The Great Budget 4wd Trip Around Australia – Week 7

Landrover at Archer Point

This was our first week back on the road after our amazing time on Magnetic Island.

I have to admit that, although we were extremely excited to be travelling again, it did feel a little strange and took a while to get back into the rhythm of it all.

Luckily, we had decided to take this the first week pretty easy and were set on spending the first few days in Mission Beach for some well-earned rest after working 3 months without a day off!

The other big change to our lifestyle was that we had now picked up a road trip passenger!

A young American traveller, Kane, who was a volunteer at the Guest House on Maggie, had decided to tag along and this was a great opportunity for us both.

We had been looking to offer rides to other travellers along our journey as a way to help pay for fuel and Kane was looking for a more unique view of Australia.

As a serious hiker who loves to be in nature, our intended route through some remote parts of Australia suited Kane perfectly.

Distance Travelled:

Spot of the Week:
Wallaman Falls, Ingham.QLD

Camp of the Week:
Ringers Rest in Mareeba, Atherton Tablelands, QLD Only $5 per night, this was a delightful spot owned by the very local Dave.

Tip of the Week:
Peg down your awning people!

Luckily this didn’t impact us, but the people camping alongside were not so fortunate. Returning from a walk, they were unimpressed to learn that a small gust had lifted their awning and flipped it right over the other side of your car. Bent poles and snapped hinges are never much fun, especially when you are remote and unable repair or replace parts L

So always, always have your ropes and pegs handy when setting up camp, especially for your awning!

Disaster of the Week:
Rain, rain, every day rain! Some days a lot, some days a little, but either way it was pretty wet for our whole first week back on the road.

So much so in fact, that we actually changed our intended route and plans. Heading inland to the Atherton Tablelands, instead of up the coast, still gave us rain, but seeing waterfalls when it was wet was much better than being at the beach! 

The Budget ($ AUD):
Fuel – $215.00
Groceries – $345.00
Camping Fees – $158.00
Magnetic Island Ferry – $96.50
Chemist – $15.00
Lunch in Mission Beach (a treat to celebrate freedom again!) -$20.00
Bunnings (piping, joiners etc) – $67.50
Coffees – $10.00
Total – $927.50


This was a lot more than our weekly budget of $500!

However, it was our first week of freedom back on the road and there was a lot of stuff we needed to buy and restock.

Good excuse!


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Day 1 – Mission Beach via Wallaman Falls

Wallaman Falls

With Mission Beach the target destination on Day 1, we hit the road with the added intention of a scenic detour, namely to Wallaman Falls.

The tallest waterfall in Australia, we were blown away by the size and spectacular beauty of this torrent of falling water.

When you come up the walking track and over a small rise, you are immediately confronted with the sight of a huge gorge wall and the deafening roar of the waterfall! Definitely do not miss this one if you are in the area. After our little detour (100km!), we made our way to Mission Beach for the next few days.


Day 2 – Mission Beach

Although we don’t like to spend big on accommodation, we felt we deserved a rest after Maggie, so we decided to treat ourselves with a stay at Hideaway Village, Mission Beach

This huge caravan park had tons of amenities and was very close to the beach. Had it been sunny, it would have been the perfect place to unwind. Nevertheless, we still had great phone service, so just got on with some serious blog time and caught up on some sleep!


Day 3 – Mission Beach


Some more sheltering from the rain under the awning, followed by some indulgent Olympics watching on TV!

We even lashed out and bought lunch from a great little café called Ebb and Flow, just to console ourselves on the wet weather! If you are in Mission make sure you go here as it has great coffee and delicious meals including the most amazing Thai curry soup!


Day 4 – Mareeba via Cairns & Palm Cove


A quick stop in Cairns to buy some parts for modifications to the solar panel cabling and we were off to Palm Cove for a windswept and wet lunch!

With the forecast still looking grim, we had to make a decision on where to go next and choose to forego the coast, heading inland instead where things looked a bit drier! From there, the plan was then to head further north once the weather cleared a little.

We found our way to one of the best cheap camps we’ve discovered so far – the fabulous Ringers Rest. This is a working cattle property owned by a lovely old local, Dave. He has very generously made a great camping spot for travellers with drinking water and toilets.

At only $5 pppn, we decided to make Ringers Rest our base for the next few days while we explored the Atherton Tablelands.


Day 5 – Atherton Tablelands


I needed some internet time, so the boys dropped me off at the Mareeba library while they explored the treats of this town including sampling the coffee at CoffeeWorks.

This is definitely a must for anyone who even has the smallest caffeine addiction!

After sourcing some more bits and pieces for repairs to the car, they then picked me up and we headed down to Atherton to explore some of the Southern Tableland area.

Treats included discovering a great bespoke dairy farm called Gallo Dairyland where we tasted some Tableland cheeses, visiting the beautiful Lake Eacham (we would have loved to swim here on a sunny day!) and walking to the amazing Curtain Fig Tree just outside Yungaburra.


Day 6 – Atherton Tablelands

Millstream Falls

More Tablelands exploration followed on Day 6, including seeing quite a few waterfalls – perfect thing to do on a wet day!

The Great Waterfall Way near the town of Millaa Millaa made for an awesome drive and we saw some beautiful ones including Millaa Millaa Falls, Millstream Falls and Zillie Falls.

The highlight of our day however, had to be the Hypipamee Crater and Dinner Falls.

This was spectacular in its own right, but was made all the more amazing by the fact we spotted our first cassowary in the wild here – hoorah!


Day 7 – Cooktown

Archer Point

After an unusually early start (!), we headed to the supermarket for a big food shop that would need to last us a whole week. We knew we were heading to Cape York and supplies there would be low and expensive.

Finally, it was nice to see some sunshine and we started heading north again in high spirits!

Arriving in Cooktown, this large town came as a real surprise.

It was mid afternoon, so we didn’t have a lot of time to explore, but did manage a stroll in the Botanic Gardens, a drive to the lookout out at Grassy Hill and to poke our head into the museum.

There was so much more to do in Cooktown that we couldn’t believe it!

Wanting to get to our campsite at the Lions Den Hotel however, we left it at that, planning to be back and explore more of the place later.

On our way to the Lions Den Hotel, we decided to check out a little side road to the coast and wow, were we in for a treat!

Archer Point was absolutely stunning! We just hung out there for an hour or so taking in the surreal beauty of the coastline.

The Lions Den Hotel, although rustic and cute, wasn’t the best camp experience we’d had.

There was a group right next to us who decided that 2 o’clock in the morning was the best time for a rendition of what they called the “Tooth Fairy” song.

Nevertheless, we utilised the power at this camp and were delighted to see the clouds clearing after a small shower the next morning!

Sun at last!

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