Terry and Gale's Cape York Trip
Part 1 of
this series takes us as far as Weipa
12th May was 'D'eparture day
- first stop Caloundra, next stop, Hillsbourough - what a
terrific spot. The beach is beautiful. Rocks, and strange
little sand formations all over the sand (still not sure what they are),
silver phosphorous in the sand and wallabies roaming around the
beach. Looks quite odd until you get used to it!
From here on in we are in 4WD.
Stopped for our first group lunch beside a creek in the middle of nowhere and took some photos. Terry and I agree the hill climbs through here were rough - long and steep and a bit daunting for us. (We hadn't done a lot of 4 wheel driving up to this point.) Just waiting for the vehicle to start rolling backwards.
We called briefly into the Lions Den Hotel. A real tourist stop and a place we will come back to on the return journey. While we were there looking around some fool ran into our camper trailer and took off in a cloud of smoke. Rotten B.....!!! Anyway, not too much damage... we catch up with him later in the story!
We pressed on over some pretty rocky and rough roads until Cooktown. We felt shaken and stirred, and glad for the two days we plan to stay here. We set up camp. This had a central eating and lounging area and we all proceeded to have a few ales. We took turns at cooking and the next day being my first, I was just a little nervous. (Before setting off on this trip, we all decided a cooking roster was the way to go - each couple had to supply and prepare all meals on roster, giving everyone a turn, and others their days off to simply enjoy. This was a good plan in the long run.)
I had all the goodies required for our rostered day of cooking carefully retrieved from their storage boxes and sitting on the tray in the back of the 4WD. We had decided on French Toast and spicy tomatoes for Breakfast, tuna and Rye bread etc for lunch, and rump steak and Greek salad on the BBQ for dinner. Not to forget pre-dinner nibbles at the Cooktown Lookout! We had two nights here and had some very funny games of charades around the camp fire - sure we kept the entire camping ground awake!
We moved on to Kalpower Crossing. This is a camping area in Lakefield National Park and now you know you're getting serious! We lunched in the river bed of Laura Crossing and being new at this whole crocodile thing, I spent most of my time looking over my shoulder and making sure I was within leaping distance of the truck at all times.
It was here that one of the 4WD's drove over onto some sand and got stuck. Our first rescue with the 'snatch strap'! Then it was up the river bank and a brief stop at Old Laura Station.
Old Laura Station is now deserted, with only photos of the early settlers
showing the hardships they endured everyday. Incredible! - and
the get ups they persisted with - long bustled dresses from ankle to
Kalpower itself is an experience. There is nothing around. I mean nothing - except a Ranger Station where you pay for the camp sites - just some cold water showers with green tree frogs and huntsman spiders for company. A lagoon that frightened the daylights out of me. You walk down a dip and there is this dark still water with lilies and overhanging trees. I was just waiting for a croc to come bounding out of the water with a big smile. This (of course) is where the men decided to put in Terry's crab pot. I confirmed with him that his life insurance was paid up and sent him on his way. The girls stayed at the camp and prepared the meal as all good women should. Incredibly, an old bushy strolled into our camp that night and sat around the campfire telling stories about different crossings etc We all had a few ales that night (one adventurer actually doing some damage to his head - something to do with a car door, I believe) and eventually stumbled into bed to get some rest.
Next day was onto Archer River Roadhouse. This is a major stopping point for people doing this trip. Fuel, food and basic supplies are available. Most important was the hot showers - lovely!
We are still pleased to be sitting in an air conditioned truck. The road is bad. Corrugations and very rough going. Glad to get to Archer River and again have a shower and a break from the constant shaking. On leaving the roadhouse Archer River itself is just beautiful with white sand banks and weeping paperbarks - many lovely camping spots in this river but nothing matches the showers afforded at the Roadhouse last night.
26th May - We head north, and then west to Weipa - this section of road turns out to be excellent .. graded constantly apparently as part of the deal for mining rights.
Ed note: Just waiting for some
photos. Part 2 soon.