Burton's Perth to Cape York Daintree to Cooktown Day 40-41 9-10 May 2011

Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 18:02

Red Dirt Australia


Surprisingly it didn't take long to pack up even though we'd been sprawled out in one spot for three nights. I can't describe the extent of our relief that the roads to Cape York opened yesterday. We had discussed Plans B and C, neither of them providing a sense of fulfilment after so much planning and driving to get here! I kept walking down to the beach, checking on the iPad to see if it was a mean trick and suddenly they were closed again!

It was with some sadness that we left our Noah's Beach hideaway, it was sooo relaxing! The sun, the sea and the solitude, the perfect ingredients for calming Mike's soul. However the excitement was developing, the Cape York mecca imminent.....

The Bloomfield Track was a pearler. It had water crossings, steep winding mountain roads enveloped by dark green jungle...and did I say steep? At one point in high range auto the mighty cruiser was gasping, foot to the floor, only showing 3000 RPM and I couldn't get her to change down as she dropped to 10 kph....what was wrong? Later I tried low range, although that wasn't the answer it was needed on the extremely steep descents to save the brakes from cooking, once demonstrated by the hiss of hot metal during a water crossing. Clicking over to the electronic ECT helped as she revved higher....a colourful cassowary darted across in front of us, an oncoming tourist nearly cleaned us up, crossing over to our side on the narrow track. We couldn't believe the number of sedans on this four wheel drive only track, although they seemed to be coping ok.

The bitumen returned and led us into Cooktown and the Big 4. What a friendly reception, smiles, gifts for the kids and an escort to a great lushly grassed site surrounded by trees. The amenities are second to none with unisex shower and toilet rooms equipped with everything. One thing we haven't seen is well set up four wheel drives. The ladies in reception said that they had been here for a while but all gave up after the long delays in opening the roads and had left yesterday to return home....it looks like we will be amongst the first up to the Cape! The afternoon was spent doing laundry and enjoying the wonderful swimming pool, even some laps to capitalise on the Daintree jogging LOL.

Sleep was difficult due to the very high winds here, causing our canvas to flap like a mad woman. No magic with ropes, poles or occy straps could stop the ruckus, some gusts nearly unseating the mighty Oddy! At least it is still warm, balmy and no rain!

Today was spent at the well stocked Cooktown IGA and it's neighbour the bottle shop. Lunch at the bakery and sightseeing in the arvo. The Cooktown Museum was spectacular with the Endeavour's anchor and canon on display. The building is the restored Sisters of Mercy convent originally built in 1889. It contained fascinating remnants of the frontier gold rush days as well as the extensive Chinese influence. One section told of a mass attack by 150 aborigines on the now Battle Camp Road, which we head down tomorrow. We visited the famous Croc Shop and purchased some memorabilia including a signed copy of crocodile hunter Linda Rowe's book 'Paradise Found, A Cape York Adventure'. Jack finally picked up his long sought after crocodile tooth and Kate picked up a small kookaburra statuette that caught her fancy. We ambled down the main street ending up on the Grassy Hill lookout where James Cook and Joseph Banks climbed to survey their dire predicament.

Stocked up, clean clothes, we are now ready for the Cape....tomorrow we take the Battle Camp Road for Laura and we can't wait!
Mike & Amanda
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