New Site Title.

Hi all, we’ve maxed out on our data for so have started a new site called GregnSuesAdventures. Hope you can continue to join us on our travels. To do so you will have to select ‘follow’ and put your email address in again. Can’t find it? Look in the drop down menu to the right. Greg said ‘do it now so you don’t forget!’

Cheers for now!

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From Mountains to the Sea!

After getting the car and trailer fixed up and ready to go again we headed off to Mt. Buller. Instead of taking the trailer up the mountain we camped down the bottom alongside a creek and did a day trip around Mt. Sterling and Mt. Buller seeing Craig’s Hut, Kings Hut and Bindaree Falls on the way. Craig’s Hut was nothing special as it was a replica of the one made for the movie ‘The Man From Snowy River’ but the location and outlook was absolutely stunning with Mt. Cobbler in the background. Mt. Buller was a surprise as we expected a few people to be there hiking and mountain bike riding but it was a ‘ghost town’. I suppose Thredbo is the same but I was amazed by how many private club lodges there were and owned by all sorts of clubs as well as the expected resorts. We stayed three nights at this creek camp doing a walk another day up to Plain Creek Falls and general sightseeing. I woke up one night at 2am to go to the loo and saw headlamps only metres away in the creek. Two blokes I think must have been walking up the creek trout fishing but not with rods but maybe spears or something. They were very quite and if I didn’t see the torches I wouldn’t have known they were there. Bit scary really as no one else was camped for miles away. These trout fishermen are a funny lot with their camouflage gear sneaking up on fish and then you have the deer hunters shooting and driving by with their trophies of antlers in the back of the ute. Victoria high country certainly is different!

Next we went to Beechworth visiting the gaol which only closed down in 1979 and the old precinct where Ned Kelly was held when caught in nearby Glenrowan before being sent to Melbourne for his trial and hanging. Beechworth had too many sympathisers for his trial to be held there and to get the desired results. His mother also spent time at the gaol with her newborn baby girl on attempted murder charges for hitting a policeman with a frypan when he made indecent advances to her fourteen year old daughter while waiting to arrest Ned’s brother Dan. And this is what sparked the whole ‘Ned Kelly’ saga. The gaol also had the first female hanging in Victoria.

Our next adventure took us down to Wonnangatta Station in the valley. Not a bad trip til the last thirteen kilometres. There on it was so steep and rough that things on the back seat were falling into the front with us! These tracks are for tricked up 4WD’s but we were doing it in a fully loaded ‘stock standard’ 4WD with a 1800kg trailer on behind. Once at the homestead we met a family with a campertrailer who informed us they left 9am that morning to go out via Wombat Range track but couldn’t do one of the jump ups and were back where they started at 3pm and going to go out the way we came in. So looks like we have to go back out the same way though we did find another track off that one which got us out of some of the really, really steep bits but we had to negotiate fallen trees and do some clearing to get through!

Continuing on, we called into Bright, Mt.Beauty, Mt. Hotham and Dinner Plains where we found on getting out of the car it was only about five degrees and expecting down to minus one in the next couple of days. Needless to say, we didn’t hang around and anyway you couldn’t see any views for the rain and fog!

We pulled into Omeo and stayed behind the pub for a few nights in a so-called ‘free camp’. These types of free camps end up costing more then a week in a caravan park because you should do the ‘right thing’ and have a couple of drinks and maybe a meal which we did and enjoyed! The second night there we left after a couple and went home for tea when a bloke camped next to us went past with his guitar and said to ‘come to the pub’ as he and another young bloke were going to do a ‘jam’. So we did and they weren’t bad especially as they’d never met til that afternoon. The barmaid filmed them with her phone and next thing one of the publicans was asking for them to play Friday night which I believe they hung around to do. Anyway there’s a photo in the pub which three guys staying there wanted with the deer in the background and we all decided to get in it too whether they wanted it or not! After the pub closed we waited up for the Lunar Eclipse and the Red Moon and were lucky enough to get a couple of good shots especially as it had been overcast all day and only just cleared up.

Finally leaving the high county we headed back to the coast and I must say, it was good to see the ocean again. We stayed just north of Lakes Entrance at Lake Tyers and went back for a day trip and sightseeing. The waterways are stunning there and as you can image it would be bedlam in the holidays with boats, jetskis and kayaks.

