"In the beginning"


The views expressed in this blog are not necessarily the views of the blog management, (on the other hand, they are not necessarily not the views of the blog management).

No effort has been made to stay within the bounds of the truth in this blog as it has always been the view of the management that the truth should never be allowed to stand in the way of a good story.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

A trip to Cape York

Trip to Cape York

From where we were living at the time, in Maryborough, Central Victoria to Cape York Peninsular in far north Queensland was a trip that required some detailed planning.

We had the ideal vehicle, a diesel powered Toyota Land Cruiser this would comfortably tow our 16 foot pop-top caravan as far as Mossman, where the bitumen ended, as well as being large enough to accommodate all our camping gear for the trip through far north Queensland to the Cape.

You can take it as read that we did all the pre-trip maintenance and study of all the maps and available reading matter as well as the detailed listing of requirements and careful packing of same… this was a modern day adventure not to be undertaken lightly.

I’m going to skip quietly past the 3 very enjoyable weeks that it took to get as far as Mossman where we stayed the night at the caravan park where our caravan would stay while we were camping out, that night we carefully checked the gear we were taking with us and stowed it in the Cruiser.

Please click on all photos to enbiggen.

Cooktown is located on Endeavour Bay and was named after James Cook who landed there in 1770

Our first day out we got as far as Cooktown where we spent the night, there was a holdup at the river crossing before getting onto the Bloomfield Track, there was an army convoy crossing and they submerged a Land Rover in a deep pool, something we found they did more than once!!

We continued on to Lakefield National Park, stopped at a great spot called Old Faithful where I caught my first Barramundi then an even bigger one at Mick Finn pool, what a start!!

Someone has added an S to the Exchange Hotel sign at Coen, there are characters everywhere in the outback

Travelled on the development road through Coen and Wenlock River, this road is fairly well maintained up to Weipa where there is a bauxite (aluminium) open cut mine and shipping terminal, this is located in the middle of nowhere (about 1,000 km from Cairns.

We continued along the Telegraph Track on a much less maintained surface, there were several detours around the roughest sections but as these sections were the ones with all the creek crossings, waterfalls and all the best scenery we stayed on the old Telegraph Track and just traveled a bit slower.

These first two photos I've posted before I know but no post about the trip to the Cape would be complete without them.

Julie giving the Cruiser a birthday wash in one of the many pristine creeks we crossed.

Eventually we got to the Jardine River, a very sizable river with a barge crossing which we

This is the easy way to cross the Jardine River on the barge.

used then on into Seasia for fuel and supplies before heading for the tip of Cape York.

Here we are standing on the very tip of Australia, the whole continent is south of us, the small island in the background is Yorke Island

Having used the barge to cross the Jardine on the way up I was keen to ford the river at the old crossing if possible, we located the crossing site and did a double take, the river is about 120 yards wide at this point, as all the 4WD books always tell you, I decided that I would walk across before venturing in with the vehicle.

Croc bait on the hoof.

So off I went on a meandering walk to test the depth and the bottom’s surface, there was a long pole about half way across where we had been told the army (yeah the same army that drowned a Land Rover at Bloomfield) had submerged a Mercedes Unimog a few months previously (Unimog’s stand about 8 feet tall!!!) so I needed to plot our course well clear of any disturbance to the river bed.

OK I reached the other side and with a clear picture in my mind about how to tackle the crossing I set out to return to the vehicle, I was about half way back when the thought suddenly struck me…. THERE ARE CROCODILES IN THIS RIVER, this thought spurred me on to greater speed and I’m pleased to report I made it in one piece.

All ready... so off we go.

We put a tarp across the front of the cruiser to break the bow wave, let the tyres down a little for better traction…. And then drove across the Jardine, an exhilarating feeling indeed.

We were lucky enough to arrive back in Cooktown on a long weekend when they celebrate Cook's landing in 1770 to effect repairs to the Endeavour which had been holed on the Great Barrier Reef, this weekend turned the sleepy little town into a giant party.

