We traveled on a three week adventure from Townsville to the tip of Australia and back with two other couples, the Drabbles and the Greens. We set off very early one Saturday morning in convoy, all very excited. We reached the breakfast stop (in Cardwell) and all popped into the servo for hot bacon and egg sangas, well all except one team member, Linda Green, who was fast asleep in the car (maybe the excitement was too much for her).
So, now I take writers licence and skip to the bit where we have finally reached the top of Australia and roll into Seisia. I will fill you all in on the bits in between (like the old telegraph track etc.) but that will be a different blog (too much to cover in one). We had decided that we would spend the first few days at Loyalty Beach camp ground, so we could use it as a base to explore the top. So we rolled in, found our spots and pitched our tents. This was a lovely ground with adequate facilities, good sized pitches and a view to die for.
The campground covers about 13 acres of beachfront prime site. It also has an abundance of wildlife in and around the campground including palm cockatoos, green tree frogs, dingoes, kangaroos, green tree snakes, pythons, wild horses, crocodiles and the beautiful Ulysses Butterfly. We saw quite a few wild horses, that would come into the campground of an evening and search for food in the bins and peoples tents etc. We had a couple of restless nights where we were awoken by horses rummaging around bins and walking through people campsites looking for food.
After settling in with a few cold beers we began to plan our next couple of days. Obviously we wanted to drive to the tip, we also wanted to do a bit of fishing and just generally unwind and chill out after a hectic few days getting here. Admin needed to be done (such as washing and general camp cleaning) and we all needed to recharge and Linda needed to catch up on her sleep.
The beach went for miles and miles and Mike and I took off to explore. After walking a long way down the beach we eventually came across what I liked to call “my new reef boat”! Upon closer inspection we did decide that it probably needed a little bit of work so I decided to stick with the tinny.
The Greens also went exploring from the campground and, true to form, found a pub just down the beach. This was lovely place to spend the afternoon (and the Greens spent many afternoons there). One evening we decided to all go down as they had traditional dancers from Thursday Island putting on an amazing performance, showcasing their traditional dancing and costumes.
The stage was set for the performers with an amazing sunset in the background. The dancers ranged in ages from very young kids of four or five to older teenagers and they were amazing. They were all in traditional costume and performed several different dances with spears and headdresses. At the end of the evening they invited the audience to come and join in with one of their dances. Well, when they invited the audience to join in guess who got up and into the spirit of the evening? No, not me! Drabs of course. He could not help himself and I must admit he did bring a certain “je ne sais quoi” to the proceedings.
Fishing (of course, you surely knew there would be fishing!)
My fishing husband (Drabs) had brought his roof top tinny along on the trip so he very kindly offered to take me out for a mornings fish in the beautiful waters just off Seisia. We got up early and trundled down to the boat ramp. I was very excited to get my fishing fishing trip in the far north of Queensland and was looking forward to bringing home dinner.
The waters around Seisia are full of small reefs and islands which hold hundreds of fish of all different species. The weather wasn’t too great (little windy for the small boat), but we battled on and had a beautiful morning out on the water. We also landed a few fish, but nothing of note and definitely nothing that would feed the six of us for dinner!
As a side note I guess I should be totally transparent with my readers and let you know that if I had to survive on the fish I caught I would be a size zero and very hungry. I start every fishing trip with a pure excitable optimism, which, if truth be told, is only occasionally warranted. But, in saying that, I am forever the optimist and some times I do bring home dinner (like the beautiful Barra I caught in the Jardine).
We went for a fish off the famous Seisia Jetty a couple of times (while the Greens went to the pub). This place was amazing, you can look over the edge and see the fish all swimming around in schools, absolutely amazing. Of course that does not mean that you can catch them even when you dangling an enticing lure in front of their noses.
Some great catches have been had from the jetty, including huge mackerel, giant trevally and others, but we had to just satisfy ourselves with some small, but cute ones.
Just in case fishing is not your thing, there are plenty of other things to do whilst staying at Loyalty beach. One day we decided to explore the famous Five Beaches loop track which starts at Somerset ruins and goes through to Vallack Point on the eastern side of Cape York. The track does go further than Vallack and actually encompasses about seven or eight beaches before it rejoins Somerset Road, but we just stuck to the five. The track itself takes you across rugged headland with coffee rock and down onto beaches with beautiful white sand and pristine waters.
The track conditions change depending on the weather and wet seasons, but we did not find any of the area too rough and enjoyed the beautiful scenery. The coastline is spectacular and rugged. Beautiful stretches of sandy beaches with hardly another soul in sight.
On our way back we decided to explore the World War II wrecks that are scattered around the area. The area is full of history. In Bamaga there is a monument that commemorates the local Torres Strait Islanders (TSI) who enlisted in the Northern Peninsula Area Light Infantry. By 1944, almost every able-bodied TSI man had joined up, ready to repulse the Japanese from the Cape should they invade.
The area is dotted with wrecks of planes and abandoned radar installations and buildings. Seeing how many plane wrecks there were around the area surrounded by tropical jungle was a surreal experience. It was very thought provoking end to another wonderful day in Cape York.
If you want to read more about our trip to Cape York, including the beautiful Jardine River and our mechanical failures along the way, check out my other blogs