Tag Archives: 4X4

Where are we now?

A lot has happened since the last post. We are now in Darwin and plan on remaining here at least for the next 12 months. Hubby and I both have decent jobs and have moved into our own place. However, inspiration smacked me in the head this morning and told me to finish our story, so here it is.

Thankfully our journey back into civilisation (Cooktown *cough*) we relatively uneventful. The next plan was to head back down to Cairns to collect our roof rack that had snapped off the car in the roll over two week prior. However, as we have skipped Cape Trib on the way up, due to the unseasonal weather, we made the decision to stop there a couple of days on route to Cairns.

View from Cape Tribulation Camping

View from Cape Tribulation Camping

Morning sunlight pouring through the trees at Cape Tribulaiton Camping

Morning sunlight pouring through the trees at Cape Tribulation Camping

Besides the scary, bumpy, windy road into Cape Trib full of speeding cars, we had a lovely 2 full days.

The same owners that owned Punsand Bay at The Tip own Cape Tribulation Camping, which is where we stayed.

So what did we do in Cape Trib? I got up early and took some stunning photos of the sunrising over the water and through the rainforest ūüôā

 

 

 

Jungle Surfing

We also went Jungle Surfing through the Rainforest.

And visited a fascinating Exotic Fruit Farm for a tasting, which I loved, and tried some really interesting fruits including:

  • Tahitian Lime
  • Pommelo
  • Yellow Sapote
  • Dragon Fruit
  • Sapodilla
  • Black Sapote
  • Jaboticaba
  • Rollinia
  • Atemoya
  • Guanabana (soursop)

Check out the weird fruits below! But seriously, this was awesome! And for around $25/pp including transport to and from the farm, great value for money!

Black Sapote ripe and green, Pommelo and yellow Sapote

Black Sapote ripe and green, Pommelo and yellow Sapote

I wish we had more time to spend at Cape Trib. The activities we could do were nearly endless. Next time we will horse ride on the beach, explore all of the other beaches and natural springs and relax.

Next stop Cairns to fix our car.

Cape York Day 7 – To The Tip

We had an early morning start and took the ferry over the Jardine River.

Crossing the Jardine River

Crossing the Jardine River

We drove through the little dust blown towns to the Croc Tent. The Croc Tent is at the junction leading up to The Tip. This is where we picked up some souvenirs and information maps of the area.

Just a little further and we made it to the northern most tip of mainland Australia!!!

Not a great picture, but we made it!

Not a great picture, but we made it!

Even though it was a little touch and go at the beginning of the trip, we are very glad that we did continue on. It makes it just that little bit sweeter knowing that against the odds we got there in the end.

Then off to Cape York Camping at Punsand Bay for some R&R.

Cape York Day 3 – 6

Day 3 – Hann River Roadhouse to Coen

The lady who stopped to help us after the accident very kindly offered to take our tent back to Cairns, as that is where she was heading, while Johny and I decided to continue on. It’s a 6 hour drive back to Cairns, we were too far to give up especially since we’ve determined that the car is driveable.

The drive from Hann River Roadhouse to Coen is approx 130kms. We had a  quick toilet stop at Musgrave Roadhouse and we kept going.

Coen is the last place before The Tip that there is mobile phone service. There is fuel there as well as campgrounds, a pub, mechanic, grocer, cafe, medical centre and various other businesses for the community and visitors.

It was in Coen we discovered a hole in our radiator, thank goodness there is a mechanic here.

We also had to purchase a double swag as we had lost our tent in the accident the day before. The lady at the shop was going to charge us $360 but managed to bring it down to $200(!?!?).

In the evenings the sky was filled with bats in Coen.

In the evenings the sky was filled with bats in Coen.

Day 4 – A lazy day in Coen

We had to spend an extra day in Coen while our car was repaired.

Unfortunately it was at this point that my laptop shutdown and a call to apple support proved pointless, We need to get to Cairns to get it looked at “sigh”. ¬†A good thing I had my ipad to keep notes on what we did.

During our stay in Coen we met a couple who had suffered some health problems overnight and needed medical attention. So while the guy was in hospital we kept company with his wife during the day.

Day 5 – Coen to Moreton Station

On the road again by midday. Thankfully our radiator only cost $175 to fix and we fuelled up in Coen at $1.88/L, we have heard the fuel prices are reaching over $2/L further north.

