|18TH July, 2013.
Today we are heading for Cooktown.
The tractor arrived just after 8am to pull us off the site and onto the road and we hooked up and we were on our way.
We covered quite a few miles over roads we had already travelled when we went up to Port Douglas. This time Rob was driving so I got to see the scenery for myself.
It was a long slow haul up Mt. Molloy but really beautiful scenery, although the road was rather winding it was still easy going and “Fred” pulled “Essie” up and over with ease. The road was in really good condition.
The scenery, as you would imagine, was lush tropical rainforest. There were a couple of areas where there had been landslides but it was all cleared and apart from one small section of road works it was plain sailing all the way.
I saw a crocodile sunning itself on the mangrove mud banks as we crossed the Molloy River. He was not a very large one, well by the standards up here that is, probably only about 5-6 feet long and judging by its nose it was a freshwater one. The salties have a more blunt type of nose where this guy’s was long. Still had the usual sharp looking teeth though. No picture unfortunately as we had nowhere to stop.
There were quite a few of those beautiful bright blue butterflies in among the trees. I am yet to find out what they are called, but stay tuned, rest assured I WILL FIND OUT.
All the Poinciana trees are in bloom up through the mountains, mostly red and orange and they really stand out among all the dark green of the trees and ferns.
On the other side of Mt. Molloy the vegetation changes dramatically. All the lush tropical greenery has been left behind and we are now entering what they call the Savannah type of area where there is a lot of grass and trees, not the same type of trees as before and there are certainly no ferns or palm trees either.
Mt. Molloy is in the Lower Cape York area and is named after a teamster who discovered copper there in the 1880’s.
Over in the distance you can see a mountain which according to the map is called Lighthouse Mountain and right up on the topmost point there is a large free standing rock column which in fact looks very similar to a lighthouse so I suppose that’s where the mountain got its name from.
There are numerous termite mounds along the sides of the road, small ones about a foot high right through to large ones about 3 – 4 feet high. Certainly not big by Northern Territory standards where they can reach anything up to 10 feet in height but these ones were still quite impressive anyway. They are a lot wider than those in the territory and also a different colour, these ones being grey.
The temperature is climbing but Rob says it’s quite comfortable, I say it’s bloody hot. LOL.
There are a lot of 4WD’s coming towards us who have obviously been up to The Cape or over to Weipa as they are covered from front to back with thick red dust and dirt, I think they will have a hard job getting rid of it any time soon too.
The next town is called Mt. Carbine and there is a big open cut mine ahead. It has been mined in tiers or terraces if you want to call them that. It’s not the biggest one we’ve seen in our travels but it’s large enough.
We stopped at the Mt. Carbine Roadhouse which didn’t look much from the outside but inside was a nice little convenience store, post office, camp ground, cabins and a café.
We all had a pie while sitting on the verandah and it was a nice break. The lady who runs the place, also named Carolyn, was very friendly and even gave us some tourist information on Cooktown and a couple of coupon books just in case we wanted to do any of the attractions in the area and get a discount at the same time.
Mt. Carbine was founded after the discovery of extensive wolfram deposits in 1890. Wolfram we are told is tungsten that is used to harden steel, hence the name tungsten steel.
It is very dry out there and I don’t think they have had any substantial rain for quite some time.
The scenery is changing again, they now call it Dry Savannah, and the trees are becoming sparser and the mountain range ahead has very few trees and those that are there are not all that big. There have been a couple of fires through the area and no water in any of the creeks we have come over.
We now have Macadamia plantations on one side of the road, thousands and thousands of them and banana plantations on the other side. This is at a place called Lakeland where we now head up the Peninsular Development Road to Cooktown. The road is sealed all the way now and the condition of the road is much better than many of those further down south.
We have passed a few billabongs along the way which are just a mass of white water lilies. They are just beautiful but again nowhere to pull off and take a picture.
We are just coming into Cooktown and there are two massive mounds of black rocks one on each side of the road. There is little or no vegetation and it is quite eerie. I will endeavour to find out all about it in the days to come.
We arrived at the Cooktown Caravan Park and set up camp on a nice double site in a bushland setting.
I think we will like it here, well let’s hope so we have booked in for 7 nights then they told us we could have the 8th one for free, so we will see what happens. First impressions are always the best I think and our first impressions of Cooktown have all been very good.
19th July, 2013.
First thing on the agenda this morning is to find a Doctor. No, I’m not indisposed again, but need some prescriptions before we head much further.
Found a good doctor at the medical centre who quite happily wrote out the prescriptions I needed and ALSO furnished me with prescriptions for mega strength antibiotics just in case my last problem resurfaced somewhere off the beaten track. I think that was just great and in my case good insurance.
We drove down to the wharf area and Rob sussed out some fishing spots for future days. It is a lovely bay edged by mangroves on one side, islands on the other and then opens sea out to the reef.
I put on plenty of goop to ward off the sand-flies and I was lucky there was a gentle breeze which keeps them at bay as well.
We went for a walk up into the town and the old buildings were just lovely. Just what you would imagine back in the 1880’s when you had men in the straw hats and white suits and ladies in their long dresses and bonnets taking “tea” on the verandas.
Even the Police Station has that tropical façade.
There are just the basic amenities here for groceries, butcher, greengrocer etc. and the prices are a bit higher than what they are back in the cities but you have to expect that when you are so far away from everything.
The locals seem quite friendly and the “TRUE” locals are all clean and reasonably dressed which is an improvement on down south.
We had lunch in the RSL which is only small but had a good feel about it with very efficient staff and nice meals.
Outside the RSL is a propeller from a Caribou so Rob was quite happy and inside more pictures of Caribou’s and plaques from 38SQN and also 35SQN.
There are quite a few monuments in the park, mostly to Captain Cook and a fountain where the early settlers obtained their fresh water supply.
There is also a musical boat that has tubes and timbers when you strike them with hammers produce musical tones.
In the smaller park up the road they have their war memorial with a Leopard Tank and cannon that was given to the people of Cooktown by the Commonwealth Government.