Tag Archives: camping

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 9 – Eliot Falls, Fruit Bat Falls, Saucepan Falls and Twin Falls

And time to leave the Tip of Australia.

Back through all of the little towns to the Jardine River ferry, back across and we drove down to the falls. We skipped these on the way up because we were bent on getting to the Tip.

First stop was Fruit Bat Falls, the other 3 waterfalls are within walking distance of each other.

Even though we are in winter, it’s really hot and dusty, so a dip in a waterfall was exactly what we needed.

I also had been advised that all of these waterfalls are croc free.

The Tip Fruit Bat Falls_A Girl A 4WD And A Trailer.JPG-2

 

We drove down to Eliot Falls, Twin Falls and Saucepan Falls. This is where the campgrounds are and where were to stay the night. The waterfalls are very popular for people camping and day tripping so the falls were really busy. We had a walk around and a bit of a dip, but decided to come back early in the morning, before all of the people got in, to take pics.

We did however, bump into the 4WD Action crew, Hubby’s idols. We were very luck and were able to get some pics!

The next morning we got up early for some sunrise photos of the falls and were treated to an amazing view of empty waterfalls covered in mist.

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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.

From Cairns to Mossman

From Cairns we followed the Captain Cook Highway to Port Douglas and Mossman. This is the most stunning stretch of road I have seen so far, with rainforest on one side of the road and beautiful beach on the other.

Captain cook highway

 

We continued into Port Douglas and then into Mossman to see the Mossman Gorge. Unfortunately it kept raining which made visiting the gorge rather unappealing. For this reason we decided to skip the gorge and Cape Tribulation and instead we prepared for our trip to Cape York and headed off to Cooktown.

The cane fields with mountains in the background at Mossman

The cane fields with mountains in the background at Mossman

 

Snorkeling The Great Barrier Reef

Unfortunately as the weather turned bad we decided to skip Atherton Tablelands and drove from Paronella Park straight to Cairns. Apparently they have have a really late wet season up this way we’ve been told by every tour guide, receptionist, tourists e.t.c. ¬†The four days we were¬†in Cairns it rained and rained and rained. For the first three days we sat in the camp kitchen at our Caravan Park and played on the internet.

We really, really wanted to go snorkelling so on the 4th day we went out on the boat, regardless of the weather.

The ride out to the reef was horrible with at least 75% of the boat puking out the back deck, Johny included. Thankfully the outer reef was calm and visibility was pretty good. Here are some of the pics I took with the underwater camera we hired.

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The dive company we went with was Down Under Dive who were just fantastic. They had free sea sick tablets, really friendly and entertaining staff, well organised and monitored dives and snorkeling and great value for money!

Note 1: Cairns Holiday Park is the closest to the CBD; however it’s full of backpackers. Usually this wouldn’t worry me except when they are obnoxious, messy, rude, slamming doors and screaming at 3am. We had to be moved into the powered (and much nicer) section of the caravan park for 2 of the 4 days.

Note: we hired the camera at the caravan park. Quality turned out to be fairly average and I’ve had to enhance these pics. There were more expensive cameras on the boat for hire and the quality of their pics was way better.

Through the Ruins of Paronella Park

The Tea Rooms, Paronella Park

The Tea Rooms, Paronella Park

José Paronella arrived in Australia from Catalonia in Spain, in 1913. In 1929, after spending a number of years in Australia, José purchased 13 acres in 1929 and started to build his pleasure gardens and reception centre for the enjoyment of the public.

there was a waterfall, hydro electricity, tea rooms, a castle, a ballroom, swimming pool and over 7000 tropical plants in the extensive garden, all built by José.

A view from the Falls at the front of the Park. On the left is the castle and at the bottom left is the hydro plant

A view from the Falls at the front of the Park. On the left is the castle and at the bottom left is the hydro plant

Unfortunately there was a flood and then soon after¬†Jos√© died of stomach cancer, his wife died some years later and his son as well. His son’s wife was left to run the park and in¬†1977 she¬†sold it.

Sadly, in 1979, a fire swept through the Castle. There were a number of cyclones and floods in the following years and the park fell into ruin.

A pic from the night tour, this is the castle

A pic from the night tour, this is the castle

In 1993 the current owners found the park, bought it and work on maintaining and preserving, rather than rebuilding.

The park has won a number of awards and it’s easy to see why.

We purchased our tickets through RACQ for a 10% discount so it was about $39 each. This includes entry into the park, a day tour, a night tour and 1 nights accommodation in their campground and your ticket is valid for entry up to 24 months. Really it was great value.

The park itself is just stunning! I was able to get some lovely daytime and night time shots.

The Tea Rooms

The Tea Rooms

We loved our time here! The guides were fantastic and the staff in the cafe/reception were amazing. The park is beautiful and a truly unique attraction in FNQ.

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Exploring Five Rocks Headland

Looking behind us towards Stockyard Point

Looking behind us towards Stockyard Point

At about midday the tide was going out, so armed with our wet suit boots, drink bottles and a camera we traversed the rocky crop on the north side of Little Five Rocks Beach.

Yesterday during our exploratory trip to Stockyard Point Lookout we could see that there was another tiny remote beach. A quick check of the maps confirms this to be the case. So with a hop, skip and a jump were on the second beach.

From here we weren’t able to positively ascertain whether or not we would be able to reach the headland. The rocks were all different sizes and we couldn’t see if there¬†were any obstacles¬†that might stop us from getting across. We decided that the only way we would find out is by attempting it, then we could always turn back if we got stuck.

Climbing over the rocks

Climbing over the rocks

Over, across and through the rocky outcrop we went for about 30 minutes and finally we came to the channel separately us from the headlands. On the other side of the rocks was another perfectly remote beach.

The channel separating us from the start of the headland

The channel separating us from the start of the headland

As the tide was nearly at its lowest point, we were able to walk the short distance to start of the headland. It soon became apparent that the headland is actually separated by small channels. We traversed 3 channels, about half way along, before calling it a day and turning back around to our campsite.

Back onto Little Five Rocks Beach. When the tide is out there is a huge sand plain

Back onto Little Five Rocks Beach. When the tide is out there is a huge sand plain