The Savannah way

We followed the Savannah way from Kuranda going west. 2 nights at the Undara Lava 

tubes from there to Georgetown where we enjoyed a well needed swim in the local pool. The museum here is worthwhile having a look at with its mineral and rock collection. Some great agats and thunder eggs.

The night was spent near a lagoon at the Cumberland chimney 

 after we watched the active birdlife for some time. 

Finally we made it back to the gulf and ended up at Karumba Point 

 via Normanton. About 50 kms out of Normanton we came across 2 Korean boys on their bicycles in the heat of the day who had gotten into some strive. To many punctures and no tubes or repair kit left. We had some repair stuff which they used but after fixing at least 6 holes the air was still escaping. Vera already packed to the rafters was going to struggle to take two bikes, all their gear and the two boys on board. So I hauled down a ute travelling towards Normanton. Young Cody stopped who was going for a spot of fishing over the weekend to the Norman river. Luckily he had a fare bit of space in the ute and off went the boys and bikes. When we finally arrived in Normanton we saw the boys again they had booked into the camping ground and had to wait until Monday when the hardware shop reopened to get their bicycles fixed.

Made it to Karumba that night only to be woken at 5.00am on Sunday mornig by the first storm of the rainy season for us. We decided to stay only two nights because we didn’t want to get cut off.

Gregory downs was our next stop the best camp for me so far right next to the river where we rode down the rapids. So cooling and refreshing. English back packers were serving us our meal at the Gregory Downs Hotel that was first opened in 1877 that was only  a few years after Burke and Wills had marked some trees near here.

Lawn Hill the next camp. Oh my god was it hot and the flies were chasing us however the gorge made up for it all.

 It was magnificient to canoe through the gorge and arrive at the waterfall at the other end for a rewarding swim. There were also steps from the campground into the river. We lost count of how many swims we had. 

Followingthe Savannah way we ended up in Hells Gate roadhouse for a night.

From here we went into Limmen National Park and were we in for a surprise. The Southern Lost City the most incredible rock formation stemming from a washed out escarpment. Stayed the night at Butterfly springs and had  a dip in the waterhole were still a dripple of fresh water made it into the hole. We had to  share it with a Mertens water monitor.

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Again like the other nights before we were the only campers!! No one is as crazy as us and travels the top end at this time of the year.

Yes finally swimable water again at Mataranka Hot Springs. I think we got water logged. We stayed at the Mataranka Homestead adjacent to the Elsey National Park named after the station from the book. “We of the Never Never” by Jeannie Gunn. At the pool we met 3  aboriginal women from Karambula in the Kimberleys  who had been driven by a taxi driver friend all the way from Kunnanarra to the hot springs. We sat in the pool and chatted to them for hours.
The question was out where to have Christmas we settled on Katherine. We got into Katherine on 24 December booked a table for two at the barrel and cruise bistro for Christmas day and then went straight to Katherine Gorge. We camped right at the gorge in the national park and went for one of the smaller circuit walks to have a look at the gorge then swim in the pool. On Christmas day not much more happened several swims interrupted only by the lunch we had booked in for. It was fabulous and we were well looked after. However i missed the kids terribly  but managed to talk to both of them on the phone.

Yes I even found some Henkel Trocken.

On Boxig day our real Christmas present arrived. We, just coming back on the ferry after a walk to Pat’s lookout and Jedda Rock and a swim under the waterfall

 when Glen started to waive at the ferry that was passing us. On the other ferry a person equally waiving their arms. Me, blind as anything couldn’t make out who the other person was. Then Glen announced “that was Kerri” our neighbour from Beach street. No way I said are you sure? We checked at the ferry booking desk and as it turns out it was Kerri. So we proceeded back to the boat ramp at 1.30pm when Kerri’s ferry was due back to return. She got a surprise to still find us here. We ended up chatting for a long time. The best present ever! 

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Cairns and surrounds

  •  From Port Douglas we made it back to Tom and Magda’s in Kuranda. Glen and Leroy the dog are on much better terms since Glen brought him some pigs’ears. We are so welcomed here and are pretty relaxed. My knee is getting better after the physio strapped me up and gave me some exercises.  On Tuesday we took care of Vera. The lights decided to stop working but Glen managed to fix them. In the afternoon we explored the Cairns botanical garden. Absolutely pleasant place with beautiful vegetation.

  • Yesterday we explored the Atherton Tablelands and today we spread 2 cubic meters of mulch over Magda’s garden.

Port Douglas and surrounds

How lucky are we Gunhild came all the way from New Zealand to spend 5 days with us sand action packed were those days.

