Daly Waters to Bitter Springs

With today being the Australian Rules Football final we get a visit from a young dude who has made up a sweepstake form which will make the game for the neutral a bit more interesting.

With the heat really getting a bit much we head off in the afternoon for a swim in one of the two swimming pools here which is a delight to cool off in and surprisingly there aren’t that many people doing the same.  I think COVID has stopped a whole heap of people travelling from southern states as the last time we were here it was nose to tail in the caravan park.  

As we are leaving in the morning we packed away most of our things to enable an  escape in the morning.  

Having completed our entry for the final we head to the bar (no surprise I know) and again try to keep the dog, goat and horse from getting anywhere near mad Max.

It’s a great spot to sit as there are multiple fans running providing a nice breeze.

Later we retire to the van have tea then it’s back to the bar to take in the final and what a final it was if your a Melbourne fan.  They really have been the best all year and  took that form in to the game blasting the opposition to take a well deserved result.

Off we went to bed and had an early night and just as well because in the morning there were lots of people up early.  I am talking before 7am!!

Not all of them were kids either, grown adults up and banging about.  We decide we may as well join them although we have nothing to bang.

A tea and coffee later and we leave the camp then stop at the fuel station to grab some more diesel even though we aren’t going far.

We drive to the end of the road where turn on to the Stuart Highway heading north to Bitter Springs near Mataranka.  This is a place we have been before and thoroughly enjoyed the hot springs which have a nice drift downstream and are crystal clear.  Thankfully the springs are not crazy hot like we had at Innit Springs where you could easily poach an egg in.  With the temperature forecasted to hit 39 degrees a dip will be a must along with some shade.

It’s an easy drive up the highway as we drive in to the Bitter Springs park we will be staying at and it’s again pretty quiet.  We have booked a powered site this time as we want to run our aircon.  We are told we can park in a massive area but avoid one section as there are fruit bats in the trees who stink and will both pee and shit all over the place.  

We drive around map in hand and get to a big site close to everything with a great amount of shade and no bats.  This will be home for the next three days.  We are not too sure if we will head further north due to the hot and wet season which we have heard is possibly a month early this year.

Camooweal to Northern Territory

Having left the Corrella Dam site we drove on to the town of Camooweal where we pull up another free camp which runs along Lake Canellan and is quite similar to the site we just left.  This stop is a great location being so close to the Northern Territory border.  This will give us plenty of time to complete our entry declaration allowing us to enter the state.

Today we are pretty happy to get off the road again as it continues to be windy and in fact we end up staying here for a couple of nights due to the high wind gusts.

There aren’t many people here and there is plenty of room and privacy.

When we came through Mount Isa to do some shopping I took the chance to head in to the local ARB dealer because when we drove to the cape and back we lost several bolts from our bull-bar.  This made the bash plates loose and were getting pretty noisy.  The guy at the ARB store couldn’tj have been better.  He apologised that this had happened even in tough conditions then promptly supplied the missing bolts for free!!  I then went in to BCF as the first time using the compressor we purchased the bag ripped itself apart,  The store swapped the bag for a new one without question again apologising that this had occurred.

Now with a couple of days without driving I took the time to fit the new bolts then checked all round the car in case there maybe more but thankfully there were none.

Later we had a visitor from another van who came over to chew the fat about where we were heading, where he was heading and the good oil for both directions.  He then told me that he and his wife are gold prospectors.  They travel Australia in search of gold nuggets and in fact have had considerable success.  So much so that they now use a $10,000 dollar detector which has paid for itself in a relatively short time.  It seems there are more and more people doing this on the road and hey we might even have a go one day without the $10k machine.

Finally the wind has dropped allowing us to move on.  We drive in we drive in to  Camooweal where we fill our water tanks then queue up to get fuel.  

Whilst filling up we notice a group of young people sitting in the shade with their bags and at the same time see a truck with a couple of vehicle’s on the back.  A girl from the group approached us asking if they could get a lift to Mount Isa but we have to say no as we are heading west.  She then explained that the vehicles on the truck were theirs and they were now stranded.  If we were headed that way we certainly would have helped them out but we left hoping someone picks them up.

