Firstly, let me explain my reasons for lack of blogs lately… little to no reception, fishing and basically just doing other things. Here is some of the photos of our journey through Cape York that I could not show you last time due to reception issues.
It took eight days for the mechanic in Seisia to get the bearings for our Prado and fix the car. During those eight days we started feeling a little restricted. We were in one of the most remote and best areas in Australia but we couldn’t really explore it because the car wasn’t in good enough shape. Ben was going fishing at Seisia Wharf two and sometimes three times daily and I was accompanying him at least once a day. We would walk along the Seisa Beach admiring it’s beauty but all the while wishing that soon the car would be fixed and we would make it to the tip of Australia.
During our wait in Seisia, we thought why not catch the ferry to Thursday Island and have a look around. The ferry ride is just over an hour from Seisia Wharf to Thursday Island. The water keeps your attention, it is so clear and the layers of different shades of blue stretching across its body are amazing.
We did a tour on Thursday Island with a local called Dirk. It is just $25 for the tour, this includes a drive around town to look at all of the main buildings then a walk around the war history museum. After this you see their cemetery and get to learn a little about the pearl driving that went on around Thursday Island and then it is off the crayfish farm. Ben bought one live crayfish just over 2kg for $60 (delivered to the wharf at our ferry departure time) and that was our dinner that night.
Finally, last Tuesday our car went into the mechanic and got fixed and suddenly we were free again! The next morning we were up early and headed for the red roads again. We visited Somerset on the way up, which was lovely and really made you realise how close to the edge of our continent we really were. We then drove all the way to The Tip (Punjinka). At low tide you can walk along the beach and up a small shelf of rocks to get to the famous sign and so this is what we did. The dogs had travelled all of this way with us and so we thought it was only fair that we walked them to The Tip too.
Standing on The Tip of Australia is a surreal feeling, we were almost as far away as we ever could get from home without being out of the country. There is something about reaching The Tip that makes you smile, it is an achievement, a trophy, a reward for roughing it that you never even asked for or expected. There is a certain amount of proudness that all Aussie’s can feel when they stand on that point. If you are a proud Aussie, try and make it to The Tip one day, you won’t be disappointed. While at the top we visited The Croc Tent, which is bascially a sovenier shop and Punsand Bay. Punsand Bay is home to the famous Corrugation Bar and there is a beautiful campground there. We would have loved to have been able to spend a couple of nights there but our extended stay in Seisia due to the car issues stopped that from happening. Next time we do The Tip the Telegraph Track will be on our agenda.
Our time and money was starting to run short and so Thursday morning we were up and out of Seisia and headed to Weipa. The road to Weipa was a long, dusty and corrugated one. It would be six hours before we would hit the smooth bitumen roads of Weipa, this was the first time in 10 months that we have actually headed South instead of North.
If you have any interest in fishing, Weipa, is like a famous rock star of the fishing world. Every keen Aussie fishermen has a dream to make it to Weipa one day. Weipa is by no means a large town but it does have handy shops like a bakery, pharmacy and Woolworths, which are rare or non-existent further North. Thanks to mining it has all of the essentials and prices for food and fuel are a little more normal. The caravan park here is huge and within walking distance of the shops.
Started 10/09/17 – Continued 14/09/17
Weipa is an amazing place, especially for fisherman. The waterways, although full of crocs and sharks, are stunning. There is a good selection of spots for land based fishing, which is great for us. In the first few days we were here Ben landed quite a few good sized Queenfish and a big Golden Trevally. Since then he has been consistently catching Queenfish and has caught a few smaller fish and some barracouta. I have even caught two Queenies and an alligator garfish.
We have made friends with our neighbours here at Weipa. Janice and George are two seventy something year olds. They have been to Weipa on several occasions, so they know the area quite well. They like to go fishing and George loves it almost as much as Ben does, so they have been going fishing together here and there. Janice and George live and on a lime farm in central Queensland. They are here for a holiday with their friends Kev and Howard, who are also our neighbours and are very nice guys.
We have fished off the wharf and under the bridge here. Ben fished off the beach one morning and there was one day when we headed out to Red Beach with Janice and George then Kev and Howard came later. Red Beach is called this because it is, in fact, a red beach. Instead of sand it has tiny round red pebbles and then the blue, salty water stretches out before it. I loved this spot because the pebbles are comfortable to sit on and as you watch the water you see fish jumping and sharks lurking.