Re-enactment of Cook's landing, the figure on the right is Joseph Banks the botanist who recorded much of Australia's flora and fauna.

A float in the street parade entered by the Soverign Hotel.

Fred Flintstone's car came a creditable last in the soap-box derby.

There was also a re-enactment of a gold escort leaving for Port Douglas, there was a rich gold field based on the Palmer River near Cooktown in the 1800's

There were a few more things of interest along the way back but I don’t want this post to turn into a book so we’ll just say it was the trip of a lifetime and I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.

When we returned to Mossman to pick up the caravan the young lady in the office asked whether we had enjoyed the Cape, as we both chorused yes she said in a relieved tone that so many people returned complaining about the dust, flies, corrugated roads, and lack of services, shops etc. that it was great to talk to people who had enjoyed their trip… Amen to that.


kenju said...

Nice pix, Peter. I love the jacarandas!

karisma said...

Looks and sounds like loads of fun and adventure! I am looking forward to making the trip ONE day! I will however pass on being croc bait! They are right up there with snakes as far as I am concerned!

I love your new header its beautiful! I really must do something about mine one of these days!

WT said...

I have to say that I'm very impressed that you made it all the way to the tip of the peninsula, that's quite an achievement (I've been as far as Cape Tribulation so I know what's involved).

karisma said...

Hi, just me again! Wanted to say a BIG thank you for the DVD's you sent. They arrived safe and well today! Funnily enough the Postie brought in a huge parcel first and I was all disappointed as I had been waiting on 3 small ones! LOL! He went out to the truck and found your parcel in the back! Yay! We can't wait to open them up and watch them. I saw Ted Egan on ABC the other day and thought I would not mind seeing some more! So what a co-incidence hey?

The big parcel turned out to be some sort of convection oven! I really need to stop leaving my darling man at home alone hungry! This is the second time he has been sucked in by the shopping channel while I was out! Really he is hopeless!

Thanks again! Have a great weekend!

Puss-in-Boots said...

You mean people go to Cape York and then complain about the conditions and lack of amenities? I thought that's why they went...you can get civilisation anywhere.

Great post, Peter, as are the photos. I wouldn't mind doing that trip, as long as it was in comfort...

Dave said...

Wow... great post! I looked at your trip on Microsoft's Virtual Earth. Rugged country up that far North!

Sounds like a fun trip Peter.... any plans of doing it again?

Jeanette said...

Gday Peter, Love your new header with the jacaranda's.
I remember you showing us the photo's of this trip Well worth another look.. Ohh my gosh Peter fancy wading across that river facy forgetting theres Crocs in that water, Glad the Crocs weren't hungry.Take care Jan

Cliff said...

Dear Mr Independantly Wealthy, I couldn't have, in any stretch of the imaginagtion, have driven across that river. I suppose that comes from having grown up here on the Missouri River bottom where there is no bottom under the water. Well that and my fear of croc's. The latter may be unfounded because there are none here in Nebraska.
You are Da Man. What a great trip. Thanks for taking us on it. You two were the lucky ones for sure.

Joy Des Jardins said...

Peter, I can't believe you waded in that river when there was a very good chance that crocodiles could have been there too. Is that true? Good Lord. Other than that....nice trip...great pics. Love the name of the river...Jardine...hee, hee.

linda may said...

Oh Peter! I am so Jealous! I wanna do that....... one day.I reckon I would like someone else to do the 4wd part though. Or do the rugged part in a tour vehicle.

linda may said...

By the way, Palmer was my maiden name. I wonder if one of my rellies was up there sometime. The Palmers of a few generations ago were big breeders. :)

Walker said...

I like the rugged scenery there.
Its so dramatic.
You know that house at the botton must have been built by the same people whop built that tower in Pisa Italy. Its leaning in the same direction