Cape York – Part 1 – And We’re Off!

So a couple of years ago Marty and I decided that we needed one more big holiday before heading down the parenting path. It was a toss up between going to the United States or going to Cape York. We weighed up the pros and cons and figured that after setting up the ute and buying all the gear we’d need for a big camping trip, it would probably cost around the same as a trip to the States only we’d have all of that gear forever to plan more trips in the future. So the Cape won!

Quite a bit of work had to be done to Nigel the Navara, but that will have to be a post for another time, and quite a bit of gear purchased to prepare for a 4 week trip through the Queensland outback and straight to the tip!

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So on 7 September 2013, 5 of us bounced out of bed at an ungodly hour with way too much energy and set off on what would be our most memorable holiday ever. It was somewhat of a disaster but also some of the most fun we’ve ever had.

After around 10.5 hours of driving we stopped in at St. George, Queensland for lunch on the Balonne River and a quick schooner at the St. George Hotel across the road, now it was stated that this hotel had “the best beer in Australia”…but that could have been 10.5 hours of driving talking so we’ll just say that that drink went down well!

001 St George QLD

Then it was back onto those long straight roads to our first stop for the night, Mitchell QLD at the Neil Turner Weir.

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A slightly less early morning the next day and we hit the road heading for Ilfracombe with a population of around 360.  We stayed at the Ilfracombe Caravan Park, a really neat little park with friendly owners and clean, tidy amenities and the Artesian Spa is just up the road, but just be careful of the local emu’s who like to block the gate!

After dinner we headed up to the Wellshot Hotel where we chatted with some locals and played fetch with the owners border collie. It would would actually pick up tiny pebbles and rest them in the back of your shoe to get your attention to play some more.

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The Council Bi-Laws hanging in the Wellshot Hotel

Ilfracombe is also home of the “Machinery Mile”, an outdoor machinery museum, some of the machinery is very rare and all of it has been collected within 100 miles of town.

 

20 minutes down the road is Longreach so we stopped in there for some breaky and a snoop around the Stockmans Hall of Fame

 

Now when your leaving Longreach and heading through Outback Queensland you can’t NOT stop in at the Walkabout Creek Hotel at McKinlay, it would be an insult to growing up in the 80’s if we didn’t have a drink at the pub from Crocodile Dundee!

That night we stayed in the small town of Cloncurry, had a quiet dinner and an early night ready for another early start the next day.

Today we were heading for Lawn Hill National Park, a good 6 hour drive in front of us through MASSIVE stations, it really was an eye opener!

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This was the beginning of the never-ending red dirt!
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Be careful out here in the outback…..cows eat cars!!!

The Lawn Hill National Park, which is actually now known as the Boojamulla National Park is in the Gulf Country region of North West Queensland near the Northern Territory border.  We got a big shock driving into the Lawn Hill Station, it was very red, dusty, baron land that seemed to be in serious drought….and then we hit Adeles Grove.

Adeles Grove Camping park is 10 km outside of the National Park and from the Lawn Hill Gorge.  It is beautiful and lush like a forest! We set up camp and spent the afternoon swimming in the beautiful clear (and quite cold!) Lawn Hill Creek…that yes apparently does have fresh water crocodiles in it but we didn’t see any and then relaxed with happy hour!

 

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020 Adeles Grove
This is what happens when your too big for the rope swing…sorry kids!

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The next morning we headed out for some kayaking and swimming in the amazing Lawn Hill Gorge.

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I think I’ll leave you with the amazing images of Lawn Hill and pick up on this on another day!

 

To be continued….

 

Ez.

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