Kicking back now at Port Douglas after returning from Cape York. It was great getting to the Cape however I thought the road to Wiepa was bad, well it had nothing on the south By Pass road. On the way to the cape from Wiepa we caught up with the Mansfield family again and travelled with them all the way up to the Cape. The first night out from Wiepa we stopped at Elliott Falls, what a great place to stop and swim. The kids and I swam at both Twin Falls and Fruit Bat falls, The woman and Stuart swam at Twin Falls. The camping at Elliott (Twin) falls was free, no showers however the toilets where well maintained by the rangers. Picture shows the kids at Fruit bat falls and some fat guy. After Fruit bat and Elliott (Twin) Falls it was off to the Jardine River Ferry. These buggers earn more money than Doctors, we where on the ferry for 40 seconds (tops) each way and it cost $99 return. Then it was off to Bamaga, after driving around Bamaga and Seisa for about 10 minutes we decided to drive out to Punsand bay (they had a pool for the kids). We stayed there for three nights on one of these days we went to the tip. Stuart, Sam and I walked over the top and then around the beach back to the car park. Picture proves that the Medwell's have made it to the tip. On the third day we where at Punsand bay we took a trip to Thursday Island. The northern most part of Australia. Very interesting recent (World War two) history with a fort and all sort of other great things. The trip to Thursday Island was made even better as it was on the boat that I learnt that the mighty bulldogs had beaten those cats. Go dogs lets hope they can bet Collingwood (my tip for the flag). The first night on the way home from Punsand we stopped at Moreton Telegraph station, great camp and the night life (Frogs) where great. Rocket frogs everywhere and very small green frogs that live in a prosapine bush. The second night out we stayed at Musgrave, then it was off to Laura. The cultural centre in Laura was very good and the paintings at split rock worth the 30 minute walk. That evening we where back in Atherton and it was time to start cleaning up. It took Jenny and I a full day to wash clothes and clean the car. Red dust in every thing, the shit is still come out of things. The Navara has handled everything we have thrown at it with the exception of jack knifing the trailer draw bar into it whilst trying to park it at Elliott Falls. For all those animal and frog lovers the following picture is of a white lipped Green tree frog in the phone box at Punsand bay.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Spent Last night and tonight in Wiepa. A little bit of civilisation after two days on the PDR. Most of the way up the PDR was dirty and some of it very corrugated. However everything is hanging together very well. Red dust now in everything, apart from the back of the camper. It is in every crack of the Navara and the back is full of red dust. I am trying to keep it out of the Engel however I think I am fighting a loosing battle. To answer Kaths question about the "porta lou" yes we have one however we have not had to use it yet. The first night on the PDR we stopped at Coen and stayed behind the shell service station and shop. They had toilets and showers, last night and tonight we stopped in the Weipa Caravan park. Good facilities and a great swimming pool. As I am writing this it is 9pm and still about 28 degrees. This morning we went on a tour of the Rio Tinto Bauxite mine. This must be the easiest thing in the world to mine, they take off the top soil (approximately 1 metre) and then the next 5 to 6 metres is Bauxite. They load it with a 16 tonne front end loader into 190 tonne trucks, cart it off to have the dust removed and water added, loaded onto a train for a short 30 kilometer ride to the wharf and then loaded onto small ships to be carted to Gladstone or overseas. Most to Gladstone. Not much else in Wiepa as it is still completely run by Rio Tinto.
