Category Archives: 2021 Simpson Desert

Port Douglas, QLD

Saturday 11th September 2021 – Wednesday 15th September
We are having a little rest for the next five days as David had his 2nd injection today. We did some shopping, rested and I had a lovely swim at The Sheraton Mirage Country Club. For the rest of the week we have had lovely weather, we have rested, read, swum, walked and just enjoyed ourselves. For all in lockdown we hope you can enjoy the small freedoms that are coming your way soon. Take care and stay safe!

Pinnarendi Station, Forty Mile to Port Douglas, QLD

Friday 10th September 2021
Last night was the best night’s sleep I have had in ages, might have something to do with the altitude, we were up at 750m, the temperature was 14°C overnight and we were on a quiet, peaceful station. Yeehah! We started the day with a yummy breakfast at Pinnaderri Station cooked by Nadine, then we were on our way again.
Today we are headed to Port Douglas but not before we do a little exploring along the Irvinebank mining trail from Mt Garnet via Mt Misery to Irvinebank. Unfortunately we had only travelled about 20mins along the Coolgarra Rd when we came upon a cattle grid at the entrance to Coolgarra Station with a sign that trespassers will be prosecuted. So turn around we must, we made a couple of phone calls once we drove to somewhere with service but besides someone saying their was a cranky station owner around there, no-one could confirm Coolgarra Rd was still a public road. So we had to find an alternate route. So we did the Silver Valley Rd which took us through beautiful countryside, along very narrow dirt road, up a climb to Mt Misery which was an elevation of over 1000m, with a lovely view. We saw a little bit of wildlife along the way.
After lunch we drove back down from Mt Misery and came out at Irvinebank, then travelled through Mt Surprise, then a quick stop to paddle in the Innot Hot Springs again, then on to Herberton Historic Village.
We arrived at Herberton at about 2pm which meant we only had three hours before the Historic Village closed and some people had told us you needed three days to explore here. Your ticket ($32 each) allows admission for three consecutive days but we really only had 3 hours, if we need to we will drive back the two hours from Port Douglas on Sunday. So off we go in to the village. It was a lovely look back in time, seeing so many things we remember from when we were small children, games like Ludo, golliwogs, rocking horses and many, many other things. If we were 20 years older it would have held a lot more interest for us but none-the-less we had a great few hours exploring the village.
We left on closing at 5pm and then started the long drive via Mareeba to Port Douglas. It was a miserable drive as it had started raining, plus darkness fell and then we had the very, very winding road to follow down to Mossman. David did great as There is no way I wanted to do any of this driving. I am so lucky David loves driving. We arrived at Port Douglas at about 7pm and we enjoyed a nice dinner at Siam Thai. We are now at our home again in Port Douglas (The Oaks Resort) as David has his second Covid injection tomorrow. Fingers crossed all goes well.

Historic Village Herberton
A visit to the Historic Village Herberton is like stepping back in time. Showcasing Australia’s rich and diverse history this outdoor pioneer museum is testament to an era that is long gone. Open year round to visitors, the Village collects, preserves and displays fascinating historical exhibits from across Australia. The history of this museum is also closely tied with the township of Herberton and features many priceless antiques as well as buildings that have come from the town’s ancestors.

Cobbold Gorge to Pinnarendi Station near Mt Garnet, QLD

Thursday 9th September 2021

We forgot to tell you that we met our crocodile tour guide from the Daintree River Cruise Mark and his wife Astrid at Cobbold Gorge, who had also seen us at Cumberland Dam a couple of nights earlier. We enjoyed their company a few times over the last couple of days. They live near Cairns, so they have given us a few suggestions for when we start to head south.

Today we were up nice and early as we had a Stand-Up Paddle in the Gorge at 8am. So we headed down to the gorge in the bus with another 4 guests. It was a lovely morning but a little breezy. It has been about 6 years since I had my 2nd ever paddle on a Stand-Up board so we will see how things go. We are really looking forward to the paddle as we were quite blocked for view in the boat trip yesterday. So we were kitted up with helmet and life vest and were on our way. It was a little tricky to start with, my balance was pretty good straight away but my steering was very sketchy. Anyway, it didn’t take too long to get it sorted and we headed up the gorge. David was fine right from the start. We paddle up the gorge, passed the crocodile rock from yesterday which was missing the croc. Who knows where he is today.  I am quite happy not to see him but I am sure David would like to encounter him at some stage. Unfortunately, yet again, it was not to be. We had a lovely paddle for about 30ish minutes up to the end of the gorge and back again. We both even manage to balance and take some photos as we went. It was a beautiful way to start the morning. The gorge is very beautiful, very narrow and very peaceful.