At last we make our way to the border where we get stopped and have to show our completed border declaration then driving licenses before happily we can drive through in to the Northern Territory.

We drive on for a bit then stopped off for the night at a roadside rest area called Wonarah Bore where we could drive a good distance from the road which avoids some of the road train noise through the night.  We were the only ones here but later there were about eight vans.

Here there is no service for phones or tv but our bus mates had given us a box set of DVD’s from the series Love/Hate, it’s pretty gritty and came out in 2010.  This will keep us entertained at night as it is a five series box.

After a great night sleep we are back on the road now heading a bit further west before arriving at three ways roadhouse where we again fill up with fuel had lunch then headed north for a change on to the Stuart Highway.

We then repeated our stop like the previous night.  This time at the Old Cattle yard which looks exactly like its name suggests but again it’s a free stop with no problems and another great stop.  Max is slowly turning in to red dog due to the amount of red bull dust he is picking up.  

Friday the 24/09/21 we are the the last to leave but get back on the road north.  Today we will make it to the famous Daly Waters pub which has a campsite next to it.  We have been here before as it’s a good stop before Katherine.  On the way we  stop at the town of Elliot. We only stop as we have phone service but take the chance to have an early lunch before getting back on the road and later arrive at  Daly Waters Pub.

It feels funny being back here after our last visit four years ago and thankfully it hasn’t changed a bit with all the usual quirky stuff around.

We head straight to the bar but just to book a spot in the free camping section which puts us in with a variety of campers and back packer type vans which we prefer as they are a varied and chatty bunch just having fun.  

Having chosen a spot we get set up, awning out for some shade against the hot sun then went for a wander around the place.  Last time here we booked in for the famous beef n Barra food night complete with entertainment provided by an Elvis impersonator.  This time we don’t other now that we are full time travellers and need to tighten the spending.

We intended staying here for one night (Friday) but Saturday is the Australian Rules Football final.  We ask if the game will be shown on the big tv in the bar which is confirmed and we decide to book in for another night to make sure we see the game.

Later we head for the bar as happy hour is on from 4pm till 6pm.  Food is also not served until 6pm.  A couple of drinks later we order some food, Burger for Kaz and fish n chips for me.  The waitress asked me if I want the seperate salad which comes with the fish, I say yes please but i am yet to see it.

Later we take in a bit of the Elvis guy and the owner turns up with his horse who thinks it’s a dog as it follows him wherever he goes. The same can be said of the goat which wanders around as it pleases. Funny thing is there are no dogs allowed in some bits of the place but the horse and goat access all areas. The goat reared up at one stage in head butt mode on a poor dog that didn’t appreciate it. Thankfully it didn’t come near Max probably due to him showing his teeth to it earlier.

We then retire to the van and watch another episode of our Love/Hate DVD.

Normanton & Karumba.  Carpentaria Coast, Qld

After an easy drive without issue we arrived in the town of Normanton where we head straight for the Gulf land Motel & Caravan Park.  Having checked in we are shown which space we are allocated and immediately we are reunited with Karen & Helge who we last seen and actually met for the first time in Kenilworth some time ago.

We crack on and set up the van.  This time we have selected to have power and water as the the temperature is in the mid thirties and this ensures we can use the vans air conditioning whilst also charging all our various devices fully.

Later we went for a drive to have a look at the town which didn’t take long as there is not much to see.  We then headed for the purple pub for a cold one and we’re joined by Karen & Helge who have the same idea.  After a good reminisce of our time in Kenilworth plus what we have all been up to we headed back to camp.

The bathrooms are pretty quirky and we spend sometime reading the various metal signs and jokes then selecting our favourites to photograph.

In the evening we elected to dine in the camps restaurant which gets a good name.  We ordered food and drinks then two hours later we enquired how much longer the food would be and were told you only ordered drinks!!

Needless to say we were not happy as we had been looking forward to the famous Barramundi and chips and were now having a very late meal.  We had the added annoyance that we both had left our dogs in the caravans although they had air conditioning on we still were not expecting or wanting to leave them that long.

After a bit more waiting our food finally arrived and it was worth the wait.  The barramundi was huge and cooked perfectly.

