So…where were we…oh thats right! Car trouble…again! The Hilux had gone into limp mode, the boys stopped and worked on it a few times but eventually we took it to the RACQ mechanic at Bamaga who was kind enough to let them work on it in his workshop and use his tools but it was soon obvious that the Hilux would be staying at the mechanic workshop, at least for the night.
We ended up having to hire a small car to get around and spent our first night at the Seisia Holiday Park. Our friends J & K had to get a cabin since their roof top tent was now living at the Mechanic with their ute. Marty and I camped next door in ours with Wilso in his usual spot swagging it under the ute awning.
Seisia is the most northern community on mainland Australia. The holiday park is right on the beach and has stray/random dogs (quite a lot have collars on) roaming around everywhere…along with horses that you occasionally see one of the local kids riding…no saddle, bridle or any other gear…just cruising around on possibly a wild horse…which is pretty cool!
The amenities were clean and therefore fantastic! Especially after spending a few nights free camping without any, and there is a kiosk/cafe which again is amazing when you haven’t seen decent coffee for a week or so!
That night we decided we couldn’t be bothered cooking and needed a decent meal, we headed to the restaraunt at the Cape York Peninsula Lodge. We were a mess, hadn’t showered in a couple of days but didn’t care, we deserved a delicious meal and that it was!
The next day was spent getting ourselves organised. The boys went back to the mechanic to go through a process of elimination to try and work out what was going on with the Hilux whilst K and I set about finding a place to stay that would house all 5 of us. We decided on Loyalty Beach. The only problem was that the little Toyota Yaris that we’d hired to get around in was not allowed to go off the tar roads so it was back to the car hire office to find another (Marty and I had actually taken one of the seats out of the back of the Navara for a second engle fridge that we used as a freezer and therefore made it only a 4 seater, not very helpful with 5 people). We decided that a Land Cruiser would do the job to get us all around together.
We hired the “beach house” at Loyalty Beach….which actually turned out to be a two story open air shed…not quite the luxury we were hoping for…but hey…it did the job!
Loyalty Beach is another beach front park with a small kiosk at the front desk and you can also book tours there, I can’t speak of the amenities as we didn’t need to use them. The staff are all very friendly and all came over for a chat to hear our story (which I’m sure they’d heard many times before) when they saw that we had the whole of the inside of the Navara pulled out, airing out in the sunshine for days on end! The park also has a fantastic restaurant and bar that has a great vibe and delicious food. Perfect for happy hour that then continues onto dinner whilst you watch the sunset over the beach.
So today was the day we were going to the tip! We all piled into the LandCruiser and off we went. There is a bit of a walk when you get there but it is definitely worth it!
We had vowed that when we finally made it to the tip we would do the Salty Rain Dance….its amazing the looks you get when you break out into dance at the top of a hill….
After we’d had a beer at the sign, had a swim in the Coral Sea and done our little happy dance at the top, we headed on back down and dropped into Punsand Bay Corrugation Bar for a drink and some lunch and ended up sitting with some other campers and sharing stories of our trip. It was great meeting other people and seeing how they had faired the Tele Track.
On the way back past the local Mechanic we dropped in to check on the Hilux and were informed that they couldn’t find the issue and there was no way it was driving back out of town. We’d have to book it onto a barge to be sent back to Cairns. We decided to make the most of our time up here since we’d be spending another couple of nights until we could get the ute on the boat and the others on a plane!
The next day was a tour of Thursday Island, an Island of the Torres Straight Islands located approximately 39kms off the coast of the Cape York Peninsula. You can get a return ticket for around $116 each on Peddell’s Ferry and they also combine tours with your ferry ride. We did the Thursday Island Tour with a local Guide.
The bus tours takes you around the whole of the Island and stops off at Green Hill Fort with its under ground tunnels and rooms that house the historical museum. You’ll also stop off at the local cemetery where you learn about the traditions and rituals of the local islanders regarding the death of loved ones and see the beautifully decorated headstones.
There is then plenty of time to check out the lovely bars and restaurants before you head off back to Seisia on the Ferry.
We had one more night before Marty & I had to start heading back down towards Cairns. We spent the night back at Seisia and went to the local fishing club for burgers, footy and karaoke.
We were lucky enough to meet another couple, Gaz & Lyn, who would be heading off the same day as us and therefore we didn’t have to travel alone. We stuck to the bypass road for the trip back down but stopped in at a couple of little spots on the tele track to see a few of the crossings that we missed on the way up.
We spent the night at the Archer River Roadhouse. The camp ground was nice and shaded, the amenities clean and you could get a feed and some general supplies at the roadhouse.
Marty and I decided to take a different route after Archer River and turned off at Musgrave Station to go through the Lakefield National Park and would meet up with Gaz & Lyn at the Lions Den Hotel that afternoon.
One of our most favourite places on the whole trip was the Lions Den Hotel on the Bloomfield Track between Cooktown and Cape Tribulation and of course it was the one time in the whole trip that I didn’t have my phone or camera attached to me at all times so I have no photos. You walk in and are surrounded by history…and underwear…I’m not kidding, it is hanging on the walls all around you!
There is powered and unpowered sites along with onsite cabins and safari tents. The amenities include showers, toilets and a laundry and there is also bbq facilities and a kids play ground. The meals and atmosphere are great and then in the mornings you can score breaky and a coffee…although you do have to be willing to line up!
We headed down the Bloomfield Track towards Cape Tribulation. We’d heard that it could be a tricky road with steep climbs and river crossings. It was quite windy and steep but we’d had a LOT of hot weather since we’d been away and did have any trouble with river crossings or slippery roads, although we did stop for lunch and a swim in one of the river crossings!
Marty and I had been to Cape Tribulation before so apart from stopping to have one last beer with Gaz & Lyn at the the Cow Bay Hotel where you’ll find the Bulls Bar, the longest single timber bar-top in the world!
After leaving our new travel partners we headed into Port Douglas where we would spend one last night before meeting up with J & K and Wilso in Cairns the next day.
I won’t do a post on our time in Cairns or the trip home. Due to the fact that Marty and I had been there only 12 months before and the others were running low on cash after having to pay for flights and putting the hilux on the barge from Bamaga we really just hung out at the lagoon on the Esplanade, did a few touristy things like the Kuranda Rail and Skyrail and the night markets. After we left Marty and I headed home on our own and stopped at a few spots until we got to Caloundra where we stayed with family for a few nights before heading home to Maitland.
As I said in my very first post of this series one of the best/worst holidays we’ve ever had!
Have you ever had a holiday like that?? Comment and let us know.