A few kms out of Coen we came to the quarantine point. This is for the south bound visitors to dispose of any mangos, avos or anything else deemed a potential quarantine threat. This is where we also received our free Cape York kit.

As Archer River Roadhouse was only 67kms out of Coen we kept going to Moreton station, another 50kms or so.

If I’m completely honest, this was the most boring and uncomfortable part of this trip. The roads are coming better with the dirt being hard packed, dry but still very corrugated and bits of the roads have been washed away during the wet so there are gaping holes on the sides of the roads, not great for when you need to pull over in a hurry. This happens more often than you think due to the poor driving skills of the other cars on the road ūüė¶

To top it off, there is no internet or computer which made Monica a very unhappy camper. Can you tell I was feeling rather disgruntled at this stage?

Dusty roads

Dusty roads

Another mishap occurred on the way to Moreton, we lost our temp gauge. This meant we had to pull over, refit it after losing a piece on the ground, hope it would still work, and then keep going.

At Moreton Station we met Paul, a cyclist who was cycling to the tip on his own, crazy!!!

Day 6. Moreton РThe Old Tele  Track РJardine River Crossing

Sunrise at Moreton Station

Sunrise at Moreton Station

We left Moreton early and headed towards Bramwell Station, the station where the Old Telegraph track starts, which is only another 42kms or so.

Old Telegraph Track_A Girl A 4WD And A Trailer.JPG-4On the Old Telegraph Track (OTT), Palm Creek is the first and biggest challenge. ¬†We drove down to have a look and I immediately shut down the idea. We had been told to make our own decision¬†and that there was a¬†“chicken track” around it anyway. ¬†The track was completely impossible to complete without help, a half dozen or so cars were standing around and everyone was getting winched through.

Call me crazy, but why would you call it 4WDing when you’re not driving at all, rather being winched up???

My nerves were still frazzled after the accident so with even the “chicken track” being impassable without a winch up, we turned around and went back to the Peninsula Developmental Road to make our way up to the Tip.

We found a sign leading into Heathland NP that would get us to a portion of the OTT called Gun Shot, which Johny wanted to see. We drove down for a look, I very nearly pooped myself while just looking at it so we turned around and headed back onto the main road again.

Heathlands was stunning!

Heathlands was stunning!

We drove past Elliot Falls and Fruitbat Falls and made the decision to stop there on the way back down.

We made it to the Jardine River crossing by about 3pm. The ferry operates from 8am-5pm in dry season and cost $129 for a car return. The campsite on the other side was too far so we stopped at the campground at the crossing for the night.

Cape York – Day 1 & 2 – The Accident

Day 1 – Cooktown

The drive from Mossman to Cooktown takes about 4 hours through some stunning rainforest and mountain scenery.

While in Cooktown we stayed at Orchid Caravan Park which is located behind Charlotte st (main street), $30/night unpowered. Everything is in walking distance in the main part of town.

We stuck our trailer into storage, we’d decided not to take it to the tip, and walked up the main street, looking at some of the historic buildings and to the wharf.

For lunch we visited the historic Top End Pub for some lovely pizza and cold beers, bliss. It was a real  scorcher in Cooktown and finally the rain has stopped!

Day 2 – Cooktown to Hann River Roadhouse

Pick up last minute groceries from IGA, cash from ANZ or Westpack ATMs, fuel ($1.72), maps, gas, medication e.t.c

Headed north towards Hope Vale and in about 30kms turned left onto Battlecamp Rd.

Our¬†first river crossing was at the Normanby River where we were stuck for 2 hours. The river had risen higher than we were told, a young guy had tried to drive through and had stalled in the middle. Hubby was finally able to use our winch and winched the guy out with the help of a number of visitors who were also stuck on the bank. A tag along tour came through from the other side, the current was flowing with them and they had no problems but still no one from our side was game to try the crossing again. Thankfully the guy we winched out was working in the area and a backhoe was coming to get him across. As a thank you for helping we we’re snatch strapped to the back and followed behind.

Apparently there is a massive croc that lives at this corssing. No one was game to stay in the water when we found that out!

Apparently there is a massive croc that lives at this crossing. No one was game to stay in the water when we found that out!

We had a quick stop off at Old Laura Historic Homestead for some pics. We continued until we reached Peninsula Developmental Road, the road to the tip, we turned right with the plan of stopping at Hann River Roadhouse for the night.

