Author Topic: Cape York 2012  (Read 4523 times)

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Offline Hangman

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Cape York 2012
« on: July 17, 2012, 06:56:45 PM »
Cape York 2012

Trip Leader: iananita

Attendees: Red Dog, Ady88

The last 2 weeks in Brisbane have been miserable. Overcast skies and drizzle rain have been the norm so it was time for us to head north. The Jackaroo was packed and ready after 2 weeks of gearbox repair. The early morning start from Redcliffe started at 5am Saturday 14 July 2012. I met up with Ray(Red Dog), his son,Wade and Adrian(Ady88) at the Caltex Service Station on the Warrego Highway Blacksoil at 6.15am. It was still drizzling rain as we pulled out on our cape adventure at 6.30am. We were headed toward Carnarvon Gorge some 600km west.







It drizzled rain most of the way with patches of rain. West from Toowoomba to Roma which was our lunch break at the local bakery, a pie and peas was consumed and I refuelled for our journey. We headed north through Injune to Takarakka Bush Retreat, Carnarvon Gorge arriving at 4pm. We had spent 10 hours on the road, it was still drizzling, so we decided to have a beer and assess our options. Some grey-haired nomads had a welcoming fire so we chewed the fat for a while the rain eased. Ray + Wade settle up their camp, Adrian + Ian decided to sleep under the camp kitchen. So we had another beer. We had a quiet early night.


Sunday 15 July 2012.
We awoke to an over cast windy morning but the wind gradually cleared the skies. It was decided we would leave Carnarvon today after a walk up the gorge so we packed up and headed up to the gorge by 9am.   After a visit to the ranger station we left for the Amphitheatre walk, a 12km return walk. This walk took 3 hours. It was well worth the walk, crossing the creek 4 times, getting wet feet crossing the creek, we climbed a ladder entering a chasm in the wall to a hidden oasis. This was a spectacular spot well worth the walk. On the return trip we stopped to see the Moss Garden, another oasis with walls of moss from the seeping waters above. The walk back went quickly. After lunch we left the gorge at 2.30pm heading north on a slippery dirt track we arrived at Springsure at 4pm. We camped overnight at the local show grounds and saw the Virgin Rock lit up at 7pm, a local ritual every night. It was a cold night so we went to bed early.



Monday 16 July 2012
After the rain had cleared, clear skies meant a cool night. It was 5* in the morning so we slowly packed up waiting for our swags to dry out before for another day travelling. Our destination was Belyando Crossing some 600km further north. We had a long stop at Emerald while I sorted out my internet connection and Ray needed a new starter battery. We reached Belyando Crossing at 3pm so decided to push on another hour to find a spot at Cape River beside the road to camp the night and have a fire.  We were joined by a grey nomad caravan and later 2 trucks. It was a cool night but the fire was warm. 



Tuesday 17 July 2012
The trucks left the stop at 5am and the caravan left at 7am, we had breakfast and packed up and on the road by 8am. I took a moment to get the Jackaroo out because it had bogged down in the soft ground. Onto Charters Towers for our last easy fuel + groceries for a week. Heading north we had lunch at Greenvale, after a short break we pushed onto Undara Larva Tubes arriving at 2.30pm. We checked in, booked a tour, set up camp, collected some fire wood, had a shower, did some washing, cooked dinner and settled in for the night around the fire. A few beers and rum later it was bed time. It was great to see such a starry sky. The night air was cool and it was a good night sleep.



Wednesday 18 July 2012
We awoke to the now familiar bird calls especially Kookaburras turning it up for the tourists. Another beautiful day in paradise, we off on a guided tour at 10.30am so it was a slow start some breakfast, shower, shave etc. Adrian had a shower in the Mens for a change and was surprised that the Mens did not have the décor like the Ladies, he had showered in their amenities the night before, a good story for a camp fire some time. Undara is a great spot and I would highly recommend the facilities here. It is very popular so book in advance. We went on a 2 hour adventure tour which involved walking through 2 larva tubes one 50m, the other 130m. I can not get over that this spot has only been open to the public since 1980. I hope to get back here some time, the railway carriages are very popular and look very comfortable. Adrian + I had dinner at the bistro, had a beer at the bar carriage, sat around the fire for an hour then off to bed early. 



