I must admit, I really knew very little about Cape York before this adventure. Having spent 2 years living on Horn Island, I am very familiar with the Torres Straits islands and have visited Bamaga, Weipa & Seisa but apart from that, I had no idea about the surrounding countryside. As I said in a previous post, my expectations were very,very low. I was imagining disgusting heat with no chance of a cool respite in the form of swimming (too many crocs) and muddy, humid, mosquito infested swamps. I imagined Ben dragging us from swamp to swamp forcing me to look at different flora & fauna then getting annoyed when the interest I feigned wasn’t at an appropriate level of enthusiasm. So far there has been non of that. The closest we’ve come is when Ben launched into a description of a carnivorous plant he found, and I actually found it quite interesting (I will include a picture of it).
Instead, we’ve been spending our days going from stunning waterfall to stunning waterfall in areas completely devoid of crocodiles and mostly void of mosquitos. We left Coen at the crack of sparrows fart on Saturday morning to make the loooong journey to our next campsite. The campsite was a mere 180km away but it took us about 6 hours due to bad roads, road works and stopping for children to pee. On one of these stops we think Rohan’s most favourite toy, Dipliosaurus (not sure if that’s how you spell it) fell out of the car and is now lost in the wilderness. Rohan has been stricken with grief ever since poor old Diplio left us and is constantly upset. Like the little schemer that he is he has been using our pity to extract lots of extra things out of us. Ben tried to cheer him up by letting him drive Frankie, I slipped him an extra bit of carrot cake, the girls are all being exceptionally nice. Don’t know how long this is going to have to go on for though.
In order to get to our campsite we had to do our first creek crossing. The creek we needed to cross was approx 60m wide and full of brown murky water. With absolutely no regard whatsoever to personal safety, Ben got out of the car and stomped all through the creek to determine the best route to take when we drive across. I was torn. Should I stay in the car, safe and dry and out of reach of crocodiles, or should I get out and cross the creek so I could film Frankie driving through? Obviously I chose the latter. Who can resist when there is a chance to get a viral Youtube video? I pulled off my shoes and went barefoot through a clear part of the creek then climbed up embankment which jutted out beside the brown water and did the rest of the crossing in mud and dense grass. After a great deal of deliberation, and stomping, Ben finally got in the car to drive through the creek. I filmed it, but it is no viral youtube video. Its hardly entertaining at all. Should have stayed in the car. I will post the video but Ben would like me to point out that there is an error in my commentary. When I say “Oooh! Looks like Frankie is struggling a bit!!!” I am wrong. Ben said she did not struggle at all. He was just taking it easy for reasons that I did not care to pay attention to.
Our campsite is called Canal Creek and is a short distance from the crossing and is next to a beautiful fresh water creek. It’s a popular spot for travellers due to it’s proximity to Eliot & Twin falls. It’s not as densely packed as campsites down south, but still, we aren’t alone (as we have been for most of the trip – bar the truckstops and Cairns). Setting up was an arduous task. Rohan by this stage had discovered his dinosaur toy was missing and was near hysterical. Isabelle needed to poo well before the shovel had been unpacked which threw a spanner in the works and Kylah decided that she had had enough and sprawled flat out, face down in the dirt refusing to budge. Jazzy was quite helpful though. I couldn’t find my fly net which led me to be almost as hysterical as Rohan…. it wasn’t good. Luckily Ben is unfazeable and plodded along doing all the work while Rohan and I frantically searched for our beloved items, Isabelle pooed and Kylah slept in the dirt.
Thankfully my fly net was located and I was able to relax without fear of inhaling a fly. After Ben had set us up and sorted us all out we took off to Eliot Falls. No, that’s not a typo. Eliot Falls is spelt with one L. Generally I’m not a big swimmer. I don’t like pools unless the temperature is hotter than 35 degrees. Even then I’d prefer airconditioning to a pool as I hate the smell of chlorine. I’m not overly fond of the beach either because I’m scared of sharks, blue bottles and getting sand in my pants. The only place I truly love to swim is in fresh water. Eliot Falls is just that. Pure fresh spring water coming down from the mountains. It is without a doubt the most beautiful place I have ever been. The 4wd tracks and river crossings make it difficult to get to so it is in large part untouched by hoards of people coming in to destroy it’s beauty. We had Eliot and Twin Falls to ourselves, right in the middle of peak season!!