We had a couple of days kayaking at Lake Tyers and even caught a beaut flathead but….it was too big at 70cm and had to put it back!

Now we are slowly heading north to NSW, probably following the coast before starting another couple of months work, damn!

Cheers til next adventure!

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High Country Huts and Rough Tracks!

We saw 2018 in with friends Wendy and Doug whom we met in Kalgoorlie and their daughter, son-in-law and friends at Lake Glenmaggie on a private property. It was a good night with a smoked BBQ supplied and plenty of drinks to see the year in. Next day they all returned to town and we stayed on for a few more days just chilling out, as you do!

When we finally dragged ourselves away we drove to Walhalla, a small historic gold mining town which resembles a quaint English village. Most of the town burnt down in 1888 when a dressmaker’s business caught fire while working by candlelight (how would you be)! But the rebuilding of the town started straight away and before long mining and businesses were all go again. On the way into the village we got a puncture on the rough gravel road and Greg was able to plug and mend it. After having a browse around Walhalla and lunch we then headed up into Macalister State Forest enroute to the Alpine NP. We stopped at one historic point of interest and found we had another puncture in the same tyre. Once again Greg was able to mend it luckily otherwise we wouldn’t have any spares left by now. Before getting back in the car we heard this horrifing sound of a big tree falling and had no idea how close or which way it was falling. Quite scary actually, didn’t know which way to run!

Onwards and upwards to Mt. Useful fire tower(1434m) for spectacular views before camping nearby for the night. Next day we had an amazing sight of the valleys below filled with clouds. Our next camp was to be up from Licola past Mt. Tamboritha and ten degrees cooler than down hill where they were expecting in the fourtys. We also had a lovely crystal clear creek next to us but it was just too cold to get in. I tried!

Next day leaving the trailer behind we went for a drive seeing Moroko and Horseyard Flat huts on the way to the Pinnacles Lookout and fire tower. The original tower burnt down in the bushfires and they replaced it by assembling elsewhere, bringing it in by helicopter and plonking it on the foundation. Luckily all fitted as planned!

We next drove across the iconic Billy Goat Bluff track which is for the next 11 kms extremely steep, narrow with sheer drops either side of the ridge and loose gravel. OK, Greg drove and I held on! Halfway across we met some other drivers on the helipad and one was towing a trailer. He thought what he had already came up was steep but the best was yet to come! Anyway, not long after on the radio we heard he was in trouble and needed winching. It would have been hard getting traction with all that weight behind you and once you start there’s no turning around!

The next couple of days we walked to Piemans and Conglomerate Falls and saw more huts including Kelly’s, McMichaels, Guys, Howitt Plains and Frys. A lot of the huts were built by Fred Fry in the 1940’s and looks like he only had the one design as they are all pretty similar except for his own which is the Royals Royce of huts with three rooms, two attached sheds and a verandah. Apparently there’s about 200 huts up in the Alps surprising us as we thought there was only a few though a lot have been rebuilt and restored.

Heading on towards Mansfield we had a ‘dream run’ across King Billy Bluff track covering 14 kms in two hours! It was suppose to be an easy track but turned out to be very rocky with sharp ‘switchbacks’ making it fun to get the trailer around!  Anyway we got there eventually and climbed up to King Billy Bluff with great views across to Mt. Buller and the ski slopes. After lunch we continued on along Brocks Road which wasn’t much better until you crossed the line between national park and state forest. What a difference, it was like a highway! So after travelling about 40 kms we’d had enough and pulled up alongside Jamieson River for a couple of nights. Nice spot!

We are now at Mansfield for a few days while getting a new clutch kit for the car and brake shoes for the trailer. We’ll then do a loop around Mt. Buller and Craig’s Hut, a replica of the one used in the movie ‘Man From Snowy River’ before deciding on our next destination. 

Decisions, decisions!

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Victoria Coast to the Mountains.



Finally we crossed the border to Victoria after spending a few days each in Eden and Merimbula. While in Eden we went to the Whale Museum, the final resting place of Ol’ Tom a Orca ‘killer whale’ who along with other Orcas’ would round up and herd humpbacks into Twofold Bay and alert the whalers for the kill. If the whalers were too slow Ol’ Tom would grab the rope on the boat and drag it to the humpbacks and you can see where the rope has worn away some of his teeth. As reward they would eat the lips and tongue leaving the rest for the whalers. True!

