Tropical Far North Queensland by BlossomFlowerGirl

Queensland Time

Floriade of Flowers

Tropical Far North Queensland

This is about my holiday from Cairns to
Laura, on the lower Cape York Peninsula from
September 2008 to October 2008. Going from Melbourne to Cairns to Port Douglas, to Cooktown and Laura, Cape Tribulation and all the bits in between, and finally back to Cairns for my flight home.

Drive The Daintree

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43. Cooktown

Monday 29 September

We arrived in Cooktown at 1.25pm. Checked into the YHA (Pams Place) on the corner of Boundary Street and Charlotte Street. Scot, the owner was a friendly chap and when I said, "Phew it's so hot", his answer was, "Oh no, this isn't hot dear, this is only warm!"
He drove me down to the car hire place - A1 Car Hire - but somebody stuffed up and there was no car for me. I had booked a 4WD automatic several months prior and Joe couldn't find it. I told him I had a copy of the email back at the hostel and could go and get it if necessary. AFter soime checking on his computer, he found it. He said they no longer had those type of 4WD's - the booking had been done through the head office in Cairns. The 4WD auto was in Cairns and he'd have to get someone to drive it up and I would be able to pick it up early next morning.

He gave me the use of an ordinary car, a Hyundi Sonata, but the problem was you could only drive it around town. He said he wouldn't charge me a hire fee, just pay for the petrol.

Went to the Bakery and had a coffee and cake for $6.50 and bought a corkscrew at the IGL Supermarket for $6 - I'd forgottne to bring one with me and had a nice bottle of wine.
The best place for a meal is the Cooktown Bowling Club - beaut home cooked meals just $12. I had Beef and vegies and the most delicious cheesecake which was $6.50.

Joe (from A1 Car hire) drove me up Grassy Hill (in his 4WD) to see the lighthouse (No 2WD's allowed) and watch the sunset.

Cooktown Lighthouse

The Lighthouse is located on Grassy Hill which is at the eastern end of Hope Street. The lookouts provide panoramic views of Cooktown, the Endeavour River & Coral Sea. James Cook climbed the hill on several occasions to view the surrounding reefs enabling him to navigate a safe passage out after repairing his ship. The lighthouse was built in England & shipped to Cooktown in 1885 & was automated in 1927. Between 1942-45 it was complemented by a radar station & dismantled after WW2 & served the community for 100 years.

42. Bloomfield River

Monday 29 September

The Bloomfield River is 60 odd kms south of Cooktown and Allan stopped for a photo view.

Ze Bus

This was our bus.

Bloomfield River

The river enters the sea north of Cape Tribulation and is noted for its Bloomfield River cod fish species, found only in the river.

It was originally named "Blomfield's Rivulet" on 26 June, 1818 by Phillip Parker King.

Bloomfiled River & Hills

It was a beautiful scenic spot and the water appeared to be so blue.

41. Wujal Wujal

Monday 29 September

We made our second break at Wujal Wujal and I bought dim-sims and a nice hot cuppa tea - it was the best tea and I really enjoyed it. We sat outside and it was very relaxing after bouncing around on the bus.

At Viv's Cafe you can get chicken and chips, hamburgers, chips, dim sims, cold drinks, coffee and tea. I bought dim-sims and a nice hot cuppa tea - it was the best tea and I really enjoyed it.

You can rest a while and you can talk to the locals. You can also look at the history of the old days in Bloomfield. There are toilets provided for and every second Saturday a market is held there.

The Ayton store is a small shop on the right hand side of the road where you can buy food and drinks. There's a cafe called the Croc and Barra Cafe which sells takeaway food and drinks. There's a nice outdoor eating area with shade.

The Aboriginal police woman came up while we were there and said hello.

40. Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Community

Monday 29 September

Wujal Wujal means ‘land of plentiful water’ and is on the Bloomfield Track 60 kms south of Cooktown. Wujal Wujal was previously known as Bloomfield and later the Bloomfield River Mission. Originally founded in 1886 by Lutheran missionaries, the community became too difficult to administer due to its isolation and the missionaries of the time withdrew. The community opened again in 1957 and was administered by the Hopevale Mission Board. In 1979 the name was changed from Bloomfield River to Wujal Wujal. At the 2006 census, Wujal Wujal had a population of 326. The people are Kuku Yalanji.

