Saturday, August 20, 2011

Farewell to Cape York

Packing again - Punsand Bay
Reluctantly it was time to pack up from Punsand Bay and commence the trek south – those bone shaking corrugations were calling us!  We were undecided about our destination, just that we needed to commence the trip south and we would see where the day brought us too.  The first 25 kms is a particularly rough gravel road down to Bamaga and from there we had a teaser of a few kilometres of tarseal and a sign post showing us a different route to Cairns.  We took this road and within 100 metres the tarseal finished and we were back to red dust.  Peter took a short video as we drove and will try and upload this on to the blog.  After two hours we reached the Jardine River and the ferry crossing.  We were the only vehicle on the barge this time.

 Signage at Jardine Ferry
It was just as well we were relying on the Jardine fuel stop for unleaded petrol (we take diesel) as the sign said “no unleaded petrol”.  We wondered how long they had been out, or how much longer, but while we had a cuppa a local truck arrived over on the barge with three square containers on the tray and commenced to refuel the petrol supplies.  How long three containers about a metre and a half square would last we didn’t know.

The ferry comes for us
We had decided to take the Northern and Southern Bypass Road south as we didn’t have the time or wish to repeat the Overland Telegraph Track which takes at least two days.  There was no respite from the dust or the corrugations though.  The colours of the outback are interesting – we travel on red dust roads and then it changes to grey dust and then to sand etc.  The changes are quite distinct.  Throughout our entire trip to Cape York we have not passed any houses other than the Roadhouses and then the distinct small settlements.  The landscape varies from trees with termite mounts, areas where there is burning off around the trees and termite mounts, scrub and then more trees.

We had heard about an area called Captain Billy’s Landing and were undecided about whether to stop off and camp there a couple of nights.  When we came to the track we were still undecided but agreed that we would go the thirty kilometres (after all what is a bit rough road) and have a look.  The area is on the east coast and apparently there are caves with bats in.  Peter was sure he wasn’t going into any caves with the potential for a bat to either swoop or do its droppings on him.  The road was a rough 4wd track and we crossed a further five creek crossings of varying depths.  We had some doubts about these as it has taken the last four days to dry the carpet on the driver’s side of the car, but through we went.  When we arrived at the campsite it was blowing a gale.  There were about ten other campers set up.  It is part of the National Park and there was an environmental toilet but no other facilities.  Due to the wind we decided to have lunch and head back to the main road and continue on to Moreton Telegraph Station.

We arrived at Moreton at around 4 pm.  We had travelled some 320 kms so decided we had done enough for the day and we had enjoyed our stay at Bramwell Station last week and wanted to support the initiatives to diversify.  The station offered camping so rather than continue on the further 175 kms to Weipa we booked in.  We were hugely disappointed.  The camping ground was the worse we have stayed at during this trip and I can’t recall any worse for many years.  The facilities in the National Parks are significantly better and the camping fee is half the amount. There were only two toilets . It amazed us that the tour companies use this Station as a stop off point as there are heaps better.  The generator was extremely loud and ran until nearly 10 pm and was turned on again this morning at just after 7 am.  Talk about a peaceful place to stay – this isn’t it.

We left Moreton around 9.30 this morning and back on the road south for about 25 kms and then we took a westerly direction through Batavia Downs Station (it is a public road) to connect on to the Peninsula Road leading to Weipa.  Weipa is a mining down and when we were about 40 kms from the town we passed through a cattle grid with signs saying that we were now in the Rio Tinto mining area.  It was amazing to see the significant change in the condition of the road.  It remained gravel but was obviously regularly graded and there were no huge pot holes etc.  The town of Weipa is on the coast and we have booked into the Weipa Caravan Park and have a lovely waterfront site again.  The facilities are just great as well so we will enjoy a couple of nights here before we head south again.

Weipa has a supermarket – Woolworths.  The food is barged into Weipa and arrives on a Monday.  It is the first time I have bought frozen bread – freshness cannot be guarantees unless it is pre-frozen before leaving Cairns.  They seemed to stock most things so it will be great to have some fresh fruit and vegetables.  We also noticed that there was a hairdresser, and Peter was quick to book in for a haircut tomorrow as he thinks he is looking far to woolly for his liking.

It is a beautiful 32 degrees here in Weipa and the forecast is for that to continue for the next few days.  We have had no rain in the last two weeks (since our drizzly day in Cooktown on the 4th August) so we have been lucky.  The evenings are just lovely and warm overnight.  We sleep with just the fly screen closed on the tent and enjoy waking to the views of the water.  We could stay here forever (however our opinion might change when the rainy season starts).
 Distance north from Jardine ferry
 The ferry operator
We were the only vehicle on the ferry
Inviting service station Jardine Ferry Stop
Hard luck if you wanted unleaded at Jardine
But there was diesel at Jardine at $2.10 litre
Refueling the Jardine Service Station
This camper didn't make it to the top or home it would have only
needed to be slightly closer to a town and I'm sure we would have
owned it!
Burnoffs were constant on the roadside
Which one shall we take
 View of Captain Billy's Landing
Captain Billy's Landing
To prove we were there
Windy camping area at Captain Billy's Landing
River at Moreton Station
Moreton Station camping
Towards the poor quality amenities at Moreton Station
 Now at Weipa
Camping at Weipa
 Weipa sunset with fisherman

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a fantastic trip you having. Im really pleased for you both.