Cape York - July 2014 - Girls own Adventure - from the farm to the tip or bust!

Sunday, Jun 15, 2014 at 12:05

Member - Astrogirl14

19 days to go as I sit in not so sunny central coast, where it is blowing a cold icy wind and about 7 degrees. I am excited & nervous about our trip, 30 days is a long time to be away from home.

So how did this happen? One minute I was planning to do the Savannah Way 2017 and now we are heading to Cape York??

About 2 years ago while discussing 2017, with our friends in Cairns said they wanted to see the cape, as their work had been taking them up to various outposts and places, and they said it looked amazing from the air and when they did the FIFO the people were fabulous and so from that the story begins.......

6 chicks, 2 troupies, 1 cruiser, and 1 eco-tourer are about to take on the cape!

Journey for the cruiser aka "Christmas Fairy" & eco becko starts on a Friday! We will over the next 6 days hopefully catch up with family & friends while doing a semi shake down before reaching Cairns we will have been to Grafton, Caloundra, Rockhampton, Bowen & Tully, stay tuned for some posts:).

Once in Cairns we will connect with our fellow adventures, re stock, fix anything and prepare for the adventure of a life time, I can't even recall how many people have said wow that's on my bucket list as I have been explain why I had to take so much leave!

So where are we going?
The plan is to start with a couple of days in Cooktown, then off to Coen, Weipa, Bramwell Station, Loyalty Beach, the islands, Punsand Bay and "the tip" its pretty rushed, but I am sure we will manage, then on to Aloha Beach, Elliot falls, Captain Billy's Landing, Chilli Beach, Coen, Laura it there the troupies will head back to cairns and we will continue back home, no idea which way we will go that really depends on how we feel.

Hopefully I'll be in range and will have mastered the blog and be able to updated you with the progress, well there always the trusty powerpoint deck I can upload.....

Sorry about the late posting been busy

Update Sunday 13th July 2014

Been on the road for 9 days thought I’d update you all, we have had an up & down week….

Day 1 – CC to Grafton - 550km
– left late about 1140, hit road works before got Newcastle had to wait for 20 mins, drove all day swapping drivers, topping & starting fo road works, finally got to Grafton about yes was dark, missed the turning to Chris’s bugger! Had to comeback had no idea where we were going gps had lost the plot. Finally arrived about 730pm, nearly wrote off the axle getting into the drive way!
Chris made us feel at welcomed home cooked meal cha about hose stuff then to bed, so quiet, had bit of a sleep in big breakky then a walk around her lovely property, met the horses and off.

Day 2 – Grafton to Caloundra – 420km -
back in Grafton and we can see the line of cars and lollypop men, not good sign they were stopping everybody both sides of the road, when got to the font we discovered there had been a fatal accident at Ballana, so everybody made to take the tourist route adds about an hour to the trip normally however we still had to get out of Grafton, that took about 30 mins, so finally on our way by now it’s gone 12noon with 5 to 6 hour day to still go, needless to say more road works…….. Finally drove over the wonderful Gateway Bridge about 430pm with the sun setting, pull into a great van park Caloundra Waterfront Holiday Pak, after another argument with GPS!!!!!!!!! About 545pm
Set up again in the dark, exhausted just had enough time to get set crack a well-deserved coldie before little sister & the family tuned up to take us to dinner.

Day 3 – Caloundra – free day – sleep in, sorted out van, little sister back again to take us for drive, check the beach out, rental house, new house, beauty salon, then off to lunch!

Day 4 - Caloundra to Rockhampton – 600km
– Set off about 50 mins later than we wanted to but it’s hard to leave when the neighbors are chatting with you & discover you have friends in common, oh well we are on holidays! Bit of a nightmare getting out of town how many around bouts are there to get back to the A1??? Stress because we needed some diesel as well, it’s getting hotter, & more road works…..stop, start all the way to Gin Gin, made for a very low trip, then the start for the long stretches of black tar, lots of van both ways, entered o outskirts of rocky about 4pm finally an earlier day, spoke to soon dam GPS sends us off on a wild drive to who knows where! Phoned the van park and they had no idea where were or how to get to them, so stopped back tracked turned the GPS off, followed our noses and got to the park, right on dusk the birds were amazing going nuts so loud all the babies waiting for their dinner almost dark, been on the road for 7 hours, dog tied again.