We then headed back to pack up and head n our way to who knows where. We will just drive and see where we get to. On our way out we went to the Quartz Blow Lookout which was a lovely view. We stopped at Forsayth for lunch and then continued back through Georgetown and then headed east on the Gulf Development Road which was more development than road, meaning it was one lane with enough dirt on either side so you could straddle the side when a car came the other way the majority of the time. We were both very tired today so we decided to stop at about 3.30pm at the very popular Pinnarendi Station which was also recommended for their food. We purchased a couple of their pizzas from last night as their cafe was booked out for dinner tonight. We enjoyed the pizzas very much, also the night off cooking for me was good too. We the went for a walk around the property, to the dams and were hoping to see some wildlife. We only saw some black cormorants, dotterel and some ducks.

Tomorrow we head to Port Douglas for the next 5 days.

Georgetown to Cobbold Gorge, QLD – Day 1 and 2

Tuesday 7th September 2021
Lovely morning. A quick runaround the township of Georgetown. A swim in the free local council pool. It was only about 18m long but was worth a dip to tick the arms over. It was very foreign. We haven’t done laps for a couple of weeks. Then off we drove to Cobbold Gorge. About 90km south of Georgetown on mostly dirty road with lovely scenery and a few hills in the distance. We arrive at Cobbold Gorge about 12, check-in, choose our unpowered campsite and then have some lunch. It is very warm so we just relax chasing the shade until about 4.30pm when we go for a walk to Russell’s Lookout, a 5km return walk. It is a nice walk and thankfully it has cooled down and there is a lovely breeze. We reach the top and enjoy the view for 30 mins or so, then head back down as the light fades. It was a lovely walk. We then enjoy a nice meal in the open air restaurant. All in all, we have had a lovely relaxing day. We are very grateful most nights there is a breeze to keep us cool.

Wednesday 8th September 2021
Today we went for a walk around the Cobbold Gorge property on the Dell’s and Diggers Tracks. They were along the river and had there been any water in the river I am sure sit would have looked a lot better. So it was up to our imagination a little but it was a little exercise for the morning. Then after lunch we went on our Cobbold Gorge Tour – the first section of the tour involved a little chat  explaining about the history of the property and then on to the present. We did the hike and plant part of the tour first, seeing many interesting plants, some edible, some not, some poisonous, some with soft leaves, others course like sandpaper, some that smelled like liquorice and others like disinfectant. It was very interesting. We then hiked up over the gorge and walk out on the glass bridge. This was built with a grant from the Queensland Government to promote tourism in the North West. It was strange to walk out and look down in the gorge underneath you but the bridge in my opinion was a little out of place. We then walked down behind the gorge for the boat part of the tour. This was on a battery powered boat, so was noiseless. The gorge was very narrow and quite impressive. It was a little difficult to get photos as we were in the centre of the boat but we managed a couple of okay ones. We are looking forward to the stand-up paddle board tour in the morning where we will hopefully manage some better images. Anyway we had another lovely day in Queensland. David has had another fun day learning to operate our new camera and as you will see in the photos he has improved immensely. Today he saw egrets, yellow honey-eater, bower bird, apostlebirds, black cockatoos, rainbow rosellas, magpies and a red-winged parrot and its baby.

Cumberland Dam to Georgetown, QLD

Monday 6th September 2021
We spent the morning at Cumberland Dam, enjoying a little rest time, reading, yoga and bird watching. It was most enjoyable. Then after lunch we headed to the little town of Georgetown about 25km east of Cumberland Dam. The last of the big travellers today.

After checking in to our caravan park we booked a few things for the coming week. A big commitment for us but sometimes that is how it has to be. We are booked for the following.

• Tuesday 7th to Thursday 9th September – Cobbold Gorge camping, Gorge boat tour and Stand up paddle boards
• Friday 10th September to Wednesday 15th September – Oaks Resort
• Saturday 11th September – Covid jab no 2 for David

This took a bit of time so half the afternoon was done and dusted. We then headed to the Information Centre where the “Ted Elliott Mineral Collection is housed. Displayed in nine themed rooms and over 4500 specimens, this collection is world class, one of the best in Australia and is what can only be described as stunning.” It was amazing how many varied rocks there were – different shapes, colours, some just raw rocks, others polished. It was very interesting if you like rocks. I just enjoyed looking at their differences. For David it brought back memories of time with his grandmother at Lightning Ridge.

