View Full Version : Damo's Family Lap

15th December 2016, 11:27 PM
After having our rural property near Singleton NSW on the market for a month or so we accepted an offer and started considering our options for suburban Hunter Valley living. Nothing really excited us, and we quickly realised we’d have nowhere to go soon. A plan was hatched over a few beverages one weekend and before we knew it my long service leave was approved, the wife’s notice was given. We were about to live the dream. Pack up everything and follow the sun throughout this wonderful country of ours for the next 5 and a bit months. Why not……. No mortgage, no debt, reliable income, no dramas. The ordeal of packing a whole house and a 20m x 10m shed full of 9 years of accumulated bargains began to take hold, and the never ending list of jobs to do to the Patrol quickly overwhelmed and took priority over packing anything. After all, the Patrol would be our life blood of the trip, the key to a successful journey, and possibly a lifesaver in some of the remote areas I was constantly daydreaming of.

I decided to compile a list of necessities the big patrol would need. The list of works blew me away. I had pages and pages scribbled in my pocket notebook and quickly came to the realisation of the cost of me being a bit of a slack arse for last couple of years with house extensions and reno’s taking priority over mods to the big rig, as well as the reality of approaching 10 years old. I admit to being a little over the top but it’s in my nature and being an ex-mechanic, I was going to ensure I done what I could.

http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/2016-12-15%2019.52.52.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/2016-12-15%2019.52.52.jpg.html)

http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/2016-12-15%2019.53.44.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/2016-12-15%2019.53.44.jpg.html)

Over the next 4 weeks I burnt many many hours in the shed stripping and rebuilding, modifying, installing and repairing everything I could think of. More details of this is in my build page for anyone who may be interested. Meanwhile the misses packed the whole house into boxes, sorted out the kids school, and dealt with the sale of a hell of a lot of unwanted goods, including our farm animals. I then packed the entire shed and moved everything we own into storage. The relief when we drove out the driveway for the last time was unexplainable, despite it being 4pm!!! LOL It was on 14th Sept 2016.

We were on our way!!! Homeless and debt free. We dropped off the dog to a friends, the cat and wife’s car to her Aunties and headed north. We got to Heatherbrae for a quick KFC dinner and continued on, keen to get anywhere for a free camp. We showered at Taree service centre and continued on to Kew for our first night, a free camp behind a pub in a big gravel carpark. We slept like babies that night!

http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/2016-09-17%2019.04.11.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/2016-09-17%2019.04.11.jpg.html)

15th December 2016, 11:27 PM
To be continued

15th December 2016, 11:35 PM
I like your choice of beer but whats with the trailer full of it?

16th December 2016, 12:59 AM
I like your choice of beer but whats with the trailer full of it?
Lol. Homebrew collection. Safe is a secret storage location for when I return. Should age well.

16th December 2016, 01:14 AM
Our first morning on the road!

Over next few days we done the boring but essential travel through Nth NSW, a Big Banana stop at Coffs Harbour visit family near Tweed Heads on the NSW QLD border, had a very early start the next morning to beat the Brisbane traffic, a great free camp at Calliope, 100km South of Rockhampton. Then a free camp out back of a pub at Bakers Creek, just south of Mackay, another family visit in Ayr, about 100km south of Townsville.

Free camp Calliope QLD
http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/2016-09-16%2016.50.09.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/2016-09-16%2016.50.09.jpg.html)

Still yet to pay for accomodation after 4 nights. :)

We had previously decided that Townsville would be the “real” start of our holiday trip. So the next day we had the huge 1hr drive north. Done all the touristy things there and had the patrol dyno tuned and new front brake pads fitted. The next day when we left Townsville, I smelt coolant within about 15 minutes. I found coolant leaking onto passenger footwell so we high tailed it back into Townsville and booked into another caravan park where I stripped the dash to remove the leaking heater core, replaced it and the radiator with new Natrad parts and set off 2 days and $500 later northbound for Cairns.

http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/GUIV%20Patrol/20160920_170749.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/GUIV%20Patrol/20160920_170749.jpg.html)

We then managed to get a site at arguably the best caravan park in Oz for kids, The Coconut Resort in Cairns. We hadn’t realised that it was QLD school holidays but fortunately there was 2 sites available. The kids had the time of their lives there and we highly recommend the place to anyone with kids! :)

16th December 2016, 01:19 PM
Awsome, enjoy you lucky buggers. If you need somewhere to store that trailer i can look after it for you [emoji6] . . .

the godfather
17th December 2016, 02:06 AM
Well, it wouldnt be a good trip without dramas would it.
Sounds like fun...enjoy!

