Category Archives: Queensland

Sunnies for your lenses

‘Sunnies’ is of course short for sunglasses but who can be bothered to pronounce such a long word? Certainly no Aussies I know!

A polarizer filter is the equivalent of sunnies for your lens and I still believe it is very much an essential tool in a photographers bag of tricks. You can certainly saturate the colours till your eyes bleed in Photoshop no problem there. But you simply can’t replicate the effect of a polarizer filter on maximum effect – especially if there’s water or foliage in your composition. The polarizer filter can remove glare from water and foliage and greatly enhance colours and detail. It can also remove reflections allowing you to shoot straight through the water or shoot through a window in a plane or helicopter with no reflections.

A recently developed RAW file of mine is a very simple (perhaps too simple, what do you think?) shot of the extremely gorgeous beaches found on the West Coast of Australia. It’s somewhere around Yanchep north of Perth and the pearly white sand and bluer than blue sky of WA is in itself mind blowing. Add to that a polarizer filter and your inner colour space is certainly in need of expansion:

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Colours of Indian Ocean Panorama
Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

I am not entirely convinced this image really works, it’s a very simple sky/ocean/beach composition but the colours are magnificent and it serves as a good example here. It does also look very lifelike and impressive at large size. The polarizer filter removes all glare and reflection so the colours are very pure and saturated. The ocean is a greenish tone because all reflection of the sky into the ocean are removed by the polarizer and you’re seeing through the water.

You need a high quality polarizer and they can be slightly expensive but it’s no use putting low quality filters on an expensive lens. It takes a bit of practice to use this filter, you rotate it to achieve desired effect and it can be hard to see in the view finder. Polarized light is strongest at a 90 degree angle to the sun and the filter is best used in the middle of the day (and is actually also a big help for black and white images!). With a wide angle lens you do run the risk of getting a wildly uneven sky so practice and make sure you shoot different versions. As much as a polarizer can help it can also ruin your sky like nothing else and you certainly don’t want to use a polarizer in stitched panoramas – your sky will never blend! Watch your exposure as well, a polarizer can eat at least a stop of light. Experience is the teacher here.

The final example is a much better photo, this time from 75 Mile Beach on Fraser Island in Australia:

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

75 Mile Beach
Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Notice how dark the sky has become, how much more defined the clouds are and how there is no glare and no reflections in the sand and water greatly enhancing colour purity and saturation. It’s all from the magic of ‘sunnies’ on the lens!

Fraser Island

Click to see larger size on my web - (c) Flemming Bo Jensen

Spectacular 75 mile beach on Fraser Island

“I really need a toilet!!!!” says the French woman rather desperately, almost jumping up and down on 75 mile beach.
“Well you’re just gonna have to use the bush toilet” I say. French woman then proceeds to actually ask our guide John: “where is bush toilet?” 😀 John smiles and then points to a bush in the sand dunes – and I have a hard time not laughing out loud as the French Woman runs towards the bush! Well that got me started on taking the piss out of everyone in our boring boring group – more on that later!

Fraser Island is one more UNESCO World Heritage area for this trip  (I’ve lost count now of how many I’ve been to!) and I must say it is pretty speccy indeed(speccy=spectacular, “pretty speccy” a great expression our guide Owen in Kakadu National Park used a lot). It is the largest sand island in the world; over 123 kilometers long. I didn’t think it was that big but I guess the beach named 75 mile beach should have given me a clue! Long stretches of gorgeous beaches and sand dunes are right next to rainforest areas and large freshwater lakes. It truly is phenomenally beautiful, pictures do not do it justice. You have to drive on 75 mile beach and experience the extremely fine pearly white sand and the crystal clear water in Lake McKenzie to really appreciate how gorgeous nature can be.  Fraser Island also has some of the last remaining pure dingoes in Australia. Contrary to popular belief there are not dingoes running around everywhere on Fraser, there are an estimated 100-200 left on the island (we saw 1 running across the road in the rainforest). You are continually warned to stay away should you encounter one, these are wild animals and may attack for food especially if people start feeding them. The rainforest on Fraser Island is actually just as spectacular as the beaches, Fraser Island was certainly first in line when Mother Nature handed out good looks!