We also drove out to Ben Boyd National Park where the old Boyd whale spotting tower is along with the Green Cape Lighthouse and some stunning coastal scenery. Ben Boyd had whaling stations, huge cattle runs and ships to export them as well as other enterprises including a lavish hotel, a chapel and his own town, Boydtown, all of which he abandoned and went to America as he went broke! How, we don’t know but we keep coming across places he has his name connected to in the middle of nowhere!

My sister Jenny met us in Merimbula for a few days and as it was my birthday we partook in a fabulous seafood platter and wine overlooking the bay. A really great day, thanks guys!

Arriving in Victoria our first stop was Mallacoota on the coast. A great little fishing village and the main foreshore park where we stayed is about 75 acres. We had a great stay with a few people about but come Xmas it would be shoulder to shoulder with campers and boats and a good time to stay away! A lot of fishermen were coming in with bucket loads of flathead and shark but we managed to catch one bream for dinner! Had to wait till the fish cleaning table was cleared so we didn’t embarrass ourselves! But the waterways are great and we got to do quite a bit of canoeing and sightseeing.

We then headed into Errinundra NP west of Cann River staying at Ada River for a couple of days. Further north the road was closed due to washouts so we got the map out and found another track to bypass that section. Big mistake! Firstly we got bogged and the track was blocked further on. We had to unhitch the trailer and winch it out backwards as we were sliding trying to reverse it. Thought we were doomed like the old bus nearby! Finally ready to go again and picked another track as it looked OK (these mountains are full of old logging tracks going all directions). A couple of hundred metres down the road and there’s a tree across the track and too big for our chainsaw. So therefore had to back out and three and a half hours later we’re back to where we started and drove the long way around, much quicker!

Still in Errinundra NP we camped one night at Wilson’s Hut then three at Goongerah campsite and drove 70 kms into Orbost and back to fuel up and restock before heading to Snowy River NP. The drive was the most windiest we’ve ever been on and we were both nearly carsick!

McKillops Bridge on the Snowy River was our next stop for four nights and where we spent Xmas Day complete with a roast pork lunch straight from the camp oven! Surprisingly there were a few people camped there as we expected to be the only ones till Boxing Day! Anyway, we did a couple of day trips sightseeing without the trailer and wanted to see how the road out was as there was limited passing on the single gravel road with sheer drop offs alongside for 11kms. We left earlyish on Boxing Day and didn’t meet any traffic so all good. One of the stops was at Tulloch Ard lookout where you walked down for 1.6kms for the stunning views over the gorge and Snowy River, certainly worth the return uphill walk!

We’ve since been to Buchan visiting the Fairy Cave and stayed at Balley Hooley camp on the southern end of the Snowy River. Now we are off to Sale to spend New Years Eve with friends from Kalgoorlie for a couple of days before going back west to the Alpine NP.

Happy New Year everyone……see you in 2018!

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South Coast NSW.

Today we have a rainy day so a good time to do some blogging. The second week of November after finishing two months of work we drove down to Ulladulla for Greg’s nephew Stein and Tess’s wedding. It was a beautiful day and typical of the Lofts family was VWs themed (including the vows) and stunning.
When we left we did a big days drive of about 20 kms just down the road to Meroo NP staying at Termeil Campground on the beach and lake. It’s a lovely spot but at the time was blowing a northwestly and we couldn’t enjoy the beach much.
On leaving we headed down to Batemans Bay for a shop and then up to Braidwood, a beautiful old town with many lovely heritage buildings from the gold rush era. After a walk around and lunch we drove down to Deua NP camping on the river for two days. From here we moved on to Bendethera Caves camp also in Deua NP and had an interesting drive. The road in was gravel and went from near zero to 900 metres elevation straight up with numerous causeway humps and then down again. Poor old Bertha the Navara got a work out and practice for when we get to the Victorian high country but she did good!
This is where we saw our first ‘live’ wombat in the wild. Several actually! They along with the kangaroos and wallabies did a great job keeping the grass neatly trimmed and other then them and one other campers we had the place to ourselves.
We did the four kilometre walk up to the cave, crossing the creek ten times and climbing the last 500 metres. Nice walk with great views and wildflowers but realised on the climb just how unfit we were and then we had to walk four kms back.
We returned to the coast again staying at Lake Brou between Bodalla and Narooma. As the lake was suppose to be full of bream I proceeded to get the fishing rods out and managed to hook myself! So fishing was put on hold while we made the trip to Narooma to find a medical centre. Both doctor surgerys were closed for lunch so we had to get the ‘ambos’ to remove it for me with a lot of pulling and finally pushing it through and cutting the barb off. Glad they decided to give me a local after the first two goes! Then it was back to the doctors for a tetanus shot and antibiotics.
Later that afternoon we fished and didn’t catch any. Next day we took the canoe out but the wind came up and we had to shelter on shore as we were filling up with water from the waves. Caught a few bream but were all undersized!
Moving on we called into Tilba, another historic town with beautiful old wooden buildings and a real tourist attraction. Also has the Tilba cheese factory there, yum! One of the best beach camping we’ve had so far down this way is Gillards Beach in Mimosa Rocks NP between Bermagui and Tathra. Stunning, millionaire beachfront location with wind protection as well. The first two days here were perfect but OMG the water is freezing. It’s even too cold for the fish!
At present we are inland at South East Forests NP near Tantawangalo Mountain for a couple of days till we head back to Merimbula and Pambula Beach and then into Victoria, maybe!
Without a doubt the South Coast is very stunning and rural and still retains it’s old world charm in many towns such as Braidwood, Tilba, Bodalla and Tathra to name a few. I hope they can keep it that way but the population will probably spill down this way in the future too!


