Sunday, August 14, 2011

A beautiful sunrise in Chilli Beach (10.08.11)

 Before the sunrise Chilli Beach
We got up early this morning (again going to bed early means we are awake early) as I wanted to see the sunrise that Peter had seen yesterday.  I wandered down to the beach at 6.30 am and I was disappointed.  It is worth getting out of bed for and was just spectacular.  We packed up today, unfortunately, but it is time to move on.  If this place had showers we could have stayed for a week or more!

We had talked to a number of other campers about the choice of road north to Bramwell Junction – there is the Development Road which we have been travelling.  To take this road we need to travel 130 kms back to the intersection with the Development Road and then a further 115 kms to Bramwell.  The other choice is to take Frenchmens Road which from accounts would probably fit into the category of an extreme 4wd track.  This road would reduce the trip to about 150 kms in total.  We were undecided as we headed off.

When we got to the commencement of Frenchmens Road we decided to give it a try – hey this Patrol has Peter driving and he was prepared to give it a go.  We knew that we had about 12 kms to go to the only river crossing and if we could pass that there were only two or three other difficult sections.  We headed off down the track and the first few kms were easy, then we hit a more difficult patch and the queries started.  However not to give up easily we continued on and came to this huge cavern which was worth driving in to see if nothing else.  Still we weren’t easily put off so continued and the track got worse but on the GPS (as this is an official road) we could see the river wasn’t too far off.  Round a bend and there was the drop into the river – it was daunting.  Peter decided now was the time to walk down the track, check out the river crossing for depth, track direction etc and also the exit as we could see the shale track went straight up.  He didn’t want me to walk down with him as it was very rough and steep and he thought with my knee he was just as likely to find me as a heap at the bottom!
After checking out the track and the river crossing Peter was confident he could get down our side, would need to walk the river before driving it but he didn’t think we could get up the other side without a winch or at least another vehicle with us to assist each other if necessary.  It was better to be wise and cautious than take a risk and get completely stuck and we had no idea if or when anyone else would come along the track.  So we made the decision to turn around, which was another little adventure on its own.  So back to the road and we completed the 245 kms to
Bramwell Station.
I was trying to think of a description of our trip and came up with the corrugations are like sitting on a massage chair with the vibrations turned on strongest and the noise of rumbling turned up loud.  NZ might have three million sheep but Cape York has three million plus corrugations each way to the Cape.   We passed a number of trucks today and even a road train heading into Lockhart River.  The dust from those beasts completely stops any vision for us as they pass.  We have yet to see one of them go through a river crossing but we are waiting on that.
The station we are staying at is a working cattle station which has diversified to have a camping ground, restaurant and bar and dongas.  Dongas are like a small cabin, four or five joined together like a workers hut.  I think they look like horses stalls but Peter is not sure about my description.  They contain either a bunk or a double bed and they use the communal amenities and cost $80 a night twin.  We have booked into the outdoor restaurant for dinner (my birthday celebration) as we have heard good reports about the food and it will be nice to have a break from cooking.
Travel through the rainforest Chilli Beach
  Shall we take this track
Washout Frenchmans Road
Still relatively clean and whole
More of the washout Frenchmans Track
 Checking out the track
Continuing Frenchmans Track
Checking out the river entry Frenchmans Track
It looks hairy Frenchmans Track

Pascoe River and exit
Decision Made to turn around
Road train coming towards us
 Time to pull over

Truck on Development Road
Track continues
Bramwell Station camp
 Dongas at Bramwell Station
Peter at bar Bramwell Station
Filling the water at Bramwell Station
 Bramwell Station camping ground
 Our campsite Bramwell Station
Restaurant and bar Bramwell Station
A real station - Bramwell Station
Safari tents Bramwell Station
Bush showers and toilets
Bush shower and toilet
 Inside donga Bramwell Station

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