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So I finished my time in Weipa and after a lovely dinner with a work colleague and her hubby it was up early to set off back down the Cape and hope the roads weren’t in too much of a rough condition.
Not too bad at all really. A bit of sludge coming past Merluna Cattle station but pretty good. I had a great run of 9 hours. Stopped a couple of times for gas and a bite to eat and rolled in to Cairns round 5ish.
Only one hiccup. My 2nd to last stop before Cairns as I was getting a little bit sleepy and a bit low on petrol I thought I’d stop and use up the fuel in my 10L gas container.
Great idea Julz, stopped the car, got the fuel container out of my roof pod and topped her up, put the container in the boot, cranked the tunes and off I drove..
2 mins down the road I noticed a couple of things in my rear view mirror that seemed to be flying… Umm yep, flying off the roof of my car!!
In my haste I had completely forgotten to close my roof pod and now I had left a wee trail of belongings along the road. Doh!!
I U turned round to collect my sleeping bag, a jumper, some shirts and a bag of toiletries…
Well at least I was wide awake now…
Saw a few skippies, eagles, a lizard or two and then beautiful views coming down the range overlooking Cairns.
So I have now been in Weipa for 2 weeks and loving the peace and quiet here.. Ahhh the serenity..
I get to stay in the wicked nurses quarters which is like living in a motel, 20 steps from the Hospital and a 5 min walk to Woolies and the shopping centre. It can be a bit too quiet in here at times but I’m slowly livening things up..
“The land of the Western Cape belongs to local Traditional Owner groups. Waypundun or Waypa is the original name of this area and is the home of the Alngith people”
Weipa is now a town of approx. 3000 people (the largest on Cape York) and originally started as a Presbytarian Aboriginal mission back in 1898.
There is a lot of interesting history surrounding the area and if you want a good read, check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weipa,_Que ensland
but to cut a long story short…
Some guy back in 1955 discovered that the Red Cliffs on the Aboriginal Reserve at the time were actually Bauxite (the ore from which Aluminium is made) and so conveniently the “Comalco Act” revoked the reserve status and in just 5 years they starting mining (raping) the land for all its worth.
Since then the town has developed as a mining town to house the workers and their families coming to work for Comalco (now called Rio Tinto).
I’m probably being pretty hypocritical as I am enjoying working here and seeing all Weipa has to offer, but bit of a **** start to a community really. Just another story of money hungry individuals who will do anything to get their hands on some doe, including bullying and buying out the locals and then proceeding to wreck the land.
Makes you wonder what the future will bring. I can’t see how shifting so much earth/ so much mineral can not be causing irreversible harm to the land.
Anyway off my high horse…
The new Weipa Hospital was built in 2008 and includes a 3 bed A+E / Outpatients area, 12 bed acute ward, 10 bed aged care facility and in a separate wing – Primary Health Care Clinic which includes multiple services.
For more info check out: http://www.health.qld.gov.au/services/c apeyork/capeyork_weipa_hosp.asp
So far I’m loving it!! A great team in a new, tidy, organised Hospital – my cup of tea..
Things to do:
Well so far I’ve had dinner out a couple of times (not bad for a small town), checked out the Golf Club, Bowls Club, Sat night Go Karting, the town pool and some scenic spots.
Haven’t yet been fishing, piggin or 4x4ing.
It’s definitely an outdoor adventurers dream up here and I look forward to exploring more…
Well enough blurb for today I reckon, here are some pics.
So after escaping Aurukun for the second time, I shot through like a bat outta hell to Weipa. Spent a night at the camp ground with no one wielding knives or screaming outside my window, and then flew to Cairns to catch up with my mate Jill for some birthday celebrations.
Had an entertaining evening at Gilligans Backpackers, a day chilling / recovering by the lagoon (unfortunately, I was supposed to do a sky dive this day, never mind) then a quieter night on the town before catching the shuttle at 0700hrs the next day to head off on my Great Barrier Reef experience.
After downing a few ginger pills, which didn’t help, and then hugging the toilet for a bit, it was time to jump in and experience one of the natural wonders of the world…
Luckily, once in the deep blue, my stomach settled and I was able to enjoy my first dive on the Great Barrier Reef, guided by one of the Deep Sea Divers Den team.
It wasn’t long before I buddied up with a fellow solo traveller – Kara. An awesome bubbly chick who also loves adventure..
All up I experienced 10 dives and 2 snorkelling trips – Just amazing!!!
The first boat (Sea Quest) took us from Cairns to the outer reef, provided us with gear, a delicious lunch and allowed us to have 2 dives at different sites, then it was time to transfer to the larger liveaboard catamaran – Ocean Quest.
On Ocean Quest we were welcomed aboard, given the low down and shown to our rooms – me n kara got to share a twin bed cabin with ensuite and a window view of ocean as far as the eye could see.
Once settled it was time to gear up again for more diving and after being given the option of participating in the Advanced Open Water dive course, Kara and I dove at the chance (excuse the wit, lol).
First dive – Peak Buoyancy Performance
After sussing out our correct weights, we were sorted. Let the fun begin…
Our course included 5 dives, being: Buoyancy, Navigation, Deep dive, Night dive and Underwater Photography.
