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                        Travel Blog - September 2016


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Tuesday 27th September 2016 to 30 September 2016 – Atherton Tablelands with my sister Carole.
A trip down to Cairns for a few errands and then it was time to pick up my sister Carole who was coming to visit for a week. Though her trip did not start off very well, left her gold bangle at the airport security when she was scanned through the gates (she got it back when she returned), then upon landing she got an unbelievable headache as she had the starting of a cold and did not know about taking anything prior to flying, but by the time we drove back up to Yungaburra where the caravan was and gave her a special happy hour drink she was quite content to bask in the warmth and be pampered by her sister to aid her recovery. Next day was bright and sunny for our trip to explore the crater lakes of the area. First was a cruise around Lake Barrine. Beautiful area with pristine waters and an informative relaxing cruise to see wildlife, birds and meet the local Saw Shelled Snapping Turtle that can breathe through its butt. Amazing! We also learnt about the beautiful teahouse café which is 80 years old and goes back 4 generations of family running the venture. Next stop was the sister crater lake of Lake Eacham where 34 years ago I had the joy of working in the little caravan park that was still there today. Not the same owners but the front of the place had not changed and we had a stroll around the park which was a fun trip down memory lane. The lake itself had been well and truly upgraded with picnic area, toilets and an easy entry into the lake ideal for anyone swimming.

Lake Barrine     Debbie & Carole at Lake Barrine
Lake Barrine                   The mischievous sisters at Lake Barrine

Time for lunch, so it was back to Yungaburra pub to sit outside in the cool and enjoy a drink and a burger. Well that would have been ideal except the council had seemed to have fertilised all the plants in the main street and the waft of blood and bone was not very becoming. After lunch it was nice to stroll around the town and check out the little quaint shops in the area before heading for a sticky beak at the dam and then home. Carole seemed to settle very nicely into the tent and enjoyed the cooler nights wrapped up in her doona and blanket. We did give her the choice of staying in the van with me but she looked at the tent and it was nice and roomy so she decided to tent it. But, we did not expect it to rain, oops. Not to fret as she didn’t get wet and had her clothes on the plastic box come night stand that I had in there for her. A pillow got a bit damp and the floor needed a mop out but all was ok.

Herberton Historic Village     Debbie & Carole at Lake Barrine
                  Herberton Historic Village

So let’s get back to the trip. Our next adventure was to the Herberton Historic Village. What a big day we had as we wandered around this village that had been put together from places in the area and transported to Herberton. They had the best stuff from old cars to instruments in a hospital. They had things there that Geoff and I had never seen in other museums. A toy shop with models and tin toys and marbles and dolls, the school house had books that you could pick up and look at. As Carole works in the school system she was amazed that books that taught children in 1960 are still valid teaching aids today. Everything presented in immaculate surroundings. All counters were dusted, all displays clean and being in a village in the tablelands not to see cobwebs showed how much work was done in the area. They employ 31 staff from the local area and it is now owned by the people that previously owned Just Jeans.
So after two adventures in the tablelands it was time to uproot and wind our way down the mountains to Cairns for our next adventure. We took the easy route down via Innisfail and stopped at the Malanda falls to experience one of the many waterfalls in the area. Then a stop at a National Park info centre to watch a display of a volcano exploding causing the crater lakes and a great display on flora and fauna in the area specialising in the tree kangaroos.
We arrived in Cairns and set ourselves up, lucky this is now the end of season so we could put the tent up without cramping anyone’s area. Meeting the neighbours we all decided to go to the pub for dinner. It’s a caravan thing, meet, become friends and lets have dinner together if you had both decided dining out was the best option. We had a family of Curlews (Bush-stone Curlews – birds) running around, mum , dad and the youngster all very cute and right near our van. Though their cries were a bit creepy when you first hear them once you know what the noise is you don’t imagine some poor lady getting murdered.

Monday 26th September2016 Washing to be done, shopping for supplies and Geoff is busy with the vacuum cleaner trying to rid the inside of the car of the red dust. Good luck Geoff!

