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  • Day33

    Cape York, Queensland

    June 22, 2015 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    WEIPA to CAPE YORK 18/06/15 TO 22/06/15

    FW. After enjoying a couple of days in Weipa we headed off to our ultimate destination for this trip, Cape York.
    We turned off to Batavia Downs about 65 kms out of Weipa and the dirt rd to Batavia Downs was great, like a bitumen rd.
    Back on the Peninsular development rd it was rough with sections of deep, deep corrugations.
    So rough was the road that while my phone was in its cradle it shook the sim card out of its holder.
    We stopped for lunch at the Morton Telegraph station and the only piece of equipment left of the Telegraph station was a concrete slab and one support for the Tower. Apparently we were about 45 years too late to see the station as it was when it operated.
    We stopped overnight at Bramwell Station an operating Cattle station of 540 sq kms.
    There are 4 businesses within the Bramwell Group, the Cattle Station, the Bramwell Roadhouse, Bramwell Contracting who maintain the roads for the Government (it’s a pity they don’t spend some time on their 7k driveway) and the Bramwell Tourist Park and Camping where we stayed overnight. A couple of caravaners staying next to us told us that both their caravans sustained tail end damage from the ferry ramp due to the steepness of the exit ramp, (4 wheel drive low range up the ramp)
    The Jardine River Ferry crossing was interesting. We arrived at 12.30 and the boys were on their designated hard fought for 1 hour lunch break. When we got there I pumped up the air bags and we got on and off with no trouble.
    The road into Bamaga from the Ferry was the worst we had experienced so far with serious corrugations and deep holes and never ending stupid speeding Toyota Landcruiser drivers. We were down to 20km/hr on some sections and driving along a side track on some of the sections where the ruts were too deep to drive over.
    On reaching Siesia I discovered the main electrical cable from the car to the caravan was damaged due to rubbing on the ground. Luckily it didn’t do any damage and was repairable.
    On our trip to Thursday Island we noticed some of the locals had modified cars (Otherwise known as Hoon cars to us Victorians) and they still do some Cruising.
    The 35km road to the Tip is a narrow dirt road that is only wide enough for 1 car so when oncoming traffic is encountered 1 car has to find a place to pull off the road to allow the other to pass.

    HW. Frank’s comments about the roads up this way don’t begin to describe how bad some sections are…. You’d only do this trip for the experience of getting to the top of Australia I’ve decided because it’s certainly trying. I’m amazed the car and caravan have held together after some of the bone-shaking corrugations and potholes we’ve encountered. There are a few sections of bitumen road which are just bliss! Frank has done all the dirt road driving as I just don’t feel at all confident driving in those conditions. The landscape after crossing the Jardine River is mostly flat but with different types of vegetation ranging from heath land to scrub and some sections of rainforest. Because the prevailing wind goes from east to west, all the trees and scrub on the western side of the road is brown from all the dust created from the passing vehicles, while the other side is quite green. I was surprised that we’ve seen so little wildlife on our way. We’ve only spotted a couple of goannas, a snake and a handful of roos as well as the cattle which roam and feed amongst the scrub. There are huge termite mounds everywhere too.

    When we stopped at Bramwell Station for a night we listened to the info session about the cattle station followed by entertainment from a musician who played all the old 60’s music which everyone enjoyed as most were fellow grey nomads. Apparently they have entertainment there every night during the dry season and many tour groups stay the night there in small cabins or tents. They provide meals too.

    After arriving in Seisia which is 40 km south of the Tip we enjoyed a walk along the beach and watched a lovely sunset. The next day we made the ferry crossing to Thursday Island. There are so many islands all around the tip of Cape York and we passed many of them on our way. Once on the island we made our way around on foot, climbing to the top of the hill overlooking the township and the surrounding islands. It was a really beautiful view. The hill still has the cannons and underground bunkers used during WWII to defend the Torres Straight area. We had lunch at one of the many hotels in the town where we enjoyed the stunning view over the bay and islands.

    We returned to Seisia late in the afternoon and while sitting at our caravan pondering on what we would have for dinner, low and behold along came a couple of local aborigines with a car fridge full of live Crayfish. We bought 2 for $10 each and had them for dinner. Another first for me, cutting up and cleaning Crayfish. The next day we drove up to the Tip (minus the caravan) over more bone shattering roads. The road was very narrow and the rainforest grew right up to the edge and above the road so it was a bit like driving through a lush green tunnel in places. After parking, we walked the last 500 metres or so, the final bit over rocks, to reach our ultimate aim, the northern-most point on the Australian continent. It was a bit like Burke St when we got there….. People were waiting their turn to get a photo of themselves with the sign but after waiting a short time most people made their way back and we did the photo thing and also made phone calls to our girls as there is reasonably good phone reception right at the tip which is quite amazing considering it’s really sporadic up this way. That evening back at Seisia we made contact with two other couples who we’d met up with at various stops along the Peninsular. They invited us to share their freshly caught fish with them for dinner which was very delicious and enjoyable. Tomorrow we will begin our journey south…..
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