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To The Corner Store!

After leaving Boulia we returned to Mackay as Greg’s Aunt Liz had sadly passed away after a long illness and attended her funeral. We stayed for a few days then had a nice ‘sea change’ camp about 50 kms north at Balls Bay(beautiful) near Cape Hillsborough for three nights before heading out west again.

We passed through Clermont, the Gemfields,Tambo and had three nights at Charleville out on the Warrego River. Moving on we stopped at Cunnamulla for lunch and nearly died when stepping out of the car with shorts and t-shirt on, cold!. We headed straight to the bakery for a nice hot pie and coffee instead of the usual salad sandwich! From here we drove onto Eulo and camped the night alongside the Paroo River.

Next day we arrived at Thargomindah to find out about 400 ‘Variety Bash’ members were arriving in the afternoon enroute from Sydney to Darwin. ‘Surly Shirley’ of the pub was putting a band on and the community a smorgasbord dinner to raise money for the RFDS. We walked into town to enjoy a night out with the locals and ‘Bashers’ and rubbed shoulders with John Paul Young and John Williamson whom are both members of the Bash.

We then headed out to Burke and Wills’ Dig Tree calling into Noccundra Pub (out in the middle of nowhere) on the Wilson River for a coldie!  We camped on the Cooper Creek both at the Dig Tree and Innaminka where we went next. I was surprised there was water in the creek but there’s deep waterholes that never dry out. So water was never a problem for the expedition which Burke led from Melbourne to the Gulf of Carpentria in 1860 but his and Wills’ stupid decisions, arrogance, prejudice and refusal to except help and food from the aboriginals led to their starvation and death! John King then sought out the tribes and lived with them until he was rescued about five months later and was the sole survivor of the northern expedition. King apparently also sired an aboriginal girl by the name of Annie ‘Missy’ King, probably unbeknown to him, who lived and died in the Innamincka/Tibooburra area.

From Innaminka it was then onto Cameron’s Corner bordering QLD, SA and NSW and has a corner store/pub for the night. The countryside out here is absolutely mind blowing! Everyone we speak to travelling out here are equally amazed at how the landscape changes consistently but at the same time the scenery just goes on and on forever. There’s hundreds of creek crossings, hence the name ‘channel country’ and would be great to see in the wet but without a doubt from the air! Then you cross over big red sand dunes and lots of them, feels like riding on a roller coast! Just when you think the country would be worthless you come across mobs of big fat healthy looking cattle. And then there’s the many, many oil and gas wells scattered across hundreds of kilometres. Yes, it’s certainly amazing country but I still don’t think I could live out here!

We are now heading back to the coast having come through Tibooburra and Mutawintji NP and will be back next week for a couple of months work to top up the coffers before heading off again!


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2017 Boulia Camel Races – 21st Anniversary.

