Camp # 37, Days 109 to 112 – Archer River Station & Weipa, Cape York

Sweatwater Lake to Archer River Station to Weipa .04

We awoke to a lovely cool morning. Ken was up early trying to catch more crocs with Dronie II. It was feeling like a good day but then Ken pops his head and and says he’s lost the drone, he’s going to drive down the lake a bit and hopefully get a better connection …….. No luck. Dronie II ditched in a croc infested lake, along with nearly all the footage on the SD card.

Unfortunately the morning didn’t get much better. Firstly, Ken has ripped his two favourite pairs of shorts and this morning did his 3rd and final pair, secondly, as we leave Ken discovers he has smashed the lens in his spare pair of sunnies after loosing the other pair 2 days ago. Thirdly, as we are driving back out through the tricky bit of narrow, windy, river bed, he totally forgets the last obstical and guns it up the sandy bank not taking it wide enough to clear the protruding tree roots. I scream STOP but its too late to avoid impact with the wheel and with a loud crack Goldilocks comes to a stop.

It looked grim and we where both thinking the worst but with a bit of cleaver improvisation we were able to gradually remove small amounts of wood revealing we had been very lucky. Most of the impact missing the tyre and with the root firmly wedged on the rim of the tyre we hadn’t punctured the tyre itself, phew! Not having a chainsaw which we have been thinking of buying, (will now), and the axe being too risky, possibly causing more damage, we used the flat head screwdriver and hammer to chisel away bits till we could drive free.

Carefully monitoring the tyres the rest of the drive we seemed to have had a lucky escape.

Coming out of the National Park after 4 days it was a really treat to arrive at Mulgrave Station for some refreshments. It was only a brief stop before pushing on through Coen to Archer River Station for the night. The Archer River burger is famous in these parts and it didn’t disappoint. However by far the greatest delight of arriving here for the night was water to wash bodies and clothes in. A lovely, and at this time of year bustling place to pull up for the night.

The drive the next day was more of the same dusty, corrugated roads that are taking a toll on our gear.  Cape York is certainly an adventure and we are loving it but so far not a day goes by without something surrending to the relentless vibration of these unforgiving roads.

Today’s causalities, the UHF aerial mounting come loose on the front bumper. The aluminum bracket fractured and the aerial fell right on the bonnet of the car bumping away until we could stop safely. After attempting but failing multiple times to fix things Ken just cut it loose hoping we can get it replaced or reattached in Weipa.

Arriving in Weipa was a little exciting. We knew we we’re coming into some sort of civilization because there was a set of traffic lights on the way into to town – admittedly to let the Rio haul trucks pass.


Who would also have thought a Woolworths would be so exciting.   Other highlights were a swimming pool in the caravan park and Barramunchies the onsite fish n’ chip cafe. A lovely setting right on the beach, we were relieved to be pulling up for 3 nights.

However it wasn’t plain sailing and we didn’t even get a chance to explore Weipa. We really needed to use the time to do some maintenance and repairs. The corrugation have been pretty full on at times and we feel the van and car need a good going over. Tightening up everything and checking what may have shaken loose and maybe fallen off. Unfortunately we also continue to have dust issues inside the van. So disappointing as this was a big selling point for us and me. So we spent an entire day, screwing of panels and pulling out draws to investigate access points and clean out old dust. It’s been a great chance for us to learn a lot about the van but I’m very unhappy that we don’t have the product we paid for.

The hits just kept on rolling with the pool getting shut down on our 2nd day and then the night before departure we had water issues with very low pressures. Again learning lots about the van, which is great, we were able to establish the problem was the water filter but in the process of removing it snapped an essential connector and now had another more serious problem.

Charlotte squeezing into tight spaces to help detect where the dust is coming from.

Fortunately we did have internet access so Ken has been able to arrange replacement and spares to be sent up to Bamaga (near the tip of Cape York) and hopefully we’ll be back on track. In the meantime we removed the water filter from the kitchen and attached it to the main supply for the van and just wont have filtered drinking water anymore. Not ideal but at least we can get water back through the rest of the van and keep traveling.

What we did learn about Weipa, it’s a mining town with Rio Tinto having Australia’s largest bauxite mine here. Sunsets are amaizing! The beach is full of some unseen biting creature (probably sand flies again, ugh!), and the bakery makes a great apple turnover.

Our time in Weipa has been a mixed bag and we are looking forward to testing out the new UHF, hopefully Goldilocks being a dust free Zone, and a new drone. Yep that’s right Ken put it out on FB and would you believe someone in Weipa was looking to sell their old one. Beggers can’t be choose and it better than no drone. So welcome to the family Dronie III.

One Reply to “Camp # 37, Days 109 to 112 – Archer River Station & Weipa, Cape York”

  1. Wow wonderful piece Leonie, really felt your amazing, to look back on, experiences, great for the Charlotte and GG to experience, things you don’t learn in a classroom. Great pics too.

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