We then returned to the van where we walked Max then retired for the night.

Today we (including Kare & Helge) decide to head to Karumba which sits on the Gulf of Capricornia.  The drive is 80km which takes us in the opposite direction to where we are going but we have heard good things about the place.  We have also missed out on a number of things due to dogs not being allowed in National parks and feel we need to make the effort when that is not an issue.

The drive up doesn’t have any reward due it’s remoteness but we arrive without issue at the Karumba Point Sunset Caravan Park.  Unfortunately we arrive too early to get in to our spot as departures are between 10am & 11am.  

We  walk over to the cafe up the street for breakfast.  The cafe also has a grocery within it and the business is for sale as the family have owned it for fifteen years are looking to retire.  As we chatted to them they were very emotional about leaving but were ready to do it.  They had a couple of days left before they would close the doors.  Everything in the store was half price so we had a walk round and bought a couple of things trying to help them in a small way.  The breakfast was also delicious as was the coffee.

Later we return to the park where we are allowed to enter the park once all the rules are explained.  The sites aren’t the largest considering the cost but the place has a nice pool covered with a shade sail which we dive in to as soon as we got set up.

It’s so nice to cool off from the extreme heat.

Later Karen & Helge take us to the Sunset Tavern for drinks and eats.  The place is very bust with everyone there for the Sunset but the food is also delicious.

As the sunsets the view is utterly amazing and is one of the best ones we have witnessed.  As the sun disappears along with a lot of the crowd the colours in the sky are equally stunning and we snap some pics before departing back to the park.

The four of us sit round with a few drinks and have a funny night chatting with plenty of laughs.  

In the morning we say our goodbyes and we head back down to Normanton fuelled then spent the next six hours driving to the town of Cloncurry where we stayed the night just outside of town at the Corella Dam.  This is a great spot 1km from the main road.  There is also multi levels of camps around so we cruised about then settled on a spot not very level but uninterrupted views of the water with all the bird life around it.

The place seems to be a favourite of the tweeters as they walk about with lenses trained on anything with wings and take pride in identifying the name of the feathered friend.

There are a few people with little tinies who take a put put up the dam to try their luck at fishing or just enjoy a wee bit of sailing.  

We will stay here one night b4 moving on to Camooweal via Mount Isa close to the Northern Territory border.

The Savannah Way West, Queensland

In the evening whilst at Pinnarendi Station, as nightfall descended we decided to light the fire pit in front of the van.  It had been stocked with enough wood for the evening by the owners.  When we arrived there was no one around in this area of at least two acres.

Then a couple who seemed decent looking but also looked like they were sleeping in their car and parked pretty close to us on the other side of the fire pit asked if I was aware that you can’t light fires on the ground.  I replied yes I was but the non powered side of the camp had three camp fires already designated as fire pits complete with wood, ours being one of them.  That is why we set up next to one.  He then tells me that if any smoke comes his way that I would have to extinguish the fire.  I replied, sure, 😂.  NOT.

The fire was lit and the troublemakers were in their car and lights out by 7:30 smoke free.

Thankfully the next day we woke to find them gone.  No doubt on their way to annoy someone else’s peace.  How un-Australian.

This morning we take the 3km walk around the property which is a massive cattle farm with at least three dams and it’s own airstrip!!  In fact the owner takes off in his plane to go pick up his two kids who are at school in Charter Towers.

We continue our walk getting to the Garden dam first then on to dam no2 where Max was allowed to take a dip in which he does whilst inhaling copious amount of the dam

as he runs around splashing about.

Shortly after we get to the big dam which as the name suggests is huge and was made by the property owners who want to have all sorts of  birds taking it over.

As the heat rises we head back to the the van for a large drink of water ourselves.

We then thought a treat was due so off we went to the cafe where we had great coffee, scone with Jam and cream and a piece of strawberry cheesecake all of which were delicious.

Later on there seems to have been a mass arrival, we have vans, motor homes and a tent parked around us but we are excited as the pizzas we ordered arrive and we both scoff in to them.  These are made on the property by Nadine then delivered to everyone’s sites by her two young sons.  These are magnificent with sourdough base with veg, herbs and everything else from the property then cooked in their wood oven, YUM.  There was no way we could finish them so they will be tomorrow’s dinner again.

