As we are waiting to rent our JUCY van, in Cairns, my friend Ash and I realize that we both have never driven on the left side of the road and don’t understand Australian roundabouts. It is at this point that I realize I may not make it back from this road trip alive (joking, kind of). Most Australian roundabouts have two lanes and are at the majority of intersection instead of stop signs or traffic lights. I’ve probably had almost 100 roundabout related near-death experiences when I take the bus in the Gold Coast, so I’m feeling confident about this whole roundabout situation. The guys from the JUCY rentals laugh at us like we’re idiots and joke (except they are not joking) that we’ll be calling them in 10 minutes in a roundabout fiasco.
The van was sweet as (there’s some Australian lingo for you). We rented the El Cheapo 2 Sleeper which is the simplest JUCY van option and was very cheapo with a price tag of $53 a day. The El Cheapo had 2 benches that turned into a bed, a sink, gas stove, bedding, utensils and a cooler. Basically everything we needed for our road trip!
To get used to the van and driving on the left side of the road we practiced driving around town and decided to stay in Cairns for a few hours. I was able to hit up my favourite gelato shop in all of Australia, Gelocchio. They make these amazing fruit bars dipped in chocolate… and the gelato’s good too!
We then hit the road, with no idea of where we were going except North. Our first stop was along the beaches of the Captain Cook Highway, where the rainforest meets the reef (aka Jurrasic Park). I swear a T-Rex almost came out of the rainforest and ate us… It also could have been that mysterious monster from Lost (what did that even end up being?). But besides the dinosaurs and Lost monsters, this was one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve been to in Australia. We walked up and down the shores filling our pockets with as many shells as we could carry and got on the road again, a few pounds heavier.
The windy one lane road took us through the rainforest and along the coast, until we reached Daintree Village several hours later. The little town was really cute so we decided to stay over at the campground. The campground price was right at $10 per person, and we got in just in time for sunset.
Daintree Village was a great place to discover, and one that I probably never would have been able to see without a car. There are probably only about 4 buildings in the entire town and we had dinner and drinks in the town’s only restaurant. After dinner the campsite staff made us a campfire where we met our new friends Ronnie and Berry. They lent us their flashlight and we all walked down to the docks to spot crocodiles. Although sticking our toes into the water didn’t attract them (or maybe it did), we saw a baby crocodile swimming down the river (there is a 20% chance that it was actually a leaf). We didn’t know it then but this was the beginning of our road trip friendship!
Over the next few weeks I will be posting the day by day accounts of my very JUCY road trip around Northern Queensland so keep checking back!
PROLOGUE- A JUCY Road Trip: Prologue