Boys fishing and camping trip with Shean to the Annie River and Lakefield National Park.
Video here -
On the 22nd July 2011, Jenn, Shean and I commenced our first trip to Annie River at the top of Lakefield National Park. We stayed for two nights and fished the river system, walked the lagoons on the Five Mile and met some lovely people from country Victoria.
Video here –
We have just returned from a fantastic camping trip to Pennefather River, located north of Weipa.
Day one consisted of a long day of driving from Cairns to Weipa. We stayed overnight at the Weipa Camping Ground in a cabin and enjoyed a pub meal at the Weipa Bowls Club. The Prado had a staked tyre on the way up so we had to change a flat tyre in the morning.
The trip from Weipa to Pennefather River took about two and a half hours. The majority of the road was in great condition but the final stretch had severe corrugations followed by the challenging sandy “swamp track” to the river mouth. We dropped the tyre pressures of the car and boat trailer to 16psi.
The camping area on the river mouth has spectacular scenery but you may also choose to camp on the beach or further down the river. We launched the boat just outside of a natural lagoon situated just inside the mouth of the river. This lagoon holds three large crocodiles that are very timid. Over the course of the week, we only once saw the head (large!) of one of the crocodiles watching me cast for bait during a low tide and a few sets of “red eyes” when spot lighting at night.
Shower water from a bore is available from a tap/hose in front of Ranger Pete’s house and he said to take as much as we like.
There are two toilets under construction in the camp site area but they are not completed at this stage. There are a few existing toilets set up by previous campers but these cannot be relied upon.
Fishing during the week we were there was not that “hot” and we, along with the other campers, had more luck/action fishing from shore than in the boat. Using live bait caught in the lagoon, people were catching queenfish, trevally and big sharks at the mouth of the river. Talking to other campers, they report further up the river can produce barramundi, mangrove jack, queenfish, trevally, salmon and other species when the weather is good. However, you must be prepared to head far up the river (5km). Manta rays and sharks jumping from the water are a regular occurrence. The westerly winds were blowing hard for most of the week for us which limited our access to the river. We did get out of the mouth early one morning to the reefs just offshore and had our popper lures followed up on several occasions. People do regularly catch coral trout and other reef fish just hundreds of metres off the beach.
Many of the campers brought along four wheeler motorbikes and these were perfectly suited for the area. For example, they can head over to the lagoon to cast for bait the head over to the mouth for fishing. They can head down to the beach to watch the turtle eggs hatching at night or explore one of the many tracks in the area. If I had a choice between a boat & four wheeler bike for Pennefather, I’d choose the bike.
The weather at this time of the year was good overall but we did experience one huge tropical thunderstorm with lightning cracking overhead and massive downpours over the course of almost an hour. Luckily the OzTent was up to the task!
I also used a Spot GPS Satellite Messenger for the first time and had mixed results. I used it to mark points of interest and send a daily “check-in” email to family & friend. I’ve included the link to my Spot map below.
All in all, a fantastic spot and one that I look forward to returning to over the coming years.
Photos here – http://ozmatrix.com/gallery/v/holidays/penne10
Video here –
Earlier this week, Jenn & I made the trek into Lakefield National Park for a quick camping and fishing trip.
Lakefield is one of Queensland’s most remote and magnificent national parks. Lakefield’s outstanding feature is a vast river system creating the wetlands area of permanent waterholes, lakes and lagoons for which the park is particularly renowned. In the wet season, the Normanby, Morehead and North Kennedy rivers and their tributaries break their banks and combine to cover vast areas and sheets of water. In the dry season, they shrink back to a trickle, leaving behind the permanent lakes and lagoons that characterise the park.
On advice from friends, we chose the Orange Plain campsite located at the top of the park. We towed the boat and the drive up took just over seven hours with stops. The highlight of the trip was Jenn catching her first ever barramundi. Unfortunately, I lost a good sized barra when it cut the mono trace right at the side of the boat (see video)! The campsite has no facilities so you need to be totally self-sufficient. We took all our own food, fuel, water (over 100lt) and mechanical/recovery equipment for the vehicle. It is a fantastic site and very secluded in comparison to the popular Kalpower & Hann Crossing sites. Highly recommended!
Highlights video here -
Stannary Hills was a tin-mining town in the Herberton minerals area, 30 km west of Atherton and 12 km north of Irvinebank.
In 1884 tin deposits were found at Eureka Creek, and a mining town named Eureka was formed by 1888. It was later named Stannary Hills (Stannum is the Latin word for tin). In 1902 a two feet gauge tramway was built from Stannary Hills to the Cairns-Chillagoe railway, following the Eureka Creek valley and joining the railway at Boonmoo. The tramway lowered the costs of transporting tin out of Stannary Hills (the mines had not been worked for about eight years), and the ore was processed at a nearby battery.