There are no paved roads on Fraser so only 4WDs are allowed, it’s all very soft sand off road tracks and that makes for some great fun 4 wheel driving! I also did a fun scenic flight on Fraser that got me some great photos and a great experience – the plane takes off and lands right on 75 mile beach! I started off this post with a shot of the beach and the following is few more from the island; more at my gallery. To get these shots without lots of people in them took some patience and heaps of my how-to-avoid-people skills because places like the Maheno ship wreck were a circus!

Click to see larger size on my web - (c) Flemming Bo Jensen

75 mile beach from the airClick to see larger size on my web - (c) Flemming Bo Jensen Landing on 75 mile beach!

Click to see larger size on my web - (c) Flemming Bo Jensen

Pearly white sand and crystal clear Lake McKenzie

Fraser Island really is a beautiful place as my photos hopefully shows – but also an incredible popular holiday spot and very touristy place! Probably the most touristy place I have been to in Australia I reckon; a fact not helped by the Queensland public school holiday so there were heaps of people everywhere in either organized tours or in rented 4WDs. 75 mile beach is a bit of a highway actually, so many 4WDs gunning it up and down the beach you really gotta watch you’re not run over (the police on the island actually patrol the beach and hand out speed tickets) . Fraser Island is a 45 mins. catamaran ride away from Hervey Bay in south east Queensland (4-5 hours north of Brisbane)  and lots of companies do tours or make big bucks renting 4WDs to tourist. There’s a barge to ferry you and your 4WD to the island and I reckon it would actually be super fun to explore the island on your own in a 4WD with some mates.

The way I got around the island was a 4WD (reckon I’ve used the word 4WD enough for this post?) full day tour from the resort where I stayed for 2 nights. Now, sometimes the groups you get are just great and sometimes they’re not so hot. This group took the prize though for being the most boring; most non-responsive group of “charter-flight-type-people” I have ever done a tour with. Not speaking to anyone but their partner(all couples); not responding to anything our guide told us (he just went through the script, getting no response or questions from anyone but me). They did end the trip with clapping (what the f#¤?) vigorously when our guide “landed” the 4WD back at the resort – therefore I conclude they’re all charter-flight-holiday people! At one point one of them pointed to my camera and said “do you want a picture of you in front of the tree?” I carry a very large camera with lenses + camera bag etc – do I look like I want pictures of myself in front of things???? No mate I am quite alright thank you. Btw no one touches this camera but me!

So I chatted to the guide a lot and interesting passengers from other tours…and I thought I might as well have myself a bit of fun in this boring boring group! The very funny bush toilet conversation with the French Woman got me started and here’s how I continued the day:

  • I cried out “snake!” every time I spotted a monitor lizard moving during a rainforest walk. Then watched half the group jump and scream.
  • Still on rainforest walk: I kept slapping my neck hard and mumbling “bloody mossies!”. Then watched Germans apply even more mosquito repellant!
  • Told German couple going north to Cairns to watch out for crocodiles on the Esplanade in the morning (actually potentially true!).
  • …and yeah basically made up stories all day long!

Had to inject a bit of life into the day! I am so spoiled anyway, after my very own Flemmings Adventure Tour of Hawk Dreaming no tour will ever compare!

By the way, nationality spotting is also good fun to do on a day like that although German tourists in Australia are just too easy to identify ‘cos they really come prepared! (For you politically correct readers, I am generalizing to make a point ok, it’s called sarcasm!) Speaking to tour guides down here the Germans are by far the most adventurous travelers in Australia (and the reason why the “Warning – Crocodiles!” signs are also written in German). They will drive their rented 4WD straight into a river – and get stuck – just to try some 4 wheel driving. German tourists in Oz: They’ve bought every single piece of clothing and equipment from the outdoor camping and trekking shop! Shoes, boots, pants, shirt – everything is North Face, Mountain Design or similar – like they were climbing Mount Everest. They landed here and immediately bought matching Australian leather bush hats from usually Barmah. They start the day by applying a thick layer of sunscreen and on top of that – they soak themselves in Aerogard mosquito repellant (not needed until dusk) making it hard for the rest of us to breathe! And they seem to carry all their adventure gear on them all the time in heaps of big backpacks and pouches and wallets! Should we ever get stuck we all need the Germans though – they carry enough fruit and water for the whole group! There ya have it – Germans in Oz, too funny!

