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  • Day42

    Cairns, Queensland

    July 1, 2015 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    CAPE YORK to CAIRNS 22/06/15 – 1/07/15

    FW. During our last night at Siesia it rained which had a less than desirable effect on the dust on the caravan. The road back to the Jardine ferry was even worse than on the way up if that is at all possible. Speaking to one of the indigenous crew on the ferry about the condition of the road they blamed the Government for lack of funds. This is a different story than the one I heard at Bramwell station as they claim that they used to get the gravel from the local quarry run by the aborigines for free until a few years ago and in return Bramwell Contracting would maintain their roads as well as the state roads. Once the Aborigines started charging for the gravel Bramwell stopped maintaining their roads. Consequently no-one regularly maintains the roads even though the local indigenous community were supplied with brand new road plant and trained to use it about five years ago. The plant has never been used.
    On the way back we stopped at Bramwell station where we again were entertained by a guitar playing singer, then on to Musgrave Station. We stayed in the paddock out the side of the roadhouse which was amazing, one minute there were only a few campers and within an hour the whole place was full.
    Then it was on to Laura where we pumped up the tyres and had a chat to Harold who owned the Austin 7 who apparently had been to Melbourne years ago and met a few of the Austin 7 car club members. Then it was off to Cooktown where we stayed a few nights and took in a few of the Historical landmarks in town, including a counter tea at one of the three remaining of the fifty pubs.

    HW. Wow, was I happy when we reached the permanent bitumen roads at Laura!! By this stage everything inside the car and caravan was coated in a layer of red dust and our dust leaks into the under bed and lower cupboard storage areas was still a big problem despite Frank’s efforts with silicone sealant and tape. After arriving in Cooktown and having a wander along the main street that evening, with its historical monuments to Captain Cook etc., we spent the entire following day giving the inside of the car and van a major dust removal. Thank goodness I brought my little Dyson vac! The following day we visited the Cooktown Botanical Gardens and Grassy Hill lookout and old lighthouse where we had magnificent views of the Mouth of the Endeavour River and out to the Coral Sea. We also went to the James Cook Museum which is housed in an historic building which used to be a convent back in 1889. We had a great history lesson which brought back some memories of things we learned in primary school and saw one of the preserved anchors from the Endeavour and other artefacts.

    Our next night was at Kuranda in the hills above Cairns. We spent the following day exploring the township which is famous for its markets and handcrafts. It is a very pretty spot. We then drove down the very windy road to our next stopover in a caravan park in Cairns. By this stage the weather had begun to go from light drizzle to rain which became very heavy at times during the night. (What the…… this is supposed to be the dry season!!) Fortunately it eased and we were lucky that it remained fine while we went up on the Kuranda Scenic Railway through the rainforest, past gorges and waterfalls to Kuranda where we had lunch and then returned down to Cairns via the Skyrail cableway which had even more spectacular views and breathtaking scenery. Not long after returning to camp the skies opened up again and it rained most of the night leaving much of the caravan park underwater and boggy. Frank took the opportunity to get a bucket of soapy water and a broom and took to the outside of our very dirty van and removed a lot of red Cape dirt leaving the rain to rinse it off. The grass around our van now has a decidedly orange tinge to it. When we arrived at this campsite we met a couple in the next van who came from Cranbourne who had their young grandson up with them for the week and they told us that one of the things he wanted to take home with him was some red dirt from Cape York. How fortunate we pulled in next to them! This was just before the rain started so there he was with his brush in his hands scraping the caked on red dirt from our caravan wheels into a little container to take home with him on the plane to Melbourne the next day!! No doubt it will go to school with him for show and tell after the holidays.
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