Sunday 25h September2016 Time to go and pick up our van from Atherton. We took a small drive though Port Douglas, boy this place was busy. It is school holidays and the markets were also on. It was such a contrast to the last month of being in the outback that I found the traffic and people quite daunting. Next stop back to Andrew and Delittas place to collect our home on wheels (the Land Yacht) where we hitched up and drove to a small van park called Bonadio RV & Nature Park just west of Yungaburra. It is only new and not quite organised as yet, but it is a great spot with clean amenities and lots of wildlife. Driving into it I was a bit dubious as it is on a corn farm and the Italian Mumma that greeted us was not that good with English and did not have our booking down. But it all worked out fine once we walked around and found a spot with power and water. Happy hour starts at 5pm where we joined in followed by possums and Paddy Mellon Wallaby being fed and quite a few of them have babies. And then Geoff spotted the rats – umm not sure about them. There are platypus in the creek but I haven’t had time to go investigate yet. The first job is to unstack the car and transfer what was needed to the van. Oh and get rid of some of the dust.

Sun rise Newall Beach     Bonadio RV & Nature Park Yungaburra
        Bonadio RV & Nature Park Yungaburra

Friday 23rd September 2016 Heading south we tackle the Bloomfield Track and it is very steep up and down. 4WD Low range most of the way, one river crossing that wasn’t too arduous and mostly gravel so not too dusty at all. And now we are at Newell just north of Mossman in another van park. The sites are small but heck, cross the road and the beach is there. Once we set up its time for a swim, we just had to look out for the crocodiles and don’t go out too far as that’s where they might be lurking. The water was warm with occasional cool spots and it was bloody marvellous. Then a stroll along the beach where lots of pipis were burying themselves in the sand and hardly anyone around. Just beautiful.

Sun rise Newall Beach     Newall looking south to Mossman
Sun rise Newall Beach                   Newall looking south to Mossman

Next morning we again strolled along the beach and then headed out to Mossman Gorge. It’s not far from Newell. We pass through the town, take the turn off to the Gorge and arrive and park. Geoff then realises he forgot his shoes back at the tent and so we turned around to head back. I got dropped off at the Markets in town to have a bit of a sticky beak but they were all a bit hippy for me. I could have got fresh vegies but our car fridge is full enough. I also had a look at the Church which dated back to the 1890’s then waited on the main street for the hubby to come and get me to start our Gorge trip again.

Mossman Gorge     Mossman Gorge
         Mossman Gorge        

The Gorge was beautiful. We did all the walks and came across the crystal clear river that runs through the Gorge. We walked through the forest and saw Strangling Figs, tropical forest, amazing fungi, and more pools which if I had my swim suite I would have been in in a flash. We walked across the suspension bridge that swayed as we walked, and followed tracks that wound around the forest floor. I saw a creature dart across the track, gone in a flash and I think it was a tree kangaroo, but could not be sure. We hoped to see a cassowary but no such luck. It was a great day and when we got back Geoff went fishing. We are having pizza for dinner!

Wednesday 21st September 2016 Time to say goodbye to the park and head further south. Bloomfield is our destination for the next two days. Due to lots of hard driving with dirt roads we stay two nights in each camp, just saves putting the tent up and down. Now we are in a caravan park with soft grass, a great camp kitchen and a wonderful shower. Yes I did have a shower in the park as one of the other campsites near the ranger station had cold showers. Oh it was bliss but this van park was better. I missed the quiet of the park but I appreciate the grassy sites of this park, Geoff enjoyed walking barefoot with the soft grass underneath. And the next day the Beast (our car) got its first proper bath since leaving home.

Dusty Ford Ranger     Dusty Ford Ranger
       The Ranger needs a wash

The big thing to do in Bloomfield is fishing. Driving around we went down a track that goes from jetty to the mouth of the river and there were quite a few fishing shacks hiding in the bush.
Camp kitchens are great where you get to talk to lots of different people who are starting their trip up the Cape or just coming back down. Father and young son who are spending a week fishing here, other families who enjoying family time as it is now school holidays in Queensland. A family from Germany who were going as far as Cooktown and had been here for 6 weeks. The son was going to university in England studying a PHD in 3D printing. Geoff found it fascinating and he was enthralled of stories we told him about the phone system for the gaols.