17th December 2016, 01:06 PM
After a few days in kid heaven, we only went just north of Cairns to Palm Cove. We had a couple of nights there across from beach, and had a run in with a french backpacker who apparently mistaken our camper trailer for his camper van late at night, full of red wine. He's lucky my misses intervened!

http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/2016-09-25%2017.11.56.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/2016-09-25%2017.11.56.jpg.html)

http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/20160926_112130.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/20160926_112130.jpg.html)

Anyway we done a day trip to Hartleys Crocodile Park. We all really enjoyed it a lot. Lots of big crocs, very educated staff, and we especially liked the boat ride around the man made lagoon full of salties! Gives you a new perspective being near eye level with these prehistoric power houses.

http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/2016-09-25%2017.12.42.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/2016-09-25%2017.12.42.jpg.html)

http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/2016-09-25%2017.09.51.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/2016-09-25%2017.09.51.jpg.html)

We stocked up on supplies and headed north, had a look at Port Douglas and very quickly departed again. Obviously setup for the wealthy, not camping families lol.

Pushed on to Mossman Gorge for a swim and to relax for a couple of hours. I was a little shocked and annoyed at the setup of the place. You pull up at a carpark, go into an elaborate visitor centre trying to sell you everything, pay around $25 for the family to hop onto a mini bus that drives you 2km up the same road, past a indigenous community, to the gorge where you get out and walk the rest of the way along a boardwalk. Anyway it's a beautiful place depite this and the 1000 people there.

Mossman Gorge
http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/FB_IMG_1481939265016.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/FB_IMG_1481939265016.jpg.html)

Mossman Gorge
http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/FB_IMG_1481939258405.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/FB_IMG_1481939258405.jpg.html)

Afterward we continued north, crossed the Daintree River on the ferry onwards to PK's Jungle Village at Cape Tribulation for a couple of nights. Great place run by backpackers. Had a couple of jugs of beer for happy hour at the bar as the kids enjoyed the pool and then some great pizza for dinner. We decided for a treat we would go snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef as its very close to the beach, about 20 min boat ride straight off the beach. It was a simply amazing experience. We all loved it and the kids surprised us at how well they snorkelled.

Ferry across Daintree River
http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/20160926_161810.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/20160926_161810.jpg.html)

Snorkelling location
http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/20160927_132254.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/20160927_132254.jpg.html)

http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/20160927_125203.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/20160927_125203.jpg.html)

http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/20160926_113754.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/20160926_113754.jpg.html)

http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/20160927_070719.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/20160927_070719.jpg.html)

http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/20160926_164907.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/20160926_164907.jpg.html)

http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/20160926_172652.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/20160926_172652.jpg.html)

Tomorrow we tackle the Bloomfield Track!

17th December 2016, 03:46 PM
Let me make a recommendation if Iím not too late.
I can remember seeing Mossman Gorge when it was just bush, but last time I was there there were signs & boardwalks. Sounds like itís got worse.

Anyway if you want to experience the REAL Daintree rainforest stop before you reach the Lions Den Hotel. When you reach the tiny collection of houses which is Rossville, look for a sign pointing down a track to your right (or ask someone) which says Home Rule. Do yourself a favour & camp at Home Rule. Lovely big open grassed area surrounded by Daintree forest. Has facilities, & is a low cost camp. Next to where you camp are several large dams (ex fish farm) where you can swim, but better still, (*much better*) is if you take the ĺ hour walk up the path through the rainforest to the falls where you can swim in a truly magic spot. And you get to experience the rainforest without all the commercial bullish*t & boardwalks. If you miss it on the way up you can go on the way back down. They have a music festival there once each year, & all of Cooktown & half of Cairns go. We lucked out to be there at the right time.


18th December 2016, 11:49 AM
Wow Cuppa that's beautiful! Unfortunately we are a long way from there now and doing a lap, but will remember that one for next time. Thanks for sharing the spot!

