Day Cape York Wilderness Adventure with Outback Spirit
31st May 2007
will have different opinions but this is the way I saw things. I
genuinely liked everyone on the trip and had many long and
interesting discussions with everyone. Anything I say about
anyone is purely in fun.
Day 1. Port Douglas, Daintree, Cape
Day 2. Mossman, Palmer River, Cooktown.
3. "Battle Camp Track", Laura, Musgrave, Lotusbird
Day 4. Musgrave, Coen, Archer River, Weipa.
5. Moreton, Bramwell Station.
Bay 6. Jardine River,
Day 7. Bamaga.
Day 8. Thursday Island.
9. Horn Island, Cairns.
Richard (driver and guide) & his wife
Ron & Rae
Geoff & Carol
Ron & Faye
Rick & Ann
Gary & Julia
Cec & Maureen
Represented Job Category
The two Gary's and their wives Julia and Patricia.
Travelled in Bus
for unleaded at Jardine River.
visited many remote places that relied on diesel generators for
their power. It is costing them huge amounts of money, For
example, the fuel cost at Lotusbird Lodge is $150/day (approx
$50,000/year). Solar technology is now affordable and I was
surprised that very few have made the switch. Bramwell Station
does have Solar/Batteries with diesel backup. Most places you go
to you can hear the diesel generator humming in the background. I
did not hear one at Bramwell so I asked and they showed me the
Disappointing Refreshment Stop
Ferry - they had no ice creams! The lady told us that she cannot
get anyone to deliver.
purchasing a bottle of water at Pansand Bay (and drinking
exploring the ruins of Pajinka near the tip we heard Warrick yell
out "I've found the bar". Click here
After having a huge lunch a Horn Island and being
offered more on the Qantas flight to Cairns a few hours later
Faye was heard to say "We never knock back food - do
into consideration the number of staff, facilities, speed of
serving and food quality, I believe Lotusbird Lodge wins. Sue and
Gary did a great job. Sue was even seen running back into the
kitchen. Of course I am only saying this because after dinner
Gary asked if anyone had any complaints whilst walking around
with a meat cleaver in his hand. Gary claimed that the dinner had
11 vegetables in it and someone did name them but I have
The Sovereign resort at Cooktown was also
Lodge near the tip of Cape York. The sign is still there. Click
here for a photo.
in the 1970's, the resort was a 4 star establishment,
predominantly catering for the international market, and was
managed by professional tourism operators.
In 1992, the
local aboriginal community of Injinoo, with the support of the
Cape York Land Council and ATSIC, purchased the lodge and
operated the business. Following a fire in April 2002 which
destroyed certain plant and equipment, including all the
generators, the lodge ceased operating and has not reopened
There are currently proposals for the re-development
of the land.
After our bus boarded the Jardine
ferry (we were on last) and the ferry operator cranked up the
motor, nothing moved. He tried a few times but still nothing
happened. After scratching his head he realised that the weight
of the bus was pushing the back of the ferry onto the landing
area. A re-arrangement of the vehicles on the ferry solved the
problem and we were off.
Hotel on Thursday Island.
When we arrived our rooms were not
Richard (bus driver) had to carry all our bags to our
rooms. I don't know how he knew mine because it didn't have my
name on it.
Apart from one staffer, their attitude was
A very long wait between courses at dinner.
next morning at 6.00 am Warrick wanted to go outside but all
doors were locked. Initially, they were not going to let him out
until 6.30 but when he threatened to smash the door down they
Most Travelled People
would be Rae and Ron. There is much to learn from such a well
travelled couple. For his age, Kevin has also travelled a
Most Expensive Drinks
At first I
though Jardine Hotel on Thursday Island at $7.50 a glass of wine.
However, back at the Shangri-La in Cairns a glass was also $7.50
but they put much less wine in the glass.
abbreviate Thursday Island to TI but not Horn Island to
Quietest Person on the Bus
(the driver). His commentary was barely adequate.
I liked Cooktown. Wide streets, lots of potential
for development. Since the last section of road from Cairns was
sealed a few years ago there is talk in the town (most likely
Real Estate Agents) that Cooktown will be the next Port Douglas.
However, some of the locals I spoke to don't agree. Too windy, no
beaches they say. But then Cairns does not have a beach either.
& Gary at Lotusbird Lodge. They greeted us when the bus
arrived, looked after us very well during our stay and said
goodbye when we left. Always with enthusiasm.
were two in webs near our cabin at Cape Tribulation Beach House.
About the size of a large hand with legs extended. Click here
(wife Rae) at 80 and Kevin at 40.
