Monday 5th August
So it turns out the wiring for the interior lights was a bit dodgy… hence the plunge into darkness last night! Tom the mechanic was on the case, so we popped to the shops, got the supplies and “Ta Dah!” we can see inside again!
We also realised we weren’t going to be ready to leave the campsite in time, so the lovely owner let us extend for another night, bringing our stay to 2 weeks.
Tuesday 6th August
We got up and moving today, packed the van up, said goodbye to the campsite, and headed to get supplies before our big journey.
We were beginning our adventure to Cairns; a 2800km drive.
First stop; Katherine. Back to the campsite we’d stopped off at with Holly as we liked it so much! A field, surrounded by other fields and cows, with gorgeous views of the sky.
On the way to Katherine, we stopped off at the Adelaide River, to go Amethyst hunting! I found a lot of quartz, two pieces of Amethyst, and bent my fingernail so far back it bled everywhere, which put an end to the gem hunting!
I also forced Tom to pull over on the side of the road, as throughout our travels we have driven past some massive termite mounds and I was desperate to see one up close! It was hugeeeeeeee!
Wednesday 7th August
A quick check of the engine before we set off revealed a slight issue; we had a new leak. So off we went to reception, to book in for another night!
On the way back to the van, we found a workshop type area, with a handy man present inside. After a quick chat with him, Tom promised to return with more info about our leak, and was kindly given a longer bolt and some washers to try and fix the van with. It was a success! No more leak!
With the rest of the day ahead of us, we basked in the sun, reading our books and job hunting!
Thursday 8th August
With a fully mended van, we set off – tonight’s stop was to be Daly Waters Pub, but first, we had some caves to visit!
We’d missed out on exploring the Cutta Cutta Caves last time we were here due to timing, so this time we made sure to go!
We booked onto a one hour guided tour, which took us about 17m down and 250m inside the caves. Our tour guide was incredibly knowledgeable and friendly, and taught us about what we found inside, and the history of the caves. It contained limestone and calcium deposits which created a sparkly, shiny area on the walls; there are 5 species of bat which live within the caves, as well as blind shrimp and the occasional snake! It’s very humid and warm inside the caves. The caves were rediscovered by the army during World War 2 and so weren’t always treated kindly – they stole stalagmites, they had parties and left all their rubbish littered inside, they shot their guns at the walls and bats, causing bullet holes to even now be present inside the caves. By shooting their guns, any bats left alive would instead be deafened, which would lead to them being unable to successfully hunt. When the caves were being prepared to open to the public in the 60s, they had to clear lots of rubbish out of the caves, the majority of which had been left behind by the soldiers. It is now the only cave open to the public and is popular with tourists.
It was well worth a stop!
Friday 9th August
We left Daly Waters bright and early to complete our 600km drive to Barkly Homestead. It was an interesting drive; a really long stretch of road without any fuel stations, accompanied by an incredibly strong cross wind, which led to us using one of our jerry cans to make it all the way!
It was worth the long drive as Barkly Homestead was lovely! Really yummy food, nice layout, pool, only $30 per night and an aviary with lovely birds!
Saturday 10th August
Today’s journey was Barkly Homestead to Julia Creek… Queensland! As we got closer to the border, the dusty roads became sparser and sparser, changing into lush green, hilly landscapes!
On our way, we had to “chuck a u-e” (Aus slang for pull a u-turn!) to go back to a sign on the side of the road, a massive sign which read “Yelvertoft”. Of all the places to find somewhere called Yelvertoft, we did not expect it in the Outback!
Sunday 11th August
A short journey today from Julia Creek to Cloncurry! However, it was still a very interesting journey! We saw a flock of budgies! Finally!!
We also had to wait at a few train crossings, which turned into racing the trains who were parallel to us!
And then, the most exciting part… we were stuck in a massive herd of cows! We crawled to a stop and watched the herd wander past in awe. When we reached the end of the herd, we found the cattle herders on their horses, moving the cows down the street. It was awesome!
Next week… Week 8
Cape Tribulation Explorations