Cape York – Part 4 – The Tip

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.

 

Cheers

Ez. x

Cape York – Part 2 – The Red Dirt

So after the beautiful views of Lawn Hill Gorge it was back onto the red dirt.  Next stop…Karumba.

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We stopped in at the Burke & Wills Road House for lunch
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Dust devils along the road

Right on the Gulf of Carpentaria coast line, this is one place we wished we had the time spend more than one night.  We set up camp at the Karumba Point Sunset Caravan Park and set off to the Sunset Tavern for a delicious seafood dinner overlooking the water.

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The next morning we got up early and walked over to the water for a little bit of fishing before hitting the road again.

Then it was back into the ute for some more dirt! Today we were heading to Musgrave Station.  We were driving through gigantic properties, through heards of cattle and horses, past amazing farm houses and stopping to open and shut gates.  It was pretty awesome!

At one stage we had a feeling that we weren’t heading in the right direction, I checked our HEMA Maps on Marty’s phone (which I might add worked off the GPS even though there was no service) and it turns out that we’d missed a tiny little dirt lane that turned off to the right and were heading into a zero alcohol aboriginal settlement with a LOT of alcohol in our utes (Karumba was the last shopping stop before getting to Bamaga at Cape York) so we did a quick U-turn and headed back to find our turn off to cross the Mitchell River.

We made it to Musgrave Station that evening just on dark and quickly set up camp, the beauty of a roof top ten is that you just flip it over and your set up…setting up camp is always quick!

“Musgrave is the only overland telegraph station that remains as the old wire has been replaced with modern microwave radio systems and optic fibre”

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Musgrave Station has clean showers and toilets, a Roadhouse where you can buy meals and a shop where you can get a few supplies and souvenirs and is the last place you can get fuel before Bramwell Station at the entrance of the Telegraph Track.

That morning we also ran into a group of friends whom we knew were doing the same trip but were taking a different route.  We quickly learned that between here and the tip we would start running into the same groups of people at each place we stayed which was great as we got to hear stories of everybody’s adventures along the way.

Our next stop for the night was Moreton Telegraph Station, this was about 300kms of dirt/gravel road.  One very interesting  thing we saw along the way was a guy on a pushbike with a little trailer attached, we had to pull over for him because a road train came towards us and we completely lost sight of him with the massive dust cloud that flew up after the truck (we later found out that he was riding all the way to the tip, he peddled into Moreton Station the next morning as we were leaving! That’s one damn long bike ride!).

We had a quick stop in a Coen, a tiny town where you could drop into the Sexchange Hotel should you feel the need for a beverage and…..a sexchange? hmmm…maybe not!

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On arrival at Moreton Station set up camp and set off to explore.  There are wild cattle wondering about the place everywhere, they’re used to people and just cruise about unfazed, although obviously you’re not to approach them.  There is a little tuckshop where you also pay your camp fees and say hi to the resident green tree frogs that seem to line the walls and there is also a restaurant out the back that only takes group bookings when people stay in the cabins.

We had a fantastic time at Moreton, we met some of the workers there, most of them are back packers just stopping in for a few months to earn some extra dollars before taking off again.  We went for a swim and had a few drinks with them that evening to hear stories about their travels.

Lets just say that the next day was a bit of a slower start than previous stays….perhaps a few too many beverages with the stories from the night before or maybe it was too many stories…  But today we were hitting the tele track!

 

To be continued…

Weekly Photo Challenge – Numbers

Well we have skipped a couple of weeks of the weekly photo challenge over at The Daily Challenge but hey, life’s like that sometimes i guess we will just say we got busy living life rather than documenting it……That’s my excuse anyway!!! 🙂

So this weeks theme is numbers. I love this theme  this I think is a super awesome photo to go with it.

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This tree is at the Bramwell Junction Road House, Queensland.  The Road House is the last fuel stop before Bamaga at Cape York and the gateway to the famous 4WD track the Old Telegraph Track. Lots of number plates are lost at the first 4WDing crossing on the track and they are collected here on the tree.

Cheers

Trish & Ez xx