Thursday 8th July
Broke camp at Kalpower Crossing yesterday. Prior to leaving I pulled each wheel and hub off the van to inspect the bearings as there was a squeal coming from the hub. Both bearings were okay, it was probably dust between the electric brake and the drum. As it pays to take every precaution possible in this sort of country it was reassuring to know nothing was wrong and it was probably just dust.
The track north in Lakefield National Park varied from extreme corrugations to soft sand to good track. All in all a pretty interesting drive made all the more interesting by the many creek crossings. Because it was late in the dry season the crossings are fairly shallow with the deepest only being wheel deep. We didn’t see any crocodiles in Lakefield although other people we spoke to told of seeing them. We even tried spotlighting for them without success.
With the size of Lakefield and the number of camping spots it would be possible to spend several months in the park. The only downsides to the park are the number of people and the fact that you cannot go in the water (not unless you are a complete idiot). Kayaks are also not advisable here. We learnt that at the campsite just north of our camp on the Normanby River a person was taken from a kayak by a crocodile last year.
We joined the Peninsula Development Road at Musgrave Roadhouse. This is an old station property that, like a lot of others has seen the tourist potential and now has a fuel outlet as well as a basic shop where you can get a cold drink and a hamburger. We didn’t need car fuel – just person fuel so we had a hamburger. Raewyn told us the name of one roadhouse that serves terrific hamburgers and that Garry and her always stop for one at this particular roadhouse. Unfortunately we forgot the name so are now stopping at every roadhouse to have a hamburger so that we don’t miss it.
The road from Musgrave to Coen was varied, some good, some not so good. About 60 kilometres north of Musgrave we hit a corrugated section that lasted for about 20 kilometres. This section of the road was composed of a whitish type of rock and whenever you see this you can be fairly confident there will be corrugations. This then gave way to a red clay road that was excellent. This clay was still damp from recent rains and if there had been any more rain it would have been very “interesting”.
Approaching Coen we heard talk on the UHF that the caravan park was full, not that we wanted to stay at a park but this shows the amount of people on the road. We went about 3 kilometres north of Coen and camped on the banks of the Coen River. As there were young children playing in the river, and these make nice bit size snacks for crocodiles, we presumed it was safe to swim. You beauty, at last a river to swim in.
It is a beaut camp, right on the river bank and shaded by trees. It is so nice we have spent the day here and will not leave until tomorrow. We have a fire going and Vicki is busy concocting one of her delicious meals.
There are about a dozen other rigs camped here for the night but most travellers just hurtle past on what must be a very long days driving in their “race” to the top and back.