Escape to the Cape- Last stop

Wonga Beach to Townsville

We’re on the last leg of our trip home, making ourselves human & presentable at a Townsville Big 4.

Farewelled another of our convoy & had a later than usual check out from Wonga Beach, dogging our the dregs of the Engels for breakfast.

The eggs didn’t make it!

We stopped in at Cardwell to check out the information Centre, which is awesome, then followed the bright light to a real cabin, & real beds, after our Escape to the Cape bush trek.

Looking every bit like we just crawled out of the bush. As we have!

We had an amazing time, loved it all, even the heart stopping 4WD madness. It was a fantastic trip.

Looking forward to seeing G1 though, as she had to stay home to work.

Criticise me all you will, but I cooked for her before we left. 22 meals all up. Ensuring she had enough tucker for dinner & cribs in my absence.

I realise she’s old enough to fend for herself, but I figure she works 12 hour days, & I would do the same for Dan. So I feel no remorse.

I also made a little G1 to bring on our holiday. A laminated, weather safe kid that I glued to a peg, to photograph on our adventures.

I actually made 3, as anyone who’s followed my blogs knows, I tend to lose things.

So G1 did everything with us. From the Tele Track to Thursday Island. She was there.

Dan did almost drop her from the treehouse in the rainforest, managing to lose her peg, & I did lose her in the bush just south of the tip, but that’s why I brought a spare.

I got lots of funny looks, & lots of questions, teased by some & eyerolled (Dan & girls), but I have no remorse for this either.

And as I explained to G2 & G3, I’ll be doing the same for them when they get older & have responsibilities outside family holidays.

My BIL laughed that I’ll have all 3 one day, in my bag, getting pics at every cool thing.

And you know what? I absolutely will!

Just can’t leave my babies behind!

No ragrets!!

(Ragrets is an intentional spelling error Mr Anderson.)

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Escape to the Cape- Here be Fairies

Lions Den to Wonga Beach

3 left.

This morning we said goodbye to another convoy member as we left Lions Den to tackle the Creb Track.

Cairns Regional Electricity Board. CREB. Who knew!

What a beautiful drive! Hairy in places, steep, & bulk clay, but right amongst the rainforest. Very easy to see how people get unstuck in the slightest wet. And easy to see how we deliberated on doing it for so long, due to the weather.

The smells were amazing! And to make it even more fantastic, we had visits from Euslyss butterflies! My favorite ever fly family member!

My gosh they are incredible! A bright spark of electric blue on so many shades of deep forest green!

The creek crossings are gorgeous & fairy filled, but the Roaring Meg falls had Dan on edge, literally & figuratively. Most definitely not an edge fan, & this edge is literally a killer.

He was very happy to be off that section!

We lunched in top of the world, then journeyed on through the ferns, crevasses, hills & red clay.

At the exit we watched a Moto tour cross the Daintree river, before heading over ourselves & setting up camp at Wonga Beach.

The camp grounds, & the whole Daintree area have changed a great deal since our last visit over 10 years ago.

The beach itself isn’t much to write home about, pretty brown & drift woody. We had a little emu parade & in our absence G2 had her thongs switcheroo’d, starting a little match the thongs hunt around the caravan park.

We got them back!

Dan kept the kids amused, busting out his hatchet multi tool & knocking up a coconut for afternoon tea, before the little ones hit the pool.

With our sights somewhat reluctantly set for home, everyone is trying to use the last of their camp food, & rum, & make the most of the camping life, before reality kicks back in.

It’s been one heck of a trip!

Escape to the Cape- losing count

Seisa to Archer River

Archer to Lions Den

Left Seisa, fueling up in Injinoo, then called back into Fruitbat falls for a swim, we timed it well having the place to ourselves for a bit before being inundated with travelers.

Back to the dust, corregation, bloody slow tourists & air born cars.

Bramwell Junction for a lunch stop, then onto Archer River Roadhouse to set up camp & let the little ones burn some energy in the river.

With a plan formulated for the next few days, we headed off early from Archer.

No wind made for a very slow & dusty drive, with one of the crew blowing a fan belt, thankfully finding a good spot to pull off & fix it, out of the 0 visibility dust.

Quick animal visit at Hahnn River Roadhouse, then a lunch break & off to tackle the Split Rock hike just past Laura to visit some very cool aboriginal cave paintings.

We had a tip off that there was some Earl history at Lakeland, but only managed to find a mural with some snippets of info. Still very cool however!

Camp that night was the Lions Den where we set up, then skipped some stones on the creek before hitting the pub for dinner & drinks.

One of our crew even managed to cement himself an infamous Lions Den reputation. Possibly has a photo of himself taped behind the bar.

The wind through the campground canopy was crazy, & cold! So we all squished in together!

Escape to the Cape- wearing out!

Days 9-10

A random bloke fishing on the beach attracted the attention of every kid at Punsand Bay with a Shark catch. Sadly we didn’t hang around for the result as dark was setting in, but we caught glimpses of fins & that was cool enough! Next morning we set off to explore the crash sites from planes in WWII. Quite amazing, sad but a great insight into the day.

