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Caravan – Margaret River, Western Australia
It’s been several weeks since we took the reigns as camp hosts at Olive Hill Farm. With the Xmas holidays ending the camp has been a bit quieter but the weather continues to be hot. We are spending time between the farm and the beautiful beaches that surround the area. We have also began a fitness regime that we try to do most days depending on how we feel in the morning. It’s mostly stretches and includes a bit of weight training. We continue to offer Helen help around the place and have managed to carry out a few improvements around the camping area. Helen has generously opened her stunning house to us and we are enjoying great nights relaxing whilst watching movies on Netflix. We also enjoy a wee wine or two at the same time.
We had said our goodbyes a while back to our Tassie mates who were the camp hosts when we arrived. We got lucky as they came back to Margs to enable the purchasers of their motor home to collect it at the farm. They hadn’t even told us and sent us some pic’s sitting in our chairs and on Karen’s bike. We were so happy they were back and we all enjoyed some great times out in Margs as well as over at the farmhouse. They are a great couple and we will definitely be catching up with them when we finally get to Tasmania next year. We will definitely miss them and they’re happy demeanour.
With the school holidays ended there was an exodus of people heading back to their day jobs. The camp is a bit quieter and this gives us the chance to help Helen out by doing some easy tasks around the place.
We are now over nine months on the road and from the start it has been fabulous. It’s great meeting some of the characters that come and go at the farm. Spending time with them and getting tips and tricks along the way. The laughs we have had have been brilliant with some folks trying out a Scottish accent. The swims in the river have also been amazing and is a top spot to cool down in.
Thankfully we still have quite a bit of time before we have to move on. We are certainly in no hurry to do so.
Burekup to Margaret River, WA
We left Burekup around 9am to make our way to Olive Hill Farm, Margaret River.
We made a quick detour in to the town of Busselton to pick up a guitar Kaz has bought me for Xmas, i stupidly left mine in storage and regretted not bringing it. not that i can play the guitar but i keep trying. We then headed to the small town of Cowaramup to fill our water tanks. It took us a bit of time to find the correct tap which was not signposted. As we got to the end of filling, three more vans came in behind us. We asked them how they knew the location of the tap and they replied, “we seen you filling up otherwise we wouldn’t have found it.
We left Burekup after having had a great last night listening to some live music at the country club and meeting some of the locals. We will definitely return there on our way back north.
Arriving at the farm along the the two km dirt road, we were met by the current caretaker and Helen who owns the property with her partner Benji. Helen told us we could pick a spot wherever we liked since we would be here for the next month. The other people who were arriving with families would be allocated a space to keep all the kids in one area. This of course was music to our ears as Max is not a fan of screaming children or quiet ones or ones on skateboards or ones scooters.
The place hasn’t changed much in the four years since we stayed here. We walked with Helen who gave us a suggestion of a great site and as we always follow advice we took her up on it and got the van in without issue. We are looking forward to being in one place for so long having moved a lot in the last eight months and 21000 km crossing four borders. We did it so quickly due to COVID and the need to get in to WA as Olive Hill Farm is the only thing we have booked in the entire journey. We will now slow down dramatically and stay in places we like a lot longer.
Later we took a trip in to the town and found it packed with people all here for the Xmas break. The Main Street was awash with people Xmas shopping and the sun was shining but not too hot. We didn’t stay long and got back to the farm to see all the arrivals coming back in.
We asked Helen if Bemji was still producing haggis but she told us he stopped that some time ago. Not good news as we were looking forward to that and we will have to get a fix somewhere else. In no time it was late afternoon and we sat outside the van having five o’clock cocktails whilst listening to all the bird life. We were lucky getting a visit from a couple of male Fairy Wrens. These things are tiny but the blue colour they have is stunning. The females are an ordinary brown colour and it’s the males who have to look pretty.