Sunday 18th September 2016 We are booked into Lakefield National Park for three nights staying at Hann Crossing. Campsite number 10 to be precise. There is a drop toilet about 300 metres up the road and that’s all that’s in the park. We are right on the river but no swimming as crocs are about. Both days were spent driving around the park venturing to all the beautiful water holes that were covered with water lilies. The park was a continuing changing landscape from grass fields filled with termite mounds, some were magnetic, standing tall like castles. Others were round and lumpy, Geoff thought they looked like camels sitting down. Little ones starting the size of an icecream cone and others over 6 feet tall. The dust is so fine it’s like talcum powder and gets into everything. By the second day I was very much over the dust!

Hann Crossing Camp     Hann Crossing Camp
            Hann Crossing Camp - Lakefield National Park

Then suddenly you would have trees, and come to a pond. Brolgas and Cranes would be strolling around the edges. Geoff spotted a White Bellied Sea Eagle on the nest at the White Lilly Pond. The Red Lilly Pond was full of Lotus plants. Only a few flowers still standing and they ranged from hot pink to pale pink in a sea of green. We spotted a black fronted dotterel who was dancing around on the ground trying to get our attention. Geoff realised that it must have had a nest nearby and lucky we spotted it. The two eggs just lying on the ground blended in so well. We have come across Whistling ducks quite often and they didn’t disappoint us at this park either. Also Magpie Geese that tried to blend in with the crowd of ducks, but they stood head and shoulders above the ducks.

Tree Snake     Papuan Frogmouth
    Tree Snake                                 Papuan Frogmouth

There was plenty to keep the hubby busy. My favourite time of day was in the cool of the morning and again in the evening. Sitting at the campsite for dinner looking out at the river and hoping a croc might turn up for a bit of excitement. Our river bank was high enough so we were safe. At night the antics of the wildlife come alive. Just on dusk thousands of flying bats streamed over the sky. Why we were having dinner, a Papuan Frogmouth crashes into our camp sight, then flies off over Geoff’s head. He did it the second night also but not the third. On the second evening Geoff had the camera and flash at the ready to try and get the bats. They were way too quick for him and all I could see was flashes going off in the night sky. We then had a beautiful yellow bellied snake on the tree that we were sitting under. What a variety!

Friday 16th September 2016 Sad to say goodbye, and I got a bit teary when they left, but then it was go and stock up on groceries to head back to Musgrave Station for two nights. John welcomed us back, but no luxury motel room this time its tenting all the way. Tent was pitched and camp constructed under a tree and near a fence. No one told us they had 5 horses that loved to come down to investigate. One decided to chew on one of our chairs, so it was a bit sloppy when we rescued it from its mouth. Nothing like the waft of horse manure to accompany your BBQ dinner.
No one also told us that only 30 metres away was a pond with 12 fresh water crocodiles living in it. That made fun viewing after dinner and a few glasses of wine. And to top it all off, I woke during the evening to go for a pee and there was a cane toad sitting in the tent. Geoff opened the flap and it just hopped out. The joy of being in a tent! So the good news is Geoff went to the neighbouring property and the lady took him down to the pond where he managed to get photos of the Golden Shouldered Parrot. Mission accomplished.

Musgrave Crocodile     Golden Shouldered Parrot
    Musgrave Crocodile                               Golden Shouldered Parrot

Thursday 15th September 2016 I cannot believe that we are nearing the end of the trip. Our destination Cooktown but before we got there it was to stop and look for the Golden Shouldered Parrot. No matter how much we searched we could not find the termite mound that was the nest of these parrots. So mission unaccomplished and we hit the road and more dust. We are now on the Peninsular Developmental Road and heading towards Laura. This tiny town was where we decided to get fuel, and after we filled up we walked around the side of the shop and discovered an old motor cycle which was a Chinese copy of a BMW used in the second world war. Then another pub so another beer before heading further south. We then had a stop at Endeavour Falls where we walked through a beautifully lawned caravan park to the falls. Again no swimming because of crocs. More photo opportunities and off to Cooktown. Brad shouted us our accommodation for the evening for helping prepare the trip. The hotel was 5 star in town and with a lovely pool Geoff and I both had a swim before showers and getting ready to drive up to the lookout for a sunset viewing. It was very pretty, setting over the town and into the sea, hope Geoff got some good shots.

