Aussie Adventures Pt 8

Wednesday, Jul 04, 2018 at 18:44

Member - Muncey 72

The sun is shining as we set up the camper and then get 3 loads of washing on the go. The caravan park here in Cooktown is really nice and well laid out with a huge camp kitchen and a very inviting pool. We head into town after lunch and have a look around. Heaps to see and everything is within walking distance of the main street. We check out the various statues, plaques and memorials to Captain Cook and his crew. We drive the steep climb up to the lookout at Grassy Hill and get 360 views of Cooktown, The Endeavour River, The Annan River and The Great Barrier Reef. We decide to go to the Cooktown Hotel for tea tonight, I have Liver/bacon and everyone else has pizzas and wow was it good. The beers are served in the old pint-sized handle mugs even better. After a good nights sleep myself and the kids head up to the start of the walking track up to Mt Cook, it’s a well-marked track up through semi rain forest terrain approx. 3.8km return. The views from the lookout are really good and we notice that the track goes further so we follow this for another 30 mins and get to the very top where the Telstra phone tower and a helipad is. We get some snaps and then head down spotting 2 snakes on the way, all up it’s a 3hr hike. The kids spend the arvo relaxing around camp whilst Maz and I have a look around the botanical gardens and the Captain Cook Museum. The cold waters of the caravan park pool are just what the legs needed after this morning’s walk, we then batter and crumb the fish the old couple gave us way back at Lorella Springs.
With a little rain overnight, we are surprised to see the camper dry when we get up, must have been the wind! We pack up and were planning on Maz having a look around the markets whilst I give the car/camper a clean. Well that was thrown into chaos as Maz tried to get money out from an ATM machine only to have the card swallowed up. Whilst this was happening I was filling the car with fuel (1:57) only to be told when I go to pay that my card has been reported lost/stolen!!!! After 2 hrs on the phone to the Bankwest after hours number the end result was cards have been cancelled and new ones will be sent to cairns and may take up to 10 days…. In the meantime, I can still access accounts whilst on line so am transferring to Alex account and she is withdrawing money for us. Pretty stressful couple of hours but not much we can do except continue on our way. We head out of Cooktown and stop at Black Mountain for Lunch. This is an eerie place, huge mountain made of large black boulders with many old aboriginal stories talking about the Mountains bad spirits. You can not walk on or around it and legend has it that years ago cattlemen, horses and their cattle once traversed the mountain never to be seen again. We arrive at the Lions Den Hotel and book in for 1 night at $30 and set up. When we arrive, there are only 2 other campers set up, by 6pm its chockers and people still trying to get in. We have a good night listening to the two guys playing music to the full house crowd. The pub has a lot of history here and everyone who has been here has left their signature. There is also a small museum in one room with plenty of old photos of times gone by. Maz also climbs on the lion statue out the front for a photo! It rains on and off for most of the night and when we leave the camper is still pretty damp.
Its only another very short drive over a couple of creek crossings and through forest and pasture land and we arrive at the Bloomfield Caravan Park. The current hosts turn out to be from Margret River which is close to where we are from. We set up and then head out to see the Bloomfield Falls which is not far up the road within the town of Wujal Wujal (it’s so nice we say it twice is the slogan) The falls are pumping after all the rain, very spectacular indeed. We get some photos and then back to Bloomfield and go for a fish at the mouth of the Bloomfield River along Weary Bay. No fish biting but we do spot a 2metre Salty on the mud flats. Some local kids are just wading out in the mud and fishing with hand lines, the crocs and sand fly’s must not bite them! We spend the rest of the arvo playing dominoes and then watched the State of Origin Game 2 along with the other campers. With rain on and off all night its another damp pack up.
Today is the day that some in the group have been worrying about. We are driving The Bloomfield track, many people have spoken to us about its steepness and how slippery it is in the wet. Well we have had plenty of rain and I must admit I was a little nervous before we left as I had concerns about the cars ability to tow the camper up the steep slopes. We set off across a couple of shallow river crossings first and all is well, with everyone looking at the Hema Sat Nav looking for a clue to when we hit the steep terrain. The obvious clue was a huge sign saying “Engage 4WD Low Now 27% Gradient for next 2kms” I choose 2nd gear 4WD Low and boom you go around a corner and the steep 27% hill is in front of you. For the next 2kms we slowly twist and turn all the way to the top, with the car pulling all the way we only lose traction a couple of times. Its almost single lane all the way, so glad we did not meet another vehicle coming the other way as I was not stopping on the hill. When we got to the top and the road flattened back out Maz and Alex started breathing again. It was not over though as we climbed again only this time it was only 22%, but wait we had to come down the other side of the range and this was 31%. Again, 4WD Low all the way, felt like you were almost licking the windscreen the car was on such an angle. The track was great fun but nerve racking I would definitely not tow a caravan on that track. Just before we arrive at Cape Tribulation we pass a sedan on the side of the road with the doors open and techno music pumping, then we spot the two occupants just dancing around in the rain forest!!!