For only the second time we will put our annex out which gives us a huge covered area outside. I climb up on to the roof of the cruiser, open the rooftop bag and pass the four bags containing the annex down to Kaz. It then took us 2 hours to finally set up completely but this was only the second time we have put it up and that time will fall now that we have labeled all the pieces and know what goes where. Finally we attached the solar Xmas lights, mounted the tv and job done. With the weather for this week being hot we can be inside in complete shade but with heaps of sun powering our two solar panels on the van plus the panel on the car. It’s Karen’s birthday tomorrow the 23rd. So that will be a fun day. Then Xmas day is forecasted to be 38-40 degrees so we will end up going to the beach for a swim.
Wishing you all a very Merry Xmas from Margaret River.
Steve, Kaz & Max. Facebook Group – our wee journey
Timber Creek to WA. Australia
After another hot night we we wake to a hot morning and the first rain we have had in months. Calling it rain is a bit of a stretch as it lasts about 30 seconds and what had fallen was immediately dried out in the sun.
Having scored a drive through site we didn’t even have to unhook the van. We only have to lock up and start the car before we are back on the road heading west to WA.
The drive of around 200km takes us to the WA border where we have to show our permits and go through the usual quarantine check before being allowed in. 20 minutes later we have crossed our fourth border in six months.
We will stay in WA for four or five months before we head over another border in to South Australia.
We drive on to the town of Kununurra where we head in to the local Coles for supplies then we have the usual frustration of the north and wes where we have to wait until 12pm before we can buy alcohol. At least its not as bad as the NT which was 2pm.
Now fully replenished we are back on the road and decide we need a nice place for a treat. One of the best we have been to before is Lake Argyle and we cover the 70 km from Kununurra.
It’s kinda strange being back here after four years. It seems the place hasn’t changed a bit and has retained arguably the best infinity swimming pool view in the country.
We are having to abandon our free camping purely due to the heat which is 40+ almost every day right now. The forecast doesn’t show it changing anytime soon. Both Max and ourselves are just about surviving by drinking a ridiculous amount of water. Luckily Lake Argyle has power and so we run our aircon on just about permanently.
Within the park there is a walk down to the lake where you can have a beautiful swim which we decide to do. There are 30,000 croc’s in the lake but all freshies no no worries unless you make the mistake of standing on one. This turned out to be a bit of a stuff up as my thongs decided to break half way down. Then poor Max was getting his paws roasted from the rocks and sand. When he got to the bottom he just sank in to the water looking like he was never going back.
I dived in and cooled off and Kaz did the same trying not to think of how we would one, get Max back up and two, get me back up without any foot coverings. In the end Kaz had to just grab Max and get up ASAP then wait for myself running up the hot coals to the safety of a sprinkler on a large piece of grass which helped put my foot fire out and poor Max’s paws.
Later in the afternoon we grabbed some refreshments then headed down to the pool area where Steve Case was entertaining everyone with his guitar and funny stories.
It was great to be kicking back as the sun was setting providing an amazing backdrop on the rocks and lake behind him.
We then decided to get in the pool and cool off once again before returning to Max in his air conditioned luxury.
In the evening we walked down to the restaurant/bar where we enjoyed a meal we didn’t cook on dishes we didn’t have to wash. With the sun already gone and a nice cool breeze happening it was a treat to be people watching whilst listening to Steve Case do his more adult set of songs.
Then having had a pretty long day we returned to the cool of the van walked Max the it was lights out on a great day.
Facebook Group – our wee journey
We left Bitter Springs reasonably early but weren’t in any hurry due to the short drive we have today travelling to Katherine in the Northern Territory.
In no time we reach our destination, the Manbulloo Homestead.
This is a working cattle station just 12km south of the main town. It’s more of a bush setting with plenty of shade which we need as the temperatures have been around 40 degrees and are forecasted to stay for sometime. We booked a powered site to run our aircon or Max (our Border Collie) will have a heart attack.
The place backs on to the Katherine river but as usual you can’t swim in it due to crocodiles.
We will be here for 7 nights which is a welcome change. It also allows us the luxury of rearranging the gear we carry. We also made the decision to sell our rooftop tent as we doubt we will use it due to having Max with us.
We placed an ad in Facebook Marketplace and within the hour a lady from Brisbane said her hubby who works in Katherine would come and have a look. Later we received multiple requests and offers from people but Mark was first in and would get first dibs on it. He turned up on time and we opened the tent up showed it off and he bought it on the spot.