Cooktown Sunset     1942 Motor Bike
    Cooktown Sunset                               1942 Motor Bike

Dinner was at Cooks Landing Kiosk seafood. Cheap, fresh, BYO and right on the water. My kind of place. They have a groper feeding every evening from 6pm but we were too late for that. We did get to spot a few Lion fish which are very poisonous but beautiful to watch. It was our last dinner together as tomorrow Malcolm and Brad leave after breakfast tomorrow. They have to return the car to Cairns so time is running out.

Wednesday 14th September 2016 Heading to Coen we passed a quarantine station. Our one mandarin passed muster but Brads fridge had the vegies that were wilting and we lost most of the balance of our fresh wilted food. Not bad since it came all the way from Cairns. Next we did a quick river stop that came up as a free camp The Bend an area with a loo. Magical spot and if Geoff and I were on our own we would have probably stayed there. It was too early for lunch so after a few happy snaps we were onto the dust again. The road changes from dust, corrugations, dust holes and tar. Always a surprise around each corner until you see another roadwork crew doing their thing. Next stop is the ‘Sexchange’ hotel for a quick beer. It was actually the Exchange hotel, but someone had added the ‘S’ to make all of us laugh. This is at 10.30 in the morning and because the name of the pub caught our attention we decided to go and investigate.

Exchange Hotel Coen     The Bend Coen
    Exchange Hotel - Coen                               The Bend - Coen

Finally we reached our next stop, Musgrave Station. A very large property that was broken up and passed to differently family members. John who owns and runs Musgrave Station is strictly a tourist venture. When we pull up there are cows wondering around outside in the parking area, as John explains, they are his brothers cows and just passing the time of day. Dry and funny bushman sense of humour. Another classic line from John was “pushing a marshmallow into a toaster”, reflecting on old guys with young chicks. He called me Mumma and Geoff Dad when referring to us. – “you look mighty relaxed there Mumma and are you cooking this for dad?” He was a classic.

Musgrave Station     Musgrave Station Accommodation
    Musgrave Station                               Musgrave Station Accommodation

Now the rooms were the best we had seen and all brand new motel style. Air Con, ceiling fans, new bathrooms and TV’s and spotlessly clean. No bed bugs tonight boys. We got a screw in one of our tyres so while Geoff changed the tyre I put on a load of washing for the lot of us and chatting to another lady in the laundry I noticed the attire and binoculars, you wouldn’t happen to be twitchers (bird watches) would you? Just so happened they were on a bird watching trip and were from the Illawarra group. They knew about Eaglecam and one couple actually new Geoff, so I went and got my hubby so he could be a star for a while and talk about EagleCAM to the group. They were all enthralled and I had got the book out of the car so they could have a look at the work that was happening. They were then off to find the Golden Shouldered Parrot. A rare bird from that region, so that got Geoff excited and when they returned he got the co-ordinates of the nest which is in a termite mound. Dinner that night was fun again, Musgrave Station make the best hot chips that I have ever had. Oh and they make a fine burger too. Beetroot is standard so you know it’s fair dinkum.

Tuesday 13th September 2016 Next morning it’s off to the Archer River Road House . We took a stop on the way for lunch at what was on the map a beautiful tree (Brad’s description) and a loo (road side rest stop). Just because it happened to be at the end of a section of road works and the trucks were using this point to turn in and out of the area was not the most ideal lunch spot we could think off. But chicken fillets were cooked on the weber BBQ and salad made and it turned out to be a fine meal. It was either stop there or keep going with no where possible for us to stop and eat. This was the junction of the Old Telegraph Track and the Peninsula Developmental Road which went to Weipa. So lunch finished we commenced our journey down the track. The roadworks keep coming and so does the dust but with long sections of tar. But then it happened. The road got better and out of the blue a kangaroo jumped into the side of the car. We were traveling at about 105km/h we just caught a flash of grey when bang, the kangaroo hit us on the front right guard, it ripped off plastic flare guard and dented the guard and door. Lucky that was all the damage. Geoff pulled the flare off and I walked down the road to see if I could find the roo. I did and I am not sure if I was happy or not that it was dead. I don’t think I could have handled it if it was suffering.