Old Historic Laura Homestead

Old Laura historic homstead

Unfortunately it was between Laura and Hann River that we had our accident.

The roads were wet, slushy and slippery with mud from all of the late rain the area had recently. The mud was so thick that even though we were only going 45kms the ass of our car slid out, the wheels locked up, we slide around and the car tripped on the side and over we went.

It happened in slow motion. Everything loose in the cabin went sideways. Thankfully we had a cargo barrier in and we had our seatbelts on.

Johny yelled “kill the engine” so from my side position I reached up and hit the kill switch.

We were in shock, I kept saying, “we’re ok, we’re ok” over and over and thankfully we were. Johny undid his seatbelt and stood on my window. He pushed up ¬†to open his door and crawled out. Once he was sitting on top he helped me out and I jumped onto the muddy ground, no time for shoes.

We just stood there. I had my camera bag and mobile phone on my lap at the time of the accident and so crawled out of the car with it. No service. I tried 000 and 211, nothing. All we could do was wait for someone to come past.

A lady stopped and gave me a lift to Hann River Roadhouse where I sent some guys out to Johny who stayed with the car. The lady does the trip every week to her husband who is a commercial fisherman in Weipa so she‚Äôs basically a local.¬† She warned us that as it‚Äôs a remote area that one of us should stay with the car as there was a good chance it would be gone when we got back if we didn’t stay with it.

Thankfully once the car was back on all 4 wheels it was still driving so Johny drove back to Hann River Roadhouse to take stock of the damage.

The accident had caused our roof rack and tent to snap off the roof, so with our accommodation on the ground we stayed at Hann River Roadhouse in a donga overnight.

The car the day after. The perspex window covers smashed, the front panel under the snorkel is pushed in and so was my car door, it only opened half way until we popped it back in. The roof rack is gone and the side light popped out.

The car the day after. The perspex window covers smashed, the front panel under the snorkel is pushed in and so was my car door, it only opened half way until we popped it back in. The roof rack is gone and the side light popped out.

 

My Favourite Free Camp – Policemans Point

Instead of going to Binnalong Bay we decided to skip the crowded campgrounds and head up to the northern end of Bay of Fires which is a little more remote. We decided to stop in at Policeman‚Äôs Point and I’m so glad we did.

The most amazing views laid out in front of our 4x4

The most amazing views laid out in front of our 4×4

We set up our rig on a sand bank, literally 2 metres from the water, with the most stunning views we’ve ever had at a campground. We were a good distance from our nearest neighbors so it was like we had the whole place to ourselves, bliss!

Sunset, Policemans Point

Sunset, Policemans Point

As dusk fell and the tides went out a pelican flew right up to me and just paddled around. Pelicans are huge! I had no idea!

I was in the middle of doing my teeth and hubby yelled out that he saw a whale. He pointed out to a spot and then yelled ‚Äúthere, did you see it?‚ÄĚ nope, I didn’t have my glasses on. I scrambled around in the glove box, grabbed them and put them on, just in time to see another one.

We believe they were orca whales¬†as they had the large dorsal fins sticking up like a shark but weren’t sharks as a number of them passed in a pod bobbing up and down. There are a number of seals in the area, which they eat apparently.

 

So much wildlife at Policemans Point.

So much wildlife at Policemans Point.

Perfect location, pelicans and whales and it‚Äôs a free campground, you couldn’t ask for¬†better!

Sunrise of Policemans Point. Stunning rays of sunlight filtering through the clouds

Sunrise of Policemans Point. Stunning rays of sunlight filtering through the clouds

Patterns in the sand, Policemans Point

Patterns in the sand, Policemans Point

Nothing is Perfect & You Can’t Win Them all

We have just stayed in Arthur River a couple of nights in the Prickly Wattle campground and had planned to take off 4wding through the Arthur Pieman Reserve. We headed into town, just to check the long range weather forecast for the area and to make sure one specific track we wanted to visit would be accessible.

Unfortunately it was bad news. The rain had started today and the forecast predicted it would continue for the rest of the week. The track we wanted to go down was filling with water and shouldn’t be attempted without a group, we only had us, and the track down to the next town we wanted to visit was closed.

What did this mean? Refund of our 4wd pass and backtracking all the way back to Burnie to be able to get to Rosebery, via Cradle Mountain.

Needless to say we are very disappointed! I guess you can’t win them all!

View from Arthur River

View from Arthur River