The Rugged Cape York

Well we are off on another adventure, to the Tip of Australia, Cape York, straight up the Old Telegraph Track. This has been a long term dream to travel to the Cape and we are finally doing it 🙂 We are all packed, hooked up and raring to go. Head off as soon as Chris comes home from work tonight. The idea is to get a few km’s under our belt tonight as we have a long way to go. Then the next few days will be just driving. We want to get to Mt Molloy area as quick as we can with our journey really starting from there.

Ready-to-go

We have 4 weeks all up, which we thought would be enough but after looking at the map, listening to people’s suggestions of places to visit and watching many DVD’s we are now thinking 4 weeks might not be enough. Oh well will just have to do it again another time 🙂 Weipa, Vrilya point, Seisa, day trip to Thursday Island, few nights at Elliot Falls, Fruit Bat Falls, and all the OTT has to offer. Lakefield National Park and I’m sure a few other places are all in the plan. We are also considering doing the Old Coach Road and visiting the old gold town of Maytown, but this really depends on time.

We have done a few more mods to the Ute, front and rear diff locks, airbags and on board compressor with a 4l air tank. Chris installed all the switches and air bits himself, the guys at ARB were very impressed with his work. We also bought a water bra/blind for the water crossing’s and with full recovery gear, winches etc. we shouldn’t have any issues. Least we know there will be plenty of other people up the Cape if we do get stuck, great the way we can all help each other out, we will also do the same for anyone else.

Switches

All the switches installed near the gear stick, easy to get to and operate.

Air-tank-and-bits

4 lt air tank, gauge sensors, airbag solenoids, diff locker solenoids, manifold, filter, etc. all installed under a flip up lid, so everything is hidden and kept clean and protected in the cabin of the Ute. Compressor is installed in the section below the air tank, all easy to get to.

The idea of the airbags is they will have very little air in them when we are travelling but if we need a bit more off a lift on the back end on any creek crossing we can give ourselves a bit more clearance. Also we can pump them up to level us at overnight stops and not have to unhook 🙂

Not sure how much internet reception we will have and it can be hard to do a lot of posting when we are on the move but we will certainly fully update our site when we are home. We have setup a Facebook page, for quick updates of where we are, what we are doing etc which should be easier on the road, so why not follow us.

Cape York

19/7/13 – Chris was able to get home a bit earlier from work so we were on the road just after 5pm. We left in rain and had it on and off until past the Sunshine Coast turnoffs and travel was heavy until then as well. We also drove through a bit off fog later in the night.

We made it to Granite Creek rest area for the night 401 km from home, in bed by 10.30pm, all up a pretty good run.

20/7/13 – What a noisy night, lots of traffic noise, the rest area is near a bridge so we could here thump thump as car and trucks went over the bridge, we did manage to get some sleep though.

Up at 5.45am and pulling out just before 6am. It was foggy and wet so we put the tarp on the bed to keep everything dry.

Always a bit of a worry when you see a sign saying roadworks for the next 200km and in the fog. Fortunately no one was working and we just had to slow to the speed limits. Breaky stop was at Mt Larcom.

We had a good run through to Guthalungra area 784 km from our start this morning, big day. We were only held up once for 10 mins at roadworks. The rest area in Guthalungra was packed and overflowing with vans. We had decided before we would go and check out Elliot River camping area. Turnoff is just before the bridge on the south side of Guthalungra. It’s is approx 8kms to the camp area down a dirt road, which is pretty good and a lovely drive. 5kms in there is a closed gate, with a donation box. 2-3 km down the road you come to a whole heap of fishing huts, we were surprised at how many there were. You drive past them, past the “Fish n Sip” we assume is the pub to the small camping area that was full.

Elliot-Heads-Road

With no room for us we drove back down the road a bit and found a lovely spot overlooking the river, with pelicans and fish jumping in the water, next to a lovely tree and all to ourselves 🙂 well with a few cows to keep us company, will be an early night tonight.

CompanyElliot-River Elliot-River-Campsite Elliot-River-Campsite-1

Q – Rifle Creek Rest Area

Rifle Creek Rest Area, Mt Molloy – T, B, F, BR, D, ND, OR, DP, M. Large area, lots of trees, cold shower, dump point, dogs allowed. Non drinking bore water, which was a bit dirty looking, donation requested. Very popular spot, apparently the ideal time to get here is between 11am and 2pm to get a good spot. Some areas are well off the road, get in late and you are left with sites closer to the road or uneven. 48 hrs stay but we had someone admit many stay longer. Surrounded by rainforest, nice spot, bit busy for our liking. Rating – 4.5

Loos Rifle-Creek-Rest-Area-1 Rifle-Creek-Rest-Area-2 Rifle-Creek-Rest-Area-3 Rifle-Creek-Rest-Area-4 Rifle-Creek-Rest-Area-5 Rifle-Creek-Rest-Area-6

Mt Molloy

21/7/13 – we had an early night and a good sleep. There was more traffic on the road that we expected though, lots of boats being towed in and out and some people racing up the road up and back on quad bikes. Would have been ok if they let us have a go 🙂 Noise didn’t go too late.