We then headed back to poke around the abandoned resort, Pajinka Wilderness Lodge, so we learnt. Built in the 80’s, closed in the 90’s, set to re-open in 2003, but not to be. So it remains a creepy, bat filled reminder of what could have been.

After a quick lunch on the tip beach we did some more 4wd exploration, finding a nice big lagoon, giant anthills & earning a flat for our troubles. Not our car though!

That evening we had a table for 20 booked in front of the TV at the bar & basked in the glory of a win & hot pizza. All bar the 1 NSW supporter in the crew.

Before bed I ventured to the beach to watch the tide fill the sand dune channels, under a blanket of incredibly bright stars. As the waves lapped over the dunes, they’d retract into the sand, sucking back into the black ocean like groping octopus tentacles, over & over until there was enough water force to carry them into the little channel.

A very, very cool mental memento of Cape York.

Up crazy early to pack up camp & make it to Seisa in time to catch the Ferry to Thursday Island!

Thursday Island on Thursday!

Says a lot about me that I am most excited by that statement, & that we were able to visit my favourite word.

An archipelago! Ooh yeah! Archipelago. Great word!

We also said to goodbye to one of our crew as they head back home to Weipa, winning the Winch Tally by far!

TI is beautiful! Turquoise water, very cool history & an incredibly laid back feel.

We took in the museum, had an impromptu tour of the local community radio station, wandered about, took a tour with Dirk (look him up if your ever over this way), & had lunch & a beer with an ex-pat skiing mate at the most Northern Pub in Australia!

Back in time to set up camp & have a fish at Seisa warf, after watching the local kids risk life & limb jumping from the jetty & dashing back to shore.

All feeling pretty shattered this evening, ready to head off again in the morning, to see what the journey home brings!

Wish us luck that the community dogs don’t savage us in the night!!

Escape to the Cape- Red, Green & Blue!

Days 7-8

Quick morning shop in Bamaga, where my heart broke for hundreds of sad skinny dogs wandering everywhere. We called into the Croc Tent for some souvenirs of our epic, journey, which was awesome as it featured in a few books I’ve read about Far NQ, & the glory days of croc hunting up here.

We’ve now set up camp for 4 nights at Punsand Bay which is crazy beautiful!

Right on the beach with huge camp sights, a bar, pool, laundry, toilets & hot showers! The wood fired pizzas aren’t too bad either!

The blokes took a trip back to Bamaga to deal with the rattle in one of our convoy vehicles, & the washing machines ran hot & red while everyone emptied their dirty clothes bags.

The afternoon saw us take the 4wd track to the tip, as evidently none of the boys had had enough!

It was a half beach, half mountain trek to the most northern point on the Australian continent!

It was super cool!

We had our family & group photos before enjoying the serenity, & a beer, & heading up & over the craggy mountain.

The wind was unbelievable!

From the tip we went exploring to find the infamous Treehouse, where again the men of the group just had to get the adrenaline pumping.

By all accounts it’s very, very high!

We managed a few beers at the bar while the little ones swam, & got dinner in before the heavens opened.

The sleeping arrangements ended up tight to say the least, the downside of sleeping outside!!

But it made for an easy early wake up, as SIL & I headed out for Sunrise at the Tip. Making the most of no impatience, we explored an abandoned resort, which we will definitely be googling once we’re back in range.

Quick brekky then off on the 5 beaches 4wd track.

My gosh it’s beautiful. Rough. Wild. Amazing. All the beauty of the Sunshine & Gold Coast coastline, but with the rugged extremes of North Queensland.

How anyone ever managed to get a boat anywhere near the coast up here is beyond me.

We made lunch at the Seisia warf before heading out to watch the fisher folk. The universe rewarded me with a glimpse of dorsal & tail fin as a huge shark chased down some fish & frightened the local kids out of the water.

No fish to be caught, but lots of colours & sun, & time to post this before heading back to Punsand!

Escape to the Cape Days 3-6! The Old Telegraph Track

Weipa to Bramwell Junction

Bramwell to Dulhunty Creek

Dulhunty to Cannibal Creek

Cannibal To Loyalty Beach

Summarizing this is hard! My gosh we packed a lot into this last few days!

It’s awesome being on the other side, sharing stories & different points of view. Because even though we came through as a group, every car & every car crew, is different.

After a quick re-stock in Weipa we met up with our cape convoy, making us a crew of 2 x100 series, a 200 series, & 2 x 79 series Toyota’s, plus a Nissan that joined us up to Bramwell Junction!

Bramwell has a massive campground, only 3 combined toilet/showers however, which makes for awfully long lines. But it has very cool giant red anthills & is so blissfully dark! The stars were incredibly! I fell asleep staring at them listening to the campfire chatter & guitar. Awesome!

We hit the Telly track early, sandwiched between a pretty big motorbike crew & a convoy of Italian fellows.

Once again the anthills never failed to impress! Rising like monoliths out of the bush!

A nice distraction from the first crossing, Palm Creek.

Cue anxiety and breakfast to rise.

Hectic doesn’t even come close to describing it.

The Telly track, where even the so called “chicken track”makes your toes curl!

