Well, what we thought we would be few days in Cairns and then 10 or so days in other major centres on our way down the coast to home was changed when we found out that one of my friends was at Innisfail and on his way to the Old Telegraph Line (OTL) track and the Tip of mainland Australia. We made contact and he convinced us to join his band of merry men (and his mum) for a week of fun and laughter. we worked where to meet them, went and re-stocked and prepared the camper and ute for dirt roads again!
First night stop and rendezvous was a roadhouse at Musgrave. Nice little spot with not much there, but the drive up through the mountains behind Cairns to Mareeba and further north was very scenic. After a few catch-ups we reviewed their plans on the OTL. I wasn’t going to take the ute and camper along the track, but we would meet them ahead at the next camping spots.
Second night was at Bramwell Junction roadhouse where the other crew would start their journey on the southern section of the track. We setup camp in one of the flattest sites we’ve had and went down the track several kms until we came to the first crossing. Palm Creek is the hardest and toughest crossing on the OTL and when we arrived several vehicles had just finished 3 hours of recovery out of it. This cause a change in plan, as two of the guys had relatively new cars and didn’t want them damaged on the first crossing. So they decided to bypass the first crossing and drive in off the main road further up the track.
Next morning we left them to it and headed for our final camp site on the OTL. Eliot/Twin Falls camp site was on it about 100 kms up the main road and accessible via several kms of the OTL. We had to cross one rather deep creek, so I made Susan walk the crossing and then another vehicle came along and crossed first without any problems so we took the plunge. Not as bad as first though. The camp site was near the Jardine River National Park and very close to three set of falls. We setup camp quickly and went straight down for a swim. The water was beautifully clear and warm. We spent most of the afternoon there while waiting for trackers to catch up.
Our final leg to base camp for ‘The Tip’ was Loyalty Beach Campground and only another 100 odd kms up the road again. We got to camp on lunch time, got the last powered beach front camp and sat and relaxed all afternoon. What a beautiful view – pity you can’t swim for the crocs – it is so tempting.
Next day was our trip to ‘The Tip’. The adventurers hadn’t had enough 4WDing, so they picked out another track to take. Without the camper this time, we joined along. Only a few small crossings, but one of us managed to get bogged, and it wasn’t me! We reached the Tip car park at lunch time, had a quick bite to eat before walking the 200 metres or so to ‘The Tip of the Australian mainland’. It was a lovely sight with the sun coming out for the first time for a few days, but it was rather windy, enough to nearly knock you over! After the obligatory photographs and it time to head back to camp via the main track which was full of pot holes and full of corrugations.
Last day spent visiting some old WWII aircraft wrecks at the airfield and visiting another beach camp on the western side of Bamaga. On the way back from this beach the passenger side air-bag went off for no reason, giving Susan a nasty big bruise on her left arm. Looks like a warranty job when I get back to Brisbane.
It’s been a great adventure up here on the Cape, and we’re glad we made a last minute change to come up here. We’ll probably have to visit again one day. Now it’s time to re-pack and finally make the 2,700 kms trip home. Hopefully we’ll make it with not too many more mishaps.
Did you know … #19?
That you have to go through a quarantine station 20 kms north of Coen when you travel south from Cape York! They want your fresh fruit and veg.