Fowler's Bluff, another beach to ourselves, Denham and Francois Peron National Park...

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March 12th 2013
Published: March 21st 2013
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As we drove towards Denham, we decided to try and stay at one of the campsites along the coast on the way up. Now, this may sound straight forward, but it was a friday. The Shire Offices we had to contact to arrange for the permit closed at 4pm, and we, though driving at a steady pace, were hours from any form of cell phone reception. Even with Telstra, the company with the best reception in regional Australia, we are still mostly in a black hole of cell phone coverage about 80% of the time.

We were lucky enough to make it to Billabong Roadhouse (presumably it was established long before the surf brand) to be able to utilize their trusty landline just in time. Browsing their shop, we had to buy me a fly net to wear on my head (to avoid extreme irritation, and possibly, punching myself in the face just to distract myself), which came with the promise of alleviating the one irksome companion that arises when one leaves the rest of civilization behind in Australia, the fly (refer to our previous post).

We chose Fowler's Bluff because it seemed the nicest, and because it was empty, and as it was getting dark, the odds of someone else camping next to us were getting considerably lower. We got to see one of the most beautiful sunsets so far (which I enjoyed wearing nothing but my fly-net), and got ready for bed in what seemed to be turning into a warm, sticky, windless night. We tried a few things to get more air in the car without letting bugs in, but the truth was undeniable, and we spent most of the night in a puddle of our own sweat (the mattresses are foam, our sheets-the cheapest we could find- are polyester, and we sleep in the upper third of the car... need we say more?). We did enjoy the sunrise, though, and quickly learned what we could do the next time the night was breezeless.

We drove into Denham, bought some ice cream and cold drinks, and headed up to Francois Peron National Park, where 4WD is an entry requirement, and there is a tyre deflating station in the entrance. Here is where we really could appreciate the advantage of having a 4WD. There are just so many beautiful places you can't get to in Australia
No winding roadsNo winding roadsNo winding roads

In general, there is a lot of straight ahead in Australia when it comes to the roads
unless you can go offroading (of course, this does not only apply to your car being capable, but the driver as well-luckily we have Øyvind). The sand was so loose and corrugated at times we were sliding all over the place, getting almost bogged at times and then (much to my relief) getting loose and continuing on our merry way. We made it all the way to Cape Peron, and the views were gorgeous, and the heat intoxicating. We had decided to spend the night in the park, since camping is allowed and it is a steal at 15 bucks a night, but the designated sites seemed sad and exposed (we had driven so far away from everything, but if one more person turned up at the campsite, we would be able to see and hear their every move). Luckily, however, this did not happen, and we had the entire South Gregories campsite to ourselves, breeze, sunset starry night and sunrise and all.

Feeling again pretty lucky, we drove out of the park and decided we would try and drive up to the next cape to the west, the westernmost point of Australia, otherwise known as the Useless Loop. Well, it was about 1pm on a sunday by the time we were ready to start, which meant we couldn't camp at the cape because we were unable to get permits on the weekend, which meant we had to do the entire 6-hour return drive in one go, which meant doing some of it in the dark, and still having to drive over 100km to find a place to sleep. As you may have guessed, we didn't do it. Instead, we got back on the road up north and decided to camp around Gladstone.

The lookout camp spot seemed promising, as it was free, scenic and a bit off the road. When we got there, we soon realized it was a merely a lookout point atop a plateau (which made for a very exposed place to sleep) which was also used as a memorial spot for both locals and foreigners. People had painted epitaphs on rocks, left letters and even laid engraved marble plates down to commemorate their loved ones. Øyvind felt wrong about staying there, so we moved on. And we were both glad we did! We ended up staying at Gladstone camp ground (which cost a whopping 11 dollars!), where we were the only ones, got to pick our own spot at the far end, practically on the beach, and could just hang out and enjoy the sunset and sunrise and have all the stars in between to ourselves. The caretakers passed by to check in on us on their way to do some off-road driving, and that was as much as we heard from them. It really was a pretty spot. Though, pressed on by the lack of shade and the heat, we got back on the road the next day...

- Favorite canned food meal so far: one can of tomato and basil soup, one can of cocktail franks, and two fried up onions. Spiced with herbs and chili, yummy!

- Current price of diesel: 1,68 per liter and rising...

- Our fuel consumption (on average, of course it gets more if off-roading or when using the AC, which we hardly do): 1,3 liters per 10km. We only have one 65 tank in the car, which means we can do about 450 km on a full tank...

- Amount of time we spent
Shell Beach, Sadie, and a rayShell Beach, Sadie, and a rayShell Beach, Sadie, and a ray

Sadie wanted to get in the water at Shell Beach to have some pictures taken. I didn't bother mentioning the small ray floating along next to her at the moment
rearranging gear when putting out the bed/packing up in the morning: about an hour a day? It's really not much 😊

- Favorite piece of equipment: the fridge? It really is awesome, and rather life-saving...

Additional photos below
Photos: 33, Displayed: 26


Bernie on the beachBernie on the beach
Bernie on the beach

We got to try out some 4wd driving on the beach too. This was really great fun, and challenging as you constantly have to plan ahead to avoid getting bogged down.
Rush hourRush hour
Rush hour

It is a bit confusing when there are more Emu's then cars on the road

Well, to us it did become a useless loop as we didn't make it all the way around. We were close though
Lookout for...Lookout for...
Lookout for...

The rest area on the top of Gladstone was a very nice area, but it felt a bit wrong to camp there with all the signs and mementos that was placed up there.
Camping buddyCamping buddy
Camping buddy

This little guy was running around looking for a place to stay to when we arrived at the camp site
A nice welcomeA nice welcome
A nice welcome

Someone had left us a gift on the spot we chose to stay for the night
Back to natureBack to nature
Back to nature

There is nothing wrong with spending a night in surroundings like this. Can you spot Bernie?

21st March 2013
Evening beauty

fabulous photo guys;-) well done!!! happy travels, Beata
30th March 2013
Evening beauty

Thanks again
As I have mentioned before, its not always so challenging to get some nice pics, Australia is absolutely one of those places where you just aim and shoot, and end up with something pretty nice almost every time
22nd March 2013
Evening beauty

How do you keep doing this??
30th March 2013
Evening beauty

Its not just me
The weather, clouds and sun in Australia does most of the job for me ;-)
24th March 2013

sade and øyvind ! does pop pop know you named your car after him? these pics are some of your best øyvind. the skies, the seas, the land, the roads... colors are textures are literally...out of this world!... wait a minute!...the queen of bedding is sleeping in polyester sheets? now that's really roughing it!

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