Thursday 19 July 2012
The day began with the kookaburra's song, it was another beautiful day. We had breakfast, packed up and hit the road at 9am headed for Chillagoe. We travelled the alternative Savannah Way through to the Burke Development Road, only 200 km today so we arrived at Chillagoe at lunch time. A quick stop at the information centre to get direction and we had the rest of the day planned. We camped at the Rodeo grounds on the edge of town so after setting up camp and having lunch, we headed out to Tom Prior's Ford Museum. Tom is a local character, he is the BP agent and has a collection of Fords including a XW 351 Phase 2 GT but his pride of joy is a 1968 F8000 truck which he reckons “has another 1 000 000 miles in her”. After we topped up with fuel, next stop was the smelter, a quick photo shot and then back into town for a shuddering cold beer at the Post Office Hotel. After a couple of beers it was decided we needed to come back for a counter meal so we decided to go caving. We had missed all the guided tours for the day so we did the 2 self guided caves Pompeii + Bauhinia Caves. They were rough going climbing over rocks to find a cavity of limestone formations. After caving, Wade suggested we go for a swim at the weir which was very refreshing. Back to camp for a shower and get ready for dinner. It was a quiet night at the pub so we enjoyed a few quiet beers and listened to Rebecca sing, she is an upcoming local talent. The whole town was preparing for a country music festival here in Chillagoe over the week end. We walked home after a great night.





Friday 20 July 2012
Up early we had breakfast and on the road by 8.30am. Today, we were headed toward Maytown, the old Palmer River Goldfields. The day started easy with a quick stop the Archways, another limestone caveat Mungana. Once we had turned onto the Palmerville Road the adventure began. We drove through numerous gates and found the road deviated from the GPS plotted track. At this stage we came across a Jeep club group who were also following their GPS and had decided to back track and find the plotted track to Maytown. We spent several hours looking for tracks to Maytown through an unfriendly owner's property. It was a different feeling for a change, someone else had me lost. Eventually we were on track and made our way north. All but one Jeep was towing so it was slow going. We stuck with them and helped out when they had trouble through the crossing the Palmer River. Two of them got stuck and needed to be recovered. We finally arrived at Maytown at 4.30pm after 8 hours travelling on dry, dusty roads. It is an amazing place. Obviously a hub of activity in its day, it now lays waste. Due to the late hour we found a spot next to the track to camp overnight. A big fire and few beers ended the day.



Saturday 21 July 2012
We started another beautiful day at 8.30am leaving the Jeepers behind knowing the day would be slow going for them. We set off on the Old Coach Road through to Laura. What an adventure. It is an awesome track, sand, rocks, water crossings etc. all within 70km. I noticed at lunch that I had broken a rear sway bar connection rod, not a big problem helped with the flex.  It took us 6 hrs to finally reach the Peninsula Development Road. We turned north and headed to Hann River Roadhouse where we camped the night. Ray + I had a quick dip in the Hann, quick dip because we are now in crocodile territory. It was an early day knock off, our first week done.



Sunday 22 July 2012
Another beautiful day in Tropical North Queensland, we got up a 7am had breakfast and headed out of Hann River campsite at 9am. I noticed straight away vibration so I stopped and checked my rear tail shaft uni joint only had 2 bolts of 4 left. So we turned around and headed back to Hann River. George the owner was good enough to find 2 bolts to get the tail shaft secure and we were on our way again. Another 200km of dry dusty corrugated roads and we were at Archer River Roadhouse for a lunch stop. We all had an Archer Burger on Wombat's recommendation. It can only be eaten in halves, first the top then the bottom. I rechecked my uni joint and the morning repair was holding fast, so we continued onto Weipa. As we came into Weipa, lo and behold, there beside the road was an abandon Jackaroo, a perfect donor for spare parts. So I tipped her up and removed the uni bolts I needed and the rear sway bar connection rod. Well, I was a happy camper. We arrived at the Weipa caravan park at 4pm, did our chores and settled back to watch the sunset over the water for the first time, it was 6.25pm the end to another day. Dinner was served at the Albatross Bay Hotel, a few beers and home to bed.







Monday 23 July 2012
Up again at 7am, we had a few chores this morning before heading bush again. Once packed up we headed to Woolies, baker and butcher to top up supplies. Refuelled, we headed south onto the Batavia Station Road back to the Northern Development Road heading to Bramwell Junction. There was a brief rain shower while on the road through Batavia Station which settled the dust and quickly disappeared. We had lunch at the junction before heading onto the Old Telegraph Track. Palm creek was the first stop. Several camper trailers turned around because of the steep drop in. I cleared the logs from the track and dropped in making it through. Ray did the track with ease. Continuing on to Dulcie Creek we turned through the crossing avoiding the deeper holes, I tied my fan just to avoid any radiator damage. Along the track we passed Miriam, who has been cycling the world for 5 years after leaving The Netherlands in March 2007. She has been here in Australia for the last 3 years. She was hoping to reach Dulhunty Creek tonight. Once we reached Dulhunty it was getting late. Dulhunty has a beautiful waterfall and is very popular, so we pushed on to Bertie  Creek. Bertie has a rocky base with melon holes which was an easy crossing. The swift flow of Bertie Creek would move a vehicle if stopped on the crossing. We had found a beaut spot on the northern bank, set up camp, started a fire for coals then went for a swim. Ray + Adrian cooked a fantastic stew which was enjoyed. We were living like kings.