Next day we are off and back on the Savanna Way westbound.  

We passed through the town of Mount Surprise.  The surprise to us was how small it was and we motored on.

Our intention was to stop at Georgetown but on arrival we didn’t feel any vibe about the place so once more we carried on straight through.  We would have liked to visit the Undara Volcanic National Park and the lava tubes but with dogs not allowed we had to drive past.

We took a stop off the road to visit the Cumberland Chimney and Mine for a couple of pic’s and a wee break. There is also a huge lake/dam with an abundance of birdlife.

With it getting in to late afternoon and the sun beating down at 38 degrees we arrived at the town of Croydon.  This little town is a fantastic place really trying to be bigger than it is with lot’s of things to see and do.  The people we met were just easy to talk to and pumped up about Croydon.  We headed for the tourist information where a lovely lady with a real funny quirky sense of humour talked us through the things not to miss.

We headed for the Heritage Precinct where as you would guess time has frozen the place but the original buildings etc have been restored.  Including the police station, jail and courthouse.  You can have a seat in the courtroom and listen to a trial played out on speakers.  This included the actual testimony and a few words had to be bleeped out from the defendant who was a woman  charged with being drunk and disorderly.  She was eventually sentenced to two months in jail.  There is also a museum documenting the towns mining heritage.  We then popped in to the local hotel which is the last bar standing where there were thirty eight in one street.  It was good to stay out of the heat and a the beer was so cold and refreshing.

Later we headed for the campsite a small bit out of town.  It’s nothing much with toilets, a shower and a few trees around for shade but on mostly level ground which is good.  It only costs $5.00 for two nights, good on Croydon for providing a place to stop bringing in some travellers dollars to the town.

We set up our awning then scoffed the pizza from the previous camp which were again delicious.  We were then joined by a couple of other folks travelling and we had a chat for a while before heading to bed this time with our fan blowing to help cool us off a bit.

In the morning we take a drive to the fantastic Belmore Lake two kilometres out of town.  Again a beautiful part of this place and if you are ever there do not miss it.

Later we take some pictures of the town from the viewpoint near the lake then head in to town to spend some dollars.

We grab breakfast with coffee at the little cafe in town and were served by a lovely French girl.  We then fuelled up before getting back on the Savannah Way this time we are heading to the town of Normanton where we will reunite with friends Karen and Helge we last seen in Kenilworth.

As we travel we are seeing some huge eagles flying above or feeding on the roadkill of pig’s and Kangaroos amongst others, there are plenty to choose from.  

Cape York – The Tip – Far North Queensland.

Today we would have to cross some heavily corrugated roads in addition to a couple of river crossings as we attempt to follow the telegraph track which is for serious 4×4 enthusiasts who are also set up properly, travel in groups with heaps of support.  Our wee group have no such luxuries but we decided we would have a go.  After trying to follow the track we came across a massive dip in the road, which if we dropped down in to there would then be a narrow and wet climb back out of we decided to get back and travel up via the PDR.  On the way we took a left and headed along a narrow badly corrugated road to the famous “Gunshot”.  This is a near vertical drop in to a waterway then if you survive that you then have to get yourself out of very steep and rocky.

As we arrived there was a queue to get in of about five cars.  It turned out they had abandoned them to watch a crazy Israeli guy attempt “Gunshot” and got hung up by by his his back wheels.  He was then winched down in to the water then attempted to power out the other side and blew a tyre on one of his back wheels.  Once again he was winched out only to have to fix his troopy (Toyota Lancruiser) which was lucky not to have rolled.

Having hung about waiting to see if any others would attempt it we then drove back out the same terrible road on to the PDR and after a bit of a drive arrived at Elliot Falls.  Having set up our sites we then discovered that the sites had to be booked we then took them down again and moved out to find a spot to camp as darkness would be falling soon.  We managed to find a spot in a pull off behind some trees and free camped there for the night.  There were a few folks checking out this spot but had to drive on with darkness rapidly setting in.