We then went on a 7km hike around the town on the River Walk. This was okay but not very exciting, just another walk in another town today. The town also has a free public swimming pool so we had a dip in this as well to cool down just before 7pm.

If you haven’t noticed our pace has slowed considerably.

 

Richmond to Cumberland Dam, Georgetown, QLD

Sunday 5th September 2021
Our first stop today was a quick trip back to the Kronosaurus Museum to watch a short video explaining about the fossils that have been found in the area. This was the best part of the museum as it showed how the area had changed from 110 million years ago, life like images of the fossils and how they lived. It helped make the fossils come alive and made it all the more interesting. They should tell their patrons to watch the video first as you definitely get a much better appreciation of the fossils afterwards.

We then headed on our way north along the Richmond-Croydon Rd from Richmond to Croydon, then headed east towards Georgetown, a 461km drive. There was very little traffic on the road north (340km), maybe about 5 cars in total. The road was bitumen for about 1/3 of the way, ever-changing dirt colours for the rest. Then as we headed east the traffic increased but it wasn’t too bad. I drove for about 2.5 hours. We stopped about 25km west of Georgetown at Cumberland Dam where we will camp for the night. We enjoyed a bird watching walk around the dam where we saw an egret, emu, magpie geese, straw necked ibis, comb crested jacana, the little kingfisher and pale headed lorikeets. There are many more birds on signs here so hopefully we will see some more tomorrow.

Richmond QLD

Saturday 4th September
Today we had a slow start to the day, a run, some housekeeping and a rest morning. After lunch we went to the Kronosaurus Korner – a small museum which usually has an onsite paleontologist but unfortunately she resigned a couple of weeks ago. Anyway, we went and had a look at all the fossils that have been found in the area. There was an incredible number of fossils of differing sizes, some quite large. We ran out of time to watch the video so will head back there i the morning before we head on our way. Then we headed back for another restful afternoon.

“Kronosaurus Korner is Australia’s premier marine fossil museum. It showcases nearly 1,150 unique fossil specimens from Richmond, Outback Queensland. Fossils from the area include the 100-115 million year old remains of extinct marine reptiles, fishes, ammonites and squids that once dominated Australia’s ancient inland sea. While fossils of extinct marine reptiles were found in the area during the 1860s, the catalyst for developing the museum occurred in 1989 with the discovery of the spectacular ‘Richmond Pliosaur’ on a property called Marathon Station near Richmond. The ‘Richmond Pliosaur’ was recognised by palaeontologists for representing one of the best preserved Cretaceous marine reptile fossils in the world.”

Clem Walton Park near Cloncurry to Richmond, QLD

Friday 3rd September 2021
After a lovely quiet night, followed by a beautiful walk along the river bird watching and photographing before we headed on our way back to Cloncurry 60km east yet again. Today’s bird list – Dart, Varied Lorikeet, Rainbow Bee-eater, Australasian Grebe,

A quick stop at Cloncurry for supplies, by then it was midday we headed off touring. First stop was to be a late lunch at Walkabout Creek Hotel – location of another Crocodile Dundee scene 120km SE of Cloncurry, it was a beautiful drive through lovely plains. Unfortunately due to under staffing the hotel is only open until 1pm and then re-opens at 5pm till close and they no longer sell meals. Instead of lunch we had our first encounter with Queensland Law Enforcement whilst we were stopped outside the hotel. We had to give our licences, phone numbers and show our border passes, also information about when we left home, entered Queensland, where we stayed last night and where we were headed tonight. We were very happy to have finally been asked after almost 10 weeks in Queensland to confirm our legality of being here. The police officer was very nice and we had an interesting chat with her, helped her pass some time as she spends most of her day checking people on the highway with other state number plates. It is a bit like ground hog day she said. We then found some shade for a sandwich in the park.

So epic fail for the Crocodile Dundee Walkabout Hotel, we only managed a photo of the exterior and didn’t get to have a crocodile burger and a beer. Boohoo!!

