Cape York via Simpson Desert 29 June 2015 – Day 28

Wednesday, Jul 01, 2015 at 20:15

Peter Beard (WA)

We were joined for breakfast this morning by chooks, peahens, a peacock, the adolescent house emu that thinks it's a chook, and a wallaby. Another day in paradise.



An earlier start this morning but only just, heading north out of the homestead around 9:30 for the trek to the Gulf of Carpentaria and the "Secret Fishing Camp" on the mouth of Wuraliwuntya Creek. For the trip out we took Rosie's Track, the turn off just after the first gate and before the Rosie Creek crossing. Rosie's Track follows the Rosie Creek for about 30km, dipping down through many creek crossings that feed in to Rosie Creek. Most are bone dry, the wet didn't happen this year - only 350mm rain instead of the usual two metres. Lots of side tracks beckon - Nudie Springs, Cascades, Flying Fox Swamp - they will have to wait for our next visit.



When the track finally crosses Rosie Creek it is very deep - thankfully bone dry today. On the northern side of Rosie Creek is the Chicken Run. Running parallel to Rosie’s Track only on the other side of the creek, it is used when it’s too wet to cross the Rosie at this end. Our return trip will take us along this route.

But first, it’s out to the Gulf. Turning north and a bit east, the track weaves through trees, rocks and some bull dust, and comes to an intersection. If you turn right at this point, you can go north east to Rosie’s Fishing Camp, which is also on the Gulf a few kilometres east of where we’re going. Bear left and the track strikes true north until it hits Wuraliwuntya Creek; a very wide, slow moving body of water. Not too sure why it is a creek and not a river, it sure looks wide enough for a grander nomenclature. The track then follows the creek all the way to the Gulf and the Secret Fishing Camp. This place is beautiful but don’t tell anyone, it’s a secret.



It was close to high tide when we hit the beach - mangroves, a huge dead tree skeleton washed up as flotsam, and not a soul in sight. Glad it was high tide, it is a two kilometre hike to the water’s edge at low tide.



Another 500 metres to the north-west is the river mouth itself - well, strictly speaking it's a creek mouth but it deserves better. A few people camping, a few tinnies just landed and unloading gear and the morning’s catch. We arrived just in time for the filleting, a huge haul of queenfish and a large cobia. The anglers tell tales of a catch rate of more than 120 fish this morning, the vast majority released. They said every time the lure hits the water, a fish jumps on. Also stories of a huge shark circling, as well as crocodiles lurking in the mangroves. Absolute wilderness.



Two of the fishermen named Joe and Jess asked us to take a bag of fish back to Lorella Homestead for Rhett the owner. We gladly agreed and got a couple of huge queenie fillets, which are now in our Engel freezer for a fish curry when we get to Broome. Thanks guys.

Being just a day trip we had to turn back for the 80km run back to the station, firstly 50km directly south, then a right hand turn for the final 30km down the Chicken Run. Not many creek crossings on this track, most of it is bull dust, great swathes of talcum powder-like dust that been worked into deep wheel ruts with mounds of dust built up in between. Pete's strategy to tackle this is to get into a pair of parallel ruts as soon as possible and just let the car follow it. You end up getting tram-lined into the ruts anyway, sometimes in a bouncing, undignified manner. Or you end up with the front wheels in one set of ruts and the rear wheels in another set of ruts, very alarming as the car lurches sideways trying to find a straight line.

A detour down to the Cascades is interesting but not worth a swim in this dry year, the water a bit too green for our liking. Instead, the climb up Monarch Rock is well worth it; a 360 degree view over this incredible, ancient, wild landscape the reward.



A final dip in the hot springs at the homestead and a lovely dinner at the bar ends our visit here. We'll be back, with more than a million square kilometres to explore and new areas being opened up by the owners all the time there’s so much more to see.

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