Sunday, August 5, 2012

Cape York - The Journey Part 2

In a journey of some 8 thousand kilometres, you kind of make a few are some of my thoughts.

"You always meet new people at the amenities block."

Its true! There was even one lady who I was talking to one day whose friend came over and actually chipped her for talking once again to strangers! With a smile on her face of course. It is only natural that the amenities block of a caravan park is where you're going to meet people, it is after all the hub of the park! If you're not there to wash your self, you're there at the laundry washing your clothes and its a great way to find out where people have been, what they have seen and if it was worth seeing. 

"Signs to somewhere interesting are nearly always invariably put next to the interesting thing, meaning that you have flashed past before you know it."

It is times like these that it is a good idea to visit the local tourist info and check out what is in the area to see. Know your location, I think!

"Road works are a constant in life."

Certainly on this trip they were. Even way up at the top we were slowing and stopping for road work crews. Further up however, you were encouraged to call up on the UHF to let them know you were coming through. The worst road works by far had to be south of Rockhampton on the Bruce Highway, where there were 56 kilometres of them! I was certainly over road works after that days drive.

"Ant hills cover plains like cotton covers fields."

Lakefield National Park was where you could look out across the plain and just see endless ant hills. As we got further north, the bigger they got. It seemed that with a change of soil, there was also a corresponding change of ant hill size and colour. The ones right up the top towered over the cars!

I think that the trip has not only been about where we have been, seen or done but has also been about the people that we have met. 

For example, the South Aussies we met at Hann River, then continued to bump into or camp next to up until Archer River Roadhouse. I am a little sorry we didn't see them further up at the Tip, it would have been a great ending to the story! 

Then there were the people we met along the OTL. The 2 young European guys enjoying the trip of a life time in their Landcruiser Troopy. The couple whose hubby needed a cane to get around but his wife bravely got out each time to direct him through the crossings! The couple at Bramwell Station who were returning from their trip, with their lovely Cocker Spaniel in tow, who had retired from South Australia to Cairns. They sat with us for a while, swapping tales about wine and food. The young couple at the Tip itself, completely excited to be there and had made an epic 10 thousand kilometre journey that had started at Geelong. 

There were the big groups travelling through, the blokes riding the dirt bikes, whilst their female partners drove their vehicles. The Just 4 Kids motor trail which happened to park up alongside us one night at Punsand Bay and invited us in to enjoy their evening of "Not Much Talent Time!" 

Along with the people, we enjoyed the sights that they also brought to camp. After arriving at camp, it was usually interesting to indulge in the sport of "Camp Set Up". To do this, it would involve a camp chair, a beer or a cider in a stubby cooler and a strategic position to watch your neighbours go about their routine of getting camp set up for the night. It was funny to watch as it often involved a lot of tent peg hammering and finger pointing. This was often followed up with the sport of "Speculating on what happened to..." and often involved a 4wd with a bonnet up, a wheel off or in the case of one poor unfortunate couple, a 4wd on the back of a truck. Much guessing and speculation went on when a road train pulled into a roadhouse one evening with not one but two 4wds on the trailer. 

This upturned trailer on the OTL even had a story. We had the owner of the trailer camp next to us at Punsand Bay. He wasn't having a very good Cape trip. Unfortunately, he'd left out a set of solar panels and returned to camp to find that someone else had decided to "borrow" them and they were never seen again. We had also been warned about the trailers "littering" the Cape and OTL. This trailer, was the only one we saw the entire trip. Every other trailer was firmly attached to the rear of the tow vehicle!

I think that everyone goes up to the Cape with adventure in their mind. From the get go, you just know that adventure is what the Cape is about. Regardless of how hard or easy you do the trip, it is just an adventure. From the challenge of the OTL, to the ease of the bitumen and the rough corrugations of the Development road and the remote isolation of the area, all smack of adventure to be had. Every day brought adventure, even if we were just taking a walk along the beach at Punsand Bay. Each individual who undertakes this journey will have their own adventure. Even those much older people who chose to take their adventure in a 4wd tour bus, not camp in anything less than a safari tent and touch the tip of Australia for themselves. 

For me, it was an adventure of a lifetime. I would go back and do it again. Maybe slightly differently, but I think that that is the nature of adventure. It is always going to be different whatever you are tackling. My personal Cape experience was fantastic. There was not a dull moment and it was worth every cent and minute spent on preparation. In years to come, I will have great stories to tell family and memories to laugh over with friends. I consider myself to be amongst the privileged to have gone to the Top of Australia and stood with all of the country at one moment being below me!

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