So we then headed back 120km NE through some more beautiful countryside on a road a little less travelled to Julia Creek where we were hoping to have a swim in the pool and stay at the caravan park. Foiled yet again, no space at the caravan park again, the overflow McIntyre Park and the RV Park by the creek were boggy from the rain the night before last and were closed. So it was either a gravel pit behind the road house with the other 50 homeless caravanners or move on. You guessed it. We moved on. We tried a Farmstay at Nelia which was 50km East but it also wasn’t taking anyone because it was very boggy as well. So on to Richmond which was over 1.5hrs and 150km further east. We decided against a swim as it would have meant arriving in the dark and we are trying our best to avoid this.

It was a lovely drive to Richmond with a quick detour to Nelia of which I did about 100km, only stopping because I got caught behind a road train. Some of the road signs indicate the road trains around here can be up to 53m long. So needless to say I was too chicken to overtake, so we swapped drivers.

On arrival here at Richmond we checked in to the caravan park which is on a man made lake, so we had a lovely walk around the lake before dinner. It is quite cool this evening but still comfortable enough to sit outside.

Clem Walton Park, 60km W of Cloncurry, QLD

Thursday 2nd September 2021
Well, the thunderstorm came during the night. We were woken at 4.30am with heavy rain, thunder and lightening. This kept us awake for a while with a couple of campers deciding to leave before the road got too boggy. We were okay except we had a leak in the roof coming through the fan.

We slept in a little and when we finally got up we headed for an exploration walk. We walked the water’s edge of the Corella Dam seeing many different types of birds – pelicans, egrets, little black cormorants, a pied stilt, a dart, white faced heron, a kingfisher and zebra finches. We love having our new camera. We heard a splash on the edge and we weren’t sure if it was a small crocodile or a big fish as we only saw the splash not the animal. As we headed further around the dam, doing some rock scrambling as well, David saw a 2.5m freshwater crocodile on the rocks but sadly it was dead – we wonder whether it may have been killed by the blue/green algae found in the dam or maybe it ate a cane toad. We continued to the Dam wall and then walked along the Corella River enjoying the birds here as well. It was a lovely walk only 6km but it took us almost 2.5 hours.

After much deliberation at lunch time whether to head on our way or stay another night. We decided to stay agin but this time by the river and have a rest afternoon. Some yoga, meditation, a little reading and David fixed the leaking fan. We also enjoyed another walk this time from camp along the river. We met a couple who had seen a jabiru along the river yesterday but unfortunately it didn’t return. We saw many more birds again this afternoon – a pelican, egrets and a rainbow bee-eater. A few chats along the way and the day was done. We had a lovely dinner by the river.

Cloncurry to Clem Walton Park near Mary Kathleen, 60km W of Cloncurry, QLD

Wednesday 1st September 2021
Hi everyone, we are in Cloncurry this today staying in the Discovery Caravan Park just out of town. It was a very ordinary night’s sleep as it was right on the road and the road trains went passed all night. David looks like he has had no sleep at all. The caravan park is home to many, many miners – there are so many doings but they are very modern. They also provide a daily ally you can eat buffet for dinner for just $25 and it is apparently very good. Best of all was the old style shower nozzle and hot water. Yippee!!!!!

This morning we headed to the John Flynn Royal Flying Doctor Museum. We spent about 3 hours there reading so much information, watching a video of a couple of flights to the outback and a photo slideshow from John Flynn. It was very interesting. I have included a snippet of the information for you to read if you want to, or not id you don’t.

We then headed to Chinamans Creek Dam for lunch, then to the lookout and silo art. Then we were going to head east to Julia Creek but the Caravan Park was booked out so instead we headed west to the Ballara Heritage Mining Trail. We didn’t really look at the mining stuff but enjoyed the drive through the ranges to Fountain Springs which unfortunately the falls weren’t running but the reflection of the rocks in the little lake was spectacular – this was the location of  the crocodile attack on Linda Koslawski in the first Crocodile Dundee Movie. You could barely see the water. The ranges look very similar to the West MacDonnell Ranges in Alice Springs.

Then to find a camp because yet again we got talking at the springs and it was getting late. Arriving at our camp at Clem Walton Nature Reserve which is a freebie camp on someone’s property. We had our first bit of rain since we left Port Douglas this evening just after we finished cleaning up, we got everything packed away and it pretty much stopped. So it was light rain and short lived, only about 10 minutes. It is 8.37pm and is currently 30°C.