18th December 2016, 08:18 PM
Wow Cuppa that's beautiful! Unfortunately we are a long way from there now and doing a lap, but will remember that one for next time. Thanks for sharing the spot!

Am I missing something? Yesterday you said you were going up the Bloomfield Track today???

18th December 2016, 08:38 PM
Living the life Damo. . Awesome..
Enjoy the travels

19th December 2016, 03:36 PM
Am I missing something? Yesterday you said you were going up the Bloomfield Track today???

cuppa he was in shark bay a couple of days ago, he is late with his thread posting

19th December 2016, 04:04 PM
cuppa he was in shark bay a couple of days ago, he is late with his thread posting

Thanks Clunk, was kinda guessing it was something like that. S'pose I've missed some other posts elsewhere?

19th December 2016, 04:07 PM
Thanks Clunk, was kinda guessing it was something like that. S'pose I've missed some other posts elsewhere?

Your getting mixed up mate - thats stropp not clunk. LOL

19th December 2016, 07:21 PM
Your getting mixed up mate - thats stropp not clunk. LOL

Strewth I'm going well on this eh. Sorry Stropp, think I need an early night!

19th December 2016, 09:37 PM
Sorry Cuppa, I should have mentioned this was September. We're in Perth now lol. Trying to catch up on months of travels.

20th December 2016, 12:20 AM
Strewth I'm going well on this eh. Sorry Stropp, think I need an early night!

Time to get back to the water based paints I think.

20th December 2016, 10:36 PM
Today (28th Sept 16) we took on the Bloomfield Track. I was expecting a bit of 4x4ing but unfortunately wasn't too be. The hardest part of the Bloomfield Track is the very steep hill that they were concreting on our way through. Very nice drive through the rainforest though. Looking back I do wish we done the creb track, we were warned off it with the trailer but since learnt we would have been ok.

Start of The Bloomfield Track
http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5358.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5358.jpg.html)

One of many creek crossing of the Bloomfield Track
http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5361.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5361.jpg.html)

http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5363.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5363.jpg.html)

And another
http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5366.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5366.jpg.html)

After the Bloomfield Track we come out back onto bitumen at Wujal Wujal and had a quick look at Bloomfield Falls

http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5370.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5370.jpg.html)

Continuing on over the bitumen roads we arrived at The Lions Den Hotel for lunch and refreshments. Old mate playing the ribs was quite a spectacle.

http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/20160928_124905.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/20160928_124905.jpg.html)

http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5385.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5385.jpg.html)

http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5396.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5396.jpg.html)

Continuing north we quickly came to Black Mountain, a very strange looking mountain of black boulders that almost looks man made.

http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/20160928_125948_1.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/20160928_125948_1.jpg.html)

We then continued on to Cooktown for the night at a caravan park after checking out the lookout and museum.

http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5408.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5408.jpg.html)

http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5407.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5407.jpg.html)

http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5406.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5406.jpg.html)

21st December 2016, 07:51 PM
Being that we were in a massive rush when we originally planned and left home, we really didn't plan where we were going after Cooktown. So over a couple of beverages after the kids went to bed we plotted a rough plan for our further travels. If nothing else I could always fall back on "Sounded like a good idea at the time when I was drunk" :)

http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/20160928_220117_edit_1482305974163.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/20160928_220117_edit_1482305974163.jpg.html)

So we planned on going west from Cooktown along Battle Camp Rd through Old Laura to Kalpower for the night, then onto Cape Melville. We did consider doing the Starcke Track along coast to Melville but we were to later learn that was a bad idea. (Met some German backpackers who did the 108km in 8hrs lol)

Battle Camp Rd
http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5451.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5451.jpg.html)

Old Laura Homestead
http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5468.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5468.jpg.html)

Old relics
http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5469.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5469.jpg.html)

Modern Toyota
http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5467.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5467.jpg.html)

Kalpower Campground
http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/20160929_150042.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/20160929_150042.jpg.html)

Kalpower Crossing
http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5490.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5490.jpg.html)

http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5497.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5497.jpg.html)

We went down to the crossing at night with a spotlight and found our first croc looking at us on the other side. We let him be and went back to camp without a swim lol

