Sunday 2nd June to Wednesday 5th June, 2013 – Cooktown
Having checked into the Seaview Motel, Cooktown for a few days, this provided a good base for our day trips in and around Cooktown. The motel is ideally positioned adjacent to the river front, with lovely uninterrupted views out across the boat harbour.
Greg with Cooktown’s Cannon, Queensland, Australia
View from Motel Window of Endeavour River, Cooktown, Queensland
We had breakfast each morning at the Cook’s Landing Kiosk, which was right on the water’s edge in Cooktown. Our on-going entertainment included watching water craft of every description cruising past and those arriving/departing from the pontoons attached to the landing. Our host and owner of the Cook’s Landing Kiosk was Bev. Such a lovely person, Bev would always spare us a few minutes on each visit for an update on what was happening in and around Cooktown. The bacon and eggs were best to date on the trip, not to mention the unlimited supply of filtered coffee on tap at no additional cost….a great start to each day in Cooktown.
The lovely Bev, Cook’s Landing Kiosk, Cooktown, Queensland – Absolutely brilliant breakfast!!
View of Sunset from our Motel window, Cooktown, Queensland, Australia
Our day trips included visits to Endeavour and Isabella Waterfalls and also a drive out to Archer Point, though while the views were great; it was extremely windy on our visit. So windy I think there is a proposal in place to start a wind farm there.
During our stay in Cooktown there was the opportunity to complete a couple of running repairs, which included a plug to a punctured tyre and a replacement rear window for the Toyota, which was the unfortunate victim from a stray stone from our camper trailer. As always, great support and communication’s from the Crikey team back in Perth to undertake the logistics of organising the repairs for us. Thanks guys!!
Isabella Falls, north or Cooktown, Queensland, Australia
Excuse the pun, though I’d also like to give ‘Tyredog’ tyre pressure and temperature sensors a plug for doing a good job for us. While there is not much that we could do to avoid picking up a nail in one of the Toyota’s Cooper tyres, the Tyredog ensured that we had amble warning of the puncture to enable us to stop and make the necessary wheel change. A $30.00 professionally fitted plug could have been a $500.00+ new tyre, not to mention a potential new rim. One of the downsides of travelling on dirt roads is that is it very hard to detect tyres losing pressure until it is too late and the damage is done….a good investment for serious off-road/4wd enthusiasts.
Thursday 6th June, 2013 –Cooktown to Talaroo Hot Springs Turn-off, Queensland
After knocking over a hearty breakfast at the Cook’s Landing Kiosk and saying our goodbye’s to Bev, we headed out of Cooktown travelling south towards Lakeland.
Cooktown had won our hearts and was a definite contender for our short list of retirement destinations. Such a lovely town full of kind hearted and genuine people. It reminded us of Broome in the 70s…..before commercialisation!
At Mount Molloy we took a left turn to head towards Cairns for a brief look at this popular tourist destination. The drive through Mossman and Port Douglas was very picturesque, though as we got closer to Cairns the traffic increased along with built-up areas. Making a split second decision, we turned off at Smithfield Heights to take the Kennedy Hwy towards Atherton.……Cairns City would have to wait for our return; maybe on a fly-in/fly-out type break and not with a 4wd and camper trailer.
Julie overlooking Cairns, Kennedy Hwy, Queensland, Australia
The Kennedy Hwy took us through Atherton and a nice drive through Herberton and onto Ravernshoe. Lots of winding roads as we made our way along and up and down the Great Dividing Range, though the country quickly changed as we progressed towards Mt Garnet. Once out of the mountainous areas we started to make good time making camp just off the Gulf Developmental Road near Talaroo Hot Springs . Unfortunately the springs have been closed for a few years so we didn’t get to head in for our therapeutic relaxation therapy.
Total distance covered today 640km.
Friday 7th June, 2013 – Talaroo Hot Springs Turn-off to 10km south of Inverleigh Station, Queensland
Breaking camp early, we continued on the Gulf Developmental Road towards Georgetown. In the middle of nowhere we came across a large chimney stack, behind this were a large pond, and aptly named Cumberland Chimney Pond. After a stroll around and a well-deserved coffee we made our way to Croydon. Croydon is typical of the small outback towns, sleepy and very laidback, but with so much history of days gone by, mainly of the Railway, developed for the gold mining that is all mined out now. This was perfect for a break to stretch our legs and for cold drinks.