Randomness

  • Tired of resorts now after the Fraser Island and Dunk Island resorts; happy to be back in Brisbane in normal civilization. A hotel room or a camp in the bush is more me!
  • Mosquito bites arrgh! Maybe the Germans are actually on to something with all that Aerogard. Shooting some cityscapes at dusk last week my left hand holding on to the tripod got absolutely tattooed with about 10 mossie bites in a few minutes. You know the most itchy spots to get bitten? Places where the skin is thin, like your ankles and your fingers. Nothing more dangerous than a wounded mosquito!
  • Johnny Cash was a genius! Driving through the bush ya gotta listen to country music. Other bands in heavy ipod rotation: Powderfinger, Silverchair, Snow Patrol, Death Cab for Cutie, Mew, Blue Foundation – and always Depeche Mode. And some new Australian rock: Something for Kate, Evermore, Kisschasy and Eskimo Joe.

Quote of the day (the ultimate compliment):

“Marge, you’re as beautiful as Princess Leia and as smart as Yoda.”

– Homer Simpson

Cairns; how I learned to love ya

Click to see larger size Sunrise view of Cairns and the Esplanade shot from my hotel room

A city that is mostly purpose built for tourism is always going to feel just a bit contrived; a bit too constructed with a bit of a theme park feel to it. Cairns currently has a population of about 125 000 but millions of tourists stay here every year and most of them to dive on the Great Barrier Reef; making Cairns one of the most popular dive destinations in the world. There are an unbelievable amount of different tours available in Cairns and it can feel sometimes like one big tourist resort.

Click to see larger size Cairns from above shot from my helicopter tour

However; look beyond all that and stay for some time and you discover a charming tropical town that is indeed very nice to call home for. I admit I did not like Cairns much last year, I was there for two days (spent 8 days in outback Cape York) and all I saw was tourists and souvenir shops everywhere. I arrived from Brisbane high on photographing big Cityscapes and was blind to the charms of Cairns. This time I was here for two weeks and ended up really liking Cairns! So it’s touristy. So what, I’m a tourist as well. Cairns still has a really nice small tropical town atmosphere with many quirky fun people and many things that are very hard to beat:

  • Amazing best-of-the-tropics experiences just a few hours away. Not many cities can claim they have World Heritage sites like the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest just next door and go further north (I did that last year) and you have the very remote Cape York outback. Cairns really is gateway to some phenomenal tropical experiences.
  • Tropical climate at this time of the year is just perfect. Sunny every day, around 27-30 degrees at day and around 18-20 degrees at night. Like some Cairns resident told me “It’s just pure hell living in Paradise”.
  • Cairns is right on the ocean’s edge and the 4km long Esplanade is a great construction and a super place to relax during the day. It even features a large pool with an artificial beach (since Cairns itself has no beach, it’s one long mudbank)
  • Laid back relaxed tropical lifestyle quickly becomes addictive!

Adding to this I managed to get a super nice (and huge, size of my flat back home) hotel room the last 7 days, top floor of Mercure Harbourside with a fantastic view of the Esplanade (see first picture in this post) from my roughly 6 meter long balcony. How to blag a room like this? Well the harbour view you pay extra for, but stay for quite a few days, say “make sure the room has internet as I’m a photographer and have business to do, lot’s of stuff to photograph here” (all the rooms have internet, but it helps to say you actually need it for business) Have your huge camera and lens on your shoulder when checking in and chances are you’ll get the best available room. It worked in Darwin, worked in Cairns! Waking up early every morning at 6am and watching the sunrise from my huge balcony on the 7th floor. Yeah, life’s pretty rough here!

Click to see larger size One of my shots from the Esplanade at sunrise

Click to see larger size The pool at the Pier on the esplanade

After spending two weeks in Cairns I have to agree with the bloke from Cairns who said to me “it’s pure hell living in paradise! More at my gallery.

Randomness

  • I am now in big city Brisbane (known as “Brisvegas” or “Brissy”) and what a culture shock. I know Brisbane and really like it, have been here last year for a few days – but coming from the relatively small towns of Darwin and Cairns to a big city takes a lot of acclimatizing and is certainly a new chapter in this odyssey (I do miss my ocean view mega hotel room!). Brisbane is very good for gorgeous cityscapes at sunrise and sunset though so stay tuned for up-coming post about Brissy!
  • Same day as I thought my Canon 5D broke…I hit the max limit for 30 days use on my VISA card so the ATM denied me any money and I had to use room service and charge the food to my room bill so I could eat a bit. Didn’t know there was a limit; fortunately an email to my bank removed the limit altogether so I can now spend till I’m broke (will be once I buy that helicopter)! Sunday was not a good day.

