Have you ever traveled to a place that got under your skin and stayed with you for a while?
For me, one of those places is Queensland, Australia. For me, it just has so much to see and explore, I can keep coming back and never get bored. Sometimes I think I could even live there. With the subzero temperatures we’ve had Scratch that, I could definitely live there.
And if there was one place I was itching to get back to this year, it was Tropical North Queensland. It’s wild, humid and vast, full of possibilities to explore. For me, it’s a place of discovery, one of Australia’s best-kept secrets and I know whenever I visit, I’ll find something new and exciting to flal in love with.
Sunrise soak from Peppers Palm Cove
I road-tripped solo from Cairns to Cooktown last year and I couldn’t wait to head back in May to see a different side of Queensland. This time I got to try out all new camera gear with Canon Australia on a social project showing off paradise through my own lens, which you might have seen if you follow me on Instagram. I was joined by a handful of local and Aussie ‘grammers who went off to explore all the corners of TNQ.
Who doesn’t love the opportunity to try out new camera stuff? Not this girl! I traded in my 60D for a Canon 70D and got to try out the new EOS M3 mirrorless (all of the images in this post are shot with these 2 cameras).
While I have plenty of in-depth stories and elaborate misadventures coming soon from my trip, I thought I would go ahead and first share why I keep coming back to this part of Australia.
So check out all my reasons why I love Tropical North Queensland!
1. The Great Barrier Reef
It has to be said, guys, for me the absolute best part of Tropical North Queensland is the Great Barrier Reef. I mean, what a claim! How lucky they are to have such a natural wonder right on their doorstep?! While I’ve been to the reef from the Whitsundays, I was excited to get to fly over them from Cairns.
Nothing puts the beauty of the GBR into perspective like seeing it from above.
2. It’s so green!
We all know I kinda have a thing for colors while traveling, and if TNQ were to have an assigned color, it would be green, green and even more GREEN! I am in love with how lush and verdant this chunk of Australia is.
Before I came to Queensland, I always imagined Australia to be a dry place filled with red and orange tones, and while that definitely is the case in many places, even in Queensland, there is plenty of rainforests and greenery to be found if you only look for it.
Seriously, 50 shades of green over here guys. Can’t resist.
3. Everything is bigger up north
Whether you are craning your neck to gaze up at the biggest curtain fig tree you’ve ever seen, watching a huge sunset or moonrise or waking up to a dead huntsman spider on your tent flap, TNQ doesn’t do things in small doses.
**Matt Glastonbury was on my trip too check out his feed for more amazing shots of TNQ
RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!
4. The Outback
For me the biggest surprise and what was quite possibly my favorite part of the entire trip was visiting the Mareeba Wetlands and staying the night at the Jabiru Safari Lodge.
Living in New Zealand, I have really come to appreciate quiet, peaceful spots, especially when traveling, places where the stars come out and the 3G signal disappears. Tucked away on a beautiful marshy wetland which you can explore in a boat, the birdsong was loud and the air warm, and I felt like I had stepped back in time to another world.
On the edge of the Outback, this was more of the Australia that I had imagined but still green and full of life. Sleeping in big luxurious canvas tents made the experience unforgettable. As much as I love camping, glamping will always win.
5. All of the amazing waterfalls and swimming holes
One thing I love about TNQ are all of the local waterfalls and swimming holes. It’s always warm up there and often very humid, perfect swimming weather.
My favorite spot we visited was Fairy Falls, which was a bit of a secret spot. Some nutcase has rigged up some pretty impressive rope swings that you couldn’t pay me a million dollars to try. But luckily we had Sol Davey with us, who I am pretty sure was a monkey in another life, and who had no qualms about climbing all the way to the top.
6. All the animals
I secretly love that Tropical North Queensland is home to some really wild and unique animals. Not to mention the ones that will eat you alive.
TNQ likes to keep you on your toes.
From baby roos to jurassic cassowaries to the biggest crocs you’ve ever seen and the most beautiful birds in Australia, I was obsessed with the wildlife here. What a place!
7. The ancient rainforests
I am totally obsessed with trees, guys, and let me tell you, the ones in TNQ are the stuff of Fern Gully.
Forget the forests of my childhood back home in the States, the trees up here, especially around the Mossman River are huge, wild and dense and so green I might have had to desaturate them in Lightroom. Seriously?
Cutting through the heavy rainforest is the crystal clear Mossman River which you can peacefully paddle board down. I spent the morning paddling, falling and floating my way up and down this amazing stretch of river with local blogger and inspiration Adventure Mumma.
8. Random spots
While road -tripping around Tropical North Queensland this time around, I could’t help but notice that chain shops and restaurants were long gone and quirky, locally-owned and operated joints ruled the land. Love it!
By the end we stopped at so many, and while I still can’t put my finger on exactly what made them stand out, I did realize I really loved them all because they all were unashamedly quirky and weird!
Like the gigantic burgers at a Mexican food stop on Mount Molloy to biodairies in the middle of nowhere, there is no shortage of memorable stops in TNQ!
9. Lava tubes
As if TNQ couldn’t get more diverse or weirder, did you know in the middle of nowhere (The Savannah Way to be precise) in what looks like Outback farm country, there are huge lava tube caves that stretch for miles underground in a place called Undara?
And they are filled with bats!
It’s not like this landscape looks particularly volcanic. Between getting to stay in old-fashioned railway carriages turned hotel which hasn’t been renovated at least in 20 years to the bat cave tours, this place couldn’t be more kitsch and quirky, which I love. I just wish I had days to explore these tunnels. So random!
10. It’s Australia’s best-kept secret!
For more of my Queensland tips, check out my Trover list here.
Have you heard of this part of Australia? Would you like to explore this part of Queensland yourself? Have you ever felt this way about a place you visited? Spill!