In the morning early we headed back to the falls where we were gobsmacked by the sheer peaceful beauty of the place.  Since we had been on the road for some time it was good to both cool off and wash some dirt out of our hair.

Having dried off and feeling refreshed it was back on the road to contend with the next  round of corrugations and dust.  After about 60Km we arrived at the famous Jardine River ferry crossing and went in to the office to pay the $100 dollar return ticket.  We were quite surprised that there was no queue as we had seen a few photos online showing long lines waiting to cross.  The ferry is operated by an aboriginal corporation and only takes 2 vehicles at one time.  Unless you are towing a caravan and or trailer/boat etc then it’s one at a time.  Both the Prado and Land cruiser got on in a single trip which the ferry operates using a pulley system and lasts no more than a couple of minutes end to end.  The crossing marks a significant point in our trip to the tip and means we are really getting in to some of the remotest places on the planet.

A relatively short time later we arrived at the town of Bamaga where we stocked up on a small amount of essentials then headed to the Crock Tent which is a Cape York icon selling the usual shirts and souvenirs.  It was then time to head for the overnight stop at The Alua Beach camp site outside the town of Umagico.  It’s not the best camp with dogs, including the owners roaming around complimented by constant barking.  It seems everyone in this town has at least three dogs.  We also had a horse come in to camp.  This is not an unusual occurance as there are wild horses wandering everywhere.  This time the owners two dogs ran like a pair of savages toward the poor horse who to give him his due, didn’t move an inch instead ignored the pair of them until one got really in its face and he stomped towards it which made the dog think twice.  People were getting a bit concerned and told the owner, who is also the caretaker of the park.  who said “ that horse is always knocking the bins over and deserved it”.  Meanwhile the dogs had forced the poor horse on to the beach which might give the crocodiles a good feed but at the least the bins would be tidy.

Later we walked on to the beach with a cold one to enjoy the sunset only for the cloud to roll over and block the sun.  Oh well at least on this trip we will be guaranteed more.  It was then off to bed for a good nights sleep with a choir of howls and barking.

Next morning would be a milestone as today we head for the northern most tip of Australia.

The forecast is not the greatest with high costal winds and choppy seas.   On the way we drop once more in to the Croc Shop and grab a few little bit’s.  We also get another free map of the tip area with easy to follow directions.  In reality all you have to do is follow the next 4×4 that passes and you will be sure to get there.

Overall it takes us just under an hour as the road is really narrow with heaps of turns and blind spots.  It’s also has as the usual dirt and corrugations.

We are lucky and seemed to have timed it right with not many cars coming in the opposite direction.  Arriving at the car park we see several faces we have seen all the way up and probably will see all the way down.  We chat to a few folks we have enjoyed drinks with who point us in the correct direction which is up over quite a steep path.  If the tide is out and you are brave sometimes you can walk round but with a high tide, a lot of crocodiles waiting that is not possible today.  Instead we set off on our assent over the rocks in to the wind then across and look down to get our first view of the “Northernmost Tip of Australia”.

As you would expect this being Australia where everything is plotting your demise it is rough.  The wind is blowing hard and the ocean is joining the assault.  We are lucky once again arriving where there is no one here waiting to take the obligatory photo with the iconic sign which must be had as no pic? Then it never happened.

Waisting no time we walk down turn around grab hold of the sign and try to smile as the wind and spray attempt to ruin the shot.   We succeed in getting both front and rear shots then retreat to the rocks to hide.  We return the favour and snap lots of pics of our bus mates before once again we retreat to crack open a beer and it’s cheers all round on a monumental achievement for all.

We returned back to town where we went to a new camp site at Loyalty Beach which was similar to the previous one but with slightly better facilities.

Here we had a couple of drinks then an early night and left the next morning.

Today we have a treat as we moved again.  This time to Punsand Bay Park which is more like a resort.  It has a bar, restaurant and a pool.

We will be based here for the next few days.  During the first day we pretty much just relax whilst planning our next move.  We do however have a go at fishing off the beach but had to remember not to get to close to the water due to our friends the crocodiles.  As usual we managed to catch nothing and were mugged for our bait.

Later in the restaurant we ordered a $30 dollar wood fired pizza.  That sounds expensive but it had a heap of seafood it was both crispy and delicious.