23rd December 2016, 01:19 AM
The next day we decided to head out to Cape Melville. The dirt road to the turnoff to Melville was in great condition. A very easy 80km later we turned onto the Cape Melville Track at an old rusty tractor. This next 56km was very very different. Nothing too challenging, a bit tight in spots but very slow going, winding in and out of trees over a rough offroad track. About 3 hrs later, through a bushfire and past countless termite mounds, we tackled the only decent water crossing and came out onto the beach. What a beautiful spot. Definitely worth the drive. Unfortunately for us a leaking water tank fitting in the camper trailer restricted us to just 1 night at Cape Melville. I had a fish from the beach and got a threadfin, a shark and something else that I did know what it was. We had a bit of wind blow up just on dark and we could see the glow of the bushfire increase in size in the distance. At least it was heading away from us and we were hoping it would burn out by the morning.

Old Tractor at Cape Melville Turnoff
http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5507.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5507.jpg.html)

Melville Track
http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5518.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5518.jpg.html)

http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5519.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5519.jpg.html)

http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5531.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5531.jpg.html)

Water crossing (a lot bigger in real life)
http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5540.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5540.jpg.html)

Cape Melville Beach
http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5552.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5552.jpg.html)

Cape Melville
http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5554.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5554.jpg.html)

Our camp
http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5592.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5592.jpg.html)

More Black rocks
http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5557.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5557.jpg.html)

Fishing with the boy
http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5600.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5600.jpg.html)

http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/20160930_180725.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/20160930_180725.jpg.html)

23rd December 2016, 09:06 AM
You have photos worthy of an entry in our Dec/Jan photo comp ......just sayin'. ;)


23rd December 2016, 09:30 AM
You have photos worthy of an entry in our Dec/Jan photo comp ......just sayin'. ;)


Was thinking the same Cuppa, also the photo of the fishing on the beach is great.

23rd December 2016, 06:41 PM
1st October 2016
The leak from the water tank was a little worse than I thought. Overnight we lost all the water in the camper trailer tank. Lucky we had some drinking water in the Patrol but not enough for another night. So we packed up and said goodbye to a very beautiful isolated beach and took on the long slow drive back to the turnoff at Watoonga Ruins, then onwards back to Kalpower. We were a little surprised how much bushland had been burnt by the previous days fire that had all but burnt out now. We pushed on over some pretty badly corrugated roads, and our first session of rain to Musgrave Roadhouse. We added a little bit of expensive diesel, had a quick look around and pushed on to Coen.

Musgrave Roadhouse
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http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5673.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5673.jpg.html)

http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5682.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5682.jpg.html)

http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5685.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5685.jpg.html)

http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5670.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/IMG_5670.jpg.html)

At Coen we had a look at the historical house with lots of old vintage bits and pieces that was free entry. A very educational experience for the kids, and the adults honestly. Had a quick beer at the Exchange Hotel across the road, and bought some supplies from the general store. We filled up some water and went just out of town to a free camp on the river called The Bend. What a great spot! Lovely cool freshwater river to swim in, drop toilet and even picked up a little bit of firewood as the kids were really keen for a campfire.

The Bend, Coen
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The next morning we were undecided whether to stay another night or continue on our journey. After much debate we decided to pack up and head to Weipa, with lunch at Archer River Roadhouse. The Archer Burger and a can of XXXX Gold proved irasistable. Eventually we checked into the Weipa Caravan Park & Camping Ground for 4 few nights.

Archer Burger
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Bound for Weipa, was tough going straight through this intersection!
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23rd December 2016, 06:43 PM
You have photos worthy of an entry in our Dec/Jan photo comp ......just sayin'. ;)

Gee thanks guys. I think I will enter some.

Was thinking the same Cuppa, also the photo of the fishing on the beach is great.

Yep one of my favourites, we were a little croc shy, hence the distance from the waters edge lol

30th December 2016, 06:59 PM
We checked into Weipa Caravan Park & Camping Ground for a few days. It was noticeably hotter here on the West Coast of The Cape then the East Coast. We made full use of the pool, despite it being quite warm and had an early dinner so we could join about half the other park guests around the big screen TV for the Sharks and Storm NRL Grandfinal. I met some friendly & cheerful German backpackers and we had a few beers & attempted explaining NRL to them. They were stuck in Weipa for a week waiting for a fuel tank and a shock to repair one of their 2 vehicles. Little did we know we would meet up with them several more times throughout the trip.