The falls go on and on for what seems like forever. They are surrounded by wattle trees and native plants and have clear little pools in between each fall. Some of the falls are big with deep pools and others are smaller and have shallow waters. The smell of the fresh water is incredible and overpowering. You can almost smell crispness in the air. We all jumped straight into the falls and swam around. Ben spent so much time under the actual waterfall that his hands and feet became soft and white again. Like a newborn baby’s. They almost could have passed for an accountants hands. I’m not sure how many of you have ever inspected Ben’s hands or feet but his constant building and fixing has led to hands and feet thatcontinually look dirty, even after he has washed them. I took a picture of his hands so I could remember them that way, soft and clean.
Back at camp that night we discussed tomorrows plans around the fire. Ben wanted to do the old telegraph track so that he could do a few more creek crossings (minus Trampy, who was staying at Canal Creek) and watch some people do the crossing at Shot Gun Creek, which is supposed to be the worst crossing on the Cape.
————————— Sunday ———————————
We left early Sunday morning to do the old Telegraph track. I found the soothing, rocking motion of 4wd-ing to be very conducive to napping so I can’t tell you too much about the actual track. I did wake briefly to film a few creek crossings but then was lulled straight back into a deep slumber as soon as we were through.
We arrived at our destination, Gun Shot Creek, at about lunchtime. The kids and Ben went straight down to the Creek to get in amongst the action, while I slowly meandered my way down. It was on my way to the creek when I made the astounding discovery of a whole new subspecies of Bogan!! I’m no taxonomist, so this species may have already been discovered, but incase they haven’t I quickly named them Fogans. For ‘Four Wheel Drive Bogans’ (my other option was Offgans but that doesn’t have the same ring to it).
Fogans are very similar to their cousins Bogans in that they both are really into cars, drink spirits from cans and congregate in big groups of testosterone filled men (with the odd scantily clad woman here and there). Instead of the Ford/Holden arguments that Bogans are prone to, Fogans will argue about Nissans or Landcruisers (no argument really. Landcruisers are waaaay better). Whilst Bogans are concerned with making their cars go faster, look flashier or sound louder, Fogans are all about how tough their car is, how much recovery gear they have and how many war wounds it has.
In the creek, sitting just up from the crossing were a group of Fogans, seemingly blissfully unaware of the ‘Warning Esturine Crocodiles inhabit these waters’ sign mere meters away. They all had their JB in a can & cigarettes hanging from their mouths as they sat in the cloudy, brown water and watched in fascination as 4wd after 4wd did the crossing.
I’m probably going to get told I’m wrong about this as I wasn’t paying too much attention to the crossing (the Fogans had me captivated) but as far as I can tell there are about 5 different ways to cross the creek. One is quite easy and is given the very honourable name of ‘Chicken Track’. This is the one you would take if you had 4 children and were secure enough in your manhood that you did not need to prove anything. The other crossings were INSANE!!! One was a giant slide, I’m guessing at a 75degree angle, down into the water where you have to slide across the water then try to make it up an equally steep muddy slope on the opposite side of the creek.
We watched on as one Fogan did this crossing, he made it half way up the muddy slope on the other side before reversing into a tree (this was met with lots of cheers from his mates) whilst trying to get enough grip to get out.
Thankfully Ben deems Frankie far too precious for suck endeavours so we returned to our car to eat lunch and leave.
The afternoons activities involved visiting a place called ‘Fruit Bat Falls’. After seeing Eliot falls the day prior, I did not think it possible to find anywhere else on Earth quite as beautiful and magical. As is often typical, I was wrong.
Fruit Bat Falls was stunning and huge, filled with fresh spring waterfrom nearby mountains. Again the water was so crystal clear and refreshing – absolutely perfect. We sat underneath the waterfall and let the water beat down on our shoulders, massaging them with the force. Mine were kinked from napping at a weird angle in the car….. Ben’s were kinked from all the work he does. There were no kinked shoulders by the time we’d finished though. I really don’t have the words to describe the falls so I’ll add some photos at the bottom of the blog.
Back at camp we had chocolate muffins (cooked in the Dream Pot) and lasagna (also cooked in the Dream Pot) and an early night.
—————————— Monday ———————————
This morning Ben took the kids on a discovery hike up Canal creek. I had a big sleep in then pottered around making lunch (Minestrone Soup) and a Carrot Cake before plonking down in my cosy camp chair and reading my book.
The kids and Ben arrived back from their hike famished and we ate our lunch before heading off for another swim at Eliot Falls.
Tomorrow we are leaving and heading to the tip. We are staying at a beachside campsite at Umagico. I’m trying to decide whether I ditch Ben and the kids and hop on the Ferry to Horn Island to visit all my old friends, or whether I do the responsible thing and stay with the family.
Thank you for reading!!
P. S. Pics are taking too long to load so I’ll make an album on FB & add them to the blog later.