Published: July 23rd 2010July 23rd 2010
We made it!
We broke our camp at Eliot/Twin Falls the next morning (Sunday) and headed to the ferry crossing over the Jardine River. About 10km past the crossing we took a 3km track back to the Overland Telegraph Track (OTT) to see where the track used to cross the Jardine. It looked a bit ominous although there seemed to be reasonably fresh tracks exiting the ford. Perhaps these tracks were from one of the support vehicles of the motorcyclists we had seen the previous day as we later heard that one of these vehicles had gotten stuck while trying to cross the Jardine here. Apparently it was a brand new 70 series Landcruiser and it was there all night with all the gear for the motorcyclists (clothes, tents, food, etc) on board.
We headed for Seisia and planned to stay for 3 nights, looking forward to hot showers, flushing toilets, power and mobile reception once again. The camper trailer had held up well during the trip from Bramwell to Seisia with Mark regularly checking the hubs along the way. We arrived at the Seisia Holiday Park and were all escorted in an electric golf buggy by Rupeni (ex-Fijian from Lautoka) in search
We've now been to the 4 extremes of mainland Australia.
of a camp spot. We had been told about their hut shelters with kitchen sinks and power but it looked like all the good ones were taken. We initially went for a spot a couple of 'blocks' from the beach, but then found a great site under a large shady tree right on the shore with a fire ring on the sand. Although it was only lunch time, the park was quite full.
The first thing Mark did once we had our site was jack up the wheels of the camper trailer to have a closer inspection to make sure the bearing and seals were holding up. This proved to be the case so we set up camp and had lunch. We decided to leave the trip to the tip until the next day as we also wanted to drive out to Sommerset. We spent the rest of the day relaxing and beginning a catch up on our blog which had been neglected the last few days due to our lack of internet reception. Annelies and Thomas made some friends and spent several hours playing on the beach.
First thing the next morning, Mark drove to the local
Our camp site is at centre of pic
mechanic (Top End Motors) to have a scraping noise coming from the back left wheel checked out. Shane the mechanic said to come back in the afternoon as he was flat out, so we decided to drive out to the tip. We had also run into 'Big Thomas' and Maree again the previous afternoon and they had mentioned how the track via Loyalty Beach was a much better short cut to the tip than the main route via Bamaga that was heavily corrugated. So we took this route, which also has a small creek crossing and then joined up again with the main road about 7km short of the 'Croc Tent'. This tent is really just a souvenir shop on the way to the tip, but it also provides a useful map and information about the tip and the tracks around, including the 'Five Beaches Loop' around Sommerset.
When we arrived at the tip car park, it was beginning to fill up, but since we were fairly early, we found a nice shady park with no worries. As it was still high tide, we took the walking track over the point out to the tip - at low tide
Croc on the beach
The only 'croc' we saw on Cape York (drawn by Thomas & Annelies)
you can walk around via the beach. We spent some time at the northern most tip of mainland Australia and even had mobile reception, with a sea turtle also enjoying swimming around a submerged rock just off the tip. It was lucky we were there early, as when we left there were lots of people arriving and the car park was full to the brim.
We drove back to the main road but headed east towards Sommerset, the first northern settlement established in the 1850s by Britain as a sign of occupancy close to a shipping channel. John Jardine was appointed in charge while his sons, Frank and Alex, herded a mob of cattle and horses in a 10-month overland trip from Rockhampton to Sommerset in 1864-65. However, the settlement location was not suitable since there wasn't much anchorage room and it wasn't situated near a major shipping lane.
Before arriving at Sommerset, we drove the 'Five Beaches Loop' road, including a look at Lake Witcheura. The road was a bit of a challenge with soft sand dunes, rocky patches and a few wash outs, but we managed them without any troubles. At Sommerset we had a look
at the Jardine and pearl divers' graves and then Mark, Annelies and Thomas scrambled further north over the rocky point into the next bay with a sandy bluff and limestone cave painting.
Back at Seisia, Mark discovered at the mechanics that the cause of the rear wheel noise was due to worn brake pads. This came at a bit of a surprise as the vehicle had been for its 60,000km service just prior to the trip and the pads had supposedly been inspected then. Fortunately Shane was able to order a new set of pads to be flown up from Cairns the next day. A new fuel filter was also ordered in the hope of improving the poor fuel economy that we have been getting on this trip compared to our previous one - a new air cleaner in Weipa hadn't solved that problem.
The next day was spent relaxing at the camp site with Annelies and Thomas spending lots of time on the beach. It also involved a walk to the nearby jetty to have a look at the barge from Cairns and people fishing (without much success). We made use of the fire place at the
camp site with apple crumble cooked in the camp oven on one night and baked-bean jaffles on another.
The following morning we headed south, hoping to complete the rest of the OTT (southern part) that we had bypassed on the way up (although Alex wasn't so sure about crossing Palm and Gunshot creeks)!
There are more photos below