Five years later the tramway was extended south to Irvinebank’s tin mines, making Stannary Hills and Irvinebank a major base-metal region. The post office directory for 1911 recorded eight hotels at Stannary Hills, along with a Jack and Newell and other stores, a hospital, two butchers, two bakers and a teacher.
By 1920 there were four hotels, and Jack and Newell’s branch store had closed. Ten years later one hotel was left. The Stannary Hills teacher was last mentioned in the 1933 directory. The tramway was closed in 1936 and the rails were taken for scrap during World War II. Some of the timber bridge supports remain. In 1948 the last hotel closed and in 1955 the post office closed.
Photos here – http://ozmatrix.com/gallery/v/outandabout/stannary
Four couples away for the Anzac Day long weekend in one of the most spectacular sand dune environments on Cape York. The scenery is breathtaking!
Last time we visited Elim Beach was in June 2009 and we camped on the beach itself. This time we decided to stay in Eddie’s campgrounds which are to the right when you drive down the final hill onto Elim Beach. There are beautiful shady areas right on the beach and, surprisingly, the mosquitos and sand flies aren’t too bad. Two of the cars towed trailer boats and they were easily launched from the beach in front of the campsite at high tide. Fishing options include a small wreck marked with buoys, a small river near Cape Bedford and a few close reefs. Lastly, Eddie pumps fresh water out of a natural spring and uses this to run toilets & showers for guests. These are great welcome in the humid tropics and after a few fishing trips!
Start by making your way to Cooktown either by the bitumen “inland road” or the scenic “coast road”. Continue driving a further 44km to Hope Vale Aboriginal Community. A permit is required to access lands under the control of Hope Vale Aboriginal Council. Charges are $10 per vehicle per day and are available from the Council Office. In Hope Vale there is a supermarket, take away meals, fuel and artefacts. After getting your permit take the second street on the left past the shops for the road to Elim Beach, which is 25km further. The road winds through white silica sand hills, rugged escarpments and heath lands. With its white sand and fringing reefs the beach is a remote and beautiful spot. Eddie is the caretaker of an Aboriginal-owned campsite in this area, where you can relax in a stunning location, watch the spear- fishing, or yarn with a traditional owner. Call Eddie Deemal on 4060 9223 (best after 7pm).
Access to coloured sands is along the beach at low tide. If you are in a 2WD park at the entrance to the beach. Do not block or park near dwellings. Driving on the beach should NOT be undertaken in a 2WD and only with extreme caution at low tide in a 4WD. Coloured sands is an easy 300 metre walk along the beach. The best views of the sands is reached by climbing up the soft sand hill on the north side past the coloured sands. Sands are not permitted to be collected.
As well as some well deserved rest, you can explore the beach and sand dunes with the shallow waters providing the kids entertainment with spotting small sting rays, shovel nosed sharks and starfish.
All in all, a top camping spot with picture perfect backdrops – highly recommended.
Photos here – http://ozmatrix.com/gallery/v/camping/elim2
My girlfriend and I have just returned from a week at Chilli Beach, Portland Roads and Lockhart River which are part of the Iron Range National Park in Cape York.
Highly recommended destination!
Photos here - http://www.ozmatrix.com/gallery/v/holidays/cape09
Video here -
Qld Parks & Wildlife Information
Iron Range National Park is a remote scenic park situated on far northern Cape York Peninsula. It is a coastal park with long sweeping beaches and rocky outcrops while inland are the rugged hills of the Janet and Tozer ranges.
The park is of world significance as it has the largest area of remnant lowland rainforest in Australia. This isolated rainforest supports eclectus parrots, palm cockatoos, cassowaries, green pythins and spotted cuscus. Other plant communities within the park include open forest, mangroves and extensive heathlands.
The main access to the park is via the Portland Roads Road, 20km north of the Archer River Roadhouse on the Peninsula Development Road. From the turn off, it is 110km to the park.
Fuel and food can be obtained at Lockhart River, an Aboriginal community.
Camping us allowed near the Claudie River and Gordon Creek crossings and the northern end of Chilli Beach. With the exception if toilets at Chilli Beach and Cooks Hut, campground facilities are not provided. A camping permit is required and can be obtained from the Iron Range ranger base or from the self registration shelter at Chilli Beach. Campers must be self-sufficient.
Cape York Guide Information
Camping here is tops and if you have a small boat the islands offshore are readily accessible. Birdwatching and walking the beach at low tide are very enjoyable ways to spend a few days here. You can no longer drive along the beach as it is prohibited by the QPWS. The long, wide sweep of beach is crossed by a number of streams and the beach fishing is good.
The beach here is wide and long and fringed with palms, truly a magical spot, although the wind doesn’t seem to stop blowing. If possible, try and keep out of the wind. You’ll find it much more pleasant amongst the trees.
