CAPE YORK

28/5/2011

TRIP TO CAPE YORK

We left Cairns about 9.30a.m. and drove to Laura, arriving at 2.30p.m.   We stopped for a coffee at Mareeba and lunch at Lakeland.   So far the road is good.  We had a nice little powered camp site at Laura at the back of the pub for $10p.p. p.n. with hot showers – beware of frogs though YUK!!!

 

Campsite at Laura

Campsite at Laura

29/5

We left Laura around 9.30 (we don’t do early starts) the roads had been graded so that was good.   We were glad that we had made some enquiries before we left home to see when the graders were going through and also made sure we left before any school holidays.  It paid off.  We stopped at Hann River Roadhouse for a pit stop and found a lovely spot at Moorhead River for a coffee.   

Hann River Roadhouse

Hann River Roadhouse

We drove on to Musgrave Station which was is the home of the old Musgrave Telegraph Office, named in honour of the then Governor of Queensland, Sir Anthony Musgrave, It was erected in 1886 and commenced operation on 23 December that year. It was constructed in association with the important overland Cape York Telegraph Line from Laura, at the southern end of Cape York Peninsula, to Thursday Island in the Torres Strait. This is considered one of the outstanding achievements in the development of Queensland’s colonial telegraph network.

 

We looked around and read some of the history which was very interesting well worth a stop.   You can camp there for $7 per night per person.

 We then drove into Coen and after looking around there we decided to camp on the Coen Riverbed.  Very nice and free.  We had a welcome swim in the beautiful clear creek water and saw lots of locals fishing and swimming as well.   We got talking to some of them and met Vilma who was cooking a damper just on some hot stones and sand, it looked delicious.

Vilma told us that the local pastor drops them off at the river and then picks them up later on, an idealic way to spend a day!   

30/5

We left early today!!   Yes 9.06, a record.   Got to Archer River another nice spot the fuel here was $1.99 a litre I’m sure it will get more expensive the further we go.   The road has been good so far as we are in luck, the grader seems to be a few kilometres ahead of us so makes for a smooth ride. 

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The road was good

This was the first of our real adventure.   We drove about 150ks into Chilli Beach which is located in the Iron Range National Park.  In order to get to Chilli Beach we had to first cross the Wenlock and Pascoe Rivers.   

Wenlock with its steep entry and exit points this was our first river crossing.  We also had another car and van follow us.  Not too deep and quite easy.

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Wenlock River crossing

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Here we go

 We came around a bend and the Pascoe looked daunting.  Trouble here is you can’t walk across the river to see how deep it is.  The Pascoe is about 100m wide.   As we were deciding what to do along came some local boys from Lockhart River.  They were very nice and drove through first and waited for us on the other side.  Unfortunately we were so concerned about crossing the river I forgot to take a photo!!!!

Then it was on to Iron Range with beautiful scenery and rainforests.  Lots of pretty little creeks.

Camped at Chillie Beach.  Very nice spot bit windy but beautiful white sandy beach and blue water but crocodiles!!!  Yvonne and I were a bit worried but all okay.

 31/5

Headed off again today looked at Portland Roads.  Lots of history here and very pretty.  Some of the early navigators came in here for shelter, namely, Captain Cook, William Bligh of the Bounty, Edmund Kennedy and also used during WWII and the battle of the Coral Sea.   

On our way back now and  we called into Lockhart River Airfield to see the WWII remnants but nothing of interest.   Hi tailed it out of there as we had alcohol on board.   $75,000 or 18 months in prison if you get caught taking it in there!!!

Lockhart River Aerodrome

The airport at Lockhart River

Crossing Pascoe River on the way back there was a bulldozer putting stones on the bottom to make it easier.  Not as exciting as on the way over.

Back on the Peninsular Development Road which was like a highway can do 100ks.  I drove some of the way today was fun.   

Then on to Bramwell Junction for a much needed hot shower.   We met a hitchhiker who is attempting to travel to Europe not using commercial transport.   A bit of a strange bloke wanted to use our stove and pots and didn’t have a water bottle!!!  Nice campsite $10pp weather getting hotter now and more flies!!

 

1/6

What an exciting start to June and the day.  We planned on doing the Old Telegraph Road however they told us at the shop you couldn’t go through Palm Creek which was just the beginning of the road.  They were right.  Amazing drop on the way in very muddy clay really and very steep on the way out.  We went to have a look though.  Lee would love to have tried but …. We did have one creek crossing which was fun.  Lee looking forward to doing the Old Telegraph Road further up the road very challenging.

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Palm Creek a bit steep and muddy

Drove to Heathlands along PDR and onto OTL to Bertie Creek.   Beautiful country sandy road all good some rough bits.  Couldn’t go past Bertie Creek to Dulhunty.  A bloke got bogged couldn’t get out with a winch!!  Had lunch on the bank of Bertie Creek lovely spot.

