Our Cape York Adventure

redback

Active Member
PART 1

This trip had been in the planning for over 12mths, it was an AULRO Forum trip, not unlike the MySwag Cape Trip, the itinerary was completed by JohnR and Discostew the offical trip leaders about a month before we parted.

We had been prepared months earlier and only needed to do food shopping and minor things done to the car and camper and a pre trip inspection and we were off to meet the group.

We all had various departure dates depending on where we were coming from, most leaving on or around the 27th of June for a 3 day drive to our “Official meet up point”, Upper Liverpool Creek South West of Innisfail, we left on the 24TH.
The Group consisted of:
JohnR: John, Alison, Jessie(5), John(2) & Ben (Also 2) in a 07 Defender with Camel camper behind
DiscoStew: Paul & Loretta in a 1999 TD5 Disco II also with Camel camper behind
Icefyre: Anthony & Torrin(9) in a 1999 TD5 Disco II
GuyG & Pohm66: Guy & Paul in a 1990 Range Rover Classic V8 petrol!
Redback: Barry & Kerry 2001 TD5 Disco II with a Redback camper behind
Greynight.aus: Bob & Shirley 2001 TD5 Defender (Tomb Raider Edition)
And last but not least, Blknightaus; Dave in his 1971/76 series III LandRover running on cooking oil (support vehicle)


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We departed at 8.00am the 24TH of june, first stop Tarriaro Res Narrabri, a very nice spot just out of Narrabri, a local fishing spot according to the locals.
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Early departure again 7.30am bound for Chain Lagoons 15k north of Taroom and another great spot.
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From here we were going to be stopping at Belyando crossing, but one of the members from the forum Brian (bearman) offered us his backyard for the night in Mackay, so we decided to hit the coast early and take up his kind offer, what a top bloke and we sat down early after setting up for a few rums around his fire pit, later joined by his lovely wife Ruth, the first highlight of the trip, many thanks for a great night.

Next stop Liverpool Cr arriving early only to meet a couple in a 130 Def travelling around for 6mths, what made this amazing was the bloke only had one leg.

The group we going to be arriving on the 30th so we settled in for a couple of days of exploring the area, visiting the local winery and Paranello Park and just kicking back swimming in the creek.
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Tuesday morning we headed off together, going up and over the tablelands visiting a few notable tourist spots on the way. For the group they visited Paronella Park, we went to Ma Mu Rainforest Canopy Skywalk were the group caught up with us then, Curtain Fig Tree and down to the Mossman Gorge where we met up with Anthony’s (Icefyre) parents Gwen and John who were driving a Toyota Troopy, very nice people and John had a very good sence of humour.
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The following day we crossed the Daintree River via ferry taking the Bloomfield track our first real dirt road. This track was well graded but if wet I can see it could get a bit hairy.
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That night we stayed at The Lion’s Den. An absolute must do, great camp site and a pub with awesome atmosphere, good meals and walls that you were encourage to sign!
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The next day we went on to Cooktown (some great museum’s dedicated to Captain Cook) which still retains the charm of a small sea side town. We also met up with Steve (roverescue)in his 130 Dual Cab along with his tinnie whom accompanied us up to Lakefield National Park where we camped for two nights at Mick Fienn Water hole where we fished and relaxed, Steve was another top bloke and with him and his tinnie made this the next hilight of the trip, lucky cause the campsite was a bit ordinary.
Cooktown
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Mick Feinn
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We left Lakefield National Park and headed northwest to Musgrave Roadhouse, north to Coen where we had our first puncture (side wall, big stick).
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Some of the group camped in the roadhouse campground while we camped with the other 4 vehicles along side the locals in the Archer river itself, this was another great spot.
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Next morning north east to Lockhart River and a two day Camp at Iron Range Cooks Hut, a lovely spot set deep in the rain forest. A day trip out to Chilli Beach a swim in the ocean. Some of the group continued onto Portland Roads, we went back back to Cooks Hut campsite for a shower and the customary sit around the campfire.
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The next day saw two of our more challenging roads. We headed west on Frenchmans track to Batavia Downs which entailed a crossing of the Pasco River,
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water up to the bonnet followed by a steep rutted rocky climb out on the other side, we all made it through no worries, spectacular scenery along the way.
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We continued on to Bramwell junction Roadhouse then turned north on the famous Old Telegraph Track and our first crossing on the OTL was Palm Creek
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We had four creek crossings to get to our evening camp spot on the banks of the Dullhunty River near the water guaging station with no problems at all on any of them.
A big days drive leaving at 8am and not getting into camp until 8pm a very long day, some of the day was spent getting unbogged at a lunch spot on the Wenlock river, me being one of them, corse river sand and a camper on the back don't mix.
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We headed off early back out onto the Old Telegraph Track eager to get the infamous Gun Shot. We spent about half an hour assessing the “drop” into the creek deciding the best course of attack, for me this was way to long, but most of the group weren't that experienced at this so I bit my tounge. First up was Anthony in the D2, slow and steady in then drop into the mud and easy through the actual creek and up the other side, no dramas. Then it was Guy’s turn in the double locked Rangie once again slow and steady in then drop into the mud and floor it……. Stuck! this was not the way to do it and hence he was stuck, unlike Anthony he had dug some nice big ruts which left us sitting on our bellies. So a quick snatch recovery and he was away. JohnR was next in the Defender & trailer the story was the same, as too with me but the difference for me was I bulldozed all the mud in front of me & Dave also got stuck. Paul and Bob however, took the “slightly” easier route and made it through no dramas. From here we continued on with many more creek crossings then onto the Twin Falls. The camping here is at a premium and arrival close to lunch time is recommended. Here we camped for two nights. We enjoyed several of the most wonderful swimming holes you will ever come across. Elliot & Twin Falls were spectacular and a short drive took us to Fruit Bat Falls an equally spectacular swimming hole.
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END PART 1
 

