Hann River to Musgrave via Cape York 14/05/2011 - 20/05/2011 by Mrs Kanga

Saturday, May 14, 2011 at 00:00


Day 29 - 14/05/2011

Woke at Hann River to find everything wet from heavy dew. On the road by 8am, road in very good condition with numerous small creek crossings. Saw a few Agile Wallabies and birds and some slender versions of our grass trees. Pormpuraaw Road was Closed. Pulled in at Musgrave, sign said $7 per adult per night, may try and stay here on the way back, facilities were clean and looked well maintained and diesel was $1.84per litre. Pulled in briefly at Coen 10.40am(Diesel $1.81pl) then pulled in about 3ks further by the river for a cuppa. Had a chat with some people camped there with a Falcon with a broken back windscreen and tyre troubles, only to find that the lady’s brother was from Rockingham. They said there were no crocs in the river but we did see some small fish and a couple of red claw. Back on the road and we passed through Morton Telegraph Station just before 2pm, sign said “Shop Closed Toilets Open”. Pressed on to Bramwell Junction Roadhouse where we set up camp ($10 per adult per night).Had a look at the Old Telegraph Track and Adriane had a go at Palm Creek after pacing it out. He got down one side but the other side was a bit steep and very slippery so he turned around in the creek bed and much to our amazement, powered straight back up the way he had come down. Amazing what a difference two diff locks and low tyre pressures can make. It was now getting a bit late in the day so we headed back to camp and lit the fire for spuds and corn for dinner. Jamie and Gayle, our helpful hosts came over to camp and shared a drink and a few stories. They have only had the roadhouse for around three years but have already made some big improvements. There is plenty of shady grassed areas, camp fire places, Agile Wallabies, Blue Winged Kookaburras and some massive ant hills. The roadhouse itself has an excellent collection of photos on the tables and a tree out the front with a number plate collection. Saw a few Cane Toads under the amenities block, which they are planning to upgrade but are currently quite adequate but not real hot.

Day 30 - 15/05/2011

I had a little sleep in while Andrea got up early to give the showers another go, turned out the gas tank had run out last night. Overcast today but humid and warm. Got some fuel ($2.08pl, only gets more expensive from here on up) then bid Jamie and Gayle a fond farewell and were on the road by nine and soon saw a live feral pig on the road. About 42ks out from Bramwell we caught up with the road crew grading the road. Most of the road is in very good condition with only occasional corrugations and bad washouts. Took the tack in passed the Ranger Station at Heathlands to have a look at Gunshot and Cockatoo Creeks. Unhitched the trailers at the t junction and went down to Gunshot Creek, what a mess. There is four or five entry points from the South of varying degrees of suicide to barely doable. Looked at all the memorabilia decorating the trees and was a bit disappointed with the number of drink cans left in the surrounding bushland. When we arrived at Cockatoo Creek crossing I saw two people on horseback in the water across the other side and they rode off. As Adriane was wading across to see if we could cross it, we heard a quad bike and two people came down with their two large dogs and sat on the bank across the other side. Adriane waded across and they said they lived just round the corner and gave him some advice on what line to cross, which was different to the way he thought would be best. Andrea & I reckoned it was the same people I had seen on horseback had nipped home grabbed the dogs and a drink and came down to watch the show. We ultimately decided not to cross because the river was flowing too fast to cross safely with the trailers on. We had lost a rubber bush off the end of one of the springs on the Troopy on the way in, causing an annoying noise while driving over bumps. Adriane had an idea where it had come off and managed to spot it and pick it up on the way out. Next stop was Fruit Bat Falls which is day use only, and really beautiful. Had a quick look at the falls then had lunch and we all got our bathers on and sat in the spa at the top of the falls, just wonderful. It was a bit cool and cloudy at times but once in, the water was really nice.Moved further on to see The Saucepan, Twin Falls and Eliot Falls, all walking distance of each other. Plenty of camp sites at $5.15pp, with fire rings (although some in strange places) and toilets. Went on to check Canal Camp for a possible place to camp by the water but there were no facilities and lots of midgies so we went back to Eliot Falls and set up camp for the night. Brush Turkeys around camp and we had to move some Wild Pig poo that was stinking us out. Adriane had a chat with a guy called Roger who had just bought one of the Loyalty Beach LWB Troopies. He and three of his seven kids (hence the need for the Troopy!) were making their way home to Mareeba via Cooktown. They must breed them tuff these Queenslanders, they were all sleeping on the ground with only blankets. Three other vehicles pulled in at the spot next to ours, one of which turned out to be a fellow Exploroz member (Grant HID). They were continuing on to do the rest of the OTT and then camp at Punsand Bay for a few nights.