Very heavy due, wet pack up again. Had breaky before we left this time and filled the flask with hot water to help make cuppa breaks quicker. On the road by 7.45am

Red-Light

Travel was a bit slower going on this leg with roadworks with traffic lights which we got stopped at everyone. Traffic is also heavier.

We arrived at the Rifle Creek Rest Area at Mt Molloy just before 5pm. The place is packed with caravans and motorhomes, we are the only trailer. Be a different story tomorrow night.

Our-site-at-Mt-Molloy

Rifle-Creek-Rest-AreaLong slow day of travel today, 600 km but at a slower speed than the last few days.

Click on the link to see a larger version in Google Maps to see the days travel.

Q – The Bend – Cape York Area

The Bend – T, B, F, D, OR, W, M. 3 km N of Coen. Awesome spot near the creek. Lots of birds, crystal clear water with a small stone beach. Popular spot, need to get in before 4pm. Could spend a few days there. There were a couple of small caravans there. We stayed here on the way down too, wished we had stayed an extra night. Rating – 5

The Bend Camping The-Bend The-Bend-Camp-area The-Bend-Camping The-Bend-Camping-2 Windy-Loo

New Roads

22/7/13 – We are now on roads we have not travelled before 🙂 we had a good night sleep, traffic was minimal during the night and despite being full everyone was quiet by 9.30pm.

We were on the road by 8.20am. The Peninsula Development Road (PDR) is sealed to Laura and a very good road, better than the HWY 1 up the coast.

Hann-River-Roadhouse

Visitor

Hann River Roadhouse and we had a Peacock come and say hello.

Palmer-River-Roadhouse

Museum

It’s worth a stop at the Palmer River Roadhouse; there is a small museum of fascinating memorabilia with a whole wall dedicated to the old gold town Maytown. Do have to watch out for unfenced cows close to the Palmer River Roadhouse.

James-Earl-Lookout

James Earl Lookout is a good spot for morning tea, plenty of others thought the same. There is a toilet, bin can even get mobile phone reception with a view north across the valley seeing the road down we would travel on.

Laura

Blink and you would miss Laura, couple of stores and a camping ground. Memorial park across the road with steps leading to nowhere, not sure what the go is with them, also some toilets.

Trailer-Steps

Thought we would add some steps to the trailer 🙂

Laura-Goal

The old goal held up to 18 people at one point, it’s not very big.

PDR-Dirt

Start of the dirt on the PDR (Peninsula Development Road), Chris is letting the air down in the tyers. And we put tape or sticky dots on any locks.

The PDR hasn’t been too bad with corrugations, a few bad patches that took its toll on our CB aerial with it snapping, second time we have done this on corrugated roads. Have to upgrade to a much stronger aerial than this Dick Smith one, Chris had 3db aerial we could use. The road is very very dusty there  are some areas of tar, which we used to our advantage to pull off and have lunch and not have dust thrown up at us from passing traffic.

Musgrave-Station

Musgrave Station Roadhouse was a hive of activity. Diesel was $1.89 L, Chris filled the main tank. There is also a camping area $10 per adult

Our-Bend-Campsite The-Bend

What an awesome spot, The Bend camping area 4km outside Coen,  very popular one too. The water is lovely we just had a paddle in the heat of the day we would be having a swim. Clear water, can see the bottom. There is even a beach other on the other side with some rapids, awesome.

Click on the link for a larger version in Google Maps of our travels.

Weipa

23/7/13 – We had a good night sleep, so people were taking a bit late and someone packed up early but we slept well in between, hardly any traffic noise, great spot well worth making an effort to stop there.

On the road just after 8am. There is a quarantine point approx 26km north of Coen which we didn’t know about until we got here. On the way up stop for an information kit then on the way back you are stopped and your fruit and veggies checked. If they are in good condition you get to keep them.

Archer-River-Roadhouse Archer-River-Roadhouse-Camping

Archer River Roadhouse camping area looked pretty, large flat area, plenty of shade. Amenities looked ok too. Diesel was $2.20 L it was too early for Chris to have an Archer burger.

Archer-River

Archer-River-BridgeWe had to stop and have a stroll across the Archer River and take some photos, it was really lovely. People were camping on the dry areas of the river bed, would be an amazing site in full flood.

We pulled into Weipa around 12 noon and booked into the Weipa campground. And a first for us we got one of the best sites in the park nice and big, able to stay hooked up and first row overlooking the beach. Thought great all set for the sunset but it came over, overcast so no, sunset. We think we are jinx when it comes to sunsets. Anyway the park is quite nice, fair bit of room, wasn’t too full when we got here but filled up as the arvo went on, its $30 for unpowered for the night. The amenities are a bit tired, larger main one is cleaned twice a day but it’s old, the staff were very friendly.