Quote of the day:

“Why can’t you people learn to speak my language? I learned to eat your food!”
– Homer Simpson in an episode where The Simpsons visit Italy

Great Barrier Reef

click to see larger size-- One of my Saturday shots of Great Barrier Reef from above

One of the seven wonders of the world; a World Heritage area – and it is also actually the earth’s largest living thing! Stretching 2000 kilometers the Great Barrier Reef is the most extensive reef system in the world and it is made entirely by living organisms some as old as 18 million years! When lit up by the sun the colors of the corals and the sea practically defy photography, it is really hard to capture these colors on a digital sensor, the fantastic palette of blues and greens are impossible to reproduce. The reef is of course not one big reef, but made up of about 2900 separate reefs and Cairns is the main gateway to a bewildering amount of reef tours. You can see the reef in just about any way imaginable and the reef contributes an incredible 4 to 5 billion Australian dollars every year to the Australian economy!

I reckon the two best ways to see the reef must be: up close and personal by diving – or from above by helicopter. I’m no diver (to say the least) so for me it’s from above and it’s gotta be by helicopter (as some of you will know I love flying in helicopters). Last year I did a short helicopter flight over Moore Reef; this year I waited a full week to get a 60 minutes reef ‘n rainforest flight to Arlington Reef. They only fly with a minimum of two so it’s either wait till someone else books the same flight or pay for two. Luckily on my last day in Cairns the waiting paid off (I actually would have paid for two if I had to!) and 3 other passengers joined me for an afternoon helicopter flight with Sunlover Helicopters! Conditions weren’t perfect for photography, bit too much wind and a very hazy day but I have to take what I can get until I can afford my own helicopter (but then how would I fly and shoot pictures at the same time).

It is a phenomenal sight to fly above this very surreal and colorful landscape of corals and great fun to machine gun my Canon 5D out the window of the helicopter at the same time! We also saw some huge manta rays and hammerhead sharks from the air. The following is a few of my shots from Saturday, more on my gallery. I’m not entirely satisfied with them and the RAW files are really hard to develop properly on my laptop screen. But then I have the perfect reef shot in my head and I doubt I’ll every shoot it and like I said you have to see it in real life; it’s not easy to photograph:

click to see larger size--

click to see larger size--

(Polarizer filter on my lens means you can shoot basically straight through the water and really see the corals but also means you see the cloud reflections on the ocean – in case you were wondering)

I’ll end my reef post with one of my shots from 2006 – Moore Reef and still by far the best reef shot I have done:

Randomness

  • ARRRRRGHHHHHHH…..bloody heart attack…shiiiiit…just before posting this my camera suddenly refused to recognize the memory card I just inserted. Bugger me!!!!! That got the blood boiling! Fortunately a reset by removing battery did the trick but I’ve never had this happen before. And even though I would walk down and buy a new Canon 5D tomorrow if it actually was broke, I would rather not, the 5D is super expensive! Whew…false alert, thank the maker, I can call off the heart attack.
  • Next post will be about the city of Cairns itself, I have collected a few great shots of Cairns a town that I’ve grown to really like over the past few weeks.
  • Weather…it’s just perfect everyday. Sunshine and 30c degrees. Like a resident from Cairns told me “it’s pure hell living in paradise”!
  • How the hell do I adjust to normal life again in Wintery Copenhagen now that I’ve completely adjusted to this tropical life and shooting pictures full time?
  • My thanks to our Crown Prince Frederik for marrying Mary the Aussie; Danes are now treated almost royally down here, many Aussies feel Denmark is now some sort of sister-country and often want to know how Mary is going!

Quote of the day:

“Thanks for inviting me to OPEC”
– George Bush speech at the recent APEC convention in Sydney.

(He also managed to call Australians “Austrians”!
He’s got heaps of speech writers, just read the bloody text mate!)

Cooktown, Kuranda and Daintree – Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Like the title here’s a bit of a mixtape for you of a few of my recent Cairns experiences in planes, trains and automobiles. Also check out quite a few new shots in my gallery.