Wujal Wujal
Visitors are warned not to bring any alcohol into the community as part of the Queensland governments aims at tackling aboriginal alcohol abuse.

Wujal Wujal artists Glen Williams and Doreen Creek worked with teacher Ross Franzi to create the tiles representing the communities’ cultural past and their future.

In 1980 the Aboriginal Council came into being, with the area regaining its traditional name, Wujal Wujal. The community has an Indigenous Knowledge Centre "Binal Mangka Bayan" (which means house of knowing things). The centre provides access to books, magazines and other educational material.

Wujal Wujal Crossing
Getting to Wujal Wujal is by an unsurfaced track road which is only suitable for 4WD's due to the gradient of the terrain and the numerous streams and rivers which cross the path at regular intervals. The road is unpassable when there's heavy waterflow.

Wujal Wujal Falls
The community at Wujal Wujal is thought to have existed on the site for thousands of years and in their eyes the waterfalls are sacred. Visitors are only permitted access to one waterfall as the other falls are only for the eyes of the female members of the community. There have been cases where non-aboriginal women have built a strong relationship with the community and been granted access to the falls however the Aboriginals insist that the other women be naked and coated in a layer of saliva from the aboriginal women.


39. Bloomfield Track

The Bloomfield Track runs from Cape Tribulation to the The Bloomfield River for 32 kms and is a true 4WD Track as there is very little gravel on parts of the surface, unimproved creek crossings, steep climbs and plenty of opportunity to get stuck if it is wet. The actual condition of the road varies enormously, and it can be anything from an easy drive, to almost or completely impassable.

Rykers Bridge

It was fun bouncing up and down and listening to the "squish" of tyres as they went through the water on the roads. There are two steep climbs and descents on the track — Donovan's Range is 20% (1:5), and Cowie Range is up to 33% (1:3).

Bloomfield Road Sign

Normally the creeks are alright, but in wet weather there can be at least 4 challenging crossings. Most 4WD vehicles can only cross about 0.6m depth of water before the risk of damage, and even if the vehicle is capable of a deeper crossing, the strong current can easily wash 4WDs away!

Bloomfield Track

There was a fair amount of water on the track and along the side. Sometimes the road sort of breaks up and you gets lots of mud. The road surface can be loose and slippery even when dry. At times I thought we weren't going to make it, but Allan, our driver knew the ropes having done this many times before. It wasn't till we arrived in Cooktown, that I realised Allan was not only our driver, but also the owner of the company.

Bloomfield Track

You can get lots of dust which blows up around.

Track History
The Bloomfield Track was pushed through from Cape Tribulation to Bloomfield in 1983. It was constructed amidst vehement protests from within the environment movement resulting in pitched battles at the site of construction between protesters and the police. Eventually the track was completed providing a 4wd thoroughfare from Cape Tribulation to just south of the Bloomfield River where it connected with an existing road which carried on through Ayton to connect with the Cape York Peninsula Developmental Road leading to Cooktown.

38. North To Cooktown

Monday 29 September

It is just after 8.00am and the journey to Cooktown begins. Country Road Coachlines, a locally owned an operated company travels between Cairns and Cooktown - offering two routes, the inland service and the coastal service. The inland service is a same day run, but I chose the coastal route as I wanted to travel along the famed Bloomfiled Track. This is an overnight service, going Cairns to Cooktown on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and returning to Cairns on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Allan was our driver and he had a great sense of humour.

I had a migraine and most of the way was spent lying across the seats on the bus - self-inflicted I know. I really should have gone to bed earlier the night before, but you know how it is - you're on holiday and don't want to miss a minute of it. Ah well, c'est la vie!

Raintree's Cafe

Our first stop was at the Raintree Cafe about 9.00am for a bite to eat and a cuppa. I bought an egg sandwich and a cup of coffee for $8.00 which was just what was needed after an early start to the day. Allan was really good and didn't mind if you wanted to linger a bit to finish that last smoke, or make a quick dash to the loo.

Outdoor Dining Area

We sat here in the outdoor area - all the smokers congregated here, plus it was much nicer sitting outside with lots of greenery around. The timber tables were indifferent shapes and the air was warm with a faint breeze.

Daintree River Ferry Crossing

I awoke to the sound of the ferry and we waited out turn to cross. TGhe time was a little after 9.30am.

Route Map

This shows the coastal route from Cairns to Emmagen Creek and part of the Bloomflied Track.
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