Vrilya Point

1/8/13 – We packed up and had morning tea before hitting the road and leaving our home for the last few days. We liked Loyalty Beach and would stay here again. It is quiet, not crowded, well it wasn’t when we were there. Great views, can camp right on the beach all for $24 a night. Cost you a lot more for the same thing on the east coast. Only negative would be the amenities, could do with some more cleaning. Oh and they forget to tell you when you check into this little bit of paradise that there is a 4 1/2 m croc that wanders the park sometimes they are trying to catch. Gas was $8 per L, we will drop into Cooktown and refill our gas there.

Beach-at-Loyality-Beach Beach-side-camping-at-Loyality-Beach Kiosk-and-office-at-Loyality-Beach

Fuel at the ferry was $2.29 L for diesel and $2.40 L for unleaded.

Ferry-Jardine

Approx 27 km from the ferry is the turnoff to Vrilya Point, it’s not signposted. 4 km along the road you come to the log bridge. We found it to be reasonably strong and wider than the Cypress Creek one, bit of a steep descent up the hill. Road is very corrugated, sandy, rocky, rutted and slow.

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We turned right at the beach to head up to the wreck of the lightship. We were cruising along ok when someone had stopped at the lightship and we had to go around above them right into soft sand and stopped. So we took some photos of the wreck, not much of it left now but interesting to see all the patterns in the rust and barnacles on the side.

Light-ship Light-ship-wreck Wreck-of-the-light-ship

We were stuck in the sand down to the axle. So out came the spade and MaxTrax. We got up the MaxTrax but got stuck again in the very soft sand. Chris let the tyres down even further and a couple of guys dug around the tyres and put the Max Tracks in place. Yippee we were out. Didn’t get any photos I was too busy videoing. The beach isn’t very wide and only a narrow path of firm sand and it’s on a slope. Hard for people to stop or move over for other people.

2km past the wreck is the camp ground. There were a few in there and we expect more to come later. Under the shade of the trees it wasn’t too bad but on the beach it was very hot and you can’t even go for a swim.

Vrilya-Point-camping-area

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Bore for water.

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Access road back to the beach.

It’s a popular spot, especially for fishing, but we both agreed we like the bush better so we had lunch and then decided we would go back out the track to the log bridge and camp there. We had the camp area at the bridge to ourselves; we made a loaf of bread and had a campfire, first one for the trip.

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

Cape York – OTT Videos

Finally got these done, on a roll. 🙂 Lots to learn with all the editing, and you learn a lot about your videoing. 🙂 The Go Pro was either fixed on the outside of the Ute or on the side of the trailer. Next trip we will be moving the camera around a bit more. It’s hard when it’s only the two of us, one has to drive, the other directs and takes the photos. I’ve just bought a item that will let me hook the Go Pro onto the camera’s hot shoe so it will see what I see and we are looking at a bean bag thing to be able to quickly move the Go Pro to other positions. Just about need 2 camera’s to get all angles. 🙂

In July 2013 we towed an Aussie Swag Camping Trailer up the Old Telegraph Track. There are 2 parts, Southern Section and Northern Section. We travelled solo but help is never far away if needed. Our trip was uneventful but we do know of many who had some issues along the way.

Southern Section

Northern Section

Northern Section OTT

29/7/13 – Today we complete the northern section of the Old Telegraph Track. We were packed up by 8am and then went down to The Saucepan for a quick dip to cool off.

First creek crossing was Canal Creek, no problems, just had to watch out for a few holes when approaching the creek.

Canal-Creek Canal-Creek-1 Canal-Creek-2

Next was Sam Creek, the entry had a few dips, we took the path to the left as straight ahead had a big drop off. There was also a bit of a tight around a corner on the way out.

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Mistake Creek had a long windy road down to the creek it was another beautiful creek. The ground is white sand, pretty easy crossing.

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Cannibal Creek. We were cautious with this one as we had seen a photo where someone had rolled their 4wd and landed on its roof in a big hole. The tightness of the corner around the bend in the creek was our main issue with Chris having to do like a 5 point turn in the creek to get around. Water was over the bottom of the trailer doors while he was doing that. Will test the seals, the vents are still taped up. We saw the massive hole on the left where the person went in and wheel marks where people had gone awfully close, we made a wide birth.

Cannibal Cannibal-Creek Cannibal-Creek_1

The road and creek crossing on the north are more challenging and even more so with a trailer in tow. Lots of ruts, dips, narrow and tight corners. Often finding ourselves on quite an angle. Chris would pump the airbags up on the dip side to help level us up a bit.