Kuranda

Kuranda is a lovely little village north of Cairns that time almost forgot; quite busy during the day because of two major tourist attractions – Skyrail and Kuranda Scenic Railway. The Skyrail is great and an amazing piece of engineering but I reckon the most fun is the good old train, and here’s my postcard panorama of the train (shot out the window):

Click to see larger size

I was entertained all the way from Kuranda to Cairns by a mid-age couple from outback South Australia sitting next to me. She smiled a lot and handed out muesli fruit snack bars to everyone and he talked a lot about water (he worked with water, never did hear exactly what he did but probably something to do with water management, South Australia is super dry.) He was extremely impressed that I’ve been to Kununurra in Western Australia (Kununurra is right next to the massive Ord River) “Always wanted to go to Kununurra my whole life and see how much water they have mate” he said to me, “so did you see the Ord River mate, did you see it? What was it like, a lot of water there?”. “Yeah” I said … “heaps of water mate, you will absolutely love it!”

Click to see larger size

Cairns and surrounding area shot from Skyrail

Cooktown – there and back and there again

Named Cooktown because it is here that Captain James Cook and his crew spent 41 days repairing his ship after hitting the reef and damaging the ship Endeavour very severely. So grave was Cooks troubles that he named the place where he hit the reef Cape Tribulation. Well I encountered a few problems on the way to Cooktown as well! I went on a day trip where you fly up the coast to Cooktown and then drive the scenic ocean road the roughly 400 kilometers back to Cairns. We take off in a small 8 seater plane at 6.45am and have a beautiful 35 minutes flight to Cooktown in the morning light – only to find Cooktown airstrip completely shrouded in fog! We could not see the runway at all. This is from the airplane and you can see Cooktown on the right but the runway is somewhere underneath the fog:

Click to see larger size

We circled for 15 minutes but was running low on fuel – so we bloody had to return to Cairns. At 8.45 I sat in the same Skytrans terminal in Cairns with a heavy feeling of Deja Vu! At 9.30 we took off again for Cooktown, this time with an expectation of actually landing there! We did and although it cut the tour a bit short and left us with next to no time in Cooktown we did get to fly to Cooktown – twice!

Click to see larger sizeThe Lions Den – outback pub south of Cooktown

DAintree rainforest

Click to see larger size

A tropical rainforest is fantastic and it does not get much better than the Daintree Rainforest north of Cairns – the oldest rainforest on earth with trees that are more than a 1000 years old. It is just a phenomenal experience to walk around and study the plants, trees and wildlife. This is another of those ‘on another planet’ experiences. A polarizer filter is again a must for photographing in a rain forest and so are cloudy conditions which we were lucky to have (rain would have been nice too, but can’t have it all) as it brings out the green it shots like the one on the left.

On this 12 people trip there were 4 retired Americans from Tennessee; they were so incredibly nice and the most friendly and polite people you can imagine and they all had this fantastic slow southern accent (a drawl I believe it’s called) making them sound like a cross between Elvis, Forrest Gump & Clinton (although he’s from the neighbour state Arkansas). One of them (I’m terrible with names but he was The One With Best Accent) was videoing everything and did a running narrative as well into his video camera – hilarious stuff! “Nowwww this here is Dainnnntree Rainnnnnforest in Arrrwwwstraulia and that there is a strannnngler tree” spoken very slowly with some serious rolling on every “r”. I found it hard not to laugh every time he did it, loved it. “Now it’s been a rrrreallll pleasure meetin’ you; now you come see us soon in the United States” The One With Best Accent said to me as I left the truck. Would love to mate, especially if you can teach me that accent!

Click to see larger size

Randomness

  • I hate it when tour guides say something along the lines of “the original settlement was a penal colony”. I beg to differ, the original settlement of Australia was the aboriginals! They were here for some 50 000 years before the white people, so yeah, it was sorta their country mate!
  • This week I have a rather spectacular and huge room on the top floor (7th) of my hotel in Cairns with a great view of the ocean and the esplanade. The room is so large I can run around and exercise indoors! Means I don’t have to do my albatross impression down the esplanade in Cairns endangering all the other morning joggers who can actually run (they would be in serious danger of dying from either laughing or me crashing into them…or both)!
  • Where’s the Great Barrier Reef shots you ask? They’re coming…still waiting for my helicopter flight to outer Arlington Reef. Stay tuned.
  • ‘Bourne Ultimatum’ is outstanding, the 3 Bourne movies the best secret agent movies ever. I would be Jason Bourne except I can’t run. I could be Jason Bourne on a bicycle!