Day 5 – Rockhampton to Bowen – 520km –
Got off on time, had filled up the night before so much bee start to the day, plumed in destination in GPS, yes it wasn’t ejected out the window the night before reckons we get in about 330pm, nice w might had time to relax and enjoy some scenery, no such luck more road works, GPS takes us via woollies car park, arrived at park, but really can’t fit in the tight spot w have been given, by now very hot tried definitely ready ditch the GPS in pacific ocean, so pushed on up the highway wanted to get to Ayr but the sun was setting and it was getting very dangerous, not keen to end the day by hitting something on the road, so sure free camping spot where there were already a number of vans in for the night decided to play it safe and join then that was a god move after another long day of 7 hours. Hopped across to servo grabbed some tucker & head for bed.

Day 6 – Bowen to Hull heads – 400kms
– Off early in Ayr by 9am nice town over a river, maybe we could have made it last night? Oh well that was yesterday! Great drive upto Townsville hat big town seems to be booming lots of construction happening and more road works! Lovely drive fom Ingham to Hull Heads via Cardwell what pretty town full of vans so we couldn’t pull over, amazing view of the islands.
Arrived at “the buoys B & B” old mates from Sydney 20 years ago! And it’s only 2pm yippee daylight
What a great views looking down Hull river, at the buoys, looking across the Tully to the islands, such a nice night catching up, home cooked dinner yummy, sleep in & fresh fruit for breakky, to short a stay must come back.

Day 7 – Hull Heads to Cairns – 180kms –
Short day, however realized we weren’t going to fit in a suburban drive way plus we needed to power up, so quick ring around before we left to find a van park in cairns with space 4 calls later found one! Very lucky somebody was looking after us, off we set very sad to leave the boys, we promised to come back. Didn’t get far out of Tully and yes there they were there again the lolly-pop people more waiting, stopping & starting! However finally starting to feel like we are on holidays, time just goes slower here must be the climate. Passed the lovely mountains as drove to cairns window open warm air coming in ah……………………….

Nice drive inspirit of the road works, was strange driving into cairns as we have never been there with our car before always flown in, zig zigged around the back of cairns found our way to lake placid caravan park and the GPS worked!!!!!! Nice park down by the river not far from our travelling companions, setup, then off to the shops couple of extras then a BBQ at the mates chat about the trip last minute tips & suggestions were discussed, checked out one of the troupies which had been collected

Day 8 – Cairns free Day
Sleep in very nice, lazy start to the day, sorted out the van, did the washing, shopping, sorted out the CB, TV, water……. Had a coldie with John & Inneke our van neighbors, chatted about the start of the adventure and were they had been, followed by an early night.
Day 9 – Cairns to Cooktown – 322 KM – THE ADVENTURE Begins
Up early on the road by 9am connected with the troupies at the start of the savannah way, up the mountain to Marbeea, chatting on#40 there was Kylie Kookaburra, CF and Christmas fairy were finally on the way, quick coffee at coffee works yummy! Then on the road to Cooktown, we arrived about 3pm another great pick for a van park, peninsula caravan park, tucked away down the end of howard st, setup then for drive up to grassy hill, what a view, truly amazing no wonder cook & banks were shocked when the awake after a night on a leaky boat to see this wonderful country. Quick dinner at the bowlo, then sat around and watched the super moon.

Day 10 – Cooktown free day
Late start, breakfast with gang, then off to learn about how jc & jb discovered Cooktown and this wonderful country, checked out the James Cook museum well worth a visit, then off to the historic lion’s den, this for me was not negotiable and I can see why everybody talks about it! Quick visit to Keating’s lagoon on the way back to the park, cup of tea time, chat about the real adventure tomorrow, and the corrugations…….

Apologies for delay has been long trip & we still have another 2000kms togo, plus we had no

Day 11 Cooktown to Coen – 387 kms
After a stop at the medical center for one of the gang to see if we could continue & find the root of her issues which turned out to be a combination of ear inflection & sense we were off at 945am, via black mountain towards Lakeland then on to Laura where we stopped for coffee, let the tyres down looked at our lovely clean cars,
and said good bye to the bitumen, not realizing how much we had ahead of us.

Passed the 1st of many road crews, grading & wetting the road to hear on the two way a friendly female voice say it must be ladies day out on the cape! Indeed it was that set the scene for the day as every road knew the girls were on their way, it wasn’t a bad drive to Musgrove station , these lovely girls were very happy!
The drive from there to Coen was a completely different story, the corrugations got deeper and more frequent, we started to encounter sand as well as dust, along with numerous dips, some with a little water finally hit Coen about 430pm tried and covered in dust, setup camp in the grounds of the Homestead Guesthouse . Then on to the famous Sexchange hotel for a well-deserved ale. . A 6 hour day

