August - September 2016
Interesting news about the Jardine.
We were at Punsand Bay campsite and an old bushy reached the bar in time for last drinks and said he was the last of 3 to cross the river and got stuck half-way (was towing a boat). No problems, climbed out through the window and they connected tow ropes and pulled out. The truck had started to drift but didn't seem concerned about that or crocs (or anything - guess they're the ones that end up in trouble).
We were the last 4WD on the ferry before the one that rolled into the river (think it's been posted on utube), wiping out a quad bike owned by one of the ferry guys (ended upside down floating down the river). The guy forgot to put on the handbrake (or it failed) when he got out, leaving his wife inside - she jumped out halfway down the hill. Haven't got our video footage yet.
While we were waiting for the last of our group to cross (he'd tied his 4WD to a couple of others to prevent the 'wet' one from sinking), we were talking to one of the road crew. Not sure if his guys should be building the roads in NSW or our guys should go up there to learn how to do it, but the new sections of roads are great (probably too good - the future will see European sedans flying up there and goodness knows what development).
The trip was great and thanks for all your advice; the books are fantastic resources and congratulation on such amazing work. I can see how you can become entranced with the region and would need many lifetimes to see and experience it all.
We went up The Bloomfield to Cooktown. I'd been to
Cookstown in 1969 just before the Queens visit (they'd already spent a fortune). We'd gone on a guided tour as Dad wouldn't take his car on the road, visiting The Lions Den hotel on the way. Things have certainly changed.
We went to the Coloured Sands and Lakefield to Musgrave and then on to Weipa then north.
The OTT was great fun; especially deciding whether to 'do' Camp Creek (plenty of sightseers), but took the plunge and off we went (not sure what happens if you came down there from the north). So many amazing sights and experiences.
Apart from the usual 4WD experiences (especially if not so experienced) was the crossing to the Eliot Falls campground. Maybe it had been dammed to get some water for the road crews - it was muddy so couldn't see the bottom; one of our guys waded across to get the depth and direction (advice on no crocs was helpful!), and no problems but could see how if there was more water and you couldn't see the bottom how dangerous it would be. Took the turn-off before Mistake Creek (though went the long way around - nice track except for all the scratched paint).
Went to the Cape of course - the shortcut from the Punsand campground was interesting (scenery, vegetation and road surfaces).
Just as the cameras were put away at the top a dolphin swam past close to the sign. Also saw a turtle swimming out past Somerset - Albany Islands - another great side trip. Finished off at TI then back down the by-passes.
Thanks again for your Travel Guide; it will provide a perfect reference for many memories of a wonderful trip to a fantastic part of the world.
I'll follow your updates with great interest,
All the very best, Garry