Cape York 2011
This took place a couple of years ago but I thought a couple might find this interesting - well finally home after 7,500km in 4 weeks to the cape and back. If you are looking for photos of winching and recoveries, hours to do a few metres in hard core 4wd this isn’t really that sort of story. It is a story of my wife and I spending a few weeks up on the cape. We travel usually on our own so need to play it safe especially so early in the season. It was just great being up there so early this year with the wet season we have had as everything was so green and alive. We tend to balance bush camping and staying closer to town. I carry a Trayon slide on camper and do take it off if we are going to do a bit of exploring based around a place for a couple of days, other times it comes along for the ride.
It started pretty shakily as when we left the Sunshine Coast all the roads north of Cooktown where still closed. When we arrived in Townsville to possibly spend a week with some mates on the Sunday night I checked the road conditions – well blow me down they have opened the PDR so said goodbye to our friends and where leaving in the morning.

They are saying there is no fuel in Coen so we are going to get another couple jerry cans to carry (I prefer the little 10lt ones as they are easier to pack, handle and fill).
Left the next morning to get as far as we can, went up though Mareeba and then Lakeland and onto Laura, stayed the night in the rest area on the banks of the Kennedy river in grass about 4 ft high with only enough cleared area to set up and cook, off early next morning and drove up the PDR to Bramwell Junction with the PDR is the same condition most of the way with the dips very deadly if you hit them at any speed as water had and still is running through most of them, some a bit more than others.

Next day to Seisha after getting across on the ferry, talking to the guy operating the ferry he has only put a couple of vehicle’s across, it is pretty easy to believe as we have only seen one vehicle today heading south. We did stop at both Fruit Bat, Elliot and Twin Falls and had a swim with it flowing hard over the falls, went and had a look at Canal Creek on the OTL.
When we arrived at Siesha Caravan Park there is only one other car camping in the park. Filled up which was diesel at $2.15 litre, before we left it went up again to $2.20.

There is no hope of doing the OTL as there is way too much water around, a local tried Palm Creek the week before and spent the rest of the day winching the car back out.

Next day off to do TI as the last times we have been up here we have never gone over, it was a great day and what a place! The ferry is only running a couple of days as it is so early in the season.
The next day we done what we had come to do and stood on the tip to get the obligatory photos and of course I had a fish and managed to get a little trevally of the tip of Australia!

Spent the next few days looking around, fishing off the jetty catching queenies, little Spaniards, trevally and a few other bits and pieces. On one of our looks around went out the old radar station at Muttee Heads
down to the mouth of the Jardine and through the swamp which still a bit soft in places, the WW2 stuff, out to Somerset and the beach run south of there
and out to a point just south of Punsand Bay called Roonga Point which overlooks a channel with Possession Island on the other side.
We had been in Seisha a couple of days and it was time to head back out a bit so went and camped on Roonga Point for the next 3 days, catching fish mostly on poppers. Mind you it was getting expensive as the sharks we also eating the lures and they were just too big to stop in shallow reef country. At low tide you could walk out on patches of the reef and check it out. Seen only a couple of boats in the days we were out there.
We then headed down to Virilya Point, there is a log bridge you have to cross and needed 4wd a couple of times getting in here.

As it is low tide down to have a look at the light ship wreck,
whilst travelling along the beach you can continue till you get up to an inlet, this is where we spent the next few days beachcombing, fishing, sightseeing and just wishing I could do this forever. Again we caught a few fish, seen some bloody big crabs and watched how unreal nature can be. This was another great spot, there was only one other group camped here.

We then moved on again, this time down to Cockatoo Creek to camp off the coast for a while.
Whilst there some guys wanted to cross but chickened out as it flowing reasonably fast and deep in a couple of spots. A couple of the local cars out of Siesha came and crossed with one getting bogged and needing a tractor to get out, he was fine in the creek but got stuck trying to do a U turn on the exit – it’s a bit of a long story to explain what he was trying to do, and no it had nothing to do with me.

There is now a toilet block there as this spot gets pretty busy. On the way south we went to have a look at Gunshot but stuck in some swampy ground on the way in on the OTL, needed a quick winch forward, a lift up with highlift jack onto some maxtracks then a bit of oomph to get out. Just took the wrong line on a bypass track through some trees.

We then cut through Batavia Downs road into Weipa to spend a couple of days.
We went out to Stones Crossing, out to the Pennefather and whilst out there a big Manta Ray was eating jelly prawns in the shallows.
Now if you have done a bit of fishing you may also know what sometimes hangs around Manta Rays, Cobia. Well blow me down underneath there is a pretty big Cobe hanging around
, the only rod close enough is a bait caster, so I tie on a popper and go to see what I can do. After a couple of goes and following the ray up the beach it comes in close again, first try no good, next cast I land the popper really close to the ray, one bloop and the cobia is on. This all seems wrong, a cobia off the beach, on a bait caster, on a popper. I am hooked up and looking like getting spooled but I manage to turn its head in a couple of feet of water. After about 30 minutes I beach the fish, get a few photos and let it go, it deserves it!
We then wanted to get into Lakefield so started heading south and spent a night at Archer River. We went into Palm Creek to have a look and watched some other guys trying it, the creek is fine with a bit of a drop off but very boggy on the other side, at least there is a big tree at the top to winch off.
Then off the next day to get closer to Lakefield as it looks like it may open on Friday, graders on the road all the time
Spent the next night at Hann River roadhouse which is not a bad spot after a look into Port Stewart. Next morning into Laura and then into Lakefield. It opened at 9 am and where are in by then and camp in at Mick Fien on the Normamby river. The park is only open as far as Kalpower as I really wanted to get further in but this will do.
Catch some barra with the best just over 70cm. Spent a few days here bushwalking, watching brolgas and jabiru and of course fishing.

We then say goodbye and head down the Battlecamp road into Cooktown.
Had a look around, some lunch and then out to the Lions Den. Whilst out here I thought we will go have a look at the Bloomfield crossing which had been closed. Well when we got there it has a rocky stone crossing in place for 4wd now, so across I go, since we have come this way I decide to keep heading along the Bloomfield track. Went up to the start of the CREB and had a look as well.

It’s getting late and end up spending the night in the Daintree. Next day back to Townsville to catch up with our friends that we had cut short at the beginning. Then the long hall south
The car went very well and the couple of things I done just before I went worked very well including a better clutch and new suspension. I am already counting when do I get to go again. It was great being up there so early with so few other people and in many places we were the first to camp at some places this year. The country was also alive being so closer to the end of the wet, but it did mean we couldn’t go to some places and it pretty much excluded doing the OTL in its entirety even though after the first 2 weeks some people where giving it a go. Just before we left the cape we heard a jeep had been drowned at Nolans so it may have been its first victim this year.

Patrick and Karen
Thanks for the great photos and narrative on your Cape trip Pat. The photos put in line with the narrative make it a great read. I appreciate your effort to put that together to share with us.
Love it!!

that is such a fantastic trip, love the photos and that cobia has me reeling, i have already started to bug the minister for war and finance with the photos to see if she is up for another go at the cape, but a proper run like you have done there.

Thank you Patrick, keep the stories and photos coming...
From Jo

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