Damage from  the kangaroo     Damage from  the kangaroo
      Damage from the kangaroo

Geoff had the dash cam on so he pulled the chip out and later playing it he could see that the roos actually came out of the side and straight into us. There was no chance of us missing it. The accommodation is getting better, a donga with a shower and toilet. Pure luxury. But Brad and Geoff both think they got bitten by bed bugs as the sheets didn’t look all that clean. More like they hadn’t been rinsed properly or someone washed with a tissue. This roadhouse is also accommodation for the road crew and as Geoff repaired the car we talked to a few of the ladies who worked with the crew. They were aboriginal and explained their job was to find scar trees along the route of the road, marking them clearly visible with ribbon or cordoning them off to make sure they were not damaged. These trees held a great significance to the local tribe, and if damaged by the road crew they would be fined.
Dinner that night was just picky food with cheese and dips. As we had had a big and late lunch no one was that hungry so we sat outside on the concrete slab which ran between two rows of dongas and had our picnic dinner. Another night under a million stars.
Now I haven’t given a weather report but it hadn’t been too bad. I am not sure of temperatures as we had no real contact with the outside world, but it was bearable as long as you had some sort of shade. The humidity too was not an issue especially away from the coast as inland was very dry and the only water was from the bores.

Monday 12th September 2016 Next morning we swam at the saucepan, which is part of Elliot Falls . If you swim along the edge you can see pitcher plants and flowers, Geoff got a few great shots and let the little fish nibble on our toes. We came across a group that travelled up on the Trinity Bay with us so it was great catching up with what they were up to and I regaled the tale of Brad and Malcolm attempting the tent constructions.

Pitcher plant     Brad pitching the rooftop tent
          Pitcher plant                               Brad pitching the rooftop tent

Time to move and off to Bramwell Station. The scenery starts to get dry as we travel further down the track. This station is a working cattle property that has also branched into tourism. We stayed in a donga which contained a bed and, ummmm…….. just a bed and fan. The amenities were fine and showers hot. This time we bumped into the fishing group that travelled up in the Trinity Bay with us. You can run but not hide from these people. One of the guys chatted to Geoff about the truck and lo and behold, Geoff did his apprenticeship with him over 40 years ago. Yep it’s a small world.
Bramwell Station cost $170 per couple and this included a buffet dinner and entertainment for the evening. Dinner was BBQ snags, rissoles (Brads was raw in the middle) steak and lots of vegies. Dessert followed but Geoff ate mine as it wobbled – this girl does not do wobbly food. The entertainer came all the way from Brisbane, and we enjoyed his songs of the 70’s era, at least we were familiar with the tunes.
We were all pretty tired this night so it was an early evening. Come to think of it every evening seems to be early. So with cows mooing in the dark we said goodnight to all.

Sunday 11th September 2016 After two nights at Punsand Bay we head to Fruit Bat and Elliot falls . Now this was 4 wheel driving with our introduction to the Old Telegraph Track . One major river to cross which both cars did with ease. Ok I was nervous, as the drop down to the river was quite steep, but Geoff just cruised and we sailed through the water and up the other bank … simple!
With the creek to cross we had a waterfall to discover and Fruit Bat did not let us down. No crocs here so we could swim with an easy mind in the crystal clear river. The falls were just strong enough to give you a powerful back massage when you sat under them, and it was a pleasure to stay here and play for a while. From here we made it to Elliot Falls and set up our camp.

Fruit Bat Falls     Video of Ranger crossing river
            Fruit Bat Falls                               Video of Ranger crossing river

Our tent goes up and the bed is made while we then sat and watched and laughed at Brad trying to put his rooftop tent up and Malcolm struggling with his tent on the ground. Another lady traveller who we met during the river crossing came and helped him put it up. As we thanked her and her hubby for their assistance she said, he really needs to enjoy the camp experience and not have to struggle with the concept. If we think it was funny watching the tent go up, it was just as funny watching them the next day pulling it down.
That night was party by the tents and Brad cooked the BBQ and excelled himself. We had asparagus on the barby with olive oil and garlic, just delicious and lamb cutlets to go with it. Chocolate for dessert and of course a few bottles of wine plus Geoff and Malcolm had a few more just for old time sake. There was a bit of snoring in the camp that night by the time those two came to bed.

