Posts Tagged With: Albany

Cape York, The Tip (Part 1)

Firstly thanks to all the responses helping with my computer. It probably won’t be fixed until we get home which means blogging will be less frequent and probably fewer photos for a while.

After decamping from the beautifully tranquil Jardine River a short but very corrugated drive brought us to the ferry crossing where the 20m crossing costs you $129 and lasts barely a couple of minutes. It sounds expensive but is a return fare and does include the permit to enter the indigenous area as well as camping in designated areas around the tip of Cape York.

Bamaga is a sleepy township in the far north, offering a decent sized supermarket, post office, tavern, bakery and general store amongst others. A hasty re-fuel and restock and we headed 35km to the north easterly point of the Cape, to a campsite called Somerset. The Somerset Homestead is now in ruins, established in 1863 by John Jardine, farmed cattle, copra and had other commercial interests that included involvement in the pearling industry. Near to the campsite there are some old cannons, gravesites and some derelict ruins providing the inquisitive with a glimpse into the hardships of the past here. Fragments of old hand-blown black glass bottles can be found scattered in the bush, many dating back to the late 19th century.

Along the shoreline, behind the mangroves you can also find the remains of an old freshwater spring that was pooled as salvation for shipwrecked sailors, and graves of Japanese pearl divers.

Also along the shoreline, after negotiating crocodile infested mangroves and climbing the sharp rocks some remarkable indigenous art can be found in a cave, considerably pre-dating the homestead. Figures of fish, crocodiles and turtles, as well as other unidentifiable shapes were all clearly visible.

Some 900m away the large island of Albany offers fishing charter holidays, but has untouched beaches covered in turtle tracks with crystal clear water. The island also offered some protection from the prevailing onshore winds that greeted us all the way up the east coast of the Cape.

We explored the neighbouring coastline taking the five beaches track that weaves southwards through the bushland between beaches. We met another family with kids at SDEPS (whom we hadn’t seen for months) and took the photo at Fly Point of all the 8 kids. At the end of the track we found tracks that kept going and we explored at least two more beaches, the kids finding plenty of their new favourite shell, the chambered nautilus. Surprisingly there was less rubbish on the beaches here, probably because of the protection from Albany island.

Yellow-bellied sunbird

Yellow-bellied sunbird

The abundant and unique birdlife at the tip of the Cape York also provided an interesting diversion at dawn whilst everyone else was still waking up. The tally is now fast approaching 300 species on the trip and favourite birds have been changing regularly. Here the yellow-bellied sunbird was a welcome treat around the trailer.

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The next day we had a challenge to meet, the third compass extremity of the mainland, Australia’s most northerly point. The dirt road wasn’t too bad, weaving at times through lush rainforest, before opening up at the beach. A short walk over the craggy headland past enormous rock cairns brought us to a very unimpressive simple sign at the northerly tip. Three down one to go!

Categories: 4WD, Adventure, australia, Australian Outback, Beach, Big Lap, Journey Narrative, Natural World, Photos, QLD, Queensland, Road trip, Travel, Travel Adventure, Wildlife | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Albany and surrounds

After Skippy Rock we arrived late at Normans Beach in Two Peoples Bay (the other person being Betty) to grab the last spot in the campsite. Amanda came face to face with the biggest Dugite we have encountered yet. At almost 2m long we witnessed it hot in pursuit of a big black skink, chasing it up a tree. When the skink could go no further it leapt out from about 3-4m, belly-flopped onto the ground and scampered off. The snake exited the tree equally ungracefully and chased after it, as we all took a big step back to watch the action unfold before us.

With little camping close to Albany we drove to a cute little place, appropriately named Cosy Corner and ensconced ourselves for a few days to explore the area. We enjoyed Albany, visiting a few times, for library work with kids, shopping and a bit of geocaching and exploring. A nice sized town, big enough to have all we needed but not too big to get lost in. Xavier became the expert in finding nano-sized geocaches though we were beaten by one near the Opera house.

Fishing was pretty quiet along the beach despite the fact the salmon run is due any day. We checked out nearby West Cape Howe national park to see if the fishing was better there but despite the numbers of fishermen it was still a bit quiet at Shelley Beach. I noticed a 4WD track into the park that proved quite¬† challenging, but we were rewarded with magnificent vertical black granite cliffs at West Cape Howe. Being late in the day the family didn’t want to risk going further in the sand – they still don’t have faith in the trusty Pajero, even after 4 months.

As a cyclone bore down on the north west coast of WA we started getting a bit of rain. We drove around Torndirrup National Park near Albany, and some brief intermissions of sun allowed the kids to enjoy the azure waters of the beaches in Whaler Bay. Salmon Rocks, rather appropriately, had yielded two monster salmon for one fisherman, and we watched another battle a large eagle ray to the beach where it snapped his line. The old whaling station nestles into the end of the peninsula with a large whaling ship on display for exploration. In Frenchmans Bay, we drove to a bird hide to try and add a few new birds to my list (buff banded rail was the only one) and catch a geocache. Luckily for a guy down there we showed up and got his car started for him in a very quiet street. Another attraction there were the blowholes that, despite a small swell, roared periodically, giving everyone a bit of a scare the first time they went off. Throw big swell and water into the mix and they would be quite an impressive spectacle. The natural arch was closed unfortunately.

At night we got frequent visits from an oversize bandicoot and Cosy Corner was a popular venue for the kids with hideouts abounding in the bush.

Categories: Adventure, australia, Australian Outback, Beach, Big Lap, Camper Trailer, Discover Australia, Explore Australia, Journey Narrative, Kids Travel, National Park, Natural World, Photography, Travel, Travel Adventure, West Australia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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