Sunday, 17 May 2015

To The Tip!

The Road To Cape York, Queensland

Hitting the homeland again, I thought it was time to share with you one of the biggest staples in Australian travel. Heading north of Cairns you’ll discover the road to Cape York; more 4WD friendly and regular car hateful (met a family who learnt this the hard way) but at the same time completely worthwhile. One of several in my family, I made my way to the northern tip of the continent in 2011 at the tail end of my Aussie odyssey and have been grateful for making the decision ever since. The drive (from Cairns and via the Daintree and Cooktown) is 1000km and can be done in a day or you could simply fly, but this is a journey one must take time with.

The Road To Cape York, Queensland (taken 2011)
Jumping on a camping tour, I found myself amongst other Mexicans (the far northern term for Victorians) who I instantly connected with. Leading us on our path was a former hairdresser who knew Baz Luhrmann before he was famous and a grandmother with the biggest bag of offensive jokes I’ve ever heard (at least one of them will be featured). Laughs were had, a cult-like following devoted to a wok was formed and a can of spam meat was awarded for anything stupid (won that twice). This was a great group experience but alas the company isn’t in business anymore.

The Road To Cape York, Queensland (taken 2011)
North of Cooktown is where everything turned rugged; we moved at our own pace which in truth allowed us to appreciate everything so much more. Passing old homesteads, raw outback and the odd bull, there was much to be had on our way to Cape York. A couple of highlights, both natural and of our own making are to follow but told in incorrect order.

Termite mounds are a plentiful in the north, standing in their many forms, and this trip never fell short. Yes, we could’ve had our picture taken with any of them but if you wait long enough and stop at the right time, you will see the biggest. 

The Road To Cape York, Queensland (taken 2011)
Whilst the exact height is sketchy to me, I learnt that it will continue to grow and that others may even surpass it one day. There was a much smaller one nearby which we took turns getting messed-up shots with; I’d post my own picture but most people enjoy having the sense of sight.
After that fix of nature we came across both Fruit Bat and Twin Falls (in that order I believe) which was nothing short of refreshing. Whilst it can be painful to pass under a waterfall, sitting behind the falling sheet of water was definitely something to make the people back home envious about. Not being hard to find, both falls were drawing in the many and the latter (Twin) was where we made our camp for one night… and started a wok cult.
 Fruit Bat Falls, Queensland (taken 2011)
 Twin Falls, Queensland (taken 2011)
This proved beneficial since the following morning we had the place to ourselves. I highly recommend taking a dip in the river water since the far northern beaches come with there plentiful share of apex predators; FYI, crocs can be seen lying on the sand in the morning and shark fins were breaking the sea surface at dusk. Twas grand sights to be had.
With that said, it’s time to share ‘the events of our own creation’. When driving on such remote roads be sure to check that everything at your disposal is in good working condition before the ignition goes on. Cometh day… three, our camper trailer took a turn for the worse and decided to slow us down for a bit.                                                                           
The Road To Cape York, Queensland (taken 2011) 
The Jardine River, Queensland (taken 2011) 
Yes, the spam was awarded to our driver but luckily we were able to do a patch job and weld everything back together at the next road house. With the greater leg completed… and after a quick ferry crossing of the Jardine River (the north enjoys its siesta time so times will vary), we set up camp in the town of Seisia which was more than welcoming to us and everyone else (a few old timey vehicles even made it north to much amazement).

With only a few days to work with, the jetty was a popular spot to caste out a line for something with scales; the whole town was out in the afternoon once siesta was over. There’s also a small market where I saw some nice woodcraft for sale. A day trip to Thursday Island is on offer (funds prevented me from going and I didn’t want the others on the tour paying for me; nice of them to offer but there’s a big difference between a drink and a boat ride). Something else to look out for is the plane wreck at Bamaga, which we stopped at before I was dropped off at the airport. Overall, Seisia is no regret, but I still haven’t forgiven that helicopter pilot who chased me along the beach.

Seisia, Queensland (taken 2011)
That all ranted about, it’s now time to talk about the all too appreciated tip of the Australian continent. Comfortable shoes will be a saviour as you cross from the beach (crabs are plentiful) to the rocky slope which leads onto the desired destination (if you’ve brought a rock from far away, be sure to leave it on a pile and make a wish). Nothing’s really hard about the walk but be careful in case it’s slippery. Once that’s out of the way, take your place in front of the sign and get that all important shot. It’s one of those hard-to-top moments so breathe everything in.

Cape York, Queensland (taken 2011)
Now for the joke…
Long wedded couple Paddy and Portia had just welcomed their thirteenth child in twelve years when Portia decided it would be her last. Paddy doesn’t attempt to argue with her, not even when she tells him to have the snip performed. Still the dutiful husband, Paddy makes an appointment. His doctor on the other hand doesn’t believe Paddy can afford the operation and suggests a cheaper and faster alternative.                    

‘Light a cracker, drop it in a beer can and count to 10.’  

Paddy tells Portia who agrees with its simplicity. As instructed, Paddy lights a cracker and drops it in his beer can. On his left hand he counts to 5, but needing to reach 10 he places the can between his legs so as to continue.

Happy travels! 
The Road To Cape York, Queensland (taken 2011)