Friday 9th September 2016 and we are here! (CapeYork) Driving through Bamiga and heading towards Punsand Bay our first stop in an unbelievable trip. We have a permanent tent with ensuite, very luxurouious. Hey the toilet flushed, the shower worked and it was better than the tents we had in Africa so I was not complaining. Brad organised us on an unbelievable helicopter flight that took us up through the rain forest to the tip of Australia. Unfortunately I missed seeing the crocs but Geoff was lucky and had a bird’s eye view Literality. This was it the drive to the top and then a walk through boulders and rocky paths to make it to the point where the sign awaited us for a picture worth a thousand words. We made it! The most northern point of Australia and there I stood with my hubby posing for pictures and hugging the sign. Months of saying we were doing this became a reality, but then we had the trip down to tackle so don’t pat me on the back yet, the Trinity Bay made it easy to get up, now we head South. From the top we drove down through the rain forest and pulled off the road in a beautiful shady spot where we had lunch under the trees. Ahh bliss.

Brad cooking lunch Cape York     Debbie & Geoff Tip of Autralia
Brad cooking lunch Cape York           Debbie & Geoff Tip of Autralia

Punsand Bay certainly catered for tourists with a good choice of meals and great pizza. Saturday night was so busy as it was football night so we chose a quiet table away from the rabble and dined on steak, seafood and a cheeky bottle of wine or two to wash it down.

Tuesday 6th September 2016 to Friday 9th September2016 – Sea Swift, boat Trinity Bay. The 4x4 wagons had to be at the dock at 7.30am and left to be loaded into the hold of the freighter. Our boarding time was at 1.30pm so after check out of our hotel at 11am Geoff and I had an early pub lunch to celebrate the start of our journey. We met Brad and Malcolm at the wharf where we were issued with fluro vests (very becoming) name tags – heck we weren’t planning on getting that drunk that we couldn’t remember our names, and led to the wharf, then up the gang plank to the waiting vessel. First our room allocations, then a brief of our trip and take our luggage down to the cabins. Then for the safety drill where we get to wear the next bit of flattering resort wear the life jacket! Once that was done it is time for a drink at the bar and to socialize with our 31 fellow passengers in 25 cabins who all have a great travelling story to tell. Some are doing the return trip, others are doing a bus tour and a bunch of fishermen who also had cars in the hold but were getting off at Thursday Island to catch a Barra. They were a funny bunch with matching hats that had their nick names embroided on the back of the hats. ‘Houso’ is really the only one I can remember, but they were all named and came from the south of Sydney.

Approaching Horne & Thursday Island     Trinty Bay unloading at Seisia
Approaching Horne & Thursday Island           Trinty Bay unloading at Seisia

Our cabin had one set of double bunks, Geoff slept on the bottom bunk and said it was like getting into a coffin at night and I had a single bed. Then we also had a wash basin and a porthole.Toilet and shower down the hall. Please don’t forget this is a working freighter and as we were issued with ear plugs on our first day so you can imagine the engines lulling us to sleep every evening – this is a tongue in cheek comment - the rooms were fine with aircon and cuddly blankets for the evenings if you were cool.
So now you know our accommodation let me tell you about the food. Oh my, it was wonderful; we dined on buffet every meal from breakfast lunch and dinner. Breakfast had all the usual from cereal to the full breakfast, and all you had to do was cook your own toast. Lunch ranged from salads to hot meal and dinner was amazing, Seafood parcels, Oso Bucco, and always followed by dessert and ice-cream with three flavours. Oh did I not mention the homemade bread with lunch and homemade cake for afternoon tea. The ship etiquette was to make sure the crew ate first, so if you saw them in line please let them in as they are only on a break for a meal and have a short time to enjoy it.
Our first day at sea was highlighted by a trip to the bridge. Over an hour was spent with the captain of the vessel Scott, who was a Master Four and an excellent boat handler. The company offers an essential service to the top end of Australia and it was so interesting to learn of its origins and how the company has grown. After our bridge tour we were told to come up any time, so you can imagine that was an invitation Brad and Geoff could not resist, but when the Captain was docking they left him well alone. The crew were all handpicked to be not only sea worthy but have a personality to talk to us tourists. I must admit they were a great bunch of lads and if they were on a break and we started to chat they would answer our questions without trying to brush us off. Day two saw us off loading at Lockhart River . No docking here but a barge that came along side and was loaded with goods and fuel before we motored away. Day three and we had a morning at Horn Island where we did a tour to learn the importance of this island in the WWII. From bunkers to downed planes, our guide showed us the importance of this island to our north. Also gave us an insight to the cost of living eg: Tim Tams (Geoffs Favourites) was $9.50 per packet.
From Horn we cruised to Thursday Island , and it was on Thursday so easy to remember. Another tour where we walked through a bunker, this reminded me of the Armoury at Sydney Olympic Park, which had been turned into a museum. Lots of info and things to look at relating also to the war and a bygone era. We also drove through a cemetery where old Japanese grave sites were located from the Pearl divers of yesteryear. Oh and a brighter note, we had a drink in the most northern pub in Australia!
Seisia arrived on day 4 and it was time to watch as our cars were lifted by the crane onto the dock then driven on a pallet on a forklift. I can tell you that watching our beast swinging in the air was not something I would like to make a habit of. But all went well and as were again in our fluro vests being escorted off the boat, we said farewell to our skipper Scott and thanked the crew for a great informative time.