We went to a place called Pennefather a couple of days ago. It takes almost an hour to drive there from Weipa. The roads out there are red and dusty, like many of the other roads up here but the corrugation isn’t too bad. When you finally reach Pennefather, the road turns from red compact dirt to soft sand. We reduced our tyre pressure and pushed on, leading Howard and Kev, who haven’t got much four wheel drive experience onto the sand. The tracks lead you through scrub and then out onto the sand dunes. The drive is great and is like nothing we have done up until now. Ben drove the dunes in low range, bumping along the tracks and we both admired the remote beauty of the white sand and occasional brown, dry grasses. There are tracks everywhere, winding around the dunes but if you stick to the high ones, lower your tyre pressure and keep your speed low your chances of getting bogged in the sand are fairly low.
The tracks lead out to, what seems like miles of beautiful beach and a small, remote camping ground. There are rolling dunes in the back ground and the coast line waves along creating shallow beaches, drop offs, points and a few rocks to fish off. We had a great day there and Ben caught a big thick lip Trevally, which we all had for dinner that night.
When you fish ‘under the bridge’ in Weipa, you have the choice of standing on a concrete platform to fish or on the beach area. The platform is the more popular and more croc-wise place to stand. Ben has seen some big barramundi pulled in at this spot but unfortunately they weren’t on his line. There is a hefty one way bridge that crosses this part of the water, it has a train line that also crosses it right next to the roadway.
I had my birthday in Weipa, I turned 35 and what a way to spend it… Corona’s with fresh lime, birthday cake, swimming in the pool and a lovely sunset cruise to top it off. There was supposed to be nineteen other people on our cruise but Ben and I were the only ones who showed up. The other nineteen were supposed to arrive on a tour bus but they cancelled and somebody failed to notify the skippers. So one of the tour guides gave us the choice of refunding our money, coming back a different day or to go out anyway even though it would only be us two and the skipper on board. As it was my birthday present we decided to go out anyway. Ben asked if he could bring a fishing rod on board and the skipper was happy for him to do so. Our sunset wildlife cruise turned into a two hour, trolling, fishing, eating and drinking cruise. We had the whole boat to ourselves… not to mention we had access to all of the nibbles that had been prepared for 21 people and all of the beers and champagne. Neither of us could have asked for a better sunset cruise. It is not every day you get to spend your birthday in such a magical place.
On Thursday we went for a drive out to Mapoon, which is an aboriginal community about an hour from Weipa. We had heard that the fishing there was great and our neighbours, Janice and George, were keen for us to accompany them out there. The beaches in Mapoon are not white, the sand is a light brown colour and is full of large shells and dead coral. Ben and I were both of the opinion that this place was not as nice as Weipa. We did a bit of beach fishing but there was very little good live bait to be seen. After a few hours of trying to fish and trying to get bait we gave up on Mapoon and headed back to Weipa, hot and tried.
Both Ben and I attempted to get work in Weipa. Ben was trying to get into the mines there and I tried at the bakery, Woolworths and at the local vet. The promise of work was real but it was taking too long for the mines to get Ben’s induction, interview and medical sorted out. When they told him he would have to wait around a month just for him to start training we knew that staying in Weipa wasn’t going to be an option. We needed work and money and we needed it soon.
We considered a few possibilities but after much deliberation, on Friday morning, we left Weipa and headed South again back to a place we know well… Townsville. The guy Ben was working for in Townsville previously was happy to have him back and it looks likely that I will pick up some shifts at JCU again.
On our way back to Townsville we stopped in Mareeba overnight. There is an old style drive-in there that allows you to stay overnight and watch two movies for just $14 per head. It was a unique place to camp, with the added bonus of some old school entertainment. They only have movies there on Friday and Saturday nights so it was lucky that it happened to be a Friday afternoon when we arrived there. What a great stop over!
We have been back in Townsville now for just over a week and both of us have been working since the day after we arrived. Ben is back to laying bricks and blocks six days per week and I am working nights at JCU Vet Emergency. It was good to come back and see the staff at Coral Coast Caravan Park, they literally welcomed us back with open arms. We sat in the TV room Saturday night and watched the Tigers beat GWS and get into the Grand Final so we are now awaiting the BIG game on Saturday.
One thought on “Thursday Island, The Tip and Weipa”
I love your post. We did Weipa and the Tip this year. It was a great adventure. Wish I knew about the drive-in at Townsville, that would of been nice to go to. You also have some great pictures.