Tuesday 24 July 2012
Slow start this morning. We finally left Bernie at 9am and pushed on to Gunshot. We pulled in behind a group of 3, 80 series pulling a caravan from WA, a 75 series Landcruiser ute + 75 series Troopie. They had some trouble at Palm Creek and were hesitant at jumping straight in. The Jackaroo did the chicken track with ease. Ray decided to do the harder track with a steep cambered drop in on the right of Gunshot. He did the track with only a small battle scar to his awning cover. Next was Cockatoo Creek with a wider section of melon holed rocky bottom crossing. The crossing was not deep and done with ease. After the crossing, we were on this fresh graded section of track through to Fruit Bat Falls. It was like Central Station with a tour bus and numerous other vehicles pulled up but wow, what a wonderful spot. I could have stayed there all day. This would be a highlight for me, seeing such a beautiful spot, along with 50 others. After a swim, we pushed on to Elliot Falls, where we had booked a site online however when we arrived there was also another group in the spot. So, we had a swim at Elliot falls which was quite cool and fast flowing. The swim at Twin Falls was much better and was being enjoyed by several groups of people. After speaking to a tour operator we considered staying in the group area but while looking for firewood Ray + Adrian found a great spot up the track at Canal Creek so we moved on. We were able to camp next to the creek with our own waterfall. We spent the night around the campfire reflecting on the day's adventures especially Ray's triumph at Gunshot.



Wednesday 25 July
It was breakfast at Canal Creek, the day had just began and Captain Billy's tagalong was traversing the creek, so we went down to have a look. One of the group had a Pathfinder which became stuck while taking a different line to the rest of the group. He was soon winched free and we continued our trecking north. The area above Canal Creek is a playground so both the Patrol and Jackaroo flexed up. The Jackaroo flexed more than it should and was near vertical before coming to rest on it  sill just saving a roll over. I was able to back out and all was good. We were now travelling at the back of  2 groups of 3 vehicles so it was slow going through the other creeks finally reaching Nolans Brook at lunch time. The first vehicle through was a petrol GQ which stalled going through and had to be recovered. The rest of his group made it through no problems. The second group of 3 vehicles, an 80 series and Hilux made it through then the Sierra just floated through. Ray had his course plotted and set off without any problem. It was then my turn. I set off tarped, aired down + fan tied but unfortunately lost traction half way across and needed to be snatched the last half. I took on some water, it was ankle deep in the floor pan. Once through I let the water drain and contiplated the reasons for my demise.  I think I had not waited long enough to let the bottom settle after Ray had been through and should have aired down more. Lesson learnt, only damage was my pride and wet carpets which will dry at Loyalty Beach our destination today. We continued north to the Jardine River and drove to the old crossing at the south camping area. It is a beautiful spot. Once on the Development Road again when headed to the ferry and onto Bamaga. We arrived at the Loyalty campground at 5pm and set up camp for 2 days.







Thursday 26 July
It was a slow start to the morning. We were able to make contact with family and get some internet connection. I had set the day to just relaxing after the last 10 days of travelling. I also wanted to dry the carpets as best I could while we had stopped in such a great spot. We also did some washing and talked about our next destination the tip of continental Australia. The weather has been quite balmy during the day but comfortable cool at night. It has been a delightful change from the cooler Brissie weather. Adrian purchased 4 lobster from a local islander who pulled up off the beach and sold to campers here in the camp ground. They were fresh caught today. Adrian soon cooked them up and chilled them for tonight's meal. The day was just relaxing and we ended it with a beer at the bar, lobster in garlic butter and a camp fire.



