Thursday, September 24, 2009

Day 17 - Rest day 1 at Cooktown

A relaxing day visiting the sights of Cooktown. The lighthouse (built in about 1885), and the gun that was obtained to defend against the possible Russian expansion around the same time. The gun was actually cast in 1805, and Cooktown got to use the single one to defend against Russia 80 years later.
Then Scott and Julie were sitting on the wharf, and a local fisherman, having caught too much for his dinner gave them a huge fish for dinner. As they were going out Georgi filleted it and we had a few fillets for dinner.

Day 16 (cont'd) - Georgi's birthday

After arriving at Cooktown, we decided to head to a restaurant to celebrate Georgi's birthday. The shot of Georgi and girls on the wharf, was the where the sighting of a 4 metre croc was seen 12 hours later, and that wharf is now closed to public access.
Still we're fine, and the view from the restaurant was fantastic.

Day 16 - Lakefield Nat Park to Cooktown (Georgi's birthday!)

Today was Georgi's birthday!!

We left our camp at Six Mile Creek (in Lakefield National Park) did a detour via the town of Laura to get a cap for our Laura with her name on it, then proceeded to the Old Laura Homestead. It was a museum of sorts, of what went on there over 100 years ago. One of the photos I took for my dad was of an old truck photo (the type of which I suspect he may have worked on in his early years), and as we were leaving we saw the real thing, though a little worse for wear.

Then we started to climb over the great dividing range, with some beatiful scenery and finally signs of more abundant rainfall, where we visited Isabella falls.

Then finally we got to Cooktown. Ahh, that's us parked in front of a bakery. Mmmm, fresh food.

Day 15 - Musgrave Roadhouse to Lakefield National Park

Leaving early, we headed east from Musgrave Roadhouse into Lakefield National Park. Thinking we were heading to greener regions, we were somewhat surprised at the savanah like area we encountered. It was very dry and dusty, requiring a cleanout of the air-cleaners and filters that night.
There were a few waterholes left though as the dry season wore on, but the familiar signs warning of crocodiles made you avoid taking a quick dip. We camped next to a river with high banks. Like Maytown, you felt completely alone with nothing but the stars to keep you company. But as the stars came out, so did the wildlife!  We spotted several crocs (by their orange eyes creeping along in water) that you could not see by day, had many cane toad 'sightings', and during the night were visited by some wild pigs (which sounded enormous in the middle of the still night). We didn't venture out much that night, regardless of how desperate we were for a leak.

Day 14 - Bramwell Station to Musgrave Roadhouse

A long drive with lots of corrugations, but beatiful scenery. We ended the day at Musgrave Roadhouse, that have their own 'pet' fresh water alligators. Did a bit of night spotting, which was awesome. However, to corrugations were taking a toll on the cars, and we needed to undertake some repairs. Both have tears in the wheel well from a single large encounter with a massive pothole, whilst other bits and pieces are rattling loose. With the repairs, no photos were taken.

Day 13 - Seisia to Bramwell Station

Saw a crocodile!!!  Finally, our first real sighting, about 100 metres off the beach - on the day we are due to leave. The glassy early morning waters made for some great photos, and we were able to sight the crocodile surfacing. People feeling very safe (and unaware of the croc sighting) were swimming.
Today we started heading south, having visited to very top of Australia but with a few places left to visit. We are attempting to cover the ground that we have already visited quickly, but fruit bat falls was a highlight.
We pulled up stumps at Bramwell Station again, enjoying the good outback tucker and wine.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Day 12 - Rest day at Seisia

Today we had a 'rest' day at Seisia which included prepping the car for drive home, and visiting the old world war II plane wrecks. Not a bad place to relax.

Day 11 - Thursday Island

Thursday Island was a ~1 hour fast ferry ride from Seisia, and a really interesting part of Australia's maritime history. The Green Hill fort and of course the local tavern were my favourites.

Day 10 - The Tip of Cape York!

Using Seisia as a base, we headed for the tip of Cape York. Of course, Mike and Mal had to celebrate with a beer. Emily and Laura were keeping an eye on Australia's northern borders. Meanwhile, even at the northern most part of the Australian continent, Telstra came through with the goods so Scott could send a few friendly jibes to his workmates. We then ventured to Somerset (Prado parked near Albany channel looking out to Albany Island). Somerset beach was where Frank Jardine lived.

Day 9 - Eliot Falls to Seisia

We continued our journey up the last bit of the OTL. Started off well enough with a nice log crossing, but the calm picture of a pleasant stream belies the hole that we sunk the car into requiring quick action to recover it. Thanks Julie and Scott - both of which got absolutely drenched whilst we sat "calmly" in our car as the water rose around our ankles. It is "mostly" dry now. We continued our jorney across the Jardine River ferry, ending the day at Seisia to a beautiful sunset.

Day 8 - Rest day

We liked Eliot Falls so much, we altered the itinerary and had a rest day here.

Day 7 - Bramwell Station to Eliot Falls

Leaving Bramwell Station, we headed to Eliot Falls via the Overland Telegraph Line (OTL). Whilst we had a lot of fun with some tracks and creek crossings, we didn't tackle the Gunshot Creek crossing. Out of two cars we saw undertake it, two came out with damage or water flooding. We reached Eliot Falls to find an absolute oasis and spent more time in the water than out.

Day 6 - Chilli Beach to Bramwell Station

We left Chilli Beach and headed for Bramwell Station via the Frenchman's track. Some of the views were spectacular. The corrugations were horendous. The termite nests were unbelievable. Finally we arrived at Bramwell Station. Cooked meals, and a variety of cleansing ales after a dusty day. Bramwell Station is a definate highlight of the trip.

Day 5 - More rest day

Chilli beach was excellent. Couldn't really do much swimming, crocs and all that.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Day 5 - Rest day at Chilli Beach


Day 4 - Archer River to Chilli Beach

Left Archer River for Chilli beach. The travel was somewhat more exciting, travelling through rainforest.
Banshee and Odie, ready for take-off, more dust, warning signs for dinosaurs?