Weipa Sunsets
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We tried a bit of fishing from the shoreline and had a few good hookups on light gear that we couldn't hang on to, resulting in snapped lines everytime. Good fun but.

Fishing spot
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Hired a boat for a day and took off in search of some quiet areas. Found a perfect location at the mouth of a small river but quickly realised we were not alone. Just as the misses went to deploy the anchor, I spotted a croc about 3.5m long within about 6 meters of us! A quick pic and we were gone, out of there quick smart lol. Tried another spot just as the wind blew up which pretty much wrecked the fishing plans, but we still had a bit of fun.

Hire boat fishing
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Spot the croc!!!!
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Carried out the first 5000km "being on the road oil and filter change" in the shed of the camp ground, thanks to the park owners. Also found the 2nd battery had died, possibly due to the vast corrugations, so another $220 later we were good.

Chatted to a few other travellers that afternoon and made some plans. One lovely old bloke stood out as a seasoned Cape York traveller and was very helpful. Little did we know we would also meet up with him several more times throughout the trip.

More to follow........

30th December 2016, 07:47 PM
Leaving the next day was a bit delayed as we learnt that Weipa was the last of what is called cheap grog, and the bottle shop didn't open until 10am. So we done some groceries, stocked up on some beer and set off at about 11am.

Before we even got out of town the alternator was doing some funky stuff to the volt gauge. Pulled over and had a look and found the alternator was nearly red hot! Charge voltage was bouncing between 9 and 15 volts. I assume the regulator melted so back to my favourite Weipa auto parts supplies for a replacement. I was surprised they had one in stock but at $500, they don't come cheap. Not much choice so here I am replacing it in the carpark of a play ground for the kids. Didn't take long and we were off again.

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We took the Batavia Downs Station track about 70km out of Weipa heading for Bramwell Station. It's a 39km track that cuts out about 125km backtracking the PDR. Had a pretty cruisy trip to Bramwell straight past Morton Telegraph Station, which we plan on visiting on the return trip.

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We spent a night at Bramwell Station and were treated to a hot meal and cold beers. After the kids went to bed we consulted the maps and were a little nervous about tackling the Old Telegraph Track solo, mainly because of the issues of Weipa. We planned to stick to the PDR for now and have a look at Fruit Bat Falls and then jump on the OTT avoiding the tougher south end creek crossings. Tough decision but we were nervous of the unknown (if only we knew lol).

Road From Bramwell Station to Bramwell Junction
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Bar/Diner at Bramwell Station
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Bramwell Station Sunset
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31st December 2016, 02:55 PM
7th October 2016

So that's pretty much what we did, quick photo at the start of the Old Tele at Bramwell Junction and went for a dip at Fruit Bat Falls.

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Near Bramwell Junction
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Fruit Bat Falls (a bit dry)
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We then took on the OTT and pulled up at the creek crossing about 1km north of the turnoff. Straight away the misses was packing it! She was not giving approval here! Lol. I coaxed her around a little and we took it on. Boy it was deep! A little water over the bonnet, but plenty of traction on the rocky bottom.

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A stop for a bit of a swim just a few km up the road at Twin Falls had us ready to continue on the journey. Caught up with a Ranger for a chat on the track along the way which helped us decide not to camp in national parks sites without bookings as he said he would fine us. Cheers lol

Elliot Falls
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Twin Falls
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31st December 2016, 03:27 PM
We pulled up at Canal Creek for 2 nights of free camping near the creek. Great spot with not many other people around, until the second night when along comes the old fella and the 4 Germans with another bloke in tag along! Of course we insisted they join us and our quiet little camp site became very cosy with an extra 4 vehicles, a trailer, a quad and a dog with 6 more people lol. We had a great night catching up and decided to all finish the OTT together the next day. They also had another family tagging along that they met that where camping back at Twin Falls that would catch up in the morning.

OTT somewhere
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So the next day we had a Landcruiser ute towing a trailer for the quad, a Navara, my Patrol towing a camper trailer, Germans Triton and Pajero both petrols, and a Hilux with a camper in tow all making our way north on the Old Tele Track. It did make progress slow but the reassurance of help at hand made up for it.

We made it through all the crossings, some requiring a little help from shovels, max tracks, and the little Hilux winched out of Mistake Creek with the heavy camper in tow.

