Mossman

Today was mostly about collecting our campervan and getting set up. We did not plan to travel far and had all day to drive about 75 km from Cairns to Mossman.

We had left the curtains facing the water open last night so the morning sun rising over the mountains on Yarrabah Peninsula woke us early. There was no need to rush but we headed down to the Esplanade and ate breakfast at a nearby cafe we had seen last evening. Granola with a mix of fresh fruit and yoghurt accompanied by coffee set us up for the day.

Majella was itching to move before 8:30 am but the Britz depot was only 3 km away and did not open until 9:00 am so I managed to persuade her to wait until 8:45 am before going down. Checkout was quick but we had to wait a few minutes for our taxi to arrive. Nevertheless we were at Britz by 9:00 am. Majella had managed to engage the driver in conversation about COVID and he did not seem to want to let us go. It took a few minutes to disengage but eventually we got inside. 

The process of collecting the campervan took longer than expected. Our experience in Brisbane in July had been very quick with none of the usual orientation. For some reason Cairns needed more time and we got most of the regular orientation. 

It was 10:00 am before we drove out of the yard and headed for the aquarium where Majella wanted to confirm details for her activity when we return. Parking a van in central Cairns was not likely to be easy so I dropped her outside the aquarium and circled the block a couple of times while she went inside. On my second time around she was waiting and we headed north.

We stopped at Smithfield shopping centre to buy provisions. Once those were stowed in fridge and cupboard Majella drove us north. We stopped at Rex Lookout, about halfway to Mossman. It is named for a former local government leader who pushed hard for the road. The lookout is on a cliff with a view south along a beach. There were a few hang gliders setting up on top of the cliff so we waited to see one of those take off before driving on.

Angela and Liam had been up this way recently and Angela had recommended a restaurant, the Tin Shed, by the waterfront in Port Douglas. On the way in we paused at Four Mile Beach for a brief look and then drove through town to find the restaurant. Majella had the spring rolls which came in a set of three – barramundi, crocodile, and prawn. I had a burger. The food was tasty and the ambience on a covered deck over the water with a view across the bay was spendid.

After lunch we drove closer to town where we parked and wandered the streets for a bit. When we drove through earlier Majella had been intrigued by a store with signs advertising ‘Nothing over $22’. It had nothing priced other than at $22 but after a good look around and trying on one item she did not find anything to buy. We walked up the street where a gelateria caught her eye. Majella had sorbet and I had gelato.

Even with those diversions we were in Mossman and booked into our van park before 3:00 pm. We took some time to upack our gear into cupboards and arrange other bits and pieces as we like them.

Once we were settled we took a stroll out of the park down to the river on the pedestrian path that goes across the bridge. The river was running fast and clear over a sandy bottom. It was not deep except perhaps beside the steep bank. A little way upstream of the bridge a couple of women were fishing with lines. We did not see any fish below us while we stood there but perhaps they had local knowledge of where and how to catch fish.

From the river we walked along a path to town. We stopped for a look at the historic Anglican church, St Davids. The present stone building replacing an earlier timber one that was destroyed in a cyclone took forty years to build from 1912 until 1952. It is a picturesque building alongside a group of very large old rain trees planted by an early minister who obtained the seeds from Jamaica.

We walked further into town but did not find much more to interest us and walked back to the van. It had been warm and we thought it better to be inside with the air conditioning but eventually it cooled down outside so I set up the table and chairs and we had cheese and crackers outside. By then it was cool enough that Majella needed her cardigan.

At dusk it was time to move inside to avoid the insects we expected to appear. Majella prepared breadrolls with ham and salad as a light dinner after our substantial lunches. Luckily we were inside when a few drops of evening rain appeared on the windscreen.

Our aim for the day was to get settled in the van and we have managed that and a bit more. Tomorrow is an early start for a local tour to Cape Tribulation and other sights.