Camp # 46, Days 128 to 130 – Brooklyn Wildlife Sanctuary, Mt Carbine

After a wonderful first night together the kids continued to enjoy their time together. With them occupied, Ken and I got on with the packing up the van, the flushing out of the water tanks and packing the few items we were taking to Perth and possibly onward to Scotland.

Not much of what we have to wear is really suitable or decent enough. It’s amazing how your standards relax when there is no one around to keep them up for. As we approach Cooktown and even coming here to Meg and Andrews I suddenly become conscious of how grotty our clothes had become and how scruffy the kids looked. Although those three gorgeous girls carry off the rugged, unkept look so well.

Meg and Andrew agreed to store the van for us which was brilliant. With Cairns only an hour and a half away, it was going to work out beautifully to leave the van here at Brooklyn, drive down Cairns, leaving the car in long term parking, before flying to Perth for a few days and onwards to Scotland.

The country is just so beautiful up here and I feel we have not yet finished seeing all we wish to see. So the thought of just picking up where we left off, when we get back from Europe sounds super. However Goldilocks has taken a bit of a beating up the Cape and is in need to of a little TLC back in the Zone RV factory in Coolum. Ken is keen to have her sent down while we are away, to be all spic-n-span for when we return. A case of watch this space for how this one will play out.

In the afternoon Andrew took us for a tour of the property and up to a spectacular lookout right across Mt Carbine to the Mitchell Ranges. We all piled in the dual cab ute and crossed the Mary creek as Andrew explain the management of the land. It’s totally fascinating and Andrew is a great orator, backed up with lifetimes worth of knowledge and experience.

The grasses and eucaltipus trees make for a beautiful setting along with all the hues of the Australian bush, it certainly etches an unforgettable picture and feeling upon you. And for the kids riding in the back of the Ute with Jack, screaming and laughing their heads off will be unforgettable for them.

Sadly, next day was to be our last here but before heading to Cairns the boys were going to get Andrews boat in the water and try and catch us a feed. It’s was going to be an early start for them so after sharing another delicious meal we retired early.

The girls, Jack and the dogs played all day and Lulu and Meg were new bestfriends so I was able to clear out the fridge and freezer and finalize the packing. Meg also insisted upon play fairy godmother (just one of her many hats), and mopped up what was left of the defrosting freezer and insisted on washing the sheets while we were away. So grateful and blessed to have such wonderful family.

The boys fishing trip had been a top day out, with the weather being spot on and the reef looking spectacular as always. The fish were biting, if only for Kenny but Andrew knew how to find them. Ken caught a coral trout.

And unfortunately while on the line a shark ate probably the best catch of the day. Suddenly the struggle to haul the catch in end and all that made it on the boat was a good sized head.

Even the trip up and down the Daintree River proved eventful with three croc spottings, and one sinking asylum seeker boat. Ken and Andrew had thought the abandoned, sinking, long boat to be curious and the news that night revealed the full story. What a river to land in! Not too many folk can claim to have taken a swim in the Daintree River.

Wouldn’t want to go for a swim in the Daintree

A wonderful stay and chance to reconnect with family and it was amazing to see the kids enjoy playing together too. They really did hit it off well, must be a family thing. So grateful to have had to opportunity to stop in albeit brief and already looking forward to coming back.

So we loaded up the car, bid farewell to Meg, Andrew, Jack, Dozer and Doughnut and drove off, without Goldilocks. Love that van but also excited about the prospects of a bigger bathroom, bed and all the adventure of a different kind to come.

I suppose that is a wrap for Part One of HallingAround.

Camp # 45, Days 127 to 128 – Cooktown, QLD

We started the day in Laura and before getting to Cooktown learned there was some significant examples of Aboriginal rock art only 15 minutes down the road. The Split Rock art galleries are the most famous of a collection of sites up here in Cape York and are listed by UNESCO as being among the top 10 sites in the world.

Ahh – I se why it’s called Spit Rock

It is a self guided up hill walk to the art sites but worth it. My first time viewing rock art and when viewing history I always love taking my imagination back in time to the people who gather here in this place and created these painting.

Staring out at the same view, walking this same piece of earth. Only separated by thousands of year. Charlotte shares a love of history especially when it’s bought to life.

Our stay in Cooktown is only brief this time. We had left the bikes here with Nico the fish guy. Knowing we’d have little opportunity to use them up the cape it seemed silly to carry the extra weight and get them all dusty.

We had loved Cooktown and wished we had longer to linger but time with family and a new adventure awaited. We overnighted at the same caravan park, requesting a sunny site this time to try and counter the sandflies that mauled us last time. Apparently they like the shade but really there wasn’t much time sit amoungst them anyway. With shopping and washing to be done we didn’t hang about camp much.

The next morning was an early start and we didn’t even fuss with breakfast hoping to grab the bikes early and still have time to grab a delious bite at our fav little spot, the Driftwood cafe. Yum, just as amazing as we remembered. The people, view, food and coffee all completely noteworthy.

With only a short drive down the road to Mt Carbine, Brooklyn Wildlife Sanctuary to stay with Meg and Andrew it was a relaxing start to the day. The drive was spectacular as you come through the ranges and down the other side. Views across the plain and across to the next set of ranges. We did have a near miss on this stretch though with a rather large cow 🐄 standing in the middle of the road right on a bend. Lucky for us he was on the other side but we put the call out over the radio anyway for any other vechicle traveling to cautious.

That night being a Friday we cracked out the pizza oven and shared a night of pizza, chat and the starry starry sky with great Meg, Andrew, Jack and the call of some wild cats fighting in the not to far distance. The young cousins played and watch a movie while the older cousin sat around the fire a caught up.

Beautiful country this and fastinating to learn about it and the management of the land from Andrew and Meg. Very much looking forward to exploring and learning more tomorrow.

Camp # 44, Day 126 – Laura, Cape York

Back on the road again, and another long travel day. We loved our time in the Iron Range National Park and Lockhart River but our thoughts are turning to our up coming overseas trip and we need to get off the Cape and try and piece together as many days as we can to visit with my cousins Meg, Andrew and Jack.

The drive is now mostly territory we have covered on the way up. Dusty, beautiful and bumpy. Roads conditions have remained the same but our feelings have changed. We drive along with the sense that our Cape York adventures are coming to a close. There is a tinge of sadness as we have loved, almost, every moment of it but also our heads and hearts are filled with gratitude to be able to share this together and for the glowing memories we get to take away.

The kilometer pass away with the usual rhythm of the long days in the car we have become accustomed to. We arrive at Musgrave Telegraph Station for refreshments and fuel before reaching Laura where we pull up for the night.

The entertainer we enjoyed so much at Bramwell Station talked or sang about where Cape York begins and ends, and how it’s different for everyone. Is it when you leave Cooktown? Or maybe it’s when you do your first river crossing? For some it’s leaving the surfaced roads and hitting the dirt and dust or maybe it the first telegraph station. For me it was the beginning and end of the dirt road, and there is was just after leaving Musgrave.

The smooth grey bitumen approached and ….. k-choonck, the last bump up onto the bitumen. No more rattling, no more dust, no more bumping around, smooth and quiet. And there it is, finish!

Thank you Cape York.