Sam Creek
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Sam Creek Chicken Track
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Sam Creek Exit
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Mistake Creek
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Mistake Creek
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Mistake Creek
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Mistake Creek Exit - The Patrol didn't use any maxtracks lol
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Mistake Creek
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Mistake Creek Exit - Hilux just before winching the rest of the way out
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31st December 2016, 03:28 PM
Cannibal Creek - Crazy Germans!!!
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Cannibal Creek the other side
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Cannibal Creek Hilux following the Patrol
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Cypress Creek Log Bridge
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We all camped that night at Nolans Brook and had a few bevies around a camp fire after swimming near the big tree that lay over at a strange angle. Not sure what happened to it.

Nolans Brook
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Nolans Brook
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Nolans Brook Camp Panaramic
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Nolans Brook May 2012
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The following day we went seperate ways again. The other family and us decided to go around and take the ferry across while the remainder of the group took on the Jardine River Crossing. (I still regret not doing it in hindsight). We ended up in Punsand Bay for a few nights with the other family.

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31st December 2016, 05:16 PM
10th October 2016
First day in Punsand Bay was relaxing with a walk on the beach, swim in the new pool, cold beer (in a glass!) at the Corrugation Bar and just relaxing at camp with the other family nearby. We had been told about a big male croc that calls this place home. "Gary" was believed to be around 6m long! Keen to see him, but from a distance lol. Late that afternoon the remainder of the group pulled in for a night. Their tales of crossing the Jardine were annoying lol. They all made it fairly easy after walking it a few times and marking out holes with sticks stuck into the sandy bottom.

Punsand Bay
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The next day we all went exploring different directions with the idea of ending up at the tip for a group pic. We went off in search of the infamous bird watch tower in a secret location, and almost dissapointingly found it with ease. We then had a look around at the very sad Pajinka Resort Ruins before making our way to the Tip carpark to walk the rest of the way. Fortunately it was low tide so we chose the easier beach walk. We managed to run straight into the Old fella and the Germans out at the sign. We took some pics and sat there with a beer or 2 and soaked in the atmosphere and sense of achievement of making it to the top.

Bird Watch Tower
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Pajinka Resort
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We made it!
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The tip looking west
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We then went looking for a campsite that the old fella had camped at before that was not marked on maps. Seemed like a bit of a needle in a hay stack but surprisingly we managed to find it after a while of searching. Coming out off the track onto the beach I know why he was so keen to find it again. WOW! What a special place. They set up for a few days as we left to head back to our camp at Punsand.

Secret Beach
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We had already booked for 3 nights at Punsand so we decided that afterward we would head back out to the secret beach camp for a night or 2.

31st December 2016, 05:23 PM
The next day I took the opportunity of a bit of free time to adjust the wheel bearings on the camper and the Patrol. The parts for the leaking water tank arrived also which made for a quick fix.
We then went off exploring with the other family to Somerset and the 5 beaches run, after stopping at the Croc Tent for some shirts. We were told if the tides are low you can do 7 beaches and they were also quite firm in telling us that the secret beach is a locals secret spot and not to tell anyone the location. The beaches were amazing and the place full of history. On the way back we took a shortcut track and called into Lake Wicheura which is supposed to be full of crocs. We drove around a bit after winching the Hilux out again and found a couple of mudslides but didnt see a croc.

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Lake Wicheura
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Next morning I went fishing with the Hilux bloke in his tinny affectionately named "The Teaspoon" as it was about 2.7m long with a 15hp on it. We went out and around Wroonga Point trolling some big lures. I hooked onto a decent sized shark, probably around 2m or so but that was it. On the way back to the beach we spotted what we believe to be Gary eating a very large sea turtle up ahead of us. We tried to keep our distance and lost sight of him for about 5 minutes and we sat there like sitting ducks! Then we spotted him again about 150m behind us finishing his meal. We thought he may not be full yet and didn't feel comfortable with him looking for seconds, so we high tailed it back to land. I'll never forget the sight of the size of his jaws lifting the turtle up out of the ocean! HUGE!

http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/20161011_062836.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/20161011_062836.jpg.html)

Wroonga Point Fishing Sunrise
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We eventually packed up and left the other family & Punsand to join the others at their beach camp for a couple of days. We had a great time. We dug a pool for the kids in the sand at low tide, road the quad around, ate oysters till we were sick of them, taught the boy some chaisaw skills, and laughed at the Germans building a roof rack for the Triton out of scraps and rubbish washed ashore, after their original rack had fell off twice already lol. The only thing they bought was 4 big long bolts which went through the roof and the racks to bolt everything together. German engineering at its best lol.