Freak me out, talk about a heart pumping nerve cracking crossing Cypress Creek is. A log bridge that is not much wider than the Ute tyres. My heart was in my mouth every inch. Bit by bit slowly does it, checking lines making sure the wheels were where Chris said he needed them to be. Phew Ute over, the trailer tracked across beautiful.

Cypress Cypress-Bridge Cypress-Bridge-1

Next was the turn right after the bridge with a dip on one side. Chris had to take a wide birth to get both vehicles around and not in the dip. Only a 3 point turn this time. Crikey that was a challenge, Chris did very well.

Cypress-Exit

Cypress-Cnr

Rather slow going, bumps, turns, holes, ruts, creek crossings, just an average day driving on the Cape.

Logan’s Creek. We had heard by several different people that Logan’s was murky dark water and they didn’t walk it due to the risk of crocs. Well we weren’t going to walk it either if there was a risk of crocs. Trouble is there was still a risk as we had no idea how deep it was and what line to take. We decided to put the water blind on just in case. Chris put the diff lockers on and gave it some juice straight through the middle. Struth, it was deep, right over the bonnet, hit the windscreen, we worked out it was about 1.2m deep in some of the holes we seemed to find. Whoo hoo the Ute is doing awesome, as is the driver. Next up the big one Nolan’s Brook.

Logans-Crossing

Logans

Nolan’s Brook was deep, about 1.1m deep, we think Logan’s was deeper. Issue is the sandy bottom. 3 4wds had gone before us and were drying out one car that got stuck going up the sandy bank and got stuck in the deepest water. His mates had to snatch strap him out. We asked them if they would mind being the support vehicle. A long plasm rope was attached to both vehicles ready if we need pulling put. Some guys in the water were taking up the slack, keeping the rope out of the way. All set, let’s go 🙂

Nolans-getting-ready Nolans-in-we-go

As you go into the water there is a bit of a drop.

Nolans

Up a slight hill before dropping into the deep water.

The support vehicle kept the tension on the rope but he didn’t pull us out. We would not have crossed without that support vehicle in place.

Nolans-deep

We had heard it was 1.7m deep here earlier in the season. People were using an alternative entry to the right of this main entry. That entry was pretty rutted out by the time we got there.

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Up she comes.

Nolans-Yahoo

Yahoo Chris made it through on his own steam. Wow so awesome we have made it. You can see the water marks on the Ute doors and the depth on the trailer than had we got stuck we would have certainly got water in both vehicles.

The drive out was like driving on the creek, some very steep sideways bit.

We drove up to the Jardine River and had lunch and checked out the old Jardine crossing. It’s a long way to cross in croc infested waters.

Jardine-old-crossing

Ferry over the Jardine cost $130 for cars only and $145 for car and trailer for a 40 sec ride. It’s so quick you do not get the opportunity to take photos on board.

Jardine-Ferry

We have pulled into Loyalty Beach Campground for 3 nights. Bit like bush camping, no designated campsites, plenty of room, generators can be used up until 8pm, no mention of a start time which they should have. Cost $24 a night. We are back off the beach a bit but will a view of the beach and islands. Trying to get out of the wind.

We were pleased to see our fellow my swaggers from the south OTT here and they have made it up the northern OTT too, really excited for them too, well done guys a huge achievement.

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Fruit Bat Falls

27/7/13 – Would not have even known there were others around last night it was so quiet. We went for a swim this morning at Twin Falls, good time to go as there weren’t many around, like having a natural spa, awesome.

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Took a few photos at the Saucepan before it started to rain and we headed back to camp.

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After lunch we checked out the next crossing up Canal Creek, should be no worries. Met a few local people who were talking about being careful with Nolan’s due the depth, one guy camped there last night and watched a few people ruin their cars, so he said.

Then a trip back to Fruitbat Falls. We pretty well had the place to ourselves. So timing where people were concern was perfect but the weather wasn’t kind, with overcast skies. It has actually rained on and off all day.

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Swimming-at-Fruit-Bat

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Eliot Falls

26/7/13 – It was a quiet night and we had a good night sleep. Most people were on the move early, we didn’t have far to go today so we stayed and charged up batteries and did some washing before heading out.

We parted with our fellow companions of the last few days, nice people, great company and security for all concerned when doing the crossings if something should go wrong.

Flies are still a pest up here.

Scrubby Creek was a reasonable deep crossing a few km along the start of the northern section of the OTT and only a few km before the turnoff to Eliot Falls. It was reasonably deep and caught a few people out. We know of several who turned back at this point, someone was reversing back up the hill when we arrived not prepared to do it. Most weren’t aware the crossing was that deep or long. It was about 900 mm in the deepest part where we crossed. We went along the right side where it was a bit shallower. There is also an exit very close to the entry that goes up a steep hill and a sharp turn that we couldn’t do with the trailer so had to do the long crossing.

