Sunday, May 13, 2012

Watch for the wildlife Cape Range NP

It was after five when we left the lighthouse and commenced the trip through
the Cape Range National Park to our campsite. The national park has some
ninety campsites available and a selection are available on a first come
first serve basis and the balance must be booked ahead on the internet. We
were aware that we would be late in the day so no hope of getting a site
unless we booked ahead. We were not wrong - as we passed the rangers office
which was closed as we were quite late, the sign said no campsites available
and we were really glad we had pre-booked.

Our booking was at Osprey Bay which proved to be the second to last campsite
in the park and was just ten kilometres from Yardie Creek where the last
campsite is. We had to be really careful travelling through the park.
Although it was still daylight and the road is bitumen there were a lot of
kangaroos about. They move quickly and although they may be standing on the
side of the road as you approach them you cannot guarantee that they are
going to stay there.

There were a few kangaroos around the campsite. We arrived back at the
caravan one day to find two kangaroos standing under our annex but they soon
scampered off before I had the camera out.

Today as we drove out of the park there was a goanna about a metre in length
scampering across the road - fortunately Peter saw it and had time to brake
and the goanna was able to safely finish his trip across the road.

Spiders were another feature of the national park and boy were they big. We
are not sure what type of spider but they enjoyed creating their webs around
the toilet facilities so you could see this big, and I say big, spider each
time you paid a visit.

The camping areas are very basic - each camper must provide their own water
and the only facility is environmental toilets. There is a volunteer camp
host (arranged through Department of Environment and Conservation) who camps
and supervises the area and is responsible for the cleanliness of the
toilets. This is a very popular volunteer role and we understand there is
stiff competition for the popular national parks.

To get a booking for a week we had to stay on one site for one night, move
to another for the second night, and then move a third time for the final
five nights. Fortunately the sites are large and Peter didn't have to take
the caravan off the car so this made shifting easier. The campsites were
fully pre-booked every night with a variety of campers from backpackers with
vans, cars or tents, camper trailers, caravans, renovated buses and motor
homes. Everyone was very friendly and drinks and nibbles at 5 pm at various
camp sites was a daily event. A great place to stay if you can handle
limited conveniences. National Parks have a daily entry fee of $11 plus a
camping fee of $6 per adult.

It was full moon on the night we arrived - a beautiful view from our caravan
as we finished setting up for the night. Osprey
Bay was great for swimming, with the water between 21 degrees and 27 degrees
year round, and I had my first experience at snorkling.

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