Book review: 100 Things To See In Tropical North Queensland
As restrictions ease and borders open, and we all emerge from Covid-19 lockdowns, now is the time to plan a grand adventure right here at home, in Australia. And I reckon Queensland is going to be at the top of a lot of our must-see lists. I’m a bit biased because I’m a Queenslander, born and bred.
I also spent a large chunk of my formative years living and working in North Queensland – and as a result I spent a considerable amount of time in Tropical North Queensland (TNQ), bushwalking, 4WDing and camping. It’s a bloody magical spot, to say the least. There’s plenty of things to do and places to visit, which is why it’s essential to have the absolutely best up-to-date information you can possible access on the entire region; I’m talking about expert local, insider details on … everything.
Enter: 100 Things To See In Tropical North Queensland. Published by Aussie company Exploring Eden Media*, this handy 196-page, A5-sized book is “the definitive list to adventuring in the far north”, according to the mob responsible for it. And who are we to argue, because it is actually packed full of details and amazing photography, as well as numerous tips and tricks that will surely inform even the most seasoned traveller (* Full disclosure: A good mate of mine, Brendan Batty, co-heads the company, Exploring Eden Media. But you know how true friendship works – if this book was a big pile of sh*t I wouldn’t hesitate to tell him.)
The couple who produced this book are TNQ locals, authors and photographers Catherine Lawson and David Bristow. They’re two of Australia's most well-respected travel journalists, who “specialise in documenting places where travellers can have authentic experiences off the beaten path”. Great job, if it’s yours. They know the far far north in and out. Who better to divulge all the good stuff on this awesome adventure destination? Afterall, local knowledge is the best knowledge.
Catherine and David reckon they’ve spent 20 years exploring TNQ in 4WDs, caravans, boats, and on foot – and the proof of all that is in this comprehensive adventure travel guide. The couple’s young daughter has been along for the ride in recent years, and the family’s latest book has a firm focus on “accessible, family-friendly locations that typify the spectacle of far north Queensland”.
It details everything from worthwhile free-camping spots to budget-friendly Great Barrier Reef trips, the best croc-free* waterholes to expert advice on how to reach The Tip (the very top of Cape York) and all of the TNQ things worth doing in between. (* The reptilian kind, not the footwear kind.)
The book is proudly “a guide about what to do and where to go, rather than where to sleep or who serves the hippest cocktails” which is spot-on for those of us who love our adventures with a fair bit of dirt mixed into them.