Day 12 Coen to Weipa – 254 kms
Said good bye to Coen about 9am, first stop Archer River roadhouse, fueled up, and grabbed a drink road wasn’t bad to their, got bit worst to the Portland Road junction, however was broken up along the way with short sections of bitumen, passed the telegraph road junction and continued on to towards Weipa, as the road got worst and the temperature rose, we were humming along when one of the troopies got a flat bugger! after jumping up & down we finally got the wheels nuts loose just as another group kindly stopped to help us, by this stage it was 32 in the shade, and we were all very cheesed off, got back on track about after about an hour with another 100 kms to go, we pressed on in heat when we had to stop again, this time the troopie was hit by a fly rock from a passerby a partly cracked the screen, out came the patches, and off we set again pulling into a very busy Weipa caravan park about 4pm, the troopie went off to get tyre fixed, and rear tail light which had also taken hit fix, the rest of us set up camp and ducked across to the local woollies to pick up supplies knowing this was the last chance for anything at a reasonable price, then off to the servo for fuel, and back to cook up feast on the Webber and reflect on the day, the sunset was amazing, as the onions sizzled away . Another long completed.

Day 13 Weipa to Bramwell Station – 182Kms.
As this was to be a short day the gang decided to head off by 10am, if only we had known as we were heading off the other troopies spotted chip in there screen and patched it, the troopies went off for diesel and we topped up the oil, we met he troopies not far from the servo and decided to grad some more oil and double check that what we had heard about the Batavia Downs Road beening a good road was correct which it was and finally we headed out of Weipa, this was short lived as soon as we had passed the airport turn off the poor troopie which had the flat & chip yesterday decided that the windscreen repair spots weren’t enough and promptly started to crack in a major way, we stopped discussed options called the hire company and the troopies went off back to Weipa to see what could be done, as we waited to here, it was getting hotter, and we knew the day was getting shorter as it was gone noon, the call came and the troopies had no choice but to stay together for the night in Weipa. We pushed on to Bramwell Station alone but completely confident we were prepared for anything which might occur, somebody was looking after us the road was good a couple river crossings but other than that a very nice afternoon drive, this turned out to be the best dirt road of the whole trip as we pulled into Bramwell Station around 330pm, tried & hot, setup camp and Kevin the station manager kindly let u call on his sat phone to advise the troopies we were safe, we settled in for the night, quick walk around the main part of the station, saw the brolga bird , she doesn’t take kindly to children & women we learnt later that evening during the talk about Bramwell while we waited for our home cooked cottage pie & sticky date pudding, followed by the live entertainment “the one man show” an old mate of Kevin’s keeping the crowd of campers singing along to yesterday’s hits was a fun way to end a long day.
Meanwhile back at Weipa the troopies booked into cabin so they didn’t have to unpack and could get off early the next day to join us for the trip to the Jardine Ferry and on to Loyalty Beach. It was indeed fortuitous as both troopies had had their windscreen replaced while in Weipa.

Day 14 – Bramwell Station/Weipa to Loyalty Beach – 138/338 kms.
Troopies did get off from Weipa by 8am and join us at Bramwell by 945 am quick pit stop and we were all back together again and heading north, the group was a little fractured after what had happen yesterday, but that didn’t take long to pass as we headed north, another quick stop for fuel at Bramwell junction then onto the Jardine, not a good road and busy with people racing back who had been to the tip, got to the ferry about 2pm, paid the ferryman and got to the other side .
The road to Bamaga was terrible 90 mins later we arrived, the troopies stopped at the supermarket while we went to grab a spot for the gang a Loyalty Beach, a great spot to unwind and relax, awesome, friendly & helpful people highly recommended! .

Day 15 – Loyalty Beach/Thursday Island – free day
Early start to catch the ferry had to be at the wharf by 745am for the 90min journey to TI, what a great way to start the day. fabulous day tour of the island, bit of shopping, nice lunch, perused the cultural center a must! Then back on the ferry windy trip back most people hid inside, not us we braved the wind and got plenty of sea spray, obviously the track to the tip was enough of some judging by this of the jayco on the freighter going back, a couple of days later we were to say wow how smart was that! Back at the base camp we got ready to cook up a storm Turkey & Cranberry sauce.

Day 16 – Loyalty Beach to Punsand Bay – 25km
Late start as we only had short day, well it might have short but it was worse than the Jardine road and in iron sight we should have stayed a loyalty beach and done a day trip, however it was a lovely beach, great pizza and after the trip we had had in heat and not mention seeing a tipan who decided it wasn’t happy with the number campers around, we squeaked into one of our two spots.

Day 17 – Punsand to the tip!
Well the day had finally arrived for the track to the tip, off we set at 8am drove for 90 mins to the tip it was like grand central station cars, bikes, trucks vans you name it everybody & 3 dogs were on the tip waiting their turn for the ultimate bucket list photo. YES we made it!
More to come……..

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