With Mark having no roof rack yet we offered to drop it off at his place. He then made us a very generous offer that when we drop it off he would supply a couple of beers and we could have a swim in his pool !!
We duly arrived dropped the tent off then had a glorious dip in the pool which was very much welcomed in the heat. We then had some drinks and a great laugh before we returned to the van where we left Max enjoying the aircon which we left running.
As we will be crossing another border in to WA we have to be in the NT for 16 days before we are allowed in. Meantime we have to go online and apply for a permit and detail all of our travel within the NT.
We completed this pretty easily and within minutes got our acceptance and border passes. This was great news as the only part of this journey we have booked is at Olive Tree Farm in Margaret River, WA. We will be there for one month in mid December, our first Xmas on the road.
It will be a wee bit boring staying in Katherine as we have been here before and done all the place has to look at and experience. We can’t complain as every day on the road is Saturday and we have lot’s of reading to do.
I also spent some time underneath the car with a hammer and screwdriver knocking out huge rocks of dust that had got collected up in Cape York. I will then take it to the car wash for a high pressure clean. I reckon we will be removing this dust until we hit a hard rain we have to drive through. As it is we haven’t seen rain for months.
At the time of writing we have three more nights here then we will take a couple of long drives with one stopover to ensure we make our WA border crossing date. This will be our fourth border through COVID restrictions in 6 months.
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.
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.
Leaving Cairns Northbound – Mount Molloy
This morning we head out of the Big4 caravan park which has been great but we prefer to be in farms and remote stays. Today we will do just that as we head north on our way to Cooktown Far North Queensland.
First we head to a farm stay called Birds On Barron in Biboorha where we meet back up with our bus mates. We will stay here for a couple of nights as we need to make solid plans for the next few weeks. The property is huge with lots of wildlife roaming around there is also an Emu which thinks it’s a horse. It also has a stream running through it to cool off in. The farm is just 7k from Mareeba so is an easy drive should we need anything and just as well. Whilst we were walking with Max he had a run then yelped then couldn’t walk on one of his back legs. Kaz called a couple of local Vets in Mareeba and we took him in to the one with the earliest appointment. In the consultation it was suggested that we should x-ray his leg to make sure there was no break. She also said that he had inflammation in the lower part of the leg. We left him there and headed to The Coffee Works in Mareeba to treat ourselves to a great coffee with a bite to eat whilst we wait on the completion of the X-ray.
So back to the vet and $350.00 for the x-ray and a total Bill of $450.00 later he has no break instead he has severe arthritis in the knuckle joints. We have to give him oral injections now and apparently his arthritis will only worsen as he ages.
Later both groups take some time to organise the gear for Cape York as we will leave the caravan and bus then continue with both Land Cruisers. We will have quite a bit more room as Max will be going in to kennels in Cooktown till we make our way up then down. We can’t risk him being taken by a crocodile due to his love of water. The O’Neills with do the same with little Meeko their terrier.
Next morning having spent a couple of nights here it’s time to leave. We head out and on the way drop our cash for the stay in the honesty box then hit the road for the short drive via Mount Malloy to Mary Creek Camp Grounds which is another huge farm property backing on to a lovely stream again. We both arrive without drama then get set up on a level site among the trees. The place is not too busy but it is so big it would take a lot to make so. The owner meets us and we pay him the $20.00 per night due. We reckon we will stay another night as we are making good time now although Cooktown will be a bit of a longer drive.
We spend the day reading, planning and relaxing before we suffer the onslaught of corrugations whilst in the Cape. There is also a little stream which allows us to cool of as the temperature rises to around 30 degrees as the sun gets higher.
Later it’s over to the bus where Richo has a new satellite dish for the big tv and tonight is Friday night footy night as Geelong takes on Port Adelaide in the finals series. Although a good game if you are an Adelaide fan but since me and Kaz are Geelong supporters it was not great. It was as always magic to sit out in the warm night before retiring to bed after another amazing day on the road.
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