Next day we had a further treat in the way of breakfast.  It was nice but I could’ve eaten three of them.  Kaz reported that she was happy with her offering of eggs Benedict.

In the evening we returned to the restaurant and again enjoyed a delicious pizza this time chicken based with spicy sauce and a crispy base, yum.

We then split the bar as some people wanted to watch NRL and some AFL so one tv showed and one showed the other.  Once again our team Geelong were slaughtered by. Melbourne.  Then it was off to bed for another great sleep in the roof top tent.

During last night the wind and rain picked up so that by morning everything was wet as we packed up ready to make the move South back towards civilisation.

We left in good time at around 8:30am with the intention of visiting Fruit Bat Falls.

As we arrived at Bramwell Station we sadly realised we must have missed the turn and so just carried on to arrive at the Archer River Roadhouse where camped at the exact spot we camped on the way north.  We quickly set up our rooftop tent.  I went out on a hunt for firewood and next to where we parked some idiot had not put out their fire fully so we dug our fire pit out then used most of the previous fire to start ours.  We then ate our dinner round the fire.

Next to us was a solo female camper who had been playing a ukulele and singing.  Kaz went over and invited her her to sit round the fire and have a chat which she did.

Her name was Rain, originally from Canada but has called Australia home for a number of years.  As darkness fell and the skies lit up with stars we sat round the fire which was just fantastic.  Later as our wood stocks dwindled we poured water on the fire then filled in the pit.  We said our good night’s and headed for bed amazingly it was only 8:30 but we had a long day and would still sleep.

Endeavour River Escape, Cooktown – Cape York

Arriving at the Endeavour River Escape we are immediately impressed as we drive up the 3K long dirt driveway to the homestead.  The property sits overlooking a river which meanders through the massive acreage.  We had a chat with the owner, then we follow his you bloke on a huge quad who directs us to the spot we will occupy.  We are again delighted as the spot is massive and we have it all to ourselves including the bus.  Unfortunately, although the river is close by we will not be swimming due to it being home to croc’s.

Having set up we took a drive in Cooktown where it seemed pretty quiet but then we remembered it was Sunday.  We managed to scope out somewhere to eat for dinner later which was the bowls club in the Main Street.  Then went down to the wharf where we saw an old guy fishing with a bare line and hook.  Every time he dropped that line, 10 seconds later he pulled up a fish.  

On our way back to the van we stopped in at the souvenir shop where we purchased a mascot for the trip in the shape of a crocodile who will travel on the dash to the cape and the rest of Australia we get to.

It would not be us if we didn’t find the local pub for a cold one.  Cooktown would be no different.  We found the Top End Pub where we could also take Max in to and enjoyed a nice freezing cold beer.

Back at the van we met a dude who walked in to our camp section then asked if it would be ok to use his metal detector.  We asked him he had found any gold where he replied, yes, about 55 dollars.  We were thinking of actual gold and not gold coins.  He then wished us “safe travels” then left.

Later we returned to the bowling club for some food and drinks.  This place must have the youngest crew in Australia working the bar.  The poor bloke behind the bar didn’t look old enough to drink never mind serve alcohol.  It took him 15 minutes to pour 3 beers while blaming it on the keg, gas and even air in the pipes.  We grabbed a table then the menu where since we had 30 minutes before meals could be ordered gave us plenty of time to study it and the specials board.

All that studying resulted in 2 parmies and two steaks washed down with a bottle of red.  And a scoop of ice cream was scoffed by myself and Richo which the kids didn’t finish.  It was then back to camp and lights out.

Next day we got busy sorting out the cars for the trip to Cape York as we would now be using roof top tents and the van and bus would be in storage for a few weeks.  The dogs would be going in to kennels as there are to many croc’s around to take them with us.  Our metal detector friend then walked past and wished us “safe travels” again.  

Having checked and double checked everything it was time to have some dinner before a couple drinks then an early bed.

