Week Five. (Sunday 04 August to Sunday 11 August)
After leaving Daintree, we headed back south as far as Cairns along some spectacular coast line. We stopped overnight near Port Douglas, just outside of a town called Craiglie, next to a crocodile infested estury. We heeded the warnings about swimming, but decided to stay close to the river bank. Throughout the night, we both jumped at every sound. We had the back of the Kombi open, which provided lots of excitement and sometimes fear. I heard baby crocodiles calling for their mother. Next day, we headed offf for Cairns, having survived the night in one piece. We needed a minor service for the kombi, and headed for Werner's VW auto parts for a tune up and service. We roamed about town, in the heat, admiring all the tourist Kitch. We picked up the Kombi and learnt we need furthur work done on the brakes so we stayed in a hostel in town and headed back to Werner's with XQU the next morning. His workshop is impressive, and as you can see by the photos, he is a bit of a VW kombi enthusiast.
That afternoon, we finally headed off with unbelievable stopping power. Meanandering over the Atherton highlands, we saw beautiful country side with abundant waterfalls (and tourists). We stayed on the banks of Lake Tinaroo (our best camp stop over so far), then next day moved on to Milla Milla. XQU developed a spluttering condition, so we headed for Atherton incase we needed repairs. In fine troubleshooting form, the mechanic couldn't find any problems and XQU all of a sudden was normal again.
We then headed for the (Lava Tubes of) Undara National Park some 350kms away. We stayed the night at a campsite, then headed off for the tubes next morning with a very charimatic (in an australian bloke sort of way) and engaging guide, who had reams of information about lava, basalt, granite, citronella, spear grass, dead animals, exploding rocks, bats, snakes eating bats in mid flight and the wet season. That was well worth the visit, and the Lava tubes were amazing. They are the largest in the world, making Hawaii's lava tubes very minor in comparison.
After Undara, we drove many kilometres along the Gulf Development Road that ends in Normanton. This road is not much wider than 2 metres with a fair drop off on to dirt on either side. Road trains make for an interesting challange (some being up to 53 metres in length). Dead animals abound (lifelessly). Occassionally we pass a live creature.. We stopped at Croydon for a beer, in a real aussie style local pub. The bar fridges were covered in thousands of hilarious, insightful, wise, crass and at times, down right offensive stickers plastered all over the place. We had 2 x schooners of VB. The locals stared at us, cause we we're not drinkin XXXX.
We then headed furthur west until finally a nice inviting stop over camping place lured us off the road. It was a small railway siding called BlackBull with a population of 2x humans, 650x chickens, 2x dogs, 15x guinea fowl and 13x feral cats (in the process of being shot to protect the chicken investment that the husband had on the place). They ran the house on solar power, but earlier that month a willy willy (mini twister) had destroyed 50% of their power capability and were waiting on their insurance claim to get connected to the grid. I made friends with their 3/4 dingo 1/4 kelpie dogie called Hussey.
See part two of Week Five
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