Cape York here we come! After a few days putting the final touches on our travel plans/making sure Bluey was up for the job we hit the road north. Destination number one was as far as we could get…turns out this was just north of Cooktown. We headed back up along the Bloomfield track, gunning it for the infamous Lions Den Hotel for lunch. Never ones to be on-time, we made it there at 2:30pm so it was all-day pizza for us and back on the road headed for Cooktown.
Here we picked up a few supplies…cask wine and a carton of XXXX because we’ve got priorities, before checking out Grassy Hill Lookout. Here you can see the amazing views of the ocean and the river all in one.
We camped the night at a farm stay at the start of Battle Camp Road, first of the red dirt roads to Cape York!
After a stop at Isabella falls for our daily swim, we hit the road for Bramwell Station, the start of the Old Telegraph Track. After completing the Battle Camp Road we were onto the Peninsula Development Road…so much dirt, so many corrugations. Poor Bluey did not have a fun time and we ended up a flat tyre by the time we made it to Coen. Shout out to the abrasive old man who pointed out our tyre to us…never on our travels has anything ever happened at a good time, so praise the lord we were in a town with a tyre shop chowing down on day old pizza and listened to previously mentioned grumpy man. The best bit? My perfectly timed assistance to Chocco’s hard work by pulling the tyre off the car in my dress as a convoy of motorbike riders sped past, nailed it!
We made it to Bramwell Station at a reasonable hour, shock horror. What to do with all this time? Wash my dress and hang it out to dry, then forget it the next morning I guess. Chocco was not impressed about my choice of attire for the sick 4×4 misho or that I only remembered my dress 10km down the road. We fuelled up, only to be told we were the first people to start the track that day, poor Chocco was stuck with amateur winch operating, now shorts wearing Choong. Wish us luck!
First stop just 10 minutes in, Palm Creek (death creek) a near vertical drop into a thankfully empty but muddy creek bed followed by a steep climb out. Choong votes chicken track around the hard work, Chocco of course decided we should spend 20 minutes hacking at the vertical drop while I was had to shovel mud into the landing…you can imagine how thrilled I was! While I nearly turned my shorts brown and Chocco had stern words with me about my use of the winch and I had stern words with him about having stern words with me, WE DID IT. Not bad for a girl who thought people installed winches just to help each other out.
We then wound our way through some amazing dense bushland, saw emu’s and their chicks and wound up at Dalhunty River our first swim and lunch spot. It’s unreal to wind through dense bush and end up at this beautiful oasis. While it was hard to leave, there was a lot still to explore.
As you travel through the track the landscape changes in an instant into savannah like surroundings with white sand and dense scrub. This led us to the infamous Gunshot Creek. A literal vertical drop of death, every man and their dog was here waiting to see some idiot try it…not today, thankfully Chocco and I agreed on this one and went around. We still have a few states to see!
Next up on Choong and Chocco’s All Aussie Adventures was a “long deep crossing” according to the map. So we whipped out our home-made water bra…this is in fact something for the front of the car and not a present from Chocco to himself, for me. You learn something new every day. Bluey did it again, despite my screams about the water at my ankles, we made it!!! Our reward? Fruit Bat Falls! An amazing freshwater pool, it looks like something out of postcard and even better…we had it all to ourselves!
We decided to camp up the track from here at Canal Creek, another amazing spot right by another freshwater swimming creek.
Our mission for the morning was to cross Canal Creek plus a few others and make it to Punsand Bay (Poon Sand Bay, as we’d affectionately named it) so we were up bright and early to check out Twin and Eliot Falls before making our way north.
Our last two crossings were Boggy Creek (someone obviously got sick of naming all these crossings) and Nolan’s Brook. Boggy Creek was indeed boggy, steep and deep…so I thought this an appropriate time to announce that I’d like to have a go. Chocco the ever-patient saint talked me through the game plan “Choong you need to just DRIVE the car down this drop then reverse here and drive towards this stick and then out the other side”. All I remember is driving the car off a 100m-drop…it looks a bit smaller on the video. I swiftly jumped out of the drivers seat, content with my role as amateur navigator, mandarin peeler and DJ.
Nolan’s Brook was just up the track, another infamous crossing. They’re easy to pick, all the guys are out walking through the water dropping words like D-shackle, winch, snatch strap and pointing to a lot of stuff. I was designated chief videographer again so watched Chocco drive through…it was a great position to be in when all but one fan blade snapped AGAIN!! WHO CARES WE DID THE TELEGRAPH TRACK…LEGENDS (self-proclaimed).
Now we were back on gravel road all the way to the Bamaga Ferry to cross the Jardine River, the crossing saw us Cape York bound. We made it to Poon Sand Bay in the late afternoon, set up camp and treated ourselves to pizza and a beer at the most northern beer tap.
The next morning we were up bright and early to make the pilgrimage through beautiful rainforest and red clay roads to the Cape York Sign. While we hoped to beat the crowds, we spied some old ladies starting to walk the last 200m to the sign…so we did the mature thing and ran as fast as we could over the rocky hill to beat them, dropped our dacks and took some pictures.
Oh the people you see at The Tip. Remember the group of motorbike riders that passed us as I pulled the tyre off the car? Well I’m affectionately known as “tyre girl”, and Chocco…the luckiest dude alive (according to them).
We spent the rest of the day chilling out, visited the Croc Tent (a place full of all the tacky souvenirs you could ever want) and stared at ocean we couldn’t swim in…absolute torture! We met up with some friends made on the track, Michael and Mo the next morning for a drive along the 5 beaches before starting to make our way back south. Unsurprisingly we detoured to a fishing spot called Muttee Head on the western side of the cape, not ready to give up our Cape York holiday just yet we made a few adjustments to our plan and made it there before sunset…its the new us! Chocco headed straight for a fish while I had my fingers crossed for tuna sashimi. It wasn’t meant to be so I started a fire…right in the path of the wind, Chocco moved it for me and cooked while I tried out our new bush shower, a real team effort I’d say.
After an unsuccessful morning of fishing we made our way back towards Cairns, had to stop in at Coen to pick up our old tyre…accidentally became instant parents when we picked up a homeless puppy, spent the afternoon cleaning her of fleas and ticks and took her with us to Musgrave Station where we stayed for the night.
The next morning our new Troopy pup came with us as we made our way back to Cooktown. She slept a lot, loved hanging out the window and vomited on me in the car. We took her for her first swim back at Isabella falls and then sadly handed her over to a lovely lady in Cooktown who was going to look after her. The emotional rollercoaster of giving up our little pup meant we went straight past our turn off and ended up an hour into the middle of nowhere (the inland road…yuck) so back we went and eventually made it to Bloomfield Bush Camp on the coast for the night.
Fisherman Chocco woke sleepy Choong up very early to head to ‘The Point’ for a fish, still no fish but an amazing place to be early in the morning. We spent the rest of the day in Bloomfield trying our (Chocco’s) luck fishing and climbed up to the Wajul Wajul waterfall before heading home to Cairns.
Bluey was going in for some much needed love after his hard work, Chocco and I had a well earned day out on a yacht to Green Island before gunning it down the coast to Brisbane for Chocco to fly out and me to start work.
We had some big days of driving ahead but it was worth it for the beautiful destinations of Airlie Beach, 1770 (first nearly surf) and Noosa to visit Uncle Pete…oh and the two Bunnings hotdogs I had for lunch in Rockhampton. Here in Noosa Chocco and I had our first proper surf in nearly 5 months!!!
We’re heading back up to the Whitsundays and explore the Fraser and Sunshine Coast in a month, cannot wait!