CREB track to Farewell Cape York..
...hello East Coast winds!
WE ARE HERE
After completing the Frenchman’s track with flying colours we continued to head south down the development road. A quick stop at our favourite camp north of Coen on the river for a ‘shower’ and relax away from the corrugations, then onto Musgrave where we had come from the west weeks earlier. We would now be heading east through Lakefield National Park and onto Cape Melville National Park.
The roads out here are not ruined by traffic and the scenery is, yet again, completely different. In Lakefield we had a great night and sunset fishing session at Hanns Campground. This was a big camping area on the river, yet we were almost the only people to be found. We travelled further up into Cape Melville National Park towards Crocodile camping area and Bathurst Bay. This was 60km of 4×4 track with stream crossings and plenty of sand to slow us down. Surprisingly it proved a popular spot with locals and there were more than a few groups out here camping and fishing. Since joining the east coast on this trip we started using one world constantly, ‘wind’. So far every time we ventured out to the east we were blown off our feet. Crocodile creek was a great spot but if you just had a tent or a cheap kings ‘flappy’ rooftop you would have been missing in the morning, presumed dead.
At this point we were well overdue for some civilisation and the supermarket at Cooktown didn’t see us coming! The shortest route to Cooktown is along the Starcke Track down to Starcke River. Well it turned out to be a journey in itself. Very entertaining, very long, and a lot of bumps. So much fun was had, I’d estimated the perfect amount of fuel to make it to Cooktown, and not a sniff left in reserve. We camped up at the Starcke River with some locals before heading into Cooktown for the essentials; fuel, carwash, supermarket, and the bakery. Another big part of the Ausventure was coming to an end. We’d conquered the Cape and made it to Cooktown, which surprised us with great attractions and weather. It was also our first real civilisation “black top” area so we were placed back in with the regular travelling crowd. This is unfortunately the reality of the east coast. It’s the busiest place in Australia to travel and you really have to search to get a place to yourself.
Next on the camping bucket list and just south of Cooktown is Archer Point light house. It’s a popular free camping spot but there’s always room to squeeze in. That is of course if you don’t mind the wind! These nights after visiting the supermarket were becoming celebration nights with a feast of treats; so much food and so much choice. It’s something that doesn’t happen that often when you’re remote camping, so we let the good times roll!
Our goal was to have a final Cape York Ausventure with our travelling pals by completing the CREB track south into the Daintree. Once there, we were in for some well deserved relaxation and our last days enjoying the single best thing about our entire trip – the lifelong friends we’d made. The CREB, or Cairns Regional Electricity Board track, is an inland route that cuts through towering mountains and thick rainforest. Around 60km in length it takes you from Bloomfield across the Mcdowall Range and into the Daintree. It is closed for the wet season and can be difficult even after a sprinkle of rain due to extremely steep slippy sections of track. For this reason, towing is not recommended, and like any single lane 4×4, track you’ll end up relying on the oncoming to pull off the track for you.
All these iconic tracks in north Queensland get us excited. For us they’re a world away from Melbourne and who knows when we’ll be back. Just getting up here and being able to give them a go is something to be proud of, and a dream for many. Heading south towards Bloomfield we stopped in at Ayton for some last minute supplies and lunch, full of beans and speculation. The road to get there starts with what can only be called a very steep concrete driveway and 30km of typical winding dirt road into the mountains. We passed amazing views and bushfires along this stretch of the track before arriving at Roaring Meg Falls. Weather dictated a dip in the swimming area up stream before we continued on.
It’s only the southern half of the track that is actual ‘track’ and it didn’t disappoint. The bush made way to jungle, the track got steeper and steeper, and the views became jaw dropping. Lucky the weather was perfect, because it still proved slippery in sections, with a run up and low range essential. When we got to the top, wow. In the middle of a mountain range of thick rainforest all to yourself, we all stopped and enjoyed.
The decent is where accidents could definitely happen. We very slowly crawled our way down with the trailer brakes turned to the max. It’s a pain sometimes to get out and have a look at the trail first, but it is totally worth it. Way better to have a look on foot than damage your vehicle (or ego) and end up on Youtube. The track ends with an iconic crossing of the Daintree river, and you’ve survived. If you live in the Cairns area you really are totally spoilt having this track as your weekender! With our dirty vehicles we caught the ferry back over the river to Cape Tribulation and checked ourselves into the caravan park. Our first park since the Tip.
What an end to the Cape York section of our Ausventure. Totally different to anything we had experienced so far, and something we will never forget.
Until our next update - see you on / off the road 😉
Cassie and Micky