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We arrived in Weipa early afternoon on the 18th July. After setting up our camp we had a late lunch. We stayed in Weipa for 3 nights to chill out a little. Weipa is an interesting mining town with apparently the worlds richest and largest bauxite deposits. Among other things we took an evening sunset cruise around the Embley River estuary and found out a lot about the mining operations in Weipa plus some first hand knowledge of the lives of crocodiles topped off with bubbly and nibbles. On our way back to camp we were confronted by a bush fire. The fire turned out to be an official burn off but as it was at night it made for some spectacular photos.
On another night we went to “Barramunchies” cafe situated in our camp ground and watched the sun go down over the estuary while taking part in some fabulous sea food.
On the morning of the 21st July we packed up and went to start the car and “bugger”. A flat battery. Admittedly I was half expecting it and should have replaced it before leaving home. At least I was in a large centre and able to procure a new battery on a Saturday morning. So after installing the new battery we headed out of town on the same road that that brought us to Weipa until the turn off to Batavia Downs and the Telegraph Road. After receiving excellent reports of Bramwell Station camp ground that’s where we headed. Only about 170km but over a very badly corrugated road.
Bramwell Station turned out to be fabulous. We were fortunate to be able to book in for dinner which included entertainment. And boy, was the entertainment any good. A bloke who calls himself “The Bagman”. He was sensational and got the crowd of 100 diners totally enthralled. His rendition of the poem “The Man From Snowy River” was eye watering.
We were very concerned that we had too much alcohol to head up to the cape. There are strict limits of 30 Cans of beer and 2 litres of wine once we cross the Jardine River. We had heard some terrible report of people being fined $1,200 and all their booze being tipped out. On the other hand we spoke to many people returning from the tip who said that they had no problems and were carrying way over the limit. The checks are apparently totally random and quite seldom but we were not prepared to take the risk, and besides there were alcohol outlets in Bamaga in any case but boy it is very expensive. Everything, and I mean everything, gets to the Cape by sea. To our delight Bramwell Station offered us a box to put our excess booze in for safe keeping until our return from the cape.
So the following morning we set off for the 2-3 hour trip to Seisia. We already checked the availability of camp sites and were assured that there would not be a problem. The particular reason that we wanted to stay at Seisia was the close proximity to the wharf for our planned trip to Thursday Island. The ferry leaves at 8:00am. There are a number of places that you can stay around the tip and each of them are either Torres Strait Islander or Aboriginal ownership.
Seisia was great and we were very happy there and kept extending our stay. We ended up staying 6 days and enjoyed every minute of our time there. There is a heck of a lot to see and do. Would we return one day? Yep, most probably.
Some of the highlights were (in no particular order):
- The Tip
- 5 Beaches 4WD track
- Cable Beach
- Two Island day trip to Thursday Island and Horn Island
- Mutte Head
- The fabulous drive through very dense rain forest to the tip and Somerset.
Thursday Island was very surprising in that it only has a total circumference of 4 km and is nestled among a number of much larger islands.
On the 29th of July after 6 fantastic days at the cape we reluctantly broke camp and headed south. After crossing the Jardine river once more we made a beeline for the Old Telegraph Track near Fruit Bat Falls. We unhitched our campers at the intersection of The Old Telegraph Track and the Telegraph Rd then set off for a well deserved swim at Fruit Bat Falls, Elliot Falls and Twin Falls.
After a very leisurely swim and cool off it was then getting late in the day and we needed to find somewhere to camp. With some advice from a fellow traveller we headed for Sailor Creek Crossing on the Old Telegraph Track. We found an excellent place to bush camp and the next morning headed for Bramwell Station to pick up our booze that they kindly stored for us and hopefully buy some lunch. We were to find out however that the station does not provide lunch but the Bramwell Road house (also owned by the station) does but it was a few km back up the track. So after chatting to the manager for a while we set off in search of a spot for lunch finally finding a great spot on the Wenlock River next to the historic Moreton Telegraph Station and camp ground. After lunch we headed for Archer River Roadhouse to celebrate Harold’s 76th birthday. On the evening menu was the un-passable Archer Burger. We also received special permission (including some corkage) to BYO our own bottle of 2013 Yalumba Octavius Old Vine Shiraz that I had picked up in Port Douglas in readiness for the big occasion. The Archer Roadhouse contributed to the evening with a small birthday cake (a large piece of chocolate slice to be precise) with a single candle to which we all sang happy birthday to Harold. It was a fabulous night all made very enjoyable thanks to the owners and staff at the Archer River Roadhouse.
The following morning, as is usually the case, we were the last to break camp and move on. After refuelling at Cohen where we also had lunch we had soon arrived at Musgrave where Harold topped up with fuel and made a number of phone calls from the public phone, organising some parts for a minor problem he had with his camper. Once the phone calls were out of the way we had the choice of either camping at Musgrave or heading on to Artemis Station which had unknown quality of camping facilities.
Thankfully we decided to push on to Artemis. The owners Tom and Sue have taken on the task of trying to help with increasing the numbers of Golden Shouldered Parrots that are currently on the endangered list. They have set up a bird feeder designed to try and keep the larger birds out while giving the Golden Shouldered Parrots access to food which is apparently in short supply for them in grazing land. Their range is confined to this area of the Cape. Tom and Sue were very casual in their hospitality which made you feel very welcome. The following morning, once again we were the last to break camp. We were headed for Karumba. Feeling like some morning tea we found a swamp area with a plethora of Rainbow Bee Eaters and water lillies plus the odd Great Egret.
After morning tea it was not long before we were looking for a spot for lunch and found a fabulous spot on the Alice/Horse River. There was a very large waterhole so decided to do some fishing. Net result, Harold caught a reasonable size Catfish and I caught 3 Catfish hardly larger than my lure. We did not relish doing anything with the fish that Harold caught (it would hardly have been enough for 2 people let alone all 4 of us) so it was back into the water hole for all 4 fish. We had by now spent a couple of hours at the water hole and there was some discussion of relaxing and camping there for the night but eventually decided to move on.
Finding a good camp spot became a little trying but eventually we found a spot on the Staaten River and a great spot it was. The following day we arrived in Karumba in the early afternoon.
That’s it for now.