  1. Hartleys crocodile adventure  not to be missed with its 3000 crocodiles. Mosman markets with delicious fruits including soursop. From there to Mosman Gorge a walk in the rainforest and a swim in the refreshing river.  After lunch along the river bank we went to Daintree village. I like the heat but it was very warm that afternoon and we retreated to the pool where we were staying. Sunday morning Port Douglas markets and then a snorkeling tour to the inner reef  Today Gunhild and I took a rest day while Glen went out to the outer reef for some more snorkeling experience. We ended the night with pizza and cocktails. 

The cape

Oh wowww what an amazing place. Our experiences were truly colourful from extreme 4w driving to swimming with the crocodiles to being probably the only people who couldn’t catch a fish on the cape, making friends with the local dogs and horses in Alau, participating in a Melbourne cup event cape style, seeing the most incredible wildlife in particular birds we hadn’t seen ever before, absolutely amazing landscapes of massive proportions and only us in the middle of it miles away from everyone else. Being worried while camping on the banks of the Wenlock river that the wild pigs will get us,  mastering bread baking on the bbq,  making woven baskets with Lomandra grass, teaching feltmaking to some at the artists at Hopevale, taking a ferry ride to Thursday island, exploring the national parks and land trusts, spending time in cape tribulation camped in tropical rainforest.

The tip

We’ve made it.

We are in heaven, staying at Alau beach  an aboriginal community.  Absolutely delightful up here. Nice people, dogs 

making friends with us and protecting us from the crocs by being a decoy and the best view from our camp kitchen 

over to the Torres Strait islands and magnificent sunsets. 

Temperature pleasant and warm with a slight breeze. 

 We have been staying here for a while and poking around exploring  the west and east cape

Last radar station in Australia 

Somerset ruins and beach 

Mutee beach and Jardine river mouth 

Seisa wharf 

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Penny Father

Penny Father Turtle sanctuary near Weipa but as it appears a bit of a croc one as well and not the plastic type (though we have seen many of them washed up at Cape Bedford) no the real ones just 5 meters away from us in the lagoon. They are sizeable 2 m, there are at least two more just a bit smaller.. We have seen many of their tracks across the hot sand. 
Glen seems to have overcome his fear of the snapping handbags and runs the gauntlet across the lagoon openig.

Now he is trying his luck to be eaten by the crocodiles by going fishing and probably standing to close to the water’s edge. 

We met some guys last night who work for the turtle sanctuary the biggest problem for the turtles are wild pigs and dogs. They will be shooting 400 pigs and dogs from the air today..

Some interesting ants’ nest on the way.

Far North Queensland

Woke to a dry SW breezy morning near Cedar Bay. The truck, towels, coats and clothes are all drying out. We dossed down at Home Rule where the road gang stayed while building the Cooktown-Cape Tribulation Connection. Home Rule  was now the concert event for the Far North Queensland. Here are road building equipment, airstrip, quarters and kitchen and riverbank. Back in 1970, they trekked in from the Home Rule Falls to Cedar Bay carrying with them their seeds; mango, custard apple guava, climbing spinach, beans lettuce, tomatoes and herbs, sprouts and potatoes. The new people, forest dwellers living like the ancients, walked for 21 hours and set up camp where the rainforest meets the sea. The army were sent in to remove them so some mining could take place.

Cape Tribulation doesn’t disappoint; rain, 100% dark forest cover, crocodiles at the end of the beach, coconuts freshly opened with the axe, offshore reefs, broad beach, misty mountains, birds galore and friendly campers.

The ferry over to cape tribulation 

The beach at cape trib

Vera and I in the rain forest

on the Bloomfield track looking back to cape tribulation

 Thursday 19 October 

Sleeping , trying to sleep in a tent in the rainforest at Cape Tribulation. It’s not that relaxing. In fact, I’m running over so many images and rehearsing my escapes. It has me on edge. We’re away from the mangroves and stream but 20 metres from the rainforest beach where these snapping handbags swim. The combi next door slid the door to a crunching close and all I could hear was a roaring, biting crocodile. Then, there is the size factor: just how big can I expect to see one of these fat bellied monsters, will I hear it, what  noise will it make, after the first attack on the tent will it drag the tent and its content, into the sea? I’ve got my knife beside me to do some damage. What if there’s 2 croccies, could I make a dash for the car? Or just straight into the waiting open gullet of old ‘Snappy’. 

     Thanks! I’ve talked my way through it.

Mission (Beach) achieved 

Didn’t really wanted to go here. Some people told us that it is great others didn’t recommend it. But being able to sit on the beach like this. It is hard to beat. I like it. We ate wild coconut and mangos

For the first time on this trip I have the feeling of being in Asia. The temperature, humidity and the smell.

Unfortunately i didn’t get a picture but Glen took the eleven footer out. Not much swell no other board would have worked.

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