All up each dive was amazing in a different way.
Got to play with all sorts of fishies, sea slugs, nudibranchs, sharks and turtles..
On the 2nd day I was supposed to pack up and head back to Cairns, however I was lucky enough to be offered to stay another night with more diving if I became a hostie. Stoked!!
Got to meet the gang, help in the kitchen, make beds and clean. I managed to change flights and organise to start a bit later at work on Tues. Boom! (Well was a bit naughty with this and thought it would be OK, got in a spot of trouble from the new boss, but think I’ve made up for it now).
So all in all not a bad way to see in 30 years in this wild and wonderful world and without further a do, I’ll let ya check out the pics.
Up in the morning, checked over Rizzo, filled up with gas and on the road again..
Road wasn’t too bad from here and once I hit the Aurukun turn off it was in great condition with several patches of bitumen. Passed a couple of scrub fires where eagles were having a hay day catching whatever poor little critter was fleeing for its life. No other wildlife on this trip but I knew I was getting closer as burnt out car carcasses dotted the roadside.
After 2.5 hrs of driving I rolled on in to Aurukun with the rusted old sign to welcome me.
I rocked up to the clinic to see old faces and new, awesome to see some of the old gang and be welcomed back so warmly.
Aurukun Primary Health Care Centre is a 7 day a week clinic, run by Qld Health and shared with Apunipima (Cape York Indigenous Health Service).
It consists of a treatment/emergency room with 2 beds and also 7 consult rooms – shared by us (the permanent nurses) and the visiting teams.
Services that arrive weekly to the clinic – usually from Monday afternoon to Thursday afternoon include RFDS (Royal Flying Doctor Service), Child Health, Chronic Disease Doctors, Midwife and Mental Health.
Other visiting teams that come either fortnightly or monthly include: Dentist, Podiatrist, Ear, Nose and Throat specialist, Nutritionist, Eye specialist and Cardiologist.
Outside those times it is Nurse run and usually one nurse on deck depending on how busy after hours has been.
After a quick catch up it was over to my old house (I worked here 2 years ago for 10 weeks) to get settled in and was a wee bit disgruntled to
find the tall (deer) fence in the corner knocked over by a fallen tree but none
the less continued unloading my worldly possessions.
bike under the house which is fenced and locked with padlocks I did
notice some local kids eyeing it up but didn’t think much of it…
Well.. My welcome back to Aurukun hadn’t even started….
Now I can’t put too much detail on here so here is the short version:
A wonderful colleague showed me the local beach – beautiful serene spot. Ahhhh
Pet cockatoo still here, two cats and some nice dogs.
Weekend away in Weipa and bought blow up pool – YAY
Great team to work with!!
Variety of work and upskilling again.
Being grateful of where I grew up and where I’m going next.
Relaxing watching the sunset over the water whilst trying to catch a fish.
Awesome road trip to the Tip of Australia!
Met some amazing, beautiful, spiritual, happy people
First night – bike nearly pinched, puncture kit and tools stolen.
Myself, security and house bombarded with rocks, metal hunks and makeshift spears.
Clinic broken into for 2nd time in a month and keys stolen.
Clinic car finally stolen from under house at 0230hrs after multiple attempts at keeping it safe. (including disconnecting battery etc).
Kept awake with burn outs until battery connection came off and police could return car.
Got a small amount of sleep with baseball bat at door and sleeping in middle of bed to dodge flying objects if they came through windows..
(Nearly left the next day)
Later that week – Awake most of night due to multiple call outs, one to see sick patient who refused to come to clinic. 0700hrs woken as pt had sadly passed away. ******* myself as family blamed me for his passing..
Depending on earplugs due to pack of dogs living near house and howling every other night..
Went exploring, scratched car and got punctured tyre.
The dingo stole my chocolate..
Not able to swim anywhere…
Lost all my photos of trip to the tip.
Dogs constantly pulling out rubbish everywhere and ripped my pool to bits (which was under house – supposedly safe) GUTTED!!
Dogs attacked and killed one of the cats. = (
Lets just say I will chalk it down to experience but I don’t quite connect with this place and I will be glad to see the backside of that so called welcome sign…
Archer River Roadhouse, Australia
Well the light was on most the way but I had my 5 L container in the roof storage if I needed it, just didn’t fancy refilling on the roadside at night and hmmm 5L isn’t really gunna cover a huge distance. However I made it safely and pulled in just in time before the kitchen closed to heat a meal and then tuck up into a cosy bed before finishing the journey to Aurukun the next morning.
Archer River Roadhouse is a quaint little spot with petrol, kitchen and bar, 4 motel rooms, camping area and lovely clean facilities. Even though it was only 3 hours to Aurukun from here I was keen for a peaceful nights sleep and would rather attempt the road in daylight.
So I shared the shower with a cute green tree frog, washed the red dust out of my hair and every orifice, made use of the satellite phone for a quick call home and then tucked up in bed for a good nights sleep.