redback

Active Member
Part 2

PART 2

We spent 2 nights at Elliot, a great spot albeit a pretty ordinary camp ground, but the falls more than made up for it, the crossing after Elliot was pretty tough, I followed Anthony through the hard section and thinking oops first off, it wasn't all that bad and I made it without any problems at all, even going right of the camp in the middle.

We continued along the rest of OTL up to the old Jardine crossing for a look, getting stuck in a sandy hole just before the old Jardine crossing.

All the crossings were pretty good even Nolans Brook, where we found 2 stricken vehicles, a group of Israelie back packers, the others behind us towed them over Nolans and as well saw a White Patrol charge into the crossing and drowning himself, some people just don't get it.
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From there back track back to the track across to the Development road and on the the Jardine ferry and then to camp at Loyalty Beach and then an explore of the area, This was a day when the group split for the last leg to Bamaga from Elliot and me and Anthony pushed on and got to camp about 3hrs ahead of the group.

While waiting we did some shopping and looking at the WW2 wrecks
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Back to camp for the settle in.
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Next day was a day trip to Somerset to look at the ruins and the beach, going to the Croc tent to get info on the 5 beachs run, which we would do tomorrow on the way to the tip, so just a relaxing day.
In the moring it was off to the tip, the group split for today and meet at the tip for the group photo, some didn't want to do the 5 beaches run, prefering to leave later and drive out to Punsand Bay for fish & chips, so for us a relatively early start, first stop the Croc tent again to return a shirt for a bigger size, then off on the five beaches run taking in some bueatiful spots, first being the lake (unknown)
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then the beaches
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then the tip
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This is the rest of the group minus us, Kerry hurt her back early in the trip and when we reached the carpark Kerry was in alot of pain, we decided to walk up to the tip as she didn't want to wait around while she was in so much pain and return to camp early and rest, so we couldn't make the group photo, I thought that she was more important than a photo so I decided not to return with the group for the photo and take Kerry back to camp, a shame really but thems the breaks.
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So that was our adventure, it was a great trip and I would it again in a heartbeat, with a few changes, the highlight was Elliot falls, the best campsite was Dalhunty River and Loyalty, but best of all was the drive along the OTL, the Disco and camper went brilliant and apart from hole in the fuel tank had no problems at all.
The hole in the tank happened the next day doing a trip out to Punsand Bay, I ran over a stick and it come up and push the hole you see, the worst part of it was that morning I filled up the Disco in Seisa at $1.90 a litre, we managed to save 30lts.
I was then towed back to camp where the repairs were started.

This was also where the group parted ways, we went via Normington home while the others carried on with the rest of the trip, some of the group stayed with us.
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Dave and his father stayed up till 1.30am to repair this, which kept us going and took us home.
being repaired, this is daves serious face.
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Repaired
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We had caps and shirts made for this trip it was mainly to remind us of a great adventure, I think they looked good too.

Baz.
 
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redback

Active Member
Part 3

PART 3

From Seisa Kerry and I talked about what she wanted to do, because of the pain she was in it was time to cut the trip short and head for home earlier than we planned.

So we headed for Moreton Station for the first night, stopping at Bramwell to wait for Anthony who wanted to do the OTL backwards, after sitting at Bramwell for 40mins and no Anthony, I thought I'd unhitch the camper and drive up the OTL and look for him, a radio message earlier alerted us to the fact he was low on fuel so when he didn't arrive at Bramwell we thought he maybe in trouble, so off we went to find him, aventually finding him about 4 or 5 ks past Palm Creek.

