Monday, 28 August 2017

Traveling the Savannah Way

It's been a while since I last wrote, I just haven't felt like it. I struggle to write posts about our travels in Australia: like it's too close to home, or too personal. So, this will be a summary. 

After we reached Cape York we didn't waste much time coming South again. We spent one night camped near old Somerset, on the beach, and it was lovely for the corals, rock art and a little bit of shipping activity that we saw. The very next day we started South. 

Once again, we had a little trouble getting off the Jardine River ferry as our overhand is a little too long for such an angle, but the damage wasn't much and H was able to fix it up easily. 

Continuing South we'd thought we'd go to a place on the Eastern coast called "Captain Billy's landing" but everyone advised us that it was too windy to get much enjoyment from, so we skipped it. We drove in past the Heathlands Ranger Station to take a look vehicles going through the famous "Gunshot" (thoughest 4wd section of the Old Telegraph Track). Here we drove 30kms of bad corrugations only to reach the intersection of the Telegraph Track and find the trees too close in for us to drive any further! So... 30kms back on those same corrugations. But, it mightn't have been for nothing as I think I saw an Eclectus Parrot. 

At Laura we stopped and did a tour of the Quinkan Galleries. At $160 per person it's overpriced but it is considered to be possibly the best indigenous rock art site in the world, at least in the top 10, and we were keen to have a look. Despite the price the art site had a definite WOW factor, and it felt special too. 

Some Quinkan Art

Some Quinkan Art

Our next tourist site was the Chillagoe caves, with tours run by National Parks the price was good and the quality of information excellent. We did 2 of the 3 caves that were available as guided tours. We also clambered into one of the free caves and I chickened out at the entrance to another. Chillagoe is a lovely small town, with a unique feeling to it. 

From there we followed the Savannahlander train route South and West and had the classy historic train catch up with us when we swam in Copperfield Gorge (at Einasleigh) and at its terminus at Forsayth. It makes a weekly trip from Cairns to Forsayth and back. 

Savannahlander Train crossing Copperfield Gorge

Savannahlander Train crossing Copperfield Gorge

We skipped Cobbald Gorge as we really thought that $98 per person was too much and it probably not special enough. Some road friends (people we'd met multiple times on the road and become friends with) said we'd made the right choice (they'd done it) but other people would no doubt disagree. 

Georgetown's Terrestrial Centre and its display of minerals was beautiful. In Croydon, unfortunately most of the historic buildings were closed for renovations so we could only view them from the street but Queensland's oldest continually run General store was open, and it's a treasure! 
A sign inside Queensland oldest continually run store.

A sign inside Queensland oldest continually run store. 

We stopped in Normanton both on our way to and way from Karumba. It's got some lovely old buildings, especially the train station and the building that houses the visitor centre and museum. The Gulflander train was also in at the station. (We've decided we're not so into train rides, but like to see the old trains and buildings). 

Karumba is famous for sunsets. We'd accidentally caught up with the road friends mentioned earlier and so, with them, enjoyed the sunset view from the tavern on the first evening and did a very good sunset tour (with historic talk, crocodile spotting, drinks and prawns) on the second evening. The tour was just $50 per person, by Ferryman Cruises, and excellent. During the day we also visited the Barramundi Discovery Centre and really appreciated the education they gave us about Australias most famous fish species. 

From here we left the Savannah Way as we were meeting friends for the Mount Isa Rodeo.  But, we did return to do just a little bit more after the rodeo. 

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