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Explore Tropical North Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef like a local!

Created by people who’ve lived in and explored the region for over two decades, this is the only guide you need if you’re interested finding the places locals love. Steer clear of the crowds and get to know the real TNQ.

100 Things to See in Tropical North Queensland is the only guide for travellers who aren’t tourists that covers the best of the far north and Great Barrier Reef, written by people who live there. This remarkable part of Australia is home to the oldest rainforest on earth, the world’s largest living organism and three world heritage sites, and that’s just the beginning.

In this guide, author and travel journalist Catherine Lawson, along with partner and photographer, David Bristow, take anyone wanting to explore TNQ like a local into the places off the regular tourist trails. Both have spent more than 20 years travelling their backyard by foot, 4WD, train, bike and even in their sailing yacht, Storyteller.
Inside, you’ll find 100 of the best places and things to see and do at the top of Queensland – from dream-like swimming holes to undisturbed rock-art galleries and outback adventures you’ll never forget.

Exploring Eden Media is an independent publishing house focussed on in-depth, highly curated information for travellers, rather than tourists. Our writers and creators are award-winning tour guides and authors, experienced travellers and passionate explorers.

It was founded by Melissa Connell and Brendan Batty, who both have a passion for travelling slowly, because it’s as much about the destination as it is about the journey.

Hardcover, 216 Pages printed on FSC-certified paper 

Carbon footprint: approximately 2.5kg  Our books plant forests.



Catherine Lawson and David Bristow have called Tropical North Queensland home for over two decades. Although, their home is a yacht called Wild One, and they divide their time between exploring the reef under sail, or the land in their modified Toyota LandCruiser 4WD camper. It’s okay to hate them a little bit. 

Catherine cut her journalistic teeth as a cadet in a regional newsroom, but her love of travel made keeping her itchy feet under a desk pretty challenging. After tackling a Big Lap of Australia, she landed a job as editor of Go Camping Australia magazine so that she could legitimately travel for ‘work’, and pretty quickly became a digital nomad, editing the magazine on the road and freelancing for some of Australia’s best travel and camping magazines. She launched Australia’s first outdoor Gear Guide, and after meeting David on an idyllic Thai island, moved to Tropical North Queensland to manage News Corp’s Port Douglas Gazette. The author of two Australian travel books, Catherine has spent the last 25 years writing for the likes of Australian Geographic, Wild, Outdoor, Action Asia, Get Lost, WellBeing and ROAM magazine.

David began his career as a television cameraman in Western Australia, filming in the most remote corners of the state. Born in Perth, he spent his youth – camera on shoulder, surfboard in car – travelling the entire west coast until he and Catherine met in Thailand and moved to TNQ. Dave transitioned to stills photography, and now devotes his days to documenting Australia’s wild places (and wild creatures) for magazines, books and his own website,

Together, Catherine and David prefer to be exploring the path less travelled and specialise in dreaming up and documenting the kind of adventures and wildlife encounters that inspire intrepid travellers to pack their bags. They don’t write about the world’s hippest bars, or which galleries to visit (unless they are Indigenous rock art galleries) or what hotel deals to snap up. But they do guide travellers to some of the wildest natural destinations on the planet.

The authors of 100 Things To See In Tropical North Queensland, Catherine and Dave said of their home, “Every time we fly back into Cairns and see those green hills and white strip of sand and just hugging the coastline, this opalescent sea, we just think there’s nowhere else in the world that’s this good. Some places have pretty beaches or a nice strip of reef, but they just aren’t as green and vibrant as TNQ. And it doesn’t matter what season it is, it’s always lush and gorgeous, and you can do whatever you want, outdoors, year-round. We’ve never found another place in the world that’s quite like that.”

Catherine and David also contributed significantly to 100 Things To See On Australia’s Coral Coast. David is a Western Australian by birth, and spent much of his career as a roving cameraman for various news shows travelling up and down the Coral Coast. Both Catherine and David have both travelled extensively through the region by 4WD and camper.

They have a gorgeous daughter Maya, who, as-well-as being the youngest Australian to reach Everest base-camp, accompanies them on all their travels. Find out more about their travels, their work and their envious life at

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