Amenities Weipa-Campground Weipa-Campground-our-site

We decided to do a mine tour, $40 each, went for 2.5hrs. Starts with a tour around Weipa with the driver pointing out the old and newer areas and how much rent places go for $450 – $650 depending on the place and they were not flash places. Not much to the town, less shops etc. than we thought. We saw a croc on the beach edge.

Train-Loader

Next was into the mine area, with strict instructions not to move around the bus, no videoing, photos were ok. Oh no food and drink on the bus but it was funny when he got off to sign us in at the mine people move seats and had drinks of water, felt like naughty school kids 🙂

Load-her-up On-the-way

The mine area is huge; tour was interesting, hard to take photos through dirty windows. Only down side was the aircon was not working and we all got very hot. It was cooler outside by the time we got back.

Weipa-Pool

We went and had a swim in the pool to cool down, then relaxed for the rest of the evening.

Click on the link for a larger version in Google Maps of our travels.

Bramwell Junction

24/7/13 – It was a rather noisy night and warm and then we were awake early with the birds. It was heating up fast, so we packed up and then had showers. Left the park around 9am.

Filled up with fuel $1.70L, then called into Woolworths, got a hot chicken for lunch and some bread. Bread is kept in the freezer section. We were pleasantly surprised at the prices, not much dearer than home.

72 km out of Weipa is the turnoff to Batavia Downs which is the road that crosses over to the Telegraph Road south of Moreton Telegraph Station, saves 1 1/2 hrs compared to going right back down the PDR to where it joins the Telegraph Road. Apparently this road can be closed due to mustering, so make sure you check it’s open, we found it to be a good road.

We had a lunch stop at Bramwell Junction. The plan was to camp here for the night but …………..

Bramwell-Junction2-Ways-to-the-top

Two ways to the top.

Bramwell-Junction-Camping-area

Camping area at Bramwell Junction.

Ants-Hills-at-the-Junction Number-Plate-Tree

Collection of number plates from the crossings.

Start-of-the-OTT

After lunch we decided to go down to the Palm Creek just to have a look. The original crossing is a bit hairy and not too many people tackled that crossing, we heard those that did got some panel damage.

Original-Paml-Creek-Crossing

Just looking, honest 😉

Mmm-Maybe-not

Mmm maybe not.

Palm-Creek-Exit

The exit.

Nuts

The verdict, Chris says you would have to be a little nuts to tackle it 🙂

We did get to watch a bunch of quad bikes go across. They look like they were having fun and it was great fun for us to watch and get some photos.

Quads-at-PalmQuads-at-Palm-1Quads-at-Palm-2

Palm-Hard-Exit

Several had issues going up the other side.

Quads-at-Palm-3

Some tried an alternative way up the hill.

100m up the creek was another path across, bit of a challenge but we considered it was doable. We kind of talked a couple of other people also towing camper trailers into it with the offer we would winch them out if needed. After watching a few others go through, It was decided to fill in a couple of holes and take a sharp edge off. Before we knew it we were letting tyres down a bit more and getting the winch ready, GoPro in place and down we went.

Alternative-entry-Palm Yep-we-can-do-it

Yep we can do this 🙂

This was the crossing we were most concerned about on the southern section of the OTT and happens to be the first crossing. We did get bogged in the water down the bottom, Chris was taking it slow when he needed to hit the gas a bit but we got through and up the bumpy other side. Should point out this crossing had it’s own exit but didn’t get a photo of that. We let out a yeah, high five we did it, what a thrill, awesome, one of the hardest crossing on the south of the OTT done. Whoo hoo. The other campers also got through no worries.

Here-we-goMudFun

Yeah, lots of fun, glorious mud 🙂

Next was Dulcie Creek. Bit deep in the middle, needed to come around the Cnr and to the right. Had to be careful and pick the right line going out, we got up fine. Did lift a wheel on the way up.

Dulcie-Creek Up-DulcieSteep-ExitDulcie-Exit

Dulcie had a tricky exit so you had to be careful what line you took.

Next trailer through took a slightly wrong line and had one wheel hanging in the air unable to get up. Chris had to winch him up. Lots of fun to watch.

Up-the-exitOppsWinch-Job

Next trailer got through fine. It was decided to camp at Dulcie with the other guys joining us, who turned out to be “My Swaggers”. We were given a free sticker as thanks for winching them out 🙂

My-Swag

Dulcie-Creek-Camping

We had a quiet night chatting, early bed, mulling over the days events. Our companions said they were camped next to someone at Weipa who had rolled their car at Dulcie, just because they took the wrong line, slow and steady and walk it  first is the way to go.

Click on the link above for a larger version in Google Maps of the days travels.