Hit the Tip and now waiting to be shipped out
28.06.2017 28 °C
In Weipa we did the mining tour which was interesting included a drive around town, history details and seeing the mining vehicles in action, Big Boy Toys! Driven by Women!!! Rio Tinto who lease the land from the traditional owners have policies of working staff that including 25% women, 25% indigenous and 50% of whatever I guess. All workers have to live in Weipa no fly ins so its very regimented. The company also makes sure that everything is run properly, sporting fields, schools, shops. Oh how exciting it was to walk into Woolworths!!! There is one of everything. eg camp ground, supermarket, bakery, no competition. The "resort" we stayed in was built at a guess back in the 70's-80's, our bed was so low that we think it was originally a water bed with vinyl head rest, like out of the Alvin Purple movie! hasn't been done up for years but it was better than camping. We visited the library but we couldn't find anything about the time Dan's Dad was there except for some photos of the buildings he may have built but it was good for Dan to see that.
After a big shop at Woolies, we got organised for 5 nights of camping. First stop was Morton Telegraph Station, and to my surprise the pictures in the booklet where just as it was. As they were able to use the water from the river, the camping area was coved in beautiful green grass. We picked a spot camping next to who I guy called Mick who reminded me of Mick Dundee (Paul Hogan). He had been there a week, knew everyone and had a very quick wit. We was traveling with a couple and their down syndrome son who was very lovely. We have seen them a few times since they left Morton. Mick left the next day and we stayed on for an extra night giving Dan a chance to fish and relax. Dan was down at the river for a few hours but came back with a broken rod and 3 less lures, not fish and not croc sightings. There was a lovely bush walk, heaps of birds to see and a creek with a natural rock bridge. By 5.30 the park was packed with overnighters either heading north or south. Wasn't a peaceful night as it was now school holidays and the place was full of kids. We had 4 men camping together and they snored all night, Father and Son-in-law that played, 'how much can we drink by the fire before midnight' and then at 5am the kids were awake! Bleary eyed we got up and packed up again. Oh how I was sick of doing this.
Our next plan stop was Fruit Bat Falls and then on to Eliot Falls to camp. We got to Fruit Bat by lunch time and again it was packed with families all swimming and eating lunch. We had a look, too the photos and then decided as it was very rough getting into the water with my knee we would move on to Eliot Falls, set up camp and then swim. Well that didn't happen. We got onto the Old Telegraph Road, very, very rough and only for serious 4WD's when we hit the first water crossing. I took one look at the water and so 'NO WAY are we going through that'! Dan agreed. He wasn't got to risk damaging Pepe or getting water into the back so we decided to push on to the top and see what accommodation or camping we could find. We had some lunch there while we watched some outback 4WD's go through the waist high water in there high machines but I think that a guy in a nice new Range Rover towing a new looking camper van was having second thoughts too.
We arrived at the Jardine Car Ferry where I had read that it could take hours to get over the river due to queues and that the locals run the ferry and charge what they like. We had been told that it was $100 per vehicle return as 99.9% of vehicles have to come back but we didn't. When we went in to pay, it took the guy about a minute to work out what he would charges us, but finally he said, '50 bucks will do'. I paid and got into the car as there wasn't anyone else there which was a surprise. Headed into Bamaga and Seisa hopeful of a bed for the night instead of camping. First went to the resort that we have booked on Thursday, but the reception was closed and was told by the staff in the bar where there with people setting up for a party that maybe at 4pm someone could help us. I then phoned Loyalty Beach Van park that said 'Paradise by the sea' who told me that had one room left for $175 plus GST for the night but single beds. We went there but checked it out before we decided to stay. They showed us a shoe box with 2 single beds with a small fridge as the bed side table and air con. The one toilet and one shower were at about 20 metres away! I felt faint. No way, I would rather set up the tent. Dan didn't say a thing, he only said something when we got back to Pepe and his phone beeped! He had Optus for 2 minutes then nothing.
No other accommodation available at the other camping ground so we went back to the resort as it was almost 4pm. When we finally got to speak to someone and explained our situation, that we would stay 3 nights and that we were booked in here on Thursday did they find us a room which we were most grateful for. Luxury in the desert! TV, Air Con, Pool. Bar, Restaurant, BBQ everything a ex camper could wish for. We realised that they don't pay staff here on the weekends, so no reception or housekeeping. I think because of the penalty rates they only take bookings for tour groups. We had the whole place to ourselves on Saturday night except for the 160 people (practically the whole town as it was the Mayors 50th Birthday party in the restaurant). On Sunday a tour group of APT over 80's arrived and they stayed 2 nights so we got to see their planned entertainment of the native dance group so that was good. On Monday we caught the ferry across to Thursday Island. Lovely day out, had lunch in the highest pub in Australia, did a bus tour of the island and learnt all about it.
Tuesday we headed for the tip. We had booked into a Tent site with shower and loo all included so no set up and we were away from the camping ground that was full of family groups. We were able to cool off in the pool but it became full of kids within a hour and no matter what the signs said about no jumping etc. all were ignored so we retreated back to our tent for happy hour watching the sun go down on the beach.
Yesterday was what we had spent days driving too, finally the tip was in sight. We got up early and got to the parking area by 10am with about 6 other cars. It was low tide so we were able to walk around the beach which meant only a short distance to climb over the rocks. It was queue up for the photo by the official sign and everyone was offering to take photos for couples and groups so it was all good fun and a lovely morning as it was raining all the drive up from the camping ground. We walked back over the rocks and the views were magical. The Turquoise waters surrounding the islands was picturesque. By the time we had hiked back over the rocks to the car park it was full of cars and people. It was 11am, we had been there an hour. 3 weeks of driving to spend an hour at the top, but was worth it
As my late friends Cheryl would have said, 'Been There, bought the T-Shirt!' Which we did plus Dan got a number plate to display in our Pizza Area back home and a croc water bottle holder.
Enjoyed last night in our Tent with Happy Hour on the beach but no sunset today as the clouds came in and it has been raining ever since. It's meant to be the dry season but it poured rain today.
We are now back at the resort, just doing this blog and sorting out what to take on the Cargo Ship tomorrow. So looking forward to our cruise! Dan has already started take Kwells to hopefully prevent him getting sea sick. It will probably put him to sleep for most of the cruise. We have to have Pepe down at the wharf by 8am and we are boarding at 10am so hopefully the rain will clear and we'll get a nice cruise back to Cairns. Sure beats driving the 1,000 klms back on the mud and dirt road.
We've had word that Lucy is all fixed and ready to go, we just have to discuss the details with the assessor on what the insurance company will pay for and what we have to but whatever it is we are so looking forward to getting back to Lucy and heading west. 3 weeks on the Cape has been a bit long but enjoyable.
Will update you on our cruise when we get back.
Much love to all,
H & D. xxx