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Published: July 20th 2010
We left Bramwell Homestead and again took the southern bypass road northwards. However, this time we turned back towards the Overland Telegraph Track (OTT) via the Heathlands Ranger station. At the OTT, we headed south to have a look at Gunshot Creek, which we had heard lots about. We unhooked the camper trailer to make it easier to travel and arrived at the northern banks of Gunshot. It wasn't too long afterwards that a couple of vehicles arrived on the southern side. One was owned by a 'pom' now living in Brisbane while the other was a hire vehicle that his folks and younger brother had picked up in Cairns. They had done all the OTT except Gunshot up until now, but were heading south and wanted to complete the OTT altogether before heading home. This they did on the very muddy 'chicken run', which has an easier drop into the creek but then has a long muddy stretch where lots of vehicles have been getting bogged. However, they did it without any problems. Another vehicle came through shortly afterwards, which has given us a bit of confidence that perhaps we should give it a go later on if we don't
have any other problems along the way. But first we would have to see how we faired crossing other creeks further north on our way to the tip.
We hitched the trailer back on and headed north along the OTT. The next significant creek crossing was Cockatoo Creek, which has reasonably fast flowing water and some deep hidden potholes amid the rocky bottom. However, we walked the creek and strategically placed Alex, Annelies and Thomas near the potholes and didn't have any dramas with the crossing. We continued past Sheldon Lagoon and then tackled Sailor Creek with ease.
We then met up with the junction of the bypass road again, but continued north on the OTT until we turned off to Fruit Bat Falls. This was a lovely spot where Annelies and Thomas had a quick swim, but we didn't want to stop too long as we needed to make sure we got a camp site at Eliot/Twin Falls. We had to pass through Scrubby Creek to get to the campground, which was a little deeper than we were expecting but didn't pose a problem for us. When we arrived at the camp ground, it was pretty full
and we almost completed our set up in an unmarked camp site. However, Thomas returned having found a proper camp site in another 'loop' that we were unaware of. Hence, much to Alex's disgust, we got Annelies and Thomas to sit in that camp site while we quickly packed up the gear, partially closed the camper and drove to this new site. Although it was a hassle to do this, the new camp site was great - it had a fire place with a hot plate and grill and was lovely and shady, so it was definitely worth the effort, particularly as we wanted to stay for two nights. Once we were set up it was quite late, so we had a great swim at 'The Saucepan' and decided to leave Eliot and Twin Falls until the morning. That night we had a roast pork for dinner cooked in the camp oven.
We visited Eliot Falls the next morning, then continued on to Twin Falls (on Canal Creek) where we had a lovely swim. We also scrambled down to where Eliot and Canal Creeks meet as it's quite deep there so Annelies and Thomas (and Mark) enjoyed jumping off
the rock ledge. After that, we hopped in the car in readiness to tackle the rest of this northern portion of the OTT sans camper trailer - you can follow the OTT north towards the Jardine River but then take a track out to meet up with the bypass road and then loop back to the OTT and Eliot Falls campground.
The first creek crossing, Canal Creek, wasn't too difficult or deep, although it had quite a washed out exit further up on the way out that we had to navigate a safe passage through. Next it was Sam Creek, which had a tricky entry from a rocky bank to a sandy creek bed. Mistake Creek was easy and then it was Cannibal Creek, which had steep banks and was relatively deep. When we arrived at Cypress Creek, we joined the queue behind a convoy of travellers fitted out by TJM. Behind them and in front of us was another Landcruiser owned by Thomas and Maree from Artemis Station (Thomas is the station's dozer driver) who were travelling to the tip on his 5-day break. We watched the TJM mob cross the bridge without too much trouble with a
couple of camper trailers in tow and then crossed ourselves, also without any dramas.
The next creek crossing was Logans Brook, which is not on the map but does get a mention in Ron & Viv Moon's guide book. We had also been told that it was as deep as Nolans Brook, which followed soon afterwards. The TJM mob stopped before the crossing at Logans Brook, but we continued on behind Thomas and Maree. Thomas walked the sandy crossing and it was quite deep, but they drove across the widest creek so far. Water nearly came up to the bonnet but a slow and steady traverse proved the way to go and we followed suit soon after. We then continued on to Nolans Brook, which we had been told was deep and sandy - apparently 75 4WDs have drowned there so far this season.
When we arrived at Nolans Brook, we were met by a young fella fishing from the southern bank - his family were camped on the northern side of the creek in a lovely camp spot. There was also a narrow log bridge that you could walk across the creek. He mentioned that only one
Thomas & Annelies marking the edge of the potholes
vehicle (a Defender) had been stuck going across so far that day. Thomas began walking the original entrance to the creek, but our Thomas checked out the right-hand side as we had already been told that this side was the shallowest. We decided to cross here and were then followed by Thomas and Maree. We stopped for lunch on the northern bank and waited to enjoy the entertainment as other vehicles approached. The first lot was a group of motor cyclists. We were wondering if they would cross through the water, but in the end they drove across the old log bridge, while their two support vehicles made it through the creek. Another couple of 4WDs came through after them but took it much too fast and water surged up over the bonnet towards the base of their windscreens.
We set off up the OTT once again but took the western track to the bypass before the old Jardine crossing. We headed back down the 'highway' to our base at Eliot/Twin Falls for another swim at The Saucepan. After our exciting day, we relaxed in front of another fire and cooked up a feast with slightly burnt 'jam roly
poly' for dessert.
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