Unimpressive Luxury Hotel
in Cairns. On our last night we were placed on the top floor in
room 3999999999999999. Took 10 minutes to walk to the lifts.
next morning I tried to explain to the lady on the front desk
that I wanted to store our bags for the day. She could not speak
English very well and I had difficulty getting through to her.
Fancy putting someone on the front desk of a luxury hotel in
Australia that cannot speak English.
On our last night of
the tour we had a long delay getting our dessert. Only after
Richard (our driver and guide) said something did we finally get
Bamaga when we arrived there was only our Outback Spirit bus. A
few hours later we walked through the car park and there were two
exactly the same. Click here
for a photo.
our many evening discussions I noted that Julia had a good
knowledge of Communications. In particular, the best landline and
mobile deals. I discovered later that she was formerly the
operator at the now closed local manual telephone exchange and
has retained and enhanced her knowledge of the subject.
and Bamaga. Five seconds after you turned the air conditioner off
the room was hot again.
Cassowary and its three chicks on the road in the Daintree. We
had plenty of time to photograph them and one of the chicks
started walking towards us. Click here
for a photo.
A green tree frog at Bamaga. Click here
girl on a table nears ours at dinner on the last night in the
Shangri-La Hotel. A couple with a young baby sat nearby her table
but were soon moved after a few shrieks of high pitched
Thing Ann Liked Most
bed at the end of each day.
Bramwell Station serving our main course on paper plates. They
served our soup and dessert on plastic plates but I think they
used the same ones which they washed whilst we were eating our
Mine tour and Daintree Discovery Centre. In particular, it was
refreshing to not hear one "um, ah, you know, like,
absolutely, I mean, yeh/nah" from the girl doing the Weipa
Mine tour commentary (she was also the driver).
waiting for the boat at Bruce Belchers Daintree River Cruise, the
mossies descended on our legs.
driving on the Bloomfield Track. Apparently, after recent heavy
rain it was very slippery and one of the bridges had a reduced
Thursday Island. I expected it to be more
Tribulation Beach House. Cabins in the rainforest. Click here
for photo. Open air dining area. Click here
Lotusbird Lodge. Cabins on stilts facing a
billabong teeming with birds. Click here
for photo. Also an open air dining area. Click here
Bramwell Station. Prefabricated huts. Click
here for photo (there are
five huts together in the photo. Ours is the one in the middle
with door open). Just enough room for beds and wardrobe. Little
ventilation except some had a wire door on the front. Shared
shower and toilet facilities. Open air dining bushmen's
style. Click here for photo.
Am Over It.
to do with rainforests. I have had enough talks, brochures,
walks, interactive displays, explanatory boards on tracks.
salad sandwiches from Bramwell Station which we ate at Twin
we got off the ferry at Thursday Island (TI) a bus was waiting
for us to tour the island. The lady driving the bus was also the
tour guide and provided an excellent commentary. Later that day
we were walking down the main street and a school bus went past
with the same lady driving. The next day we went into the Ferry
Shop and the same lady was serving behind the counter. When I
asked her about her many jobs she just shrugged and said you have
to be versatile.
pool at the base of Twin Falls. Click here
Section of Road
I thought the roads were in reasonable condition in Cape York.
This was confirmed by various locals on the way up. After Cyclone
Larry in 2006, the roads were in an appalling condition and the
first vehicles could not come through until early June. There
were so many complaints that the Government poured lots of money
into fixing the roads. There was plenty of evidence of road
maintenance on the way up. They have even made some of the
bridges wet season proof.
Felt For Them
& Garry at Lotusbird Lodge. After opening in 2005, Cyclone
Larry flooded them out in 2006 causing $300,000 worth of damage.
Took them months to repair but they had many volunteers helping.
They now move everything they can into a shed on higher ground
during the wet season.
Every Accommodated Place Had
huts at Bramwell Station. To be fair, we were told in advance so
I didn't expect much better and they were OK anyway.
Walking to the tip (click here
for photo), exploring the Pajinki ruins, Pansand Bay resort
(click here for photo), Injinoo
Airport and WWII Airplane wreck.
to visit Somerset ruins near the tip because one of the bridges
was too narrow.
Unable to visit the observatory at Cooktown
because the track was too narrow.
Unable to traverse the
Bloomfield Track because heavy rain made the track slippery and
one of the bridges had a reduced load limit.
Cape Tribulation Beach House we were initially offered an
uncooked breakfast. When Richard pointed out that we had paid for
a full breakfast the resident cook worked his butt off. He most
likely had a hangover because the staff partied the previous
night and long into the morning making a hell of a racket.
face net that everyone said we needed. Had very little problems