Not too much to report on this next leg of the journey apart
from dust, gums, dust, termite hills, more dust and the odd mob of cattle. I
passed through Coen just as the sun was setting and decided instead of stopping
for gas I should make it to Archer River Roadhouse.. Should is a great word!
Lakefield National Park, Australia
Back out and onto the road to Old Laura – the beginning of a very close relationship with the infamous red dust! Scoring a muscle loosening massage from the corregations, on I drove..
An hour or so on after entering Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park, I decided to find a spot for lunch and followed a 2k sandy track in to Horseshoe lagoon which was home to a variety of bird life and supposedly more crocs.
As you can see I set myself up with my gas cooker, cooked up my microwave meal (lol) and then went on a croc hunt. Still no luck….. (They were probably hunting me!)
After wilting in the heat for a bit longer it was time to move on so back into the air conditioning (Thank the lord) and on I drove.
After a good nights sleep it was rise n shine and yay the kitchen is open. A good breaky, another stroll down the beach then off I head on my next leg.
The Bloomfield track was great, more stunning scenery, several small river crossing and one slightly bigger crossing. It was actually a “Hmm can’t turn back now moment”, but made it through easily anyway. Some steep ascents and descents but thankfully in those areas the road had been concreted.
Past more croc habitat (still no sightings), through Wujal Wujal and arrived at Black Mountain (Kalkajaka) National Park. As you can see in the pics, this was quite a unique area. It just looked as if giants had tipped a pile of rocks and boulders in the middle of nowhere. Cool.
A very spiritual area to locals as well as travellers and as you can see by the info sign pics, some interesting mysteries surround the area.
Heres some info from Department of National Parks to fill you in..
“Black Mountain National Park contains an imposing mountain range of black granite boulders. These formidable boulders, some the size of houses, stack precariously on one another—appearing to defy both gravity and logic.
The wet tropics and drier savanna/woodland regions meet in this park, making it a refuge for wildlife. The extraordinary combination of flora and geomorphology provides a habitat for an unusual range of wildlife, including species that are endemic (entirely confined) to this boulder-jumbled mountain.
Known as Kalkajaka (meaning ‘place of spear’), Black Mountain is an important meeting place for the Eastern Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal people and is the source of many Dreaming stories. The mountain is also a feature of local non-Aboriginal folklore”
So after enjoying the above it was onward to Cooktown, where I called into the info centre and at the time thought not much of the town. Unfortunately it turns out I didn’t even get to main centre and missed the beautiful coastline and lookout. Damn!! Should have inspected the map closer. Will have to try see Cooktown again.
After grabbing a few more maps etc and touching base with the safety committee I headed onward and shot out to Hopevale for a look and to get gas. Hmm Not really worth the trip but did see a few brumbies..
Cape Tribulation, Australia
Port Douglas – Cape Trib
So after a night of shena****ns in Port Douglas and a relaxing morning with Jill and the dogs it was off to Cape Tribulation.
First stop Mossman Woollies!!
Sightseeing can wait, this is the last decent supermarket I will see for some weeks. Loaded up on the essentials, chilly bin full and ready to roll..
Onto the Daintree and I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
I had a good leg stretch on the 2k circuit track through Mossman Gorge Rainforest, admired the crystal clear water of the gorge river and then it was time to get moving onward up the coast. I could easily have spent a week doing this stint. Stunning beaches with no one on them (just how I like it), gorgeous rainforests, a ferry crossing over a croc infested river and the chance of spotting cassowaries in the wild…
As I meandered my way through the lush greenery of the Daintree National Park I soaked in everything I could, the mountains, the coastline, the rivers, the wildlife. I could easily have a log cabin in the bush here, if only I would hurry up and win lotto!
So on arriving at Cape Tribulation I checked in to PK’s Backpackers and met some very friendly characters..
I made it my mission to find a local and pick their brain regarding the condition of the Bloomfield track. The 4×4 track from here through to Wujal Wujal, on the way to Cooktown. Apparently can be known to be quite rugged but ok at this time of year – if too rough I would have to turn around and back track for several hours- Wahh.
Well I was informed by PK’s staff to have a chat to Tom (actually forgotten his name so will use Tom. Woops), the guy with the akubra (Cowboy) hat on, apparently he is quite the adventurer and knows all the 4×4 tracks nearby. Great – Just have to find internet to check in with the family and I’ll hunt Tom down.
Due to PK’s net being down it was a trip up the road to the restaurant where I had to have a wee snack in order to use their WIFI. Caught up with mother dearest then back to PK’s.
So after a relaxing cider at the bar watching the footy, Tom appeared for a chat. He was great, assured me the Bloomfield is in good condition at the moment and I would have no problems. He then filled me in on a few other tracks and told me about some of his adventures.
Turns out him and two mates are slowly making their way around Aussie also, but instead of using the main roads they have made it their mission to cover as many back roads as possible. Pretty impressive ground they have covered already.
So after a few laughs with the various international characters at the bar (even a fellow kiwi), a waltz down to the beach and a short sing along with someone playing a ukeleilee, it was time to grab some grub then hit the pit.
Unfortunately I hadn’t paid attention to the kitchen closing time soo Le snak and an orange for tea it was. Ahh well, time for bed..