The day had arrived where we hit the road on our Cap York adventure.  We hooked up the van and bus then moved them in to storage.  Next we headed to the kennels to drop of the dogs.  We did this quickly before Max had time to realise what was happening.  Then it was time to start with a 350Km drive to Cohen where we free camped just outside of town down a 4×4 track next to the river.  There was one other person there but he left and we had the place to ourselves for a while before two caravans came in and stayed the night.  This was the second spot.  The first was down off the road then over a river in to a camp which had loads of people around.  We decided to give this one a miss.  Having had a long day we called it a night early and climbed up the ladder in to the roof tent for a well earned sleep.

In the morning it was off in to Coen where we filled up with diesel dumped our rubbish then waited for the local hotel to open so wee could buy some beers.  We weren’t the only ones and when at last it opened at 10am we bought a box of beers which cost $90.00 for Great Northerns cans.

It was then back on the road in to the dust and corrugations heading only 60Km to the Archer River Roadhouse.  Since we dropped the tyre pressures the corrugations didn’t seem so bad and with a decent east west wind the dust cleared a bit faster as we followed Richo who was about half a kilometre in front.  In no time we reached the roadhouse which we went past turned right before the bridge and down then over the river on to a cracking spot with easy access to both the river for swimming and the roadhouse should we need anything.

Tonight we would light a fire so we all went, collected some wood and had a good supply for later.  We headed for the roadhouse for a look.  It was really basic but we are miles from anywhere.  A bottle of soft drink was $6.60 but the cost is definitely in the shipping.  We bought a bottle of ginger ale as these places need supported by buying something whilst there and also we are alcoholics.

In the evening and with darkness descending, the fire set and a meal on the go we were treated to a fly over by a large group of bats heading out.  This looked great until quite a few of them landed on trees close to our set up.  This means in the morning we would be guaranteed bat shit on the car.

The fire was lit and with a reasonable wind blowing it got fanned in to an inferno pretty quickly.  We then added a packed of Rainbow Flames which burn turning the flames as you would guess in to all sorts of colours.  Had there been less wind they might have been more of them but the breeze kept the colour show short.  We sat in the heat of the evening gazing between stars and flames while listening to the river flow, amazing.  It was then up the ladder to enjoy another solid night sleep.

After a couple of days at this fantastic spot where we picked up so much information about the Cape and met some really nice people it was time to leave.  We made a quick stop at the roadhouse to bin our rubbish.  Whilst there we were told of several vehicles that had broken and were waiting for days to be recovered to Cairns costing one couple who had a bus complete with trailer would cost them in excess of $20,000 dollars.  There was also a couple in a motor home where they couldn’t select any gears.  That would cost them in excess of $5,000 to be recovered.

Leaving the roadhouse we started out on a short stretch of tarmac which didn’t last long before it changed to gravel, red dust and corrugations.  Our destination was the The Bramwell Tourist Park which would have music, a buffet and a happy hour.

We booked in for two nights and set up our rooftop tent and went for stroll around the place which sits on 300,000 acres.  There are hot showers and toilets but not much else but that’s as usual on these types of stations.

We managed to get the last half of happy hour, then the start of the music but left shortly after without eating. Instead returned to camp to have an early night.

Mount Carbine to Cooktown

Saturday arrived sunny and warm today will be close to 30 degrees as usual which will provide us with heaps of lovely solar power.  Since the second solar panel was added we have been consistently high in our solar charge.

Today we sat down again with our bus mates and have now formulated a plan for the next few days at least.

We spend some time down at the little stream which seems to have been taken over by weekender people who have placed their chairs in the stream and don’t look too welcoming.  We take the hint and remain upstream where we spot a snake having a swim. 

Later in the day it’s all about footy with two games being played.  Between those two we stuff our faces on some beautiful chicken and then began the task of getting ready to move on Sunday then it’s bedtime.

Having packed up most things last night we have the easy task of getting all the little stuff packed then say our goodbyes to our bus mates who we will meet up with in Cooktown.  Today is also their seventh year anniversary.  We will definitely celebrate this milestone tonight.

We drive up to the farmhouse to pay for our second night where the owner asks us if we will return here after the Cape, we say for sure he then says well have a free night and see you on your return!!  You just gotta love country people.

We have a bit of a longer drive today on our way to and just north of Cooktown.  Here we will stay at the Endeavour River Escape.