Thursday, 24 July 2008

Cape York Peninsula - Days 7 to 11

Continuing in my mock Captain Cook style:

Day 7: Left note at Chili Beach for Paul & Emily to say we were continuing North via Overland Telegraph Track.  Visited Lockhart River Aboriginal Community.  Interesting sight, reminded us of a South African ghetto (not that I have seen one).  Church door had been smashed through with stone.  Visited fascinating airstrip used by USAF Liberator heavy bombers from 1942 onwards.  Surroundings looked very un-Australian and more like how I imagine Kokoda to be. Apparently USAF aircrew stationed there in WWII called it worst airfield they were ever stationed at.  Dust, rain/low cloud, mud caused at least two accidents resulting in fatalities.  One aircraft and all crew vanished without a trace.  Had to hide booze in bushes as Aboriginal communities do not allow you to take any in.  Heavy fines apply.  Turned right off Lockhart River Road onto Frenchmans Road.  Not really a road.  Narrow, overgrown and could not see over heath on both sides.  Arrived at Pascoe River crossing. 


Not knowing much about this particular river descended steep muddy entrance to find two trail bikers cooling off on far side of river.  Short crossing of 10-15 metres wide, but river deep and running quite fast.  Large rocks and potholes throughout crossing.  Arfter reconnaissance by both me and navigator Em,


I returned to the car and started the crossing....water very deep, splashing up over bonnet and half way up doors. 


Made it through, didn't feel too bad.  Next the exit; very steep with large rocks and muddy too.  10 metre ascent up steep angle.  Car slipped a little and steering wheel jumped out of my hands.  Recovered it and Traction Control kicked in to assist ascent. 


Made it to top.  Hands shaking. 


Stayed overnight at Bramwell Junction.  Nice camp spot on the main road through the Cape (two cars went past at 7am and that was it).  Fuel $2.38 per litre.

Day 8:

1st half of OTL.  Overland Telegraph Line Track was once the only road to the Tip.  For some it is considered the adventure of getting to the Tip.  It was created and maintained for the telegraph company to keep communications open with the communities and across to Asia.  It has been replaced by microwave links and also a bypass road now.  Bypass road is badly corrugated, longer than the OTL, but still quicker.  OTL is most definitely 4wd only track with many creek crossings.  It is what I would call a technical 4wd track, as one needs to be able to cross rivers/creeks so a snorkel is a must, some of the crossings are deep with fast moving water and potholes.  Also some have muddy or sandy entrance/exits.  Departed Bramwell Junction and commenced OTL on our own.  The first creek "Palm Creek" was a small steep muddy entrance where I had to move a log to drive down into the creek.....from there it was a whole heap of fun with many more creek crossings to be done (perhaps I will make an album just of the creek crossings with some movies footage):



The road varied a lot, was sometimes corrugated, sometimes overhanging foliage, sometimes rutted, sometimes good, sometimes bad, sometimes very angled:


Fruit Bat Falls is a delightful swimming hole and a well deserved break. 


Camped at Eliot/Twin Falls/Indian Heads, once a war gathering place of the local Aboriginals.  Now pleasant camping and swimming spot.

Day 9:

2nd half of OTL.  Turned off before last few creek crossings, especially Nolan Brook as had heard Nolan's was more than waist deep and didn't want to risk everything just to prove that the car could do it - already we knew the car was very capable as Pascoe River deemed hardest river crossing we saw/did in Cape York due to depth, steep slippery entry/exit and large rocks/deep holes in crossing.  Very happy to have done what we did.  Took Jardine River ferry across instead.  Bamaga Road to the Tip very badly corrugated in places.  Ultimate destination.  Huge sense of achievement upon reaching the Tip.  Walked there via Frangipani Beach at low tide.  Everyone has a shot like this, here is ours.  We were really very pleased with ourselves to have made it to the most Northern point of mainland of Australia:


Drank a beer on the beach. 


Fantastic views. 


Stayed at Punsand Bay campground.  Spent the evening with Seaford/Cairns fellow campers (met previously at Coen).


Day 10:

Stayed another night at Punsand Bay.  Beautiful spot.  Spent all day watching a green turtle feed off a patch of seaweed about 20 metres in front of us.  Both got sunburnt, stupidly.  Spent evening with fellow Land Rover Discovery driver Paddy and partner Amalia.  Good conversations about all niggly things gone wrong on Disco's so far (rear door lock mechanism seized up, water entered and soaked rear seat carpets, etc. etc.).  I exchanged Land Rover servicing CD for cooked meal, very nice carbonara it was too.

Day 11:

Woke at 6am to watch sunset over the tip from our tent on the beachfront. 


Visited Somerset Beach (previous residence of Frank Jardine). 


Graves of the pioneer Frank Jardine, his Samoan Princess wife and other unknowns/random Chinese pearl divers!  Visited a DC3 plane wreck.  Bought an ice cream at Seisia.  Stayed overnight on North side of Jardine River after beginning journey South again.  Beautiful spot overlooking river crossing before car ferry began operations.  Tried to catch a barramundi to no avail.  No crocs in sight.

1 comment:

experience eyre said...

Your shared photos say all your enjoyable moments into 7 to 11 days. After reading your posts, I would like to go on Cape York Peninsula. But these holiday I have already decided to go at Port Lincoln.

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