Seeing we were out this way and the timing was right, the ‘Melbourne Cup’ of camel races was a ‘must do’! And what a weekend it was! Camping was at the racecourse and about 3,500 people turned up for it so as you can imagine it was like a caravan and camping show but in the dust!
The races and entertainment started Friday night with mower races, official opening and Chris Cook, a Slim Dusty tribute band. At this stage there’s mostly ‘grey nomads’ and other travellers including a few that went to Birdsvilles ‘Big Bash’. Come Saturday the workers and locals from Mt.Isa and surrounds turned up to let their hair down, and they did!
So at 10.30am the camel races kicked off and quickly got through the 400m heats. We thought we were on a roll as we got the first two races up (got some tips off the trainers the night before) but that was the end of our luck! Next up was the kids ‘sheep tagging’ where they sent a sheep with tape on its back into the ring and the kid had to get the tape off and run back to start. The quickest won but not so easy and these poor kids were exhausted!
Now it’s the grown ups turn but with young wild camels that was caught out in the bush for the occasion. These guys and gals have to put the tape on the camel, run back to start, get the tape back and return to start again. Hilarious! Have you seen camels kick? They kick out front, back and sides! There was a few whacks and bruises!
In the afternoon they had the Boulia School Calcutta foot race where each child was auctioned and half the prize money went to the school ($1600) and the winning punter received the other half. One kid was auctioned for $500 and didn’t win but just shows you how generous these punters are. Next up was the 1000m heats to see who qualified for the 1500m Boulia Cup running on Sunday. These longer races takes them 20 minutes to walk round to the start!
That night the crowd was entertained with a spectacular fireworks display and young upcoming country singer Ali S and band.
The last of the races ran Sunday morning with the favourite winning the Cup. Afterwards there were novelty races including yabbies, three legged and a tug a war with more live music but by now we were happy to chill out by the fire with a quiet one and some company.
Boulia region is also renowned for the ‘Min Min’ lights. There have been many encounters with these weird lights probably similar to car lights but they can split, go around you, alongside you, chase you etc but there’s no noise and they don’t affect animals or stock! I think there has been too many different stories to not believe but they can’t be explained.
Boulia also has quite a few prehistoric fossils on display found in their region. They are awesome and after seeing a map of where the inland sea use to be (and its a big chunk out of Australia) it makes you see our wide open outback in a different light and wonder at what use to roam across it many million years ago! Probably should have paid more attention at school but there’s nothing like being out there to understand and appreciate it!



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Lawn Hill Gorge to Mt. Isa.

Loved Lawn Hill Gorge! Absolutely stunning and encourage everyone to see it when up this way. We couldn’t get a camp site at the national park as it was booked out for about four weeks, due to the school holidays no doubt, but stayed at Adels Grove just 12 kms away. A bit pricey but it was nice camping under the grove even though it’s not great for solar panels. They also had Lawn Hill Creek running through and was a ‘take your breath away’ relief from the heat and great for canoeing. We even saw a large freshwater crocodile (we hope) on the edge of the water.
At Lawn Hill Gorge itself there are a few walks you can do but the best is canoeing through the gorge to small waterfalls and a swim at the other end in the warmer spring fed water. The creek itself is a stunning blue green colour and crystal clear so you can see the fish and waterlillies. The Rangers here have got to love their jobs living in ‘resort style’ bungalows, outdoor entertaining and their own private excess to the creek and canoeing.
Afterwards we headed onto Camooweal stopping at Riversleigh world heritage fossil site on the way. Riversleigh now is quite arid but was once a lush rainforest with limestone that has preserved mammal fossils from 33 million years ago. Only part of the site is open to the public and some fossilised limb bones of a large flightless bird can be seen, known as ‘Big Bird’. (Maureen will appreciate this)!
When we got to Camooweal we camped on the edge of town alongside the Georgina River with about 100 other vans and trailers. Nearby there are several ‘sinkholes’ with underground caves, unaccessible though, and in town the ‘Drovers Camp’ museum is worthy of a visit!
Not happy about the temperature dropping though, we’ve had to get long pants, jumpers and extra blankets out first time for a few months!
We are currently in Mt. Isa for a couple of days camped in the overflow park right alongside the mine which runs 24/7 and just ‘hums’ consistently. Surprisingly, the five caravan parks are full so this was the only option besides leaving town but we’re all pretty chuffed as it’s free!
We’ve heard that quite a lot of people staying in town have come from ‘The Big Red Bash’ at Birdsville. Apparently there were about 8000 people there so about 3500 to 4000 vans and trailers. The day after the concert finished everyone had to be out by 12 noon and it took them four hours to get from ‘Big Red’ to Birdsville which is only about 35 kms.
Now we’re restocking (didn’t think I’d be so happy to see a Woolworths or Coles after the exorbitant prices and lack of choices we’ve come across), refuelling, wheel alignment and tyre repair, or another new one, bit of a look around then heading off to the races!
Henry, hurry up and get well! And everyone else, we hope you are all fighting fit!

