Well, we’ve been home now for a few days and what we thought my be a relatively smooth 2,700 kms trip home ended up having some minor issues. We packed up early Sunday morning, said goodbye to our adventurous friends and headed south to try and cover as much of the dirt road as possible.
First stop was the Jardine River Ferry crossing. We had to wait for about 15 minutes in the queue. The river crossing is not that wide, probably about 50 metres, which means the ferry is not all that big either. It can only carry four 4WDs with campers in one trip. I’ve heard travelers have had to wait hours during busy school holiday periods. We reached Musgrave Roadhouse about 4pm and camped there for the night. We thought about pushing onto Laura which was only another 140 kms but decided against it with the light fading fast. It certainly was a lot busier this time at Musgrave compared to the trip up. The site was well populated with school holiday period just starting. We’re glad we traveled when did. On arriving at the campground I noticed the fuel cap was hanging loose. I’d forgotten to put it back on when re-filling at Coen 100 kms back up the road. I hope too much dust hadn’t been sucked into the tank – Mishap #1!
Next morning was a very early start to again to travel as far as we could for the day. We were up before sunrise, had breakfast, packed up and leaving the campground just the sun rose. The dirt seemed to be worse than we first traveled but it wasn’t long before we were back on bitumen – yay! We stopped for a loo break just out of Laura and I got out to stretch the legs and heard a running water sound from the back of the camper. I found the water outlet pipe for the back water tank and been broken, probably from a rock been flicked from the camper tyres. Another thing to fix when we get home – Mishap #2!
We made it to South Mission Beach Caravan park for a couple of nights stay. Lovely spot and beautiful beach that looks out to Dunk Island. This area received some major damage from cyclone Yasi. Most of the local small businesses seemed to be doing tough, and the Dunk Island Resort is still not back in business yet.
Next stop was planned to be Mackay, so we packed up again and headed off. The fuel gauge was indicating re-fueling so I planned to fill up at Tulley BP which back on Bruce Hwy just 20 kms from South Mission Beach. Just as I turned onto the Bruce the car lost power and stopped. Oh no, run out of diesel! I didn’t think I had as when the re-fueling light comes on there is 20 litres of diesel left, so after turning over for several minutes, I swallowed my pride and went to walk the 1 km to get more fuel. 30 minutes later and back with 10 litres of diesel and still it didn’t start. I was now worried that I had blocked fuel lines or filter from leaving the fuel cap off on the dirt several days earlier. Time to call the RACQ. AS we were only a minute from Tulley, the recovery was quick but had to be done in two trips, one for 4WD and one for the camper. By the time we got the camper to the Tulley Ford dealer where was 4WD was taken it was already running. Likely cause – a air lock in the fuel line – Mishap #3! The iPad with my Hema map app had it’s screen damaged falling out of the vehicle – Mishap #4!
Due to this two hour delay and all the road work delays on the Bruce Hwy we ended up at Bowen instead of Mackay. Now Bowen wasn’t on my must see list, but we were surprised with the town. It has a great lookout with a cafe, some lovely beaches, and very wide streets with not many people around. We think we found where they all were. There is a couple of large parks on Queen and Horese-shoe Bay beaches. They seemed to be packed for the school holidays. We also took a drive down to Airlie beach and Shute Harbour. Nice places but full of back-packers and thousands of holiday apartments. I assume they all get filled at some stage of the year.
Last scheduled stop was with friends at Rocky. Thanks to Andrew and Robyn for providing a nice comfy bed for a couple of nights! Here we dried out the camper canvas for the last time on the trip, went to a first birthday party, and we picked up an extra passenger at Sarina the day before – a new puppy for Charlotte!
We arrived back on Sunday the 30th and we’re glad to be home – now for the clean-up and repairs!
Some stats for our trip:
Departed: 1 April
Days/nights away: 90/89
Returned: 30 June
Kms traveled: 20,792
Fuel Usage: 2,977
Ave cost of fuel: $1.735/litre
Ave economy: 14.2 litre/100 km
Did you know … #20?
The first ever cyclone recorded in Cardwell hit on Feb 2-3 and the latest cyclone (Yasi) that hit Cardwell happened on the same day(s) – Feb 2-3.
South Mission Beach