Day 31 - 16/05/2011

Off by 9am, Gordon’s trailer brakes not working again. Adriane got the rubber bush back on the suspension then back to the Developmental Road. Road a bit corrugated before getting to the Jardine River Crossing. Camping available here but as it was only 10.30am, we paid the $88per car plus $11 for the trailer and we both just fitted on, end to end, for the short trip across the Jardine. Quite humid and windy today, road generally very good but some badly washed out sections and some sandy boggy bits. Road works under way so some bits could be fixed by the time we come back down. Short cut through to Bamaga not worth it as road in bad condition. Stopped at Bamaga for a few supplies but the Bakehaus was having oven problems and the supermarket was out of milk and only had defrosted bread so we drove on to Seisia and got some milk then on to Loyalty Beach. We pulled in to the Loyalty Beach Campground just behind a 4wd motor home and Adriane noticed the TCYC Western Australian number plate. Introduced ourselves to John and Lyn the owners and were stunned to find that they live in Penguin Road Safety Bay! Here we were, just about as far away from home as we could get and still be in Australia and we bump in to people that lived barely a kilometre from Gordon and Andrea’s house and five kms from ours! The Kiosk/Office at the Loyalty Beach Campground wasn’t open till 4-5pm so we set up camp under some shady trees by the beach, did some washing and relaxed a bit. Turns out that John bought his truck new and built the camper back himself, and a lovely job he has done too, very professional. Adriane is getting revved up again about a 4WD motorhome build. We had a look at the new NT Oka last year, so I guess we’ll see what develops.

Day 32 - 17/05/2011

Booked a trip and tour to Thursday Island for tomorrow ($141 pp) then off to the Tip today, and I don‘t mean the Rubbish Tip. Weather a bit weird today, hot, humid, windy and we even got a bit of rain at one stage. First stop on the way to the Tip was the Croc Tent. Got their free map and some helpful information from the lovely Leanne. Went past Old Pajinka then parked near the Tip. Walked the short cut along the beach to the Tip, strong current rushing through from East to West between the Tip of Cape York and York and Eborac Islands. Very windy at the Tip and on the walk back across the rocks for the return journey to the cars. We could see a big dark cloud pass quickly over the patch of rain forest that we had driven through and got a bit of rain from the edge of it, still quite hot though, when not in the wind.Drove around for a look at Somerset Beach that has camping and day facilities and you can see Albany Island from the beach, still no crocs sighted. Went to a couple of old WWII aircraft crash sites then back to Bamaga in search of lunch but the Bakehaus was shut so grabbed an ice cream from the supermarket then back to camp to make lunch.Gordon spent half the afternoon trying to find out what was wrong with his trailer brakes, narrowed it down to the actual trailer, not the car, but as it has been an intermittent problem and they are now working, can’t find the problem. Adriane went to jetty at Seisia to try his hand at a bit of fishing. He only caught bait fish so it was omelette for dinner. Saw two bright green Tree Frogs in the Ladies.

