Well we are almost at the very tippy top and today covered some terrible sections of road. Wicked corrugation and a few numptys overtaking in clouds of dust without notifying us on the UHF. It’s impossible to see behind us and we are all over the road trying to find the path of least destruction. Anyhow we arrived without incident.
On the way we stopped off at Fruitbat Falls for a beautiful swim. A well known and popular swimming hole. Surround by a series of falls so it is safe from crocs, a real oasis. It seems we had just missed the rush with a steady stream of traffic leaving but on a tight road with the van in tow it was a little ridiculous at points. After a swim and lunch we travelled onwards to the Jardine ferry crossing.
The crossing itself was fine but getting off the ferry was very steep. Relatively easy fix with the max trax and the air bags on the van lifting it high enough to clear the road. The next section of road was pretty rough. Now we had a sense of being on the final stretch to the tip and we were, but I also sensed we had crossed over to a new frontier. While we are always on the lands of our nations first people from now on we were going to be mostly in aboriginal communities.
The day was getting on and it had been a long driving day so we decided to pull up and make camp in Umagico at Alau Beach Campgrounds. This will be our base while we expose the Torres Straight Island and visit the most northerly point of the Australian mainland.
The drive into town to find the caravan park was certainly different from anywhere else we had been, and not in a good way. The streets were littered with rubbish, yards full of hard garbage, no signage anywhere which had us going in circles, loads of mangey, skinny, wild dogs roaming the streets and the odd bumby two. We certainly had the “feeling were not in Kansas anymore”.
Finally we found our way with the help of a bit of finger pointing from the locals and jagged a beach front spot! Magic alright, however I was a little on edge with the wild dogs and the girls. Our neighbour’s were the most gorgous gently folk and we were soon visited by the local kids. Curious with lots of question. They ended up coming back the next day and hanging with us most of the day which was lovely or maybe it was the fresh baked banana bread they hung around for.
The corrugated bumpy roads hand not been kind to our bananas and turned them to mush. When life gives to smashed bananas, make banana bread I say.
That afternoon we went out to find some of the WWII plane crash sites and storage sites. Living so south in our large country it’s easy to forget how close to invasion we were. A great reminder for me, an education for Ken and the girls. It was humbling to be at the site were some of our service men lost their lives trying to defend our shore. Lest we forget!
The following day we took the ferry to Thursday Island. What another great education for us all. Both Ken and I felt we never really understood the inclusion of ‘Torres Straight Islander’ box to tick that you see on all government forms you complete, but here we are in the beautiful Torres Straight and now it all makes sense. Ken and I are learning so much and I just hope some of it is sinking in to the kids. It’s a pretty awesome classroom they have, not so sure about the teachers though.
The thing that sticks in my mind most about Thursday Island is the colour of the water. Vibrant aqua. It wasn’t the nicest weather. Windy and overcast at times but we enjoyed our day all the same. It started with a bus tour of the main sights (the fort, cemetery, church). After the tour we wandered the Main Street, enjoyed a delicious lunch before visiting Gub Tutui the Cultural Centre.
Fabulous day, fastinating culture and a fastinating history of migration, intergration, pearling and WWII. Loved it!
Big moment for mummy and Lulu last night ……… she slept in her own bed (for the first time). It’s been getting very tight with Ken, myself and Llewella in our small queen bed. I’ve not been sleeping well and have been trying to sleep on the couch or floor. Not a moment too soon, she just followed her sisters and climbed into her bunk. Of course I still didn’t sleep through getting up to check on her a number of times, but oh, the space to spread out!
Our final day here and we made it to the tippy top of the Australian mainland. Timing it for the setting sun, we first visited the croc tent (an iconic souviner tent in the middle of no where) and did a bit of 4WD on the beach. Collecting about three bags of rubbish as we went. This particular bit of coast was just covered with rubbish mostly plastic, we just couldn’t drive by without taking with us what we could.
The last stretch of dirt road to the tip was through dense dark rainforest, then a 20min walk up and over rocks before reaching the ocean and the post and sign announcing you are standing at the most northerly point of the Australian mainland. It felt momentous to finally get here. An achievement to get this far from home, through such rough and remote terrain. A deeply satisfying moment for Ken and I.
Feeling satisfied with our time here we decided to start our journey south a few days ahead of our loose schedule. With the extra days we hope to be able to take in some extra sights like Eliot falls and sometime at Lockhart River.