Friday 27 July
After a cooler night, it was a good sleep, we packed up and headed north to the tip our destination today. After a stop off at the Croc Tent for T-shirts, we headed to Punsand Bay. We could see a small croc off the beach but he was aware we were there and did not come in. We then headed to the tip via the 4WD track which had claimed a few vehicles. All went well and we were at the car park. It was low tide so we walked the beach to the top, got our photos done and headed back along the headland. It was now lunch time so we headed down to the beach for a bit of lunch and noticed there was no breeze here and it was quite warm so it was decided to head to Somerset Beach to camp. What a wonderful spot we found. We camped right on the beach under a fisherman shelter, across the channel was Albury Island. The other campers had been catching muddies every day but while we where there a croc had found the pots and stole the baits. Ray + Wade had a fish with no success, Adrian and I got the fire started and we settled in for another night in paradise. I set up my swag on the beach and had a nervous but cool night sleep.







Saturday 28 July
Slight overcast morning, we had a quick breakfast and headed along the 5 beaches drive from Fly Point through to Nanthau Beach. Once back on the main track we headed back into Bamaga for supplies but fresh groceries were low. We headed out to Seisa to try the supermarket there and was able to get what we needed. Lunch at the beach, walk on the jetty, refuelled and we headed to the plane wrecks along the airport road. After a few pics off to the ferry and back to the Old Telegraph track. Nolans Brook our first creek to cross. When I tried to start the Jackaroo coming off the ferry my starter died so I needed a push start. So once at Nolans I decided to cross this afternoon while Ray decided to cross in the morning. So tarped up, tied fan, aired down, push started, I approached the crossing. I had attached 2 straps to the rear in case I got stuck and Ray would be able to pull me back because there was nobody on the southern bank. Second low and away I went. I made the crossing. While airing up again I noticed that I had not locked in the front hubs so I drove Nolans low 2WD but I guess it would be best if I just keep the victory to myself. So we settled in at Nolans for the night another eventful day on the cape.



Sunday 29 July
Another beautiful day started we packed up camp at 8.30am, I needed a push start and moved closer to the crossing as Ray came through with no worries. We continued along the track hoping to reach Fruit Bat Falls for a swim and lunch stop. Once again these falls are truly spectacular and we enjoyed a refreshing swim As it happened we caught up with Rod(Clouts) and his mate, Jeff who had been hunting on the tele track during the week. They were headed north to the Jardine. We continued south to hopefully camp overnight at Dulhunty River. At Cockatoo creek while exiting the crossing I broke my right hand side tie rod and also my outer CV joint. At that moment I was not happy but thankfully the tie rod I had picked from Weipa was very useful. I fitted the tie rod and continued in 2WD through the other crossings including Gunshot Creek chicken track. We arrived at Dulhunty by 3pm so set up camp just near the falls on the southern bank. By 5pm, there were several others camping here. I was able to remove the broken CV and made a temporary repair of the handbrake. We settled in around the fire for an early night.




Monday 30 July   
Leaving Dulhunty River at 8.30pm, we headed north to Palm Creek knowing that it maybe an obstacle. We had arranged with Bob, 75 series ute , who we had camped with at Nolans Brook to meet us on the southern bank in case we needed a snatch up. The other creeks were not a problem even with my 3WD. Once we reached Palm Creek, Bob was ready but Ray climbed straight out after 3 attempts. I needed a snatch up unable to get the back wheels up. After re-fueling and smoko at Bramwell Junction, we headed to the Frenchman's Track turn off. At the turn-off we were breath tested, the cop told us about a good camp spot at the Wenlock River crossing. We made the Wenlock by 1pm so stopped for a lunch break. We decided to continue onto the Pascoe River for camp. Once at the Pascoe, we crossed after some planning and set up camp on the southern bank. It had been a good day with Ray successfully driving Palm Creek and the Pascoe River. I was happy that I got through 3WD and so ended another day. It was a quiet night around the fire.



Tuesday 31 July
We all had a sleep in today, because it was overcast. Our destination today was Chilli Beach which was not a big day travelling. We continued on the Frenchman's Track only passing 3 other vehicles  in the morning, arriving back on Portland Rd through to Lockhart River. We called into Lockhart River for a few supplies. The local supermarket was not easy to find, located in a large lockable shed. We headed out to Portland Road for lunch then back to find our site at Chilli Beach. It was windy but our camp site 12 was wind protected. When we arrived it was low tide and surprising how far the water had regressed from the high tide wash. We set up camp and settled in for the evening. Just in front of our camp site was a boarded fresh water well which we could not use. We gathered some drift wood and had a fire. It was probably one of the hottest fires we had had on the trip.



Wednesday 1 August
The new day began with some drizzle. We were soon packed and on our way to Musgrave Roadhouse. The drive was easy with several patches of corrugations. We stopped at the Exchange Hotel, Coen for lunch and some supplies. We arrived at Musgrave at 2.30pm and set up camp, did some washing, had a roam down to the creek, drank some beer and just relaxed watching the people rolling in. The small dams at the back of the camp ground has several fresh water crocodiles, we  only saw 4 of them. After dinner, we settled in at the bar to watch some of the Olympics and so ended another night on the way home.