As most of the PDR is unsealed and a lot of dust, there is very little wild life along the road. Much less than any of us thought we might see. Even the road kill is few and far between (unlike coming up through out back Queensland and New South Wales). We have meet up with a family who have sold up everything and are travelling around Australia for a year. We got talking to them as our caravans are made by the same people (Kingdom Caravans). They have six children (thats eight of them) and at the moment they have also left their caravan down south and are camping in a tent. They all fit into a Toyota Prado, with only the tent and a pack on the roof. As Stewart said today "if we roll, not much will happen as we are packed in so tight". I dont think even Louise could get this much in her Prado. It is amazing eight of everything comes out of this Prado. Well that's it for now, or when we get back from the top, maybe there will be mobile phone coverage up there. There more than likely will be as the communities seems to get everything they want. Elliott falls and Fruit bat falls tomorrow.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Spent most of our 26th packing ready to pick up the Camper trailer from Atherton Bluegums on Friday. Did the last minute shopping for the trip up north. Friday the 14th we picked up the camper, dropped the caravan at Grahams and off to Cooktown. The drive from Atherton to Cooktown is on a very good sealed road. A few hills and a couple of great lookouts, The photo is off Jenny and Cassidy at Bob's look out. Jenny thinks it is significant as that will be the name of my new dog when I get home. When we arrived in Cooktown we looked up Vicky at "chop suey louies" to get rid of the bloody, buddy (Buddy Franklin) photo that we have been carrying since we left home. Vicky was like meeting a long lost friend and really looked after us. Saturday the 15 we went to the small market in Cooktown, then a look around the town, going up to the lookout that Captain Cook used to find his way out through the reef. Again Jenny and Cassidy at the lookout. Then it was off to the Botanical gardens for a look around. For such a small town these are very nice gardens. In actual fact Cooktown is very nice and friendly. Tomorrow morning it is off north into the dust that is the Peninsual developement road to Weipa and Bamaga
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Thursday the 13th, well I have been pretty slack and not updated the blog for a week. After Karumba we went to Mt Surprise and stayed at the Bedrock Caravan Park. This is the best caravan park we have stayed in so far. On the first full day there (Friday 7th of August) we went on a tour of Undara Lava tubes. Well worth a look. They are believed to be over 160 thousand years old and once ran for many kilometres. The tour actually took us into three tubes which many years ago would have been the one tube. However over the year the tube has caved in at many points. The photo show the end of one tube where it actually dropped over the edge of a cliff. The tube also turned and that is the way we went out. In the tube there where bats (very small) frogs (also very small) and large cave spiders. The photo is of one of the smaller spiders I found. Jenny, Cassidy and I where the only one’s on the tour to find any creatures apart from the guide. The following day (Saturday 8th August) Cassidy and Jenny went to O’Brien’s Creek fossicking for Topaz. They found a couple of pieces and of course I am now paying for them to be cut. That evening we had Pizza for tea cooked in the out door wood oven at the Bedrock Caravan Park. The meals, café etc at Bedrock are just wonderful. By the way there is nothing much more in Mt Surprise. Another Caravan park, Gem shop, a small museum, a Hotel, Police Station and a community health centre. Sunday the 9th of August it was off to Innot Spring for a swim in the six mineral pools. The water for these comes out of the ground at over seventy degrees, the pools range from 42 degrees down to a spa at about 30 degrees and then a swimming pool that was air temperature. We only stayed in Innot springs over night. Then it was off to Atherton (Monday 10th of August) (Yungaburra) where we have been all week. Monday was a catch-up day shopping and starting to get ready for the trip to Cape York. We went to one of the local dairies where we purchased four of their locally produced cheeses. (Tuesday 11th of August) It was off to Nerada tea for a tour of the factory. Currently they are not picking tea as they recently had a frost and you need to wait 6 weeks from a frost until the tea is ready to pick again. Also they are installing new dryers which will make their tea even better. After Nerada it was off to Mungalli Creek Dairy for some Lunch. Very nice dairy which we visited last year and we had to go back again to get some of their Mango Chutney. Hopefully this time we will be able to work out what is in it and make something ourselves which will be similar. On the way back to camp from Mungalli Creek we stopped off at three of the districts water falls. The last one being Milla Milla falls which is the one in all the postcards of the Artherton tablelands. Wednesday the 12th. Very busy day sorting out the camper and buying stuff for the big trip, ended up at Yungaburra having a hair cut and Jenny had a massage. Whilst Jenny was having a massage Cassidy and I sat in the local park with the laptop updating our spend spreadsheet. Thus so far we have spent over five thousand. Thursday the 13th our wedding anniversary also Larry Fraim birthday. Happy birthday mate. Spent most of the morning sorting out the stuff we are taking north. Cooking and vacuum sealing and then freeze pasta sauce (which I cooked). Had prawns for lunch and then Cassidy and I went swimming in Lake Eacham. Which is a crater lake. Water was crystal clear with many small fish. Not too cold either. Staying at Lake Eacham caravan park, very small, however Jenny feels right at home with Chooks and chicks running around, a rooster crowing a 4.30am, a pig, a goat (no Masonic jokes) and an Ostrich. Well better go and see how to set up this camper. More update when we next get mobile coverage. Maybe a fortnight. Just for Larry this pig is at the Caravan park at Lake Eacham and is walked everyday. Jenny had the shit frightened out of her when she came wondering up.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
