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April 6, 2014

Back again to head east from Musgrave towards Lakefield NP then down to Kalpower NP then Cooktown.

There were so many signs through here that it would be easy to head towards the incorrect camp site but our first 3 night through were to be at Kalpower NP.
We had quite a few stops looking at various old stations, swamps, and anything which took our fancy.

Very different country through here, very dry as there was not a big wet this year.
Came across this very rough river bed crossing but as long as taken slowly it was not a problem.

This Kennedy Rv is the one we spent our first night of the trip- many ks from here though.

Would not be advisable to go for dip in the lagoon- there are croc signs about.
A little further on there were short detours to visit this Red Lilly lagoon but unfortunatly we were only able to spot about 4 lillies but what a picture this place would be when covered with the red lillies!
By the way, also inhabited with the usual large lizards!

The next spot down the track was the White lilly lagoon.

There were no lillies that we could see but the bird life was amazing but all over the other side of the lagoon.

As I commented there were plenty in signs to take you where you wanted to travel so only 3km until we had to set up for a “chill out” for a few days.
This spot was a rather large area with the individual site numbered and each site had a water tap (not for drinking), BBQ area also.
We put our tents up in no time as well as out shower tent- there was an amenity block but cold showers & they are not for us. We boiled out water on fire then used a 12 volt shower which works very well. On the ground in the shower tent, so as not to be showering in mud, we put down a couple of those interlocking rubber mats, one on top of the other. This works really well. The porta Potti also is set up in here- not walking to toilets in the middle of the night- could be some creepy crawlies up from the river!

My turn to cook our first evening & the shower water on boiling.

The wood gathers returning with more fire wood & Bruce doing his housework!

This camp site is beside the Normanby Rv which is teaming with fish, BUT, not even many of the fishermen here with boats were game to go fishing because of the size of the crocs!. No one was game to fish off the banks yet we saw some travellers ignoring the croc beware signs & wandering rather close to the banks & in one instance was in the water at the crossing! When will folk obey these signs?

We drove through just to say that we had crossed the river as it was not deep on the crossing.

There is a 4km walk to do which we did but there was not a lot to see as it was so dry & the rangers had been doing some controlled burn as well.

The rangers came around every day checking that campers were in their correct site- cross referenced number plates with their computer details. Once again they complained about the new QLD online booking situation. Have realised that, since not putting toilet paper in the amenity block, that the cleaning takes much less time as there is no rubbish to clean up after untidy travellers. A tour bus arrived the 2nd day we were there , various ages. Could not believe how much make up some of them were applying! Really, who were they trying to impress? The crocs! Each to their own but when showering is at a premium!
Heard them complaining that the showers were cold and not enough pressure as well as being awful water. Well, they are up Cape York , not in a city somewhere.

After we left there we were told about a spot where there is usually a huge croc on the opposite side of a lagoon we were going to have a look at.

This is where we were supposed to see the croc but it was our first sighting of a jabiru- what a beautiful bird & it was right beside the track.

The road down here was in good condition so our next stop was at Old Laura Station where we had lunch & a good look around the old buildings.
The history surrounding these old stations is so interesting.
Old Laura Homestead is historically significant through its association with the establishment of the cattle industry on Cape York Peninsula and the Palmer Goldfield. Miners once used the track leading to the homestead as the main access to the goldfields.

There were some beautiful black cockatoos in some very high trees while we were there so we tried to get them to fly for some photos but that was not easy. Heather & I (mainly me) were making noises etc so we did get a couple of photo.

After a rest & food we were on the road again, going to detour our to Hopevale before reaching Cooktown. There were more rivers to cross on the way down.

This was a reasonably new road down the Normanby range, which you can see in the first photo.
Soon arrived at the Isabella Falls.
2009 photos

The ferns here are so fine & the water crystal clear.
2012 photos.

Had a cuppa here as it was so cool & refreshing. Soon came to the T junction to Hopevale Community, a beautifully set out place & very clean. The inhabitants obviously take pride in their small town, such a difference from Lochardt.

We went to the store to get our permits to drive out to the coloured sands. Was about $8 each I think.
There is huge cilica mining down here- that is the white hills.

We arrived there just as a vehicle had driven off the sand but we did not know whether the tide was coming or going so we viewed the sands from where we stopped. I do not think that they are anywhere as near as impressive as the sands at Rainbow beach.

We also saw our second Jabiru wading in the water- he is game!

We had lunch here in the drizzling rain, hoping that it would not get too heavy as we had an awful road to return to Hopevale.

This is how bridges used to be built up here.

Next stop Cooktown & it was strange to be travelling on a sealed road.

Finally found a caravan park where we could get a camp site as all parks were crowded.

The first night we were there decided to see whether the Pizza place where we had eaten in 2009 was still operating- it was & with the same owner. Naturally we had a cold drink while waiting for dinner. Civilization. I did not have to cook and the pizzas were just a beautiful. Please ignore the wording COEN on photo. Must have had a wine too many!.

We did the touristy thing next day and Keith also tried his hand a fishing from the bridge just out of town but once again no fish for dinner.

We went up to Windy Hill where the Captain Cook memorial is situated.
The money spent up here on improvements since 2009 makes it a rather beautiful spot, during the day or at sunset.

2009 photo

This lighthouse has had a complete face lift and in 2009 there were no walking paths, or stairs at the top. There is a viewing platform with seats. While waiting for the sunset the only way to get out of the wind is to sit down behind the wall. The night we were up there , there were also a couple of small tour buses. This is a very steep hill yet locals run up just because they can!
We went out to the river to see how Keith was going with is fishing.

Would have loved to have had a perfectly still day out there as we could see a couple of stingrays in the very shallow water, but because of the ripples could not get a clear photo but use your imagination- they are there.
The tour in Cooks Museum, opened by the Queen in 1970 was so informative that a couple of days would be needed to read everything.

We walked into Keatings lagoon to see what was in there. It is just outside of Cooktown.

The last day at Cooktown and we were heading down to Mossman via the Bloomfield track with the first stop being at the Lion’s Den Pub after passing Black Mt, which is made up of black rocks.

As it was early we were not able to get inside for a look but managed to get some photos. There is a caravan park to the side.


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