Cheers for now!


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The Cape to the Savannah!

We made our way south down the east coast of Cape York and as predicted was windy all the way. Our only ‘coast camp’ was at Captain Billy’s Landing and while there we were told about a croc slide on the beach north of the campground coming from a creek. A photo of Greg shows you how wide it was. The next day at low tide when you could get around the rocks to the south we spotted a croc on the edge of the water below another creek. It certainly blended in with the rocks! Funny how a few people we have spoke to, travelled the Cape and didn’t see one croc. They must have their eyes closed as we’ve seen them everywhere, in creeks, rivers, billabongs, ocean and beaches!

Next we went to Portland Road and Chilli Beach but camped about 20 kms inland in a rainforest out of the wind. Around this area is home for the ‘Eclectus Parrot’ which we heard but couldn’t see and the ‘Green Python’. We spotted a juvenile one and they are yellow till about nine months when they change to green. This Python was across the road from where we camped and came out at night in the same spot. Word got around it was there and even the ranger came out one night to take photos. Poor thing would have been sick of torches and flashes going off in its face.

Portland Road ‘village’ has about half a dozen houses in a protected bay and looked very nice where as Chilli Beach was totally littered with rubbish which blows in with the trade winds and mostly comes from overseas and passing ships.They reckon every year when they have a big clean up they pick up around 4000 thongs and about 6000 plastic bottles!

While in this area we visited Lockhart River, an aboriginal community that was surprisingly bigger than we expected. Highly recommended is their art gallery where you could see some of the artists at work out the back.There’s lots of beautiful works, traditional and modern piled up for sale and they have regular exhibitions around Australia as well as an upcoming Singapore exhibition.

Finally we went to Lakefield National Park which was still closed on the way up. Here are the remains of old Lakefield and Laura Homesteads as well as many billabongs and birdlife including magnificent Brolgas and Sarus Cranes.

Backtracking a little, we cut over to the Karumba to Musgrave road from Laura which showed 4WD track on the map. Turned out to be better than most gravel roads and we just had to watch the ‘dips’. We crossed the Mitchell River that was only about a half metre deep at the time but quite wide and as it was getting late and others were camped up we did too even though there were ‘no camping’ signs. We were going to pull up beforehand but came across kilometres of burning off so wasn’t a good idea! The next morning the irate farmer came along and hunted everyone off, bad sport!

We continued on our way to Karumba and stayed for four nights. We were lucky to get a site as the five caravan parks were fairly full and mostly with long term ‘grey nomads’. They’re mad fisherman and the queue at the boat ramp everyday was entertaining to watch. It’s funny how they all turn up at the same time and again all come back in about the same time!

We saw a bloke catch a ‘queenie’ on the beach and he wasn’t real impressed. Said he would take it back to camp and see if anyone wanted it and no doubt it would probably end up being fish cakes. They get a bit fussy with their fish!

While here we did a ‘croc spotting and sunset cruise’ up the Norman River and out to the Gulf. We also found out that the banana and tiger prawns from here are supplied to Woolworths, so now you know where they come from!

Normanton was our next stop and we stayed about 20kms out of town on Leichhardt Lagoon station. We expected maybe half a dozen others to be camped there but was closer to 50 caravans. Some come here every year for a couple of months and I believe a lot of others get there for the Saturday night three coarse meal for six bucks. We missed that one! Also barramundi is being caught in the nearby Norman River and we saw some good ones come in between 70 and 84 cms long. No one was giving them ones away!

One day we enjoyed a ride on the historic ‘Gulflander’ motor train (It’s got a ‘crash’ gearbox!) and was built in the 1880’s to link the Croydon goldfields with the river port of Normanton and has run continuously ever since, though these days for tourism.