1. The Roads
Great condition with work crews working on multiple sections of the roads all week.
Either side of Musgrave Station was heavily corrugated but the rest was comfortable driving between 90-100km/hr.
Stayed in the campgrounds next to the General Store with a powered site – nice spot on grassy ground for $20/night.
Great counter meal at the “Sexchange Hotel”, located just down the road from the campgrounds.
Watch out for Brumbies when travelling on the roads up here.
I came extremely close to having one run into the Prado (left to right) and saw a guy’s ute in Coen who ran into one on his way over from Weipa.
If travelling into Lockhart River, be advised that you cannot carry any alcohol in your vehicle as it is a designated dry community.
Heavy fines apply if you break this rule!
5. Lockhart River
Typical Aboriginal community and the store does have all the basics if you run out of food/drink.
6. Chilli Beach
Gorgeous beach with campsites located just off in the rainforest providing shelter from the winds.
$5/person per night camp fees – cheap.
Chemical toilets located in close proximity to campsites.
Your better half will enjoy the walks along the beach at low tide!
7. Portland Roads
The most picturesque community area I think I have ever had the privilege to visit.
The reef extends right to the shore, the waters are crystal clear and the fishing around the offshore islands is spectacular.
There is a bore available near the public toilets for your jerries (shower/washing usage only).
Jenn, Shean, Mette & I spent the weekend up at Bloomfield which is located about three and a half hours north of Cairns on the “coast road”.
We stayed at a fantastic spot called Hayley’s Cabins and Campgrounds – http://www.bloomfieldcabins.com.au.
Photos here – http://ozmatrix.com/gallery/v/camping/bloomjul09.
Jenn and I took advantage of the Queen’s birthday long weekend to head north up to Elim Beach which is located north of the Hopevale Aboriginal Community in Far North Queensland.
Joining us on this trip were four other cars including a Rav4, Discovery 3 & two Landcruisers. Between all of us, there was ample food, water, camping & recovery equipment on-hand. There are maintained basic camp sites before entering the beach but, on this occasion, they were all taken. This left us with the only option of camping on the beach. Not being a maintained campsite, it is always nice for women to have at least access to a shower which was available on the Disco 3. Fresh water for showering was sourced from the fresh water springs appearing high up on the beach.
The road conditions were fantastic with the second half of the coast road and some of the Elim Beach access track having recently been graded. I had some concern with the beach driving as there was a lot of driving through salt water. The Prado has been rust proofed but I will spend a few afternoons this week flushing out the chassis rails with fresh water.
The fishing from the beach is good with trevally, queenfish & long toms constantly smashing bait & lures in the mornings. It would be so much better with a boat as the locals were cleaning up on crayfish from the reefs just a few kilometres off the beach.
As well as some well deserved rest, you can explore the beach and sand dunes with the shallow waters providing the kids entertainment from spotting small sting rays, shovel nosed sharks and starfish.
All in all, a top camping spot with picture perfect backdrops – highly recommended.
Photos here - http://ozmatrix.com/gallery/v/camping/elim
I took the Prado on a day trip to Mount Mulligan & Kondaparinga Stations with the in-laws on the weekend.
Photos here - http://www.ozmatrix.com/gallery/v/outandabout/mmk
Mount Mulligan was a mining town in northern Queensland, Australia, the site of Queensland’s worst mining disaster.
A railway connected Mount Mulligan with Dimbulah on the Chillagoe Railway. It opened on 7 April, 1915 and was officially closed in January, 1958.
It was a coal mining town from 1910 until 19 September 1921 when an underground explosion killed 75 miners (all the miners in the town). The mine closed, but reopened in 1923 and continued in production until 1957 when a hydro-electric scheme eliminated the need for the coal.
The town’s coal was mined from shafts dug into a Permian layer within the cliff face or escarpment of a large 18 km x 6.5 km free-standing conglomerate and sandstone massif (rising up to 400 metres above the township) known by the name given it by the small group of prospectors who first sighted it in 1874 while searching the Hodgkinson River for gold, under the leadership of James Venture Mulligan.
The conglomerate and sandstone massif known to local Djungan aboriginal peoples as Ngarrabullgan was given James Mulligan’s surname. The name Mount Mulligan was later given to the township that grew in the shadows of the massif’s escarpment.
The area of the township itself remains gazetted as a township, but is now a ghost town, with a single cemetery, a single occupied residence, a single chimney stack, and the overgrown remains of the once busy mining operations and electricity generator. At the 2006 census, Mount Mulligan and the surrounding area had a population of 55.
I finally received my “new” four wheel drive on Friday that I had purchased ex-Sydney so Jenn and I travelled the “coast road” up to Cooktown on the weekend.
Photos here - http://ozmatrix.com/gallery/v/outandabout/crcook09