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My North Queensland holiday is nearly over. It's time to drive my mighty campervan back to Cairns. But as always there are journeying pleasures.

On the outskirts of Cooktown is Kalkajaka (Black Mountain), a place of importance to the local Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal people, with a number of sites of religious significance. In the early morning light, the black rock (black from a covering of lichen) looks an almost eerie purple. The mountains are a tumble of rock, with very little vegetation, formed by an unusual jointing pattern millions of years ago. A narrow gorge carries rushing water, glimpsed as you cross a bridge.

The road is pretty empty, so I can slow down to take a photo through the windscreen, a rough orangey bluff ahead of me and the shadow of my van leading the way. I pass the anthills again, fascinated by their shape and their profusion. I turn off the Mulligan Highway and head down the mountain out of the savanna to the green of Mossman, which seems now like a town I know. I indulge my penchant for photographing the murals on public lavatories.

The coast road back to Cairns is spectacular, with plenty of pull off spots for the camera. It fancies the blue-green of the water, the glimpse of islands and the receding headlands, and it's a bit startled by rocky beaches.

Too soon I'm handing over my companion van and heading for the airport. The flight back is a bit bumpy, and the landing a bit more so, but nothing too bad despite Sydney's cyclonic weather. The bus on the way down the coast leaves a wake to rival that on the reef catamaran, and the roadside has waterfalls, and fountains wherever there's an overtaxed stormwater drain. By the time I reach Potato Point, I'm anxious about washing with my minimal turnaround time before I head off to Warsaw.