Normanton is also home of the ‘Purple Pub’ (yes, we had a beer and lunch there) and also the ‘life size’ replica of the biggest crocodile ever shot. A brave woman by the name of Krystina Pawlowski, a crocodile hunter, shot it in 1957 in the Norman River. It measured in at 8.63 metres and to this day is the largest recorded in the Guinness Book of Records! Could you even imagine coming across one this size? I know I’d crap myself for sure!

So we are currently at Burketown for a few days camped near the Albert River and will go to Adels Grove and Lawn Hill national park on Monday. Not much to see here but we did catch ourselves a nice mud crab…..yummmmm!

Saw these ‘clowns’ in Burketown with their truck and large old boat sitting on a trailer with one broken axle, one bent one and two stuffed tyres. Later they were at the boat ramp with piles of ‘jumping castles’ and who knows what else which they loaded onto the boat to take to Mornington Island for NAIDOC week. The boat was overloaded, on a tilt and they had 150 kms to go. We expected to see all their gear floating back in with the tide and Marine Rescue going out to save them! Might happen yet as they still have to get back, let’s hope not!

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Weipa to ‘The top’.

What a great trip it’s been so far! We went into Gunshot crossing via the bypass road and got there in time to see a few young blokes having fun in the ‘extreme’ crossing. You’ll see with the photos that the drop is vertical and the mud was so deep and boggy they had to winch themselves out. We camped there the night and later on four vehicles came in and they apparently took four hours to double winch themselves through Palm Creek which has steep entry and exits. So by the time they got to Gunshot they’d had enough fun for the day and took the ‘chicken track’!
The next morning they left before us and continued up the Telegraph track for 37kms to Fuit Bat Falls while we went the 115km long way and still got there before them! It was great to be able to swim in ‘croc free’ water even though there were heaps of people and a tour bus as well. Imagine the peak time still to come!
Next, under the Rangers’ guidance we went the long,’easy’ way to Eliot Falls as the short way involved driving through a metre deep water and we didn’t want to drag the camper trailer through that or do any electrical damage to the car. It took us two hours to drive approximately 30kms through washed out, deep rutted bloody creek crossings without doing any damage! Once again the falls and the swim at the end of the day was bliss and the best part being we had it all to ourselves.
No wonder!
A couple of days later when we left we went the short way out and at the creek crossing you had the option of going through the deep water or swing left and up a steep bank which we did, but lost a couple of rear trailer legs for the effort but, it only took 15 minutes to get back to the main road. That was our little bit of Telegraph Track adventure and we came out better then a lot of others we’d seen who did most or all of it!
We carried on to Bamaga and stayed at Seisia for a few nights. You think Thailand has problems with dogs! There’s a few poor mutts wandering around here but the stray horses outnumber them by far. Amazing to see them wandering around town and the campground though a bit of a worry if your in a swag as a couple of blokes next to us were. I don’t think they appreciated goodnight kisses from them!
From here we did a few small trips around the area and out to Mutee Head where there’s some great camps on the beach. This is also the area where the islanders from Saibai moved to 70 years ago due to their island being flooded with huge tides and monsoons, before relocating to Bamaga. We were here for the 70 year anniversary and watched their street parade and celebration. Man, they love their bright colours. They look so happy!
We did our own little island getaway going to Thursday Island for the day then hopping over to Horn Island for a night. Definitely not a 5 star luxury resort holiday destination but does have a great museum and WW11 history and relics. Horn Island was the most forward Australian Air Force base and had approximately 5000 allied forces stationed on it. It was also the second most bombed area after Darwin, but the least known about. Today they are still finding plane wrecks, batteries, trenches etc.with the help of maps the old veterans drew up when they use to have reunions. Sadly they no longer have them as there are very few left and are in their 90’s.
Anyone thinking about moving to Thursday Island can expect to pay about $1500 a week rent and the groceries are more then double the price back home. Everything comes here on a cargo boat from Cairns weekly.
Another different custom here is their unveiling of family members tombstones. After the burial it could be up to ten years or longer before they unveil the tombstone (which is like another wake) depending on different circumstances such as mourning, finances or multiple unveilings at once.
Finally, four months after leaving the Central Coast we have made it to the ‘tip’ of mainland Australia! Yee haa!
Now turning south to pick up what we missed on the way up, mainly on the east side of the Cape!
IT WILL BE WINDY! They don’t tell you that in the brochures!


Categories: Living The Dream! | Leave a comment

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