He had run out of fuel and found one nice bloke to give him some fuel to carry on.

We were going to camp at Bramwell as it was late but the group wanted to push on to Moreton.
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A late start for this leg to Weipa and a Physio for Kerry not a long drive and a night at the van park, not a bad park, one tip DON'T DO the mine tour. Took Kerry to the Physio, did some shopping and next morning did the mine tour, what a waste of $30 and 2&1/2hrs I'll never get back.
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Telephoto just wasn't good enough on my camera
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This was a better shot
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From Weipa first stop Archer River for a swim then just past Coen for the night, that didn't happen as Anthony blew a coolent hose just 3k out of Coen, so we towed him into Coen and camped at the back of the servo for the night and Dave did the repairs to the Disco, luckly there was a spare hose in Bobs Defender as this hose was an odd size being 1/2" at one end and 3/4" at the other and only 75mm long.

Next morning Musgrave for morning tea, then Hann River Roadhouse to fuel up for the 700k leg to Normanton 700ks via Fairview and Kimba Rd camping just before the Mitchell River.
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From here we drove onto the development Rd coming onto the Burke Development Rd near Maramie then into Normanton, fueled up and had a look around at the big croc the Gulflander station the Purple Pub, then drove out to Leighardht River campground for the night.
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From here we headed for Innot Springs to get some relief of the pain Kerry in the hot springs before heading south and home. leaving Leichhardt we came across the Gulflander heading for Croyden

Innot Springs
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In the morning we said our goodbyes to the guys and it's here I want to say a special thanks to Dave and Bob for there help with the camper and repairing my fuel tank and Sherlie for her help looking after Kerry, also a special mention to Gwen for her help with Kerry too, it was very much appreciated, oh yeah and Anthony for towing out of the sand and Gunshot.

From Innot it was Charters Towers (physio stop) Emerald (physio stop) and home via the places we stayed on the way up.

Thank you everyone for a good time and great trip.

Baz & Kerry.
 

Gunna

Well-Known Member
What an awesome adventure! certainly a trip of a life time thanks for sharing
 

teza h

Well-Known Member
YEH, great report and pics. I'm so gona do that trip one day,how long did you take all up.
 

redback

Active Member
YEH, great report and pics. I'm so gona do that trip one day,how long did you take all up.

5 weeks all up, that's the minimum I reckon so it's not rushed, we are going again either 2010 or 2011, we will do a few things a bit different next trip, some of the days were a tad long, especially the day to Dalhunty River.

We will probably do more of the gulf country too.

Baz.
 

BILLBY

New Member
oh yeah

absolutely brilliant thank you for such a great pictorial journey of your adventure :cool:
 

millsy

4x4 Earth Contributer
Great report guys. Plenty of info, and pics, for anyone who plans to follow in your steps. Thanks!
 

Split pin

Active Member
What an excellent trip you have made me sooooooooooo jealous that I want to plan a trip right now. great report and you get the head dreaming for my own trip.
 

AusRick

New Member
Great trip report Baz, thanks for sharing I really enjoyed the read :)

We've actually met before, I was with Ricey at Barrington after Christmas last year and had the pleasure to meet you and your family :)
 

redback

Active Member
Great trip report Baz, thanks for sharing I really enjoyed the read :)

We've actually met before, I was with Ricey at Barrington after Christmas last year and had the pleasure to meet you and your family :)

Hey Rick, how are ya mate, I notice your doing the Newnes trip also, hopefully we will catch up again.


Thanks all for your comments, it is a great place to go.

Baz.
 

tootie007

New Member
As everyone has said a great trip report. We went up the cape in June 2008. It was great to see how the track has changed. Gunshot creek especially.

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We did it a bit easier than you guys did.
I loved the trip up the Cape but will take a bit more time to do it next time. Taking 2 weeks from Cairns, Cape Tribulation, Bloomfield track, Cooktown, Lakefield NP, Chilli Beach, Frenchmans track, Telegraph track, Punsand Bay, Weipa and back to Cairns was a bit to quick.
Unfortunately we had heaps of time to do the trip but the others travelling with us didn't.

Dave
 

deepop

4x4 Earth Contributer
Thanks for keeping me in a jealous state of mind of all the people travelling up there.

Does anyone know if the sign at the tip has been reinstated?

Give the tin lids a few years and I think we'll be doing this trip.
 

Grumpy

Moderator
Great report but I think u really need to get a life and stop making the rest of the us left behind JEALOUS JEALOUS, just a dream for a lot of people, thanx for sharing your great adventure with us, Cheers
 

tootie007

New Member
The Kimberly's are an amazing place to visit also. Very different to the Cape and well worth the trip. The photo is of us having just crossed the Pentecost River on the Gibb river road with the Cockburn Range in the background.

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