The Ranger being unloaded     Geoff, Malcolm & Brad chatting with the captain
The Ranger being unloaded                Geoff, Malcolm & Brad chatting with the captain

Monday 5th September 2016 and our main mission is to 1: Pick up the hire 4x4 and Geoff takes Brad and helps check over the equipment. 2: Buy supplies and get it packed into boxes to deliver the freezer box and fridge box to the boat for cold storage by 2pm and 3: Have a nice relaxing late lunch, which we can tick off the list for all. The boys are back together, Geoff, Brad and Malcolm so let the games begin!

Sunday 4th September 2016 and we take our van to Atherton to safely store at our friends property. This saves us money but also knowing our home on wheels is safe is a big advantage, once it is dropped off we are heading to the big smoke of Cairns where we stay in a hotel close to town and not far from where our friends Brad and Malcolm are staying. Ooh after living in the van for 3 months having a hotel room is quite a treat. I can walk past Geoff without asking him to please put his elbows down. Once we have arrived in Cairns our first stop was to get another battery for the drone. Even though it just came back for a warranty repair the first time Geoff tried to fly it the machine came up with a batter error. I cannot type all the swear words that ricocheted around the room. Put it this way, he was not a very happy boy. So then it was a walk to Brads hotel for lunch which was on a fishing trawler parked outside his hotel. We had sushi, prawns, seafood platter and it washed it down with a few beers. It was so nice to see Brad again and we started to plan what was needed for the trip and organizing picking up his 4WD that he had hired. The funny thing was he saw our boat cruise past his bedroom window, not the glam P&O gleaming white cruiser but the freighter that was stacked with containers and a full working boat.

Saturday 3rd September 2016 and we are on the countdown for our trip to Cape York . Lots of planning as we will be leaving our home on wheels (Geoff’s land yacht) and doing the tent thing. Geoff is busy with Ranger preparation and I have the joy of working out what not to take. Amazing I have 3 bottles of sunblock that managed to fill one bottle, also a few bottles of aeroguard that also managed to make one full bottle. I am taking too many clothes but who knows when this little clean freak will get to wash again. Geoff stows everything in the Ranger and makes it all secure for the rough trip ahead. I pack all the food in boxes, zip lock bags hold cereal, pasta and cous cous. Stubby holders keep bottles of oil and tins of food safe and secure. Oh and lots of tea towels for packing to stop vibrations of plates and cutlery. Plus even though we are going to the top of Australia a sleeping bag, sheets and a few small blankets just in case.

Friday 2nd September 2016 The Day was bright and sunny and we decided to do one of the many tracks that trace around the tin mining area of Herberton . The 3.5 km track was classed as moderate so thought it would be no worries, except where the part they forgot to tell you that it seemed just climb straight up and with lose gravel, so it was certainly a hike to remember. Lots of old mining equipment under cover and good notes on what it was and when it was used. A few mine shafts dotted the track and they did have steel grates on top to stop the adventurist fool from tumbling down. One mine was 200 metres deep and another 600 metres.
After the walk we went to visit the Spy and Camera museum. The building was originally a haberdashery and the original red cedar serving counter was still there. The collection of cameras was unbelievable and for $15 per person you had a guided tour by the photographer that ran the museum. The cameras ranged from one of the first cameras built, tiny spy cameras, a camera that would take movies with the old fashioned wind up handle, and of course the original box brownie. Some of the cameras had the original glass plates and the photos had been developed from them were also shown. All in all it is a very interesting hour that we spent there.