Ran into some CSIRO blokes getting ferns and insects which are native to here and Asia.  They analyse them and give information to quarantine.  Quite interesting, unfortunately for them someone stole their shoes they had taken off to walk through the creek.  Can’t trust anyone even in remote areas such a shame.

We then drove on to the famous Gunshot Creek.  Impassable only an idiot would try even the road in there challenging.  Cockatoo Creek different has crocs and steep entry and deep in the middle with rocks.  Couldn’t see other side as couldn’t walk across the creek.  Back to PDR.  

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Gunshot very muddy

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Nice in the water

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Some of the things left behind by people

 Long drive and getting late.  Stopped to look at Fruit Bat Falls quite spectacular.  Then onto Elliot Falls for our camp.  More of the OTR rough and one creek crossing.   Too late to look at falls.

A very exciting day full of 4WDing.   Lee loved the challenge and would probably like to do the whole lot sometime.

2/6

Got up and walked to the falls.  WOW!   Elliot nice but Twin Falls just beautiful.   Lovely sandy bottom beautiful to swim.  I think nicer than Mitchell Falls. 

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Twin Falls and a much needed swim

Then onto the Jardine River and the ferry crossing.  No one there we were lucky as I’ve been told there can be up to 50 cars waiting to cross.   $88 it takes about 3 or 4 cars at a time and only about 5 mins. across.  Road quite rocky and rough for a bit then bitumen all the way.

 

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It’s not very far across

Stayed at Seisia Holiday Park quite nice bit of dirt under foot.  Nice relaxing afternoon.  The scenery is magnificent can see lots of islands as we look out across the Torres Straight.

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Seisia Camp Ground nice to see some grass

3/6

Went to Thursday Island today.   A really good boat trip there $87 with seniors discount that included a bus trip around the island.  Lovely place only 4.5ks and 3,500 people.    

Lot of history here.  Lunch at the pub which was really nice and then had a good look around.  Not very big but people friendly.  The boat ride back was a bit rough it takes 1hr 10mins.  Really good day.

4/6

This is what we came for!!   Today we reached the top of Australia.  A beautiful drive through rainforest then spectacular beach and water.   A bit of a climb to reach the tip but well worth it.   Yvonne and I had champagne and the boys had a beer to celebrate.   Got back and sat under a shady tree with some chicken and bread rolls.  Very lovely day.

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We made it to the top

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Beautiful Punsand Bay

So now we have made it, not that difficult as the roads are all good except from JR ferry to Bamaga.  Best time to come.   

5/6

We start our trip back today.  Saw our friends in the /Subaru again.  Went into Elliot/Twin Falls again for a swim and lunch.   Then on to Moreton Telegraph Station.  What a beautiful place to camp.  Only 3 campers and a tour group.  They have a 5 star restaurant down the back, cabins and permanent tents for the tours.  Really nice.   Will definitely stay there next time! 

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Moreton Telegraph Station campground

6 – 7/6

Heading off after a look around the managers at Moreton Telegraph Station have been up for 3 wet seasons and this is their first dry season.

Took the road to Weipa via Bativa Downs.  A good road.  Nice camp grounds at Weipa grass under our feet!!!   Water view nice sunset first night little bit of rain second night.

Weipa not a very big place and a bit dusty.   Quite a lot of people in the campground.  Have certainly noticed more cars heading north now. 

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Sunset at Weipa

8/6

Decided to make a big day of it today.  Left Weipa early (8am) and drove to Old Laura roughly  500ks.   Quite an easy drive but lots of dust.  The car is really dusty and even inside.

We stopped along the way to talk to Murray’s mate and lunched at Cohen River a lovely spot.  Next time will camp over the river on the sand.

Arrived at Old Laura around 5p.m.  Had a welcome swim in Laura River.  Lots of birds here peaceful just lovely.  Beautiful campsite by the river all by ourselves again.   

 

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Old Laura River

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Beautiful campsite by the river

9/6

On to Cooktown.   Road a bit more bumpy in spots but still OK.  Beautiful area near the Normanby River.   Isabella Falls beautiful.

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Normanby River

Back on the bitumen for a while don’t miss the dust at all. Went to Hope Vale for a look.  It is quite small very clean and tidy no pictures of Mattie Bowen thought they would have something about him there.   Then on to Cooktown where we stayed the night.

We drove from Cooktown through the amazing Bloomfield Track where the rainforest is so thick and the plants so green just beautiful.

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The amazing Daintree Rainforest along the Bloomfield Track

Arrived back into civilisation at Daintree after an amazing journey up to the tip of Australia.  Loved it will have to do it again sometime perhaps drive one way and get the barge that leaves from Cairns to Seisa.

Stay tuned for more adventures in this beautiful land of ours – Australia.