Quote of the day:

Only the paranoid survive

Dunk Island, now includes albatross

click for larger sizeNoticed the tropical paradise picture on the left? That’s what I did the past 4 days – lived in a beach house on a small tropical island called Dunk Island. Dunk Island is named after some bloke named Dunk! The original aboriginal name Coonanglebah apparently means Island of Peace and Plenty – sounds made up but you never know and it certainly was great relaxation!

Here’s basically what I did for 4 days:
Get up early to shoot purple tropical sunriseclick for larger size12 hours later, shoot tropical sunsets like this:click for larger sizeand this:click for larger sizeIn between sunrise and sunset – relax at the beach, relax on my balcony and go for walks in the rainforest. Here’s the view from my balcony:
click for larger sizeand the beach at sunset (houses just behind palm trees):
click for larger size
…and more at my gallery: http://www.pbase.com/flemmingbo/australia2007

Dunk Island is my first of this sort of luxury-resort-on-tropical-island experience and I didn’t quite know what to expect but I gotta admit that I loved most of it. The resort bit is not really me, but weather was fantastic, ocean very clear and gorgeous, sunsets spectacular. And living in a luxury house so bloody nice I almost felt out of place (I’m just a simple country boy) and right on the beach? Loved it I must admit! Sitting on my balcony, sunbaking and listening to the sounds of the ocean. Not bad! Yeah I could definitely get used to having a house by the beach! What the hell has become of me though? 10 years ago I lived in cheap dodgy backpackers (I hated every moment but I did it) and now my beach house comes with complimentary sparkling wine and is the size of my flat back home! This simple boy from outback the still prefers a bush camp in the hot dusty outback – but doing this for a few days wasn’t half bad 😀

Randomness

A few random comments about random things; includes lots of exclamation points!

  • Exercise. In the Northern Territory with all the rock climbing and walking I did I felt I didn’t need much extra exercise (far too hot to run anyway). But now I have finally begun jogging (+some sit-ups and push-ups). Me running. Not a pretty sight! Think Phoebe in that FRIENDS episode where Phoebe and Rachel take up jogging. Arms and legs everywhere very much like an albatross trying to take off! I miss my bicycle!
  • Looking familiar. Someone tell me who it is I look like? If I had a dollar for everytime someone here tells me “you look so familiar”. I wonder who could possibly resemble me down here? Weird! If someone meets my clone let me know! I would like him to work for me, not run around out of control!
  • Ipods are the best thing since sliced bread. I somehow own 3 of them and use my Ipod Nano all the time!
  • That SAS airplane accident in Aalborg has been on the news here repeatedly. Looks bloody scary!

And I’ll end with a new feature: Quote of the Day:

It’s good to have an open mind but no so open that your brain falls out!

See ya soon 😀

A lone Mangrove at The Tip of Cape York Australia

To shoot the fourth picture in my image blog header (4th from the left) you have to go to the very remote Cape York in Queensland Australia and drive to the northernmost point of Australia – simply called “The Tip”. Click here for a google map of Cape York.

At the very tip there’s a lovely bay (just DON’T go in the water – heaps of crocs!) on your left and at low tide I shot this lone mangrove tree – click to see full size:
Mangrove at Cape York Australia

The colours of Australia, the deep blue sky and the golden yellow and red sand and a classic composition come together and create a simple but striking landscape. Most of the work here was done by Mother Nature, I simply captured the scene as is and worked the RAW file to recreate it. I tend to “break” the rules of composition a lot but here I went with the classic “thirds” composition.

Half the fun in shots like these is getting there. You can fly to Bamaga (close to the tip) from Cairns, but where’s the fun and adventure in that! No mate, do it the real way so you experience the real Cape York. Cape York is the size of Britain but with only about 20,000 inhabitants. Do a 4WD trip up the ole’ telegraph track with Wilderness Challenge from Cairns to The very Tip to experience the proper Cape York! This is without a doubt the most fun and also the roughest and bumpiest corrugated dirt road I have ever done in Australia (and I have done heaps of them, including the telegraph track on the south coast). There’s a reason these roads are called ‘washers’ it truly is like driving on a mega washboard! Highly recommended and the reward is gorgeous bays, beaches and landscapes – just watch out for those crocs!