Monday, September 28, 2009

- CAPE YORK, Part 3 -

(A section of the OTT)

The following morning we packed up and hit the road heading back south via the Jardine River Ferry. 30km or so past the Ferry we followed a track that links up to the Old Telegraph Track, as we wanted to save back tracking to reach the Elliot Falls for a swim! Just getting there was a little adventure, navigating our way around large pools of water and huge ruts gouged out by countless 4wdrivers throughout the tourist season. It was fun and gave us a little taste of the challenges of choosing to reach the cape via the OTT. Eventually we arrived at Elliot Falls and to our surprise had it all to ourselves!! It was beautiful, rushing water cascading over the rocks. Around the corner from the falls we found Twin Falls which was more ideal for swimming & exploring!

(Elliot Falls)

(Beautiful Twin Falls...)

Another 7km south, we found Fruit Bat Falls, formed by rocks stretching the width of a small river. The water was very cold, however we couldn’t pass a swim under the falls, and it was such an awesome spot!

(Fruit Bat Falls)

Our destination for today was to make it out to Captain Billy Landing, location on the Eastern side of the cape, via a 30km track off the main road. We were excited about visiting Captain Billy landing as we’d seen some impressive photo’s and decided on the spot that we wanted to check it out, although we had heard reports it can be really windy!! The turn off sign also noted that there would be Speed humps for the entire 30km’s!! Great!! It’s going to be a slow bumpy ride!! After about 10km’s down the track the corrugations were bloody shocking and then….


We’d lost all our steering!! We both jumped out of the car to find out what the problem was… and there it was; the idler arm on the left hand side had snapped clean at the joint. So there was no support or pivot point for the steering rods!! BLOODY HELL, here we were with no steering, obviously no spare parts for this kind of break down and the closest roadhouse was about 80km’s away! We slowly turned the car around and we fastened the steering rod up to the chassis to help support it as we slowly drove the car back the way we had come to the main road. Our plan was to get back to the main road, have some lunch and flag down a passing traveller for some advice and some spare wire.

We were lucky enough to have someone call past just as we had finished lunch and surprisingly it was another Toyota 4runner! The kind traveller had some spare fencing wire and we rigged it up underneath to hold the Idler Arm in place! So the next gruelling stage began, crawling and nursing the car 70kms south to Bramwell Junction Roadhouse. It was slow going, and every 10kms we stopped to check we weren’t doing any damage and that our rough bush mechanics wasn’t wearing and tearing! Eventually we arrived at Bramwell, set up camp for the night, had hot showers and bought a few Bourbons to sit and contemplate what our next move would be.

The bush mechanics fastening was holding well and instead of sitting and waiting for a tow truck and paying a hefty towing fee, we measured up that we could still drive the car. Nor did we didn’t have a time issue, so the next morning we headed off towards Weipa, the nearest place to get the car fixed, which was 180km’s away!! A risk we knew, however being school holidays we knew if we needed assistance, it wouldn’t be too far away. So we hit the bumpy road at 7am wanting to make reasonable time into Weipa. The drive was fairly slow and uneventful, still stopping every so often to check that everything was holding well under the car. The corrugations were a lot trickier to navigate and sometimes we had to drive on the shoulder of the road just to smooth out the ride. Finally around 11am we made it into Weipa!! Thank Goodness! We took the car straight to the mechanic and they begun the search for relevant parts while we booked into accommodation. We soon learnt that the only part available would have to be flown in from Cairns, and being so remote the plane came in to town once a week!! We were in for the long haul and thankfully had booked a room with an aircon, it was going to be a long wait!

By the end of the week the car was fixed, the wallet a whole lot lighter and we were back on the road!!! It was certainly a long week, but we managed and put it down to part of the adventure of travelling up the Cape York Peninsula, and we chose the easier way!

(Brendon happy to be back on the road!)

(Weipa Bridge)

(Taken at Musgrave Roadhouse on the way back)

By now we didn’t feel like doing much more exploring so we kept to the road heading south. Just outside Laura, we stopped off to check out the Aboriginal Art at the Split Rock Art site. It was pretty interesting with an awesome view and provided a nice break from the road. From here the bitumen began and we made good time back to our friends place in Mossman.

Back safe and sound, we had a wonderful 3 weeks away. The journey “Up the Cape” reached all expectations and provided us with countless memories and adventure! It was unbelievable and we would definitely consider doing it again! Perhaps with a group of mates and a boat next time!

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