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.