Thursday 2 August   
It was a cooler start this morn, we must be headed south. After a slow start we headed into Lakefield National Park from Musgrave road house. It was an easy drive to Hann Crossing campsite where Ray + Wade had a fish with no success. We had lunch at Catfish waterhole where a large croc had been sighted the day before. Only Ray + Adrian saw him before he sank into the depths. Continuing south we arrived at Cooktown at 3.30pm. It was a windy day as usual and according to the locals, not a bad day. We stayed at Cooktown Orchid Travellers Park in the heart of town. It was an easy afternoon relaxing, some sight-seeing and making contact with home. I had arranged with Anita to fly to Cairns and we would travel home together. She would pick up a new starter in Brisbane and I could fit in Cairns when she arrived on Sunday. We went to the West Coast Pub for dinner and a few beers. It was a quiet relaxing night in Cooktown.





Friday 3 August
We planned to make Daintree today hoping the get through via the CREB track. After some sight seeing and shopping we headed for the Lions Den Pub at Helenvale. It was now lunch time when we arrived so we each ordered a beer and pizza. After a relaxing stop we pushed onto Wujal Wujal Falls for a photo stop then onto the the CREB track. We had earlier spoken to a guy who had done the CREB from the south and said it was open. It was easy going until Chinaman's Camp when a particular steep step up rolled the Jackaroo. I failed to climb the section and after the motor stalled I lost steering and as the vehicle slipped back we slowly rolled onto the right side and there she lay. Ray was able to continue the climb and there was a chicken track back to the base of the climb. He was able to winch the Jackaroo back onto its feet then he came back down the track to the front of the Jackaroo and we winched her back down the track. There was panel damage on every panel on the right hand side and the rear window was smashed. Once on her feet and back on the flat I removed all the glow plugs and cranked her over, the starter motor worked. There was no oil in the cylinders so I put her back together and fired her up. A few hiccups and away she went. I took the chicken track and we soon came upon a section being worked by a dozer. There were still some steep sections but the dozer had flattened all the ruts. By now it was dark and was seemed like forever we made it to the Daintree River crossing. We had spent 5 hours on the track. The track was closed at the southern end by sign however many had driven around the gate. We rolled into Daintree at 7.30pm and camped the night at the caravan and camping ground. After a beer and quick bite we all went to bed thankful that we were not spending the night on the CREB





Saturday 4 August 2012
After a sleep in, it was a foggy morning start on the banks of the Daintree River. I needed to tarp up my broken window and we needed to leave the swags to dry. Ray and Adrian wanted to push on home today and I was going to stay in Cairns. It was a quick run down the Captain Cook Highway to Cairns and onto the esplanade where we had lunch. The boys left me here and drove until 8pm or so stopping at Rockhampton. I caught up with friends in Cairns that night and picked up Anita from the airport Sunday morning. We drove home together taking in the sights, arriving home on Thursday, 9 August. It was a fantastic adventure.

Just for future reference.
I traveled from and returned to Redcliffe, total km 6700.

Spent $1200 on diesel, paid $1.34 in Redcliffe, $1.44 Roma, $1.48 Charters Towers, Chillagoe $1.56, Hann River Roadhouse $1.96, Weipa $1.66, Seisa $2.15, Cooktown $1.49, Cairns $1.48.

Spent $470 on accomodation, Takaraka Bush Retreat, Carnarvon Gorge was $30/night, Weipa Caravan Park was $27.50/night. Anita and I had 4 nights on the way back at $80/night. 

Wade reminded me, I was snatched 3 times (Nolans Brook, Cockatoo Creek,Palm Creek)  and winched twice(Creb track).

Since home, I have renewed handbrake cables and repaired CV joint, upgraded my tie rods, replaced the broken quarter glass and repaired some minor panel damage.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2012, 06:51:37 PM by iananita »
"Wax on Wax off"........... The Karate Kid(1984)

Offline Kris

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Re: Cape York 2012
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2012, 01:05:52 PM »






Love the new name on the car the "Acka O" maybe that should be your new call sign?

Great trip report!!!!!

Offline Hangman

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Re: Cape York 2012
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2012, 06:32:08 PM »
Well spotted Kris, the boys, Ray, Adrian + Wade thought that was a great joke.
"Wax on Wax off"........... The Karate Kid(1984)