Road trip from Cairns: day one / by Jessica Lee

Dear readers, hello from Townsville! We flew from Sydney to Cairns yesterday morning and after a couple of hours of driving, we are now in Townsville, known for it's "air of racial tension", according to my Rough Guides Australia guidebook.

So far though, Townsville has been disappointing. Not enough racial tension! So frustrating! I will update you if anything happens.

We started our journey yesterday at 3:45 am when we woke up for our 6 am flight to Cairns. We hit the road immediately after that and drove to Port Douglas.

This is the caravan we rented. I will tell you more about it later. Here is a photo of the boys at the side of the road on the way to Port Douglas.

So far, a theme of this trip has been beaches. We are driving along the coast after all, so it does make sense that we'd be seeing a lot of beaches.

One of the things that really made my day after we landed was feeling the hot, humid weather. It was starting to get cold in Sydney and I was getting ready to move back to Toronto because around this time of year, Toronto would be warm again. But weather in tropical Queensland is really nice too. I'm just glad to be back in shorts and a t-shirt.

What a beauty right?

This is our caravan. It is an absolute mess already even though we've only been using it for not even two full days, but we've learned to embrace it. It's got a sun roof and it converts into a bed at night! It also has a fridge and a stove. I'm pretty happy with it. It's how I imagine living like a traveling circus performer would be- sort of cramped and gypsy-like.

It's definitely not glamourous though. I never thought I'd be one of those people washing their face, getting ready for the night at a gas station. It's okay though, it's all a part of the experience. (For fun, can YOU spot the rock climbing shoe in the below photo?)

Here is Port Douglas, it's a few hours north of Cairns. It reminds me of one of the various towns I visited in Hawaii. It's got beaches and lots of tacky touristy shops that sell swimsuits, postcards, flip flops (otherwise known as 'thongs' here), and the like.

After tanning at the beach and walking along the main strip, we didn't stay for long.

We spent last night driving, going straight past Cairns and arrived in Mission Beach. This strip pretty much looks the same as Port Douglas, but smaller. There is really not a lot to see in Cairns (more strip malls) so I didn't mind not staying.

It's even got a beach too!

It was quite nice actually. We had the whole beach to ourselves for breakfast since it was nice and early and a little bit foggy.

Here is Dan cooking eggs.

Mission Beach was a really nice place to enjoy breakfast. We didn't stay long though.

We headed towards Townsville straight after filling our stomachs.

I feel quite like Sal Paradise in Kerouac's book. You know how he was rushing to get to Denver because that's where his friends and a job was? Well for us, we are driving towards Brisbane, passing all these towns quickly because supposedly Brisbane and Whit Sundays is where all the action is.

This is what Townsville looks like:

It was a grey day, so Townsville possibly looks better on sunnier days. The above photo is off a street near the water called 'The Strand'.

See the below photo. I can definitely see Townsville looking quite nice in sunnier conditions.

Besides the beach though, there wasn't much to do. It was a lot of industrial buildings and small stores selling... you guessed it: post cards, t-shirts, flip flops and swimwear.

To their credit, there were some nice cafes and lovely restaurants. We ate at the C Bar, which happened to be by the sea. How witty right?

It has been my favourite meal so far on this journey.

Tomorrow, we're going to climb a mountain (see background of the photo).