Friday 16th we decided to leave Cullen Point, this was mainly because the mosquito’s were very aggressive. The point of land we where camped on is swampland in its interior so they didn’t have to travel far to get us. Vicki took off for the beach to have one last fish after I had rigged very heavy breaking strain line on the rod. Soon she came racing back to camp shouting “crocodile”. A crocodile had swum in to have a look. Sure enough we saw him again cruising along about a hundred metres offshore. Steff threw a line in also and the crocodile then swam in close to shore. It was probably about 3 metres long. Whilst previously at the Mapoon shop a local had warned us about crocodiles in the area and advised us to stay off the beach at night.
Had to return to Weipa to get back on the main road north so stocked up on some essential supplies including extra tubes of “Itch Eze” and Bushmans 80% Insect Repellent. The real strong stuff. Had to go south from Weipa about 75 kilometres before we took a road eastward through Batavia Downs Station to link us to the PDR. This road was in excellent condition and had obviously just been graded and widened. Passed more 4WD tourist buses. This Batavia Downs road was only 39 kilometres and we then had 22 kilometres to our next camp, the Moreton Telegraph Station. This was a pleasant campground around what was once one of the telegraph relay stations.
There are three levels of camping here. For us peasants there is the general campground, for commercial operators there is a section with shaded shelters and benches, for the moneyed there are safari tents and real beds with three course meals and upmarket ablutions. Mind you they pay $79 per tent and $35 per meal, us peasants only pay $10. When we wandered past these areas on our search for the elusive Cuss Cuss the commercial section was full with a large tag along tour operation and there were about 25 people having a meal at the safari tent section.
This station is on the bank of the Wenlock River. In the dry only a trickle of about half a metre over the crossing but in the wet it can be 15 metres! over the crossing. At the camp ground the old telegraph station building and the generator are housed on piles about 5 metres high even though the campground is well above the river. She must be a mighty thing to see in flood. We put the pots in the river to try and catch a feed of Cherubim but only caught a couple. We also went spotlighting in search of the elusive Cuss Cuss but they remained elusive.
Sunday 18th left Moreton Telegraph Station bound for Elliot Falls. After about 50 kilometres of travelling we arrived at Bramwell Junction Roadhouse and we took the opportunity to top up the fuel. We were warned that the road got very corrugated north of here.
It was about 110 kilometres north of Bramwell Junction to the turn off to Elliot Falls and we found the road to be in very good condition. Any corrugations were only minor and in places you would expect to find corrugations. We passed through everything from open heath lands to remnants of range forest and the road surface varied from rock to dirt to sand. There were some fairly narrow sections of road and sharp bends with the normal number of sudden dips in the road, usually a water crossing, so care was needed in driving. There was also the usual number of “cowboys” driving far too fast.
To get to Elliot falls you have to turn off the PDR onto the Old Telegraph Track (OTT). Now this OTT is why some people come to the Cape – to pit their vehicles against a very tough and unforgiving environment. Some parts of the OTT are now so steep and eroded that unless you have diff lockers and a winch you have no hope of getting through. It takes its toll on vehicles, a near new 200 series Landcruiser has just left the campground with the rear dif inoperable and grinding noises coming from the front diff. I don’t like his chances of making it to Weipa.
We are avoiding the OTT as there is a perfectly good road to the tip. However to get to Elliot falls you need to go north around 9 kilometres on the OTT. This track was pretty bad as it is not maintained. Very bad corrugations and a water crossing that any decent 4WD would get through.
We were only about 3 kilometres from the campground when looking in my rear view mirror I saw the Landcruiser that I new was behind me alongside me overtaking. This was a very narrow single vehicle track with no room for such stupidity however he was alongside and almost into me so I swerved left. Unfortunately I must have hooked the leading awning strut into a branch as Michael and Jenny who were behind the idiots in the Landcruiser signalled me to stop as the strut was loose. Re clipping the strut we proceeded into the Elliot Falls camping area. We had arrived early enough so that we virtually had the pick of the sites and found a site into which we could fit the three vehicles. It was just as well we had followed our plan to make camp early as the campground soon filled to overflowing.
When opening up the van we discovered that the forward strut becoming hooked and loose had resulted in the awning pinion bending and the awning would not rotate. Without the awning rotating we could not lift the van roof. Not good. After much scratching of heads I disassembled the awning and removed the awning from its roof track. We now have the awning back in place but it is permanently rolled up and secured with tape and wire ties and cannot be used. We can however raise and lower the roof. I will have to get this repaired once we get home and I am betting that it will not be cheap. I will also need to look at how I can ensure that this can not happen again.
This should not have happened, it was only three kilometres to camp but this idiot was in too much of a hurry and had no respect or consideration for others. Unfortunately we see numerous examples of this sort of driving. The style of driving and the number of people “doing the cape” make us consider that this will probably be our one and only trip to the cape. In some respects the PDR is just too good a road and promotes fast and dangerous driving.
Elliot Falls campground isn’t too bad. At least National Parks have made allowance for vehicles towing trailers as there are good spaces specifically for this. Because of the number of people camping here the sites are just dirt but it is the falls that make this place. YOU CAN SWIM HERE!
There are waterfalls, shallow pools, deep pools, it is terrific. Definitely a high point of the trip so far.
We have had several swims and tend to stay in the water for a long time as it is tepid, not at all cold. It is best to swim in the morning as by afternoon it can get a bit crowded although a lot of people just take photos and don’t go swimming. There are the usual 4WD tour bus groups of oldies as well.
To get to the water you have to walk underneath a colony of fruit bats and the smell is pretty powerful. We have also seen some carnivorous Pitcher Plants but are yet to spot the elusive Cuss Cuss.
We are now only 62 kilometres south of the Jardine River ferry and from there it is only 45 kilometres to Bamaga.