Scrubby-CreekScrubby-Creek-2

We taped up the fridge and shower vents so no water went in there. Wiped the Ute door seals and sprayed them with silicon spray as we were advised to do and put on the water bra/blind. All worked a treat no water got in trailer or Ute. One guy took a photo of the water blind.

Crossing-Scrubby-CreekCrossing-Scrubby-Creek-1

Was actually a tad deeper than this.

Water-Blind

The camping area at Eliot Falls is great, we are very happy with our camp site, long enough that we don’t need to unhook and wide enough to set both awnings up, quite private, with a tap across the road. It Is a bit further from the falls than some sites but this should also make it quieter. The sites are well spaced out, all seem to have fire pits.

Wow wow wow wow I am blown away. Often you see photos of things that look awesome but when you turn up you are disappointed as they are not quite the same. Well the photos of the falls here do not do the place justice. The Saucepan blew my mind. The deep water was jade coloured and clear crystal waters cascaded over the falls, was so amazing. The water is deep and clear in some places; others have large rocks you can stand, there are also little falls here and there that feel warmer than the main pool of water.

The-Saucepan-1The-Saucepan

Further up the creek the water is shallower and you can walk ankle deep in places along the creek. Other areas are deeper with sandy bottoms. There was a “V” section that seemed out of place in the shallow water with a big drop that when we stood in it came just below our shoulders, must of looked funny to others near the falls just seeing these heads above the water.

Lovely-SpotHelp Under-foot

After a cuppa we went for a walk to Eliot Falls and Twin Falls, both were amazing. People were swimming at Twin not too sure about swimming at Eliot, the flow and the current is quite strong. They would be an amazing site to see in the wet season.

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Southern section of the OTT

25/7/13 – We slept good, packed up and on the road by 8.15am with our companions behind us.

First creek crossing for the day was North Alice. First entry had a steep drop into the creek a bit further around was another entry both used the same exit, all got through  no worries.

North Alice 1 North Alice

There are few dips, bumps, slopes and tight corners along the track but it’s all great fun and some of the old telegraph poles are still standing.

Old-Telegraph-pole

Dulhunty River crossing was beautiful. Lovely waterfall just below the crossing, deep water for swimming. Chris went for quick dip in the cool waters; there is also a large camping area. A ranger pulled up and said it was good and safe swimming here but further down, scary.

Dulhunty Waterfall-at-DulhuntyDulhunty-CrossingDulhunty-Creek

With Bertie Creek you have to drive down the bank a short distance before crossing the creek due to big granite holes. All made it through no worries, another beautiful creek crossing great for a paddle.

Bertie-CreekBertieCrossing-Bertie Rest-of-the-gangParking

Next was Cholmondeley Creek which was not listed on the Hema map but is named as this in Ron & Viv Moon’s book “Cape York an Adventurers Guide”, it had a bit of a rough entry but the crossing itself was easy. One of the other guys did have to watch that his auto gas tank didn’t hit bottom.

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Next the infamous Gunshot, whoo hoo we came, we saw, we conquered, yeah. Road in is a bit gnarly in places.

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Some of the entry options.

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Bit of entertainment as we watched others come down, one came down an entry that was a little bit more adventurous.

Splash

Exit

We all use the same exit.

Slow going on this track, loads of fun 🙂 Next up was Cockatoo where we were planning on stopping for the night. Cockatoo creek was a bit more challenging than expected. There was a steep descent over some rocks with a big drop of on one side. Chris had to guide 3 4wd down the drop. Our convoy of trailers decided we would do a bit of track work and fill in the hole with rocks and dirt.

Rocky-EntryCockatoo-entry Roadwork

Next challenge was the crossing itself, the people Chris helped down told us where the big holes were but our guys still walked the creek. People were placed near the deep holes with the driver doing an “S” through the creek. All got through no worries it was great having a few extra people as spotters. Everyone helps each other on these roads.

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Steve

Steve one of the other My Swaggers joining us on this leg. What a dag 🙂

Several other people just ploughed through the middle bashing their way through doing damage to their vehicles.

Campground is a great spot with many different areas which were full for the night. We walked around and chatted to a few people hearing of their war stories of damage. The water in the creek crossings might be down this time of year but the track is still rough, maybe even rougher in some parts than the first lot of people through as the tracks get churned up.

Cockatoo-Camping Cockatoo-Camping-Spot

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

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Two ways to the top.

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Camping area at Bramwell Junction.

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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.

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Just looking, honest 😉

Mmm-Maybe-not

Mmm maybe not.

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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.

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Palm-Hard-Exit

Several had issues going up the other side.

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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.

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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.

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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.