Australia (Bush) Bustards, Road to Burketown, Queensland, Australia….good to see their numbers increasing
From Croydon we made our way to Normanton, stopping briefly for a drink and a chat with some of the locals. From Normanton we progressed on the Burke Developmental Road, passing mainly open plains of natural grazing land. We made our camp that night around 65km west of Normanton and just south of Inverleigh Homestead.
We have never seen so many Kangaroos in one place, and they watched inquisitively as we set up camp. It was an excellent spot, plenty of wood for the camp fire, sheltered and with many other animals and birds.
Friendly visitors to our bush camp, 10km south of Enverleigh Station…..on the road to McAllister Station, Queensland, Australia
Total distance covered today 427km.
Saturday 8th June, 2013 –10km south of Inverleigh Station, Queensland to 20km west of Wollogorang Station, Northern Territory
With the usual early start, again watched by the kangaroos, we headed off towards Burketown. After crossing the picturesque Leichardt River, with the rocks washed smooth, 76kms on we reached Burketown. In Burketown, the cockatoos are deafening with their screeching as hundreds perch themselves in the half dozen trees in the small park. We decided to have brunch at the local restaurant. Our next stop was at the local Post Office come general store to stock up on supplies.
Making our way out of Burketown after topping up with diesel we took the Great Top Road (Savannah Way) west passing Doomadgee and Hells Gate Roadhouses. Hells Gate Roadhouse opened again this year after the wet season, after being closed for a few years. The new owners have been working hard to restore the business to it’s former glory and the place is really coming along well with excellent facilities.
Julie at Hells Gate Road House, The Great Top Road, Queensland, Australia
We made our camp that night 20km west of Wollogorang Station, having crossed the border from Queensland into the Northern Territory.
Total distance covered today 403km.
Sunday 9th – Monday 10th June, 2013 –20km west of Wollogorang Station to Roper Hwy, Northern Territory
After an early start this morning our next stop was Borroloola, Northern Territory, situated on the western side of the Gulf of Carpentaria…..a popular fishing spot. There were many different species of butterflies flying around and landing very close to where we were sitting. Some were quite large and the colours were beautiful, but still blended in with their surroundings.
Nature at it’s best. Lots of butterflies at Borroloola, Northern Territory, Australia
Tomato Island (Mumbililla) turn-off, near Roper Bar, Northern Territory, Australia
Boat Ramp at Tomato Island (Mumbililla), near Roper Bar, Northern Territory, Australia
From Borroloola we made our way out of town 30km and turned-off onto the road to Roper Bar, which would take us through the Limmen National Park. We travelled this road in 2010 when the National Park was only proposed. The road condition has improved and there are plenty of creek crossings that are relatively easy to navigate.
We arrived at Tomato Island (Munbililla) and were so surprised by the changes to the campsite, since our last visit in 2010, as it has now been taken over by the National Parks and Wildlife. The improvements that have been made make it an excellent, more comfortable campsite. After a brief look around the boat ramp and facilities we headed onto Roper Bar.
Roper Bar is a favourite destination of ours and we had a picnic lunch at the Roper Bar River crossing before heading off along the Roper Hwy bound for Katherine. We made camp that night just off the Roper Hwy on the Kewulyi to Minerri Road at a spot we used back in 2010. We sat back around the campfire and took in a beautiful sunset discussing the day ahead, planning our time in Katherine.
Bushcamp Sunset, East of Roper Bar, Northern Territory
Greg checking the water levels at Roper Bar Crossing, Northern Territory, Australia…..all good!
Total distance covered over the two days 670km.
Tuesday 11th June, 2013 – Roper Hwy to Katherine, Northern Territory
Travelling the remaining 110km to the end of the Roper Hwy, we turned north near Mataranka to complete the short distance to Katherine. We were booked into the IBIS Styles (was Four Seasons) Hotel for four days for a little rest and relaxation and to take in a few of the local attractions. We had stayed at this hotel on a number of occasions on past trips and were very much looking forward to our stay.
Total distance covered today 257km.
Thanks for reading our blog and please visit our ‘Photographs’ page for other pics taken along our travels. Comments and questions are always welcome.
All the best,
Greg and Julie
Adventure before Dementia