But we all made it out, (only 1 without a winch) & we hung around to watch a few more solid, & not so solid efforts before floating on to our first camp at Dulhunty Ck.

We set up nice & early, baggsing a spot well before the afternoon campsite rush. It was a lovely little spot with a nice little waterfall & rapids, perfect for swimming, cards & burning little ones energy while the boys did some re-con work at the famous Gun Shot crossing.

An early start seen us hit Bertie Ck relatively fresh for the day. A pretty cool little challenge with awesome white slippery sand! Then clicking back into anxiety overdrive, wishing I’d never eaten breakfast, as we took on Gun Shot.

Some young fellas had gotten in early, & were stuck fast, vertical. We watched the show while gearing up for the chicken track, & everyone clapped the crazy young blokes as they winched their way free. Being sure to capture the best angles on their go-pro, & promptly cracking rum cans once they were through.

Boys.

Once again we all came through & up & out!

The rewards for this days crossings & heart attacks, were the amazing Fruit Bat Falls, Elliott Falls & Twin Falls.

My god they are beautiful!

We set up camp at Cannibal Ck, another gorgeous spot where we spent the afternoon wallowing in the crystal clear shallows.

Another early start seen us only stuck behind 2 convoys, taking on Cannibal Ck in all its steep, lumpy glory.

All through, A ok!

Cypress Ck was the scariest bridge ever. No trolls necessary to make you feel terrified, her rickety self was all that was needed.

And Nolan’s crossing is definitely of note, & it would be amazing to camp there some time. Clear green water. Just beautiful!

The crossing was hairy again, but passable, then onward to the top of the track. The Jardine River.

We scoped out the original crossing & marvelled at the old days when families floated their vehicles & families over. Then headed to the Ferry. We met up with one of the 79 series family, who left us after Delhunty, to take the bypass Rd, & we are now all tucked in at our camp at Loyalty Beach. Some snoring. Awfully loudly. Dan. Some sleeping.

It was a big afternoon with a beach sunset, a drive into the Cultural Festival at Bamega (for the greatest firework display I’ve ever seen), & some post track yarning.

Looking forward to seeing what the rest of the trip brings!

G3 kept a winch/snatch tally.

Winners- Burke Family-79 series. 0 help needed.

2nd- Earl Family-200 series. 1 winch on Palm Ck.

Equal 3rd- Earl Family-100 series. 2 winches. Palm & Bertie Ck & Farmer Family-100 series. 2 winches. Palm & Nolans.

4th Turner Family-79 series. 2 winches. Palm & Ducie Ck, & taking the bypass Rd.

And of course, the damage Tally between us;

Little dints & stone chips

A Toolbox (which has since been reattached)

2 front number plates

2 buggered side steps

1 Intercooler cover

1 wicked rattle

1 lot of wet carpet

A hole in an awning

1 random Ting

1 random Clunk

A Windscreen crack

& a Scratched bumper

Not too bad at all!

Escape to the Cape Day 2- meeting expectations

Atherton to Weipa

A 4.30am getaway meant the landscape was fairly bland until sunrise, which we seen from the James Earl lookout! Very briefly, before floating on!

A quick fuel, breakfast & toothbrushing stop at Lakeland & the journey became far more colorful!

Green turned to red!

A beautiful red!

Grey & red Alien monuments stood stark against the bush, ant hills scattered like chess pieces through the countryside. Or tomb stones.

Quite eery to look at, at times.

No time for a pic with any however. Perhaps on the drive home!

You can’t really pull up for pics unfortunately.

The amount of amazing photo ops we drove past, from anthills to creeks with lilly’s, to wedge tails feasting in their magnificent glory. To stop could be quite perilous.

For the dust!

We hit the road on a good day. A little bit of rain, plenty of wind.

But yikes.

Seeing those headlights appear out of the red dust like the Nothing from Never Ending Story gave me shivers every time.

Headlights people!!!

Musgrave Roadhouse was the croc dam, & my imagination was rewarded, it was everything I could have concocted!

A fenced dam with Freshies! And a big sign asking you to not throw rocks at them!

Lucky for us they were basking on the bank so we seen them!

No ricks necessary.

Yay!!!

Lunch stop on the beautiful Archer River, then back to the drive.

Weipa greeted us at the haul road with 2 big belly dumpers keeping us waiting, then into town for a quick tour & beer at the pub, before setting up camp.

The North Queensland sunsets are seriously hard to beat, much like me with our Yahtzee game before bed!

Now we’re all snuggled in, the girls in the tent on their stretchers, Dan & I on our stretcher.

Which conveniently doesn’t fit in the tent! Nothing like totally winging the sleeping situation.

So it’s under the awning for us. Which I think is pretty great!

Despite initially dreading that our camp babies had morphed into Griswold children, they’re actually doing great! Perhaps it’s because there’s an Engel between them in the car?

Perhaps it’s because we still have reception?

Who knows!?

But tomorrow we kiss reception goodbye for a few days as we meet up with our travel buddies & head further north. So we’ll see!

I’ll keep blogging, & update when I can. Until then, I bid you adieu.

Good night, Westley. Good work. Sleep well. I’ll most likely kill you in the morning.