15th July, Monday, Tolga to Lakeland Downs 229 kms
The morning was spent shopping in Mareeba doing some washing at the local Laundromat, the $2.00 shop, the supermarket, Bill looking for something in a Hardware store, fuel etc. Pie and Cinnamon Scroll for lunch and we were on our way. Sugar Cane farms and Banana Plantations were the greater part of our scenery on this leg of our journey on sealed road. A stop at a Peanut shop also on the agenda, peanuts not cheap but they do have a nice flavour and larger than we are used to buying. We decided on CP so that Bill could "Sus" out more info on Peninsula Developmental Road. The CP was full with Caravans in storage about 30 of them and Backpackers. Owner found us a spot no power for $20.00. Bill went to the Hotel and talked to a couple of locals who suggested we would have no trouble.
16th July, Tuesday, Lakeland to Coen 360kms
Most of journey towards Cape York had had been on sealed road. Today we left Lakeland and headed onto the Peninsula Developmental Road towards Laura this section being sealed. From Laura to Coen the road deteriorated to 3-4km sections sealed to graded to corrugations. A lot of work is being done on this road it would appear that somewhere in the future not too distant it will be sealed. The terrain is also changing but not as we had expected, banana plantations, peanut farms and it was greener but still flat with some hilly areas not like hills we have in Vic or NSW. We visited the Split Rock Indigenous Art Gallery, a 1km return walk and we saw 3 lots of rock art, most interesting. Our Wiki Camps App directed us to a nice camp area that many others had beaten us to on the Coen River for our overnight stay. (see picture)
17th July, Wednesday, Coen Rest Area to Jardine River Ferry Caravan Park 320kms approx
We left our camp site on the river fairly early as most people were up at daybreak and not the quietest of people. Fuelled up in Coen and headed for Bramwell Junction, this being the spot we planned to leave the van and tent it for the remainder of trip to Cape York. We arrived at Bramwell Junction around 1.00 deciding to continue on advice had been you are this far and you will make it with your rig. The country side was sure changeable as was the road. 1st of all the terrain varied from Grassland type Savannah to more dense but low growing trees and shrubbery to rainforest type growth. For me the humidity is awful in a bath of perspiration most of the time unless I am outside, so a few showers of rain on the way did not help the situation not the look of the car. Now the road it is recommended 4WD road but many 2WD use it. Unsealded road conditions varied from smooth as sealed (bitumen up 35% of the 750kms), slightly corrugated, medium corrugated, badly corrugated and horrendous corrugated. Just when we thought this has been better than expected, 15kms from River Ferry doubly horrendous corrugations of unexplainable dimensions, shaking the insides out of us as well as car and van. It was after 4.30 to decided to camp at the river crossing and cross early next morning. For $12.00 we had the camp area to ourselves and used their power for the amenities block as suggested. Over at the amenities block the hot water was excellent but the shower facilities were Crocs or Thongs recommended. Well Bill had some wiring problems from the rocks so he fixed that with the aid of Cable ties and tape, then he tackled the caravan, the Microwave again had almost fallen out of its spot and the hotplates had slipped downwards and another shelf on the fridge door had come to grief. The fridge door inside now looks very attractive with its Grey tape everywhere, the microwave has no surround around it, the pieces are taped up and stored, a job for when we get home and it is wedge in place with a stick the hot plates have a very neat limb from a tree wedged and screwed under it to hold it in place. Fuel at Bramwell Junction is $2.20
18th July, Thursday, Jardine River Ferry Caravan Park to Loyalty Beach CP. Seisia Nth Q'ld-60kms
We were up bright and early and down at the ferry by 8.00am for the river crossing. We purchased our ticket the night before as suggested by some travellers. The ferryman arrived around 8.15 and we were first to cross as we had our ticket. Ten minutes later we were on our way to Bamaga. The road in was a little corrugated in parts, 30mins later we arrived and because of recommendations decided on Loyalty Beach to stay. We set up camp, as directed, we chose our spot and then went to the office and paid, we also booked to go to Thursday Island on Saturday. This system is a nice idea but there are many selfish amongst us Aussies and tend to block views and camp in the middle of any area where 2 or 3 campers may be able to camp. We ended up on a powered sight. After we had set up camp Bill had another go a fixing hot plates as they had slipped again. Lunch, then we went for a drive for a few hours. This afternoon we also had a visit from the semi wild horses that live around here. The horses are owned by the natives who let them roam and ride them when they feel like. I believe they are fairly tame but it is suggested you not feed them. We watched a horse eat something a nearby camper had left out. There is no info centre so it is pot luck if you find anything to see, there used to be and info centre with historical info and a rainforest walk the whole thing is closed down. This area was well utilised in WW2 therefore we did find the remnants of a Beaufort Bomber, a crashed DC3 and thousands of fuel containers. Back in camp for a relaxing evening, tomorrow we head out for the actual tip of Cape York. Fuel at Bamaga $2.25. I think it is unfair for people who live and work up here have to put up with such awful road conditions. We did hear on the radio that there is talk of a Bridge over the Jardine River. The water crossing of the Jardine for 4WD nuts is completely closed off the only crossing is by the old antiquated ferry. One thing we have found in Queensland is signage for tourist is poor. It would appear you are expected to know where you are and what there is to see wherever you may be especially in the North. Oh and fuel at the ferry was $3.20 per litre for diesel.