15th January 2017, 09:21 PM
15th October 2016

We decided to head over to Seisia for a couple of nights in the caravan park with Pete & family. We had a fish off the jetty after catching a bucket load of live bait by jigging and in the cast net. I don't know what the secret is but there is no fish to be caught. Never seen anything like it, millions of bait fish but no fish to eat them!!!!! Tried again that night. Had 1 squid interested but he would not hang onto the bait. Pete managed to hook onto a huge shark with his heavy gear, which literally just stripped line off the reel like it wasn't there before biting him off.

http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t28/Damfnq/Big%20Trip%202016/20161015_172218.jpg (http://s156.photobucket.com/user/Damfnq/media/Big%20Trip%202016/20161015_172218.jpg.html)

Later that night after heading off to bed, I awoke to a noise outside the camper. Upon my rapid exit out the door in my sexiest undies, I found a feral horse helping itself to the fruit left out on the kitchen bench, and she got very defensive of her young foal and tried to kick me as I attempted to scare her off!

The following day we decided to treat ourselves and the kids to a helicopter flight over Cape York. We all had the time of our lives. Words can't describe the view! We even did a bit of a fly over the other mob on the Secret Beach for a bit of a laugh. Highly recommend this to anyone who goes up there!

Pre flight inspection
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The track to the tip
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The Tip!!!
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15th January 2017, 09:24 PM
Later we headed over towards Bamaga airport to checkout the WWII plane wrecks in the area. It's surprising how good of condition they still are in despite the years of harsh conditions.

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Thousands of fuel drums through bush
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16th January 2017, 08:15 AM
17th October 2016

We had planned to meet the remainder of the group out at Muttee Head the following day for a few days camping. It really is a beautiful place. Went out a few times in the boat fishing and put out some crab pots without any luck except 1 undersized that went back in. Got into a big school of queen fish that kept me entertained for a few hours, saw a few good size barra and jacks in the shallow crystal clear water of the Jardine, and a couple of small crocs. Really enjoyed this place.

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Had a look at the old No 52 radar installation site. Not much left of it unfortunately.

16th January 2017, 08:39 AM
All good things must come to an end!

It was time for us to head south, the Germans were running out of money and needed work, and we had other adventures awaiting us. We all said our goodbyes, they headed towards Cairns and we set sights on Captain Billys Landing with Pete's family.

Back over the very shallow Jardine with the barge barely able to drag itself over the sandy bottom, we actually walked about 1/2 way across ankle deep for a pic.

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We stopped at Fruit Bat Falls for one last swim on the way before turning off onto the track to take us to Captain Billys. This track would really test my patients. Not difficult, but slow going over the many excessive erosion mounds that seemed oversized for no apparent reason.

We arrived to a very windy beach with a lot of cloud cover for a couple of nights. At low tide we explored the caves and their inhabitants of small bats. The weather didn't let up for the 3 days we were there so I was glad when we left, so over the wind lol.

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We had decided that the next day we would tackle the south end of the Old Telegraph Track solo (south bound), after talking to others who had recently done it. Pete's family would be heading to Weipa after we found some serious cracks in the chassis of his camper trailer, among many other issues and failures he was facing on both the camper and the hilux.

16th January 2017, 09:36 AM
21st October 2016
We set off today south bound toward the Northern Gunshot Bypass track, which led us onto the Old Tele Track again, we went north to have a look at Cockatoo Creek, before turning around to do the OTT southbound. Pulled up at Gunshot for a look and took some pics. It really is insane! Obviously we took the chicken track and continued south.

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One by one we passed through the creeks without an issue at all. A couple of lifted wheels here and there but no signs of getting stuck or needing winching.

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We popped out at Bramwell Junction just in time for lunch.

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We then made our way casually to Morton Telegraph Station for a night where we made plans for the next leg of our journey, The Gulf of Carpenteria.

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Just about have the place to ourselves
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