Tag Archives: historic

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’s basically a local.  She warned us that as it’s 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.


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 José 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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From Stanley to Arthur River

The next morning I went for a run, Hubby decided to stay in the nice warm bed while I headed out. Previously I’d mentioned that climbing The Nut really took it out of me so I’ve vowed to TRY and run every morning if possible. The caravan park we stayed in overnight backed onto a semi circular beach with a boardwalk, I started a light jog one way, not much there so I jogged back and headed the other way. This took me to the old wharf at the base of The Nut and to some historic buildings we hadn’t visited yesterday so I stopped jogging and went for a look around.

It was really interesting, a few more historic buildings with information points, a strange random rock carving and of course the wharf. All up I took about an hour and really enjoyed my jog / sightseeing trip. If jogging is like this everyday I might actually start to enjoy it!

Come Holy Spirit Carving

Come Holy Spirit Carving

I came back to the car, gathered hubby for breakfast, packed up the car, grrrrrr I really hate packing the car when we have so many plans for the day!!!! And we took off.

We drove through Smithton, really not much there, and headed west to another potential campground and according to the map the furthest northwestern campground there is before heading down west. When we arrived we were surprised, or shocked, whatever. People seemed to be living there, which really isn’t that odd usually; however, people had set up fences, boundaries, around huge patches of land with mesh and made semi permanent structures in these patches. It reminded me of trailer trash meets US cult camp crossed with boat people refugee camps. We politely advised the caretaker, who had come out to greet us, that we weren’t sure of what we were doing and would come back to him. We very quickly drove out.

The drive to the next campground was stunning with more rolling green hills spotted with cows and as we were coastal we kept getting quick peeks of stunning isolated and empty beaches. The free camp we were heading to was in Marrawah and was gorgeous, it was on the beach nice camp area, toilets (bonus!) and showers albeit cold ones. Hubby for some reason didn’t like it so we kept going until we reached Dismal Swamp.

View near Marrawah, stunning right?

View near Marrawah, stunning right?

I’m really not sure why its called Dismal Swamp, but basically it’s the only blackwood sinkhole in the world, quite a pretty sinkhole I might add, in the middle of a rainforest. All the land around the swamp has been cleared for farming but they managed to preserve this little area and they’ve built an information and education centre in it. $20 per person to get in, steep I know but I really wanted to check this out, and $2 each for a slide ride down into the sinkhole. We could have walked down for free, but $2 for a slide was ok.

Random Door

Random Door

We slid to the bottom and had a look around. They have built raised platform paths, you are given a map, and along the path are information points and random items that have been placed in growth. For example, apparently there are crayfish in the swamp so they made giant crayfish mounds, complete with giant crayfish statues and stuck them into the growth. There was also a giant wooden door, a couple of random chairs; bones of an extinct creature and a fake cow just to name a few.

So we walked around, got lost a couple of times and headed back up to the information centre for a massive slice of chocolate cake.

Hopping back into the car we drove some more to Arthur River. This is the point leading into the Arthur Piemen Reserve where we plan on four-wheel driving. We purchased our 4wd pass  and picked a campground where we can set up for a couple of days.

On the way to the campground we had a quick stop at the Edge of The Work Lookout, the west coast of Tasmania is apparently the longest uninterrupted expanse of ocean on the globe. I tell ya what, it’s bloody scary! I would not be hopping into that surf anytime soon! Anyway after absorbing the beauty, taking some pics, we headed off to the campground for a couple of days of R&R

The Edge of The World Arthur River

The Edge of The World Arthur River