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(!?!?).
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 😦
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?
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 – The Old Tele Track – Jardine River Crossing
We left Moreton early and headed towards Bramwell Station, the station where the Old Telegraph track starts, which is only another 42kms or so.
On 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.
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.