Day 33 - 18/05/2011

Up early for our 7.30am shuttle to the Seisia Jetty ($5pp each way) to catch the 8am Strait Magic ferry to Thursday Island for the day. The trip across took just over an hour to pick it’s way between the other islands and sand bars. Complimentary apple juice served on board while we watched a video about Thursday Island. Had an hour and a half to kill before the island tour (would have been better if they had the tour first so you would know where everything is) so hunted up a coffee and cake at the Café at Gab Titui Cultural Centre then met Sue our guide for the bus tour. Only a small island, interesting little tour, great view from the Museum/Historical Society. Went to the Jardine Motel for lunch, Gordon and Andrea ordered the Lamb and Vege Pie but Andrea didn’t enjoy hers because it had bacon in and wasn’t Lamb and Vege, Gordon finished it for her and confirmed it wasn’t the same as the one he had. I made use of their free wireless internet and looked up the number for Waiben Light Marine so Adriane could check if they had Offroader Crocs in his size, they did, so Adriane and I caught a Taxi there and bought some before meeting back with Gordon and Andrea for a look around the shops. Back to the ferry for the 2.30pm return journey which was very rough. Back at camp, had a sprinkle of rain and a cuppa while Adriane organised his fishing gear and went to the jetty to see if he could catch some dinner. No fish for dinner but Adriane came back with a story about a toddler called Sammy that had been “helping” him wind up his fishing reel one minute then fell off the jetty and disappeared into the murky water the next. A lady (possibly his mum) promptly jumped in and retrieved him, quite a commotion apparently.

Day 34 - 19/05/2011

After breakfast we drove down the track to where Patersons Creek meets the sea and tried a spot of fishing. Tide was a bit low and nothing biting so we came back to camp and I got some washing done while Adriane wrestled with the pink box, tried it on the roof of the Troopy but didn’t like it and ended up putting it and everything back in it, back inside the Troopy. Went to Bamaga, Seisia, New Mapoon for a bit of shopping and in search of a hand line. Didn’t have what Adriane wanted in Bamaga but they suggested the tackle shop in New Mapoon. They didn’t have what he was after either so he bought the individual components to put together what he wanted. Back at Seisia for the shopping and found the sort of hand line he was looking for. Met back up at camp, got the washing off the line then went to the Seisia jetty for a bit of fishing. Only managed to catch bait fish, Gordon and Andrea headed back to camp to put some roast vegies on for dinner and Adriane and I stayed a little longer. Nothing happening with the fishing so we headed back to camp, only to find that Andrea had the vegies in the oven and Gordon had gone to the Tip (rubbish tip that is) in search of a belt for his compressor. He found some belts, nothing to suit, but he did come back with a huge insulator for his collection. He said he had had trouble coming back in the dark because there were numerous horses on the road, they just seem to roam about where ever they like around here.

Day 35 - 20/5/2011

We were packed up by 8.30am and on the road before nine. Took the black top through Bamaga, Umagico and onto Injinoo. Road towards the Jardine Ferry was not well signposted from this way. As you come in to Injinoo you have to turn left at the servo and left again, almost straight away, so you are going back in the direction you came from. Bitumen soon runs out and it’s back to the dust. Road windy, washed out and bumpy in places, heed warning signs for wash outs and sandy and windy. Road crew working on corrugated section and another crew working on a soggy patch. Heathlands blowy and dusty but road in good condition. Stopped in at Bramwell Junction for lunch and to give Jamie and Gayle the number plates that we had collected from Cockatoo Creek so they can pin them to their tree. Out of Bramwell by 12.30pm and about nine kilometres down the road we turned off for a photo op at a very tall termite mound. More road works at Archer River. What seemed like the middle of nowhere, we were pulled over for a random breath test, both passed with flying colours. Next it was a Quarantine check just before Coen, showed the nice chap all of out fruit and vegies then on to Coen at 3.50pm. Got some diesel at $1.81pl then pushed on. Fifty five ks south of Coen, road turned to rubbish until 170km from Laura there was road works and the road was much better. Stopped at Musgrave Roadhouse to camp for the night (sign says $7 for adults but they charged $20 for the two of us). Had dinner at the roadhouse, seafood platers for the boys, steak sandwich for Andrea and a Chicken Kiev for me, not bad, considering where we are. At least it saved us from cooking. There were lots of little Cane Toads about, the grounds man said he had killed most of the big ones. Didn’t get much sleep, only had the screen on the back of the Tvan (as we often do), at one point it sounded like a cow had stuck it’s head in the back and let out one almighty moooooo!
Tempus Fugit

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