Not being the adventurous 4wders, we used our 4wd kluger, tent and supplies we were packed to the rafters, managing to squeeze in the 3 kids! We left our caravan at Lakeland caravan park with the very friendly & advice giving Danni & Ian and drove the PDR, which was in great condition to Archer River Roadhouse. We set up camp here in the grassy sites for one night and had the famous archer burger which filled our tummies nicely.
We headed off the next morning and took the turn off to the telegraph road. Stopped in at Moreton Telegraph Station where the friendly caretaker told us about the station and the area, here was also beautiful grassy camping sites which we kept in mind for our trip back. Petrol at Bramwell Station Roadhouse, then onto the southern section of the bypass road.
The PDR up to where it continues to Weipa and we turned off to head north was very good. Mild corrugations generally, good visibility of pot holes, dips and water crossings both bitumen and rocky. Had to go through a few bits slowly but generally very good.
Once on the telegraph road and the bypass roads it was still ok, but more difficult as corrugations bigger and appeared more suddenly. Pot holes more difficult to see and more poor sections that had to be negotiated slowly. Not helped by narrower road and hence more shadows. Still ok but not as easy as first day. Just as a note, the road into Bamaga toward the airport, rather than through Injinoo, was as good a road as any on the whole trip.
Made it to the Jardine River ferry crossing at the right time and paid our fare to the friendly operators (on the way back they even gave the kids a chance to 'pretend' to drive it!) took the road to Injinoo (which we were told by locals it was only opened the previous week due to repairs) then on the bitumen to Bamaga. From here we headed up to Punsand Bay where we camped for 2 nights. The owners Sally & ?Mick were very welcoming and friendly and the camp site was just magnificent, with an ocean view. The wood fired pizzas just delicious.
The next day, after checking the tide conditions we made our way to the tip (not via the short way from Punsand, as we were told cars were recently winched out) but back to the Croc Tent and up the main track. As it was low tide we walked out to the tip and were surprised how many islands out there.
It was unbelievable that we had made it and that we were actually at the very tippy top of Australia. We took some pics, let the tour group have a turn, have a snack and take some more pics. We watched the water rush past, saw a dolphin & a turtle, magnificent. As we turned and made our way back to the car, back over the ridge we looked at the wonderful views to the west & the Coral Sea to the east, this was officially our turning point to start heading home.
After here we headed out to Somerset and had lunch at the camp ground looking out over to Albany Island, that sea water looked sooooo inviting! We decided against going to the old homestead & monuments instead going to Bamaga to pick up supplies at the supermarket, check out the jetty at Seisia and visit the DC3 wreck. An afternoon by the pool and watch the sunset with our wood fire pizzas ended an amazing day.
The next day we packed up our tent and headed south. Went to the magnificent Fruit Bat Falls and spent a few hours frolicking in the water, often with periods having it all to ourselves, as visitors came & went quickly. We had a discussion with many people re Eliot Falls and the possibility of camping there, whether we would make it through in our car or not.......finally decided not to push our kluger too far as we had a long way to go to get home, but wanted to check out for ourselves what the river crossing looked like........we didn't even do that as the small part of the OTT was too narrow for us and we felt it was out of our league, we were very content and happy with what Fruit Bat Falls gave us.
Stopped in at Bramwell Station to camp, again another fantastic place to rest up for the night, unfortunately we missed out on the live music which was due to start the following night. But the little talk about the history of the station given by Kevin was interesting & entertaining. We were even fortunate enough to see some palm cockatoos which my bird crazy boys found flying near our camp spot.
From here we had a big day where we picked up our caravan at Lakeland and pushed onto Cooktown, knowing that the roads were only going to get better as the bitumen was nearing.
Although it may seem we did not spend too long in the area we did ok given our experience, equipment and supplies that got us through.
Hopefully next time we can experience other parts.
For now we visit Cooktown, Port Douglas, then head south down the coast to be home in Melb by mid July.
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