We book into the Cape Trib Ocean Safari Lodge and set up in a great spot up the back with a fire pit and heaps of damp logs. There are numerous brush turkeys just forging around the forest floor aswell. After setting up and putting the logs in the sun to dry we walked across the road along thee mangrove boardwalk out to the beach. Beautiful long stretch of beach with the palm trees leaning out from the rain forest over the sand. The tide was out so we had a nice walk along. The town was very busy with all sorts of tourists, families, backpackers and day trippers all taking in the lush forest. We chill out in the park pool and then get the fire going with the assistance of some mortein fly spray. We cook over the coals tonight and enjoy Bangers and mash. During the night the bird calls were amazing just so many different ones all night long. Up early as we had to be ready for our Jungle Surfing tour. We hop on the bus and get transported albeit at break neck speed up to the Zip Lining shed. We get all our gear on which includes harness, bandanas and helmets. All the helmets have names on them Maz is Wonder Woman and mine is Rambo…. The first part of the adventure requires 2 people to hop on a giant hamster wheel, the next 2 get clipped in on a line which is attached to a platform some 40 metres away. The human hamsters start running and you are pulled up on to the platform. From there its 4 different zip lines through the different canopy levels until you reach the last one which is the longest and the fastest and you get to race each other. It was great fun everyone had a ball, the views were amazing and being up so high amongst some of the giant ferns and palms was awesome. We have a coffee at the Turtle Rock Café whilst the camper is still drying out and then pack up and head to The Daintree, I am loving these 45min drive days. We book in and set up at Rainforest Village which is a pretty average place, sites are small and disorganized, toilets/showers very average. Anyhow we live and learn as we later find a much better park The Lync Haven but we stay were we are. We go for a drive and visit Cow Bay and find a couple of rope swings on palm trees which are cool. We have a look around the Daintree Discovery Centre which is full of information and the view from the 23-metre-high canopy tower was very good. We are still yet to see a Cassowary in the wild. On the way back to camp we stop at the Daintree Ice-cream Company and sample the exotic flavors they had to offer. Hmmmmm. We have tea tonight at the Lync Haven Restaurant which was very nice, they also have a sanctuary area where we fed Bush and Swamp Wallabys. The owner also came out later and collected 2 pythons that had been chilling in a couple of palms. Apparently, he lets them out everyday and then just puts them back in their cages at night!!! We also bump into Jarrod and Brooke and their 2 girls, they had trouble with car and van when they left Cape York so headed to Cairns for repairs and are now heading back up the coast again.
Rain again overnight so another wet pack up this morning. We head down the coast towards the Daintree ferry only stopping at Alexandra lookout for a photo. Great views towards port Douglas from the look out and the road is very narrow but beautiful drive. We get onto the Daintree River ferry and travel across without incident this time. We drive another 15kms to Daintree village and book in for 1 night at $32 a night. Lovely little park and we have a site overlooking the river right next to a table and shelter. We have a look around the parks museum which is a really good collection of memorabilia of the area and Australia in general. We go on the Crocodile express tour in the afternoon and spot a 4.7 metre male saltie and a few smaller female crocs. We also see numerous Azure king fishers and a couple of green tree snakes. The guide(Nick) is really good and a wealth of knowledge and of course a bit of a comedian. Again, the rain comes and we spend the rest of the day undercover playing cards. It’s a windy morning so the camper dries out and we set off on the Captain Cook Hwy south to Port Douglas. It’s a beautiful drive sometimes within metres of the ocean the views are very good and we stop a few times to get photos and admire the views. We get to Port Douglas and check into the Big 4 a few kms out of town. Its not cheap at $70 a night for power but they have everything here and more, pool, water slides, water park, jumping pillow and all the usual caravan park amenities. The kids play around the water park for a few hours whilst I mange to actually read some more of my book that I have hardly opened. Going to try our luck tomorrow Barra fishing at a Barramundi Farm approx. 25kms north of Port Douglas.
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