van means we never need to use amenities at parks, which during COVID times is a great bonus.

Mareeba is in the Atherton Tablelands. With its rolling hills and cooler climate than the coast, we saw a number of dairy farms.

Fewer sugar cane farms in the tablelands but other crops such as banana plantations start to increase.

Travelling further north to the Cook Shire on the Cape York Peninsula, the area is much more arid than the tablelands. More cattle and grain crops are grown here.

I have copied the following from our 2015 Cooktown blog because my fascination with the Mountains of Death is alive and well.

About 20km outside Cooktown we passed by Black Mountain (Kalkajaka) National Park. From a distance we thought a bushfire had passed through the area, then realised it was mountains of black boulders.
The main feature of the park is the mass of granite boulders, some the size of houses. The absence of soil between the boulders and rocks create a maze of gaps and passages. The area has a bad reputation as numerous people and those searching for the missing have disappeared without trace giving Black Mountain the nickname ‘mountain of death’. Even a herd of cattle are reported to have gone missing.
The distinctive hard granite boulders originally formed about 250 million years ago. The mountain of grey granite boulders are blackened by a film of microscopic blue-green algae growing on the exposed surfaces.

Kapok trees grow abundantly in this area. The cotton like fluff found in the pods was once commonly used to fill mattresses.

Not far to Cooktown now.

Keep safe. Cheers from Helen and Tim.