This morning left Karumba and head for Mount Surprise where we are currently camped. Last night we went to the Karumba point tavern and watched the Sunset. Caught up with Hannah (cook from Wondoola) her brother and fiance and had a champagne whilst the sun went down. By now you can work out who is in the photo. I cannot remember what caused the dot in front of Jenny. After leaving Karumba this morning we headed back into Normanton and had a walk around. The Burns Philp building and the Bank of New South Wales building are lovely building built in the early days of Normanton. Just for Neenie I took a photo of the Bank of New South Wales building. After leaving Normanton it was off to Croydon where we stopped for lunch. Very good little take away at the mobile garage. If passing I recomend this spot for a bite to eat. Then it was off to Georgetown for some more diesel and finally into Mt Surprise. Haven't yet seen much of Mt Surprise however we are off to the Undara Lava tubes tomorrow. The caravan park we are staying in is called the "Bedrock Village Caravan Park" plenty of room, with some of the best facilities we have seen to date. All of the advertising for the caravan park has pictures like in the Flintstone's, toilets are not male and female they are Fred and Wilma. More tomorrow.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Tuesday and Wednesday spent in Karumba, we went to the Barramundi Discovery Centre. This centre is run by volunteers, they breed and then release many fingerlings into the gulf river and water systems. There are approximately 16 different types of Barra in Australia and the ones breed in Karumba are the Gulf Barramundi. The fish will only breed in this area and in salt water, however they will live in fresh water and many have been released in the water supply at MtIsa and Croydon as well as the guld rivers (which are salty). The above photo is of Jenny feeding one of the Barra at the breeding centre. They suck the fish right out of your hand. The fish I feed also covered me in salty water.
The caravaners at Karumba are unlike the ones we have meet everywhere else, they come here and stay for many months, not a couple of days like us. The people camped behind us Ivan and Aileen love fishing and have been here since early May, Tuesday we were just about to go and buy fish when they offered us a heap, all I had to do was clean them. Aileen showed me how to fillet them (Glenn I should have taken more notice wiuth all the fish you have filleted out on the bay) very easy and Aileen skinned them. We have enough fish for four days. Now most of which is in the freezer. We also went down to one of the many fish shops and bought some prawns, we eat these and fish for tea.
Wednesday is pretty quite had lunch at Ash's fish shop which is famous up here. We bought far too much and had to bring some home. After eating at Ash's it was off into town again to buy Barra and Prawns to take on the trip. Prawns $12 a kilo and Barra $18.50 a kilo. No one up here takes caltex card so it was the first time I had to buy diesel. Just to keep everyone informed the Navara is going really well and the caravan survived the 30 km in and 30 km out on the dirt road to Wondoola station. Covered all the vents with plastic and tape and kept most of the dust out. As you could image it is very dry up here, that's why they call it the "dry season".
The station crew where up early and with us camping beside the garage we where woken earlier with the sound of tyres being changed. After we had our own breakfast at a reasonable time 8am. Cassidy went in with the girls and sat in on some of the lessons that they do with the help of their governores and the course provided by the school of the air. Cassidy said it was very interesting. Jenny and I at the same time caught up with
Georgie and the crew for the last time over morning smoko. Above is a picture of the girl in the dinning room. Yes they where just about to go back to work. What a very happy crew they are at Wondoola. I would like to thank them for the warm welcome they extended to us. A big thanks to Karen. At about 11.30 we left Wondoola for Karumba on the way we stopped at Normanton and had lunch in the bakery. After the bakery we stopped and had a look at Kry which is a replica of the biggest crocodile even shoot. It was somewhere around 8.5 metres. Then it was off to Karumba for three nights. Not much to do at Karumba if you dont fish, however it is very relaxing.
Sunday was a bit of a lay back day. Georgie took us for a trip around a very small part of the station. We where in the bus/truck for about two hours. We saw many many many cattle and the bird life around the water wholes was incredible. The above photos are of the bird life and the cattle. Sunday afternoon was pretty laid back, we had a little lunch and then played boule on the grassed area outside the social club. Sunday evening we had steak, vegetable, pancakes, strawberries and icecream. It was an early night as the station crew have a 6pm start. Jenny and Cassidy saw their first Green frog in the toilet and we saw many toads outside trying to find wet places. At one tap there was a huge toad and a green frog huddled together with a baby toad just beside them.
Saturday 1st August, travelled from Cloncurry to Wondoola Station, stopping on the way at the Burke and Wills roadhouse for lunch. When we arrived at Wondoola Georgie came out to meet us. As it was the weekend some of the station crew where away and the manager was at Cloncurry for the R0deo. The rest of the crew where in the Social club tiling the bar, which I might say looks a treat now it is tiled. The picture below shows the bar. Saturday evening the station put on a BBQ for all. We had many drinks and a fun night was had by all. Below is a picture of some of the crew around the fire.