Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Induction and Camping around the Cape...

It's been go go go since we arrived in Cairns.

All together, we are 15 secondees from Westpac, KPMG and IBM. The first week of our five week secondment was the induction and a camping trip to get to know each other and also an opportunity for some of the secondees who will be based in Cairns to see some of the communities around Cape York. 

The first few days was the intenstive 4WD defensive driver training and getting ready for the camping trip. The defensive driving course was to ensure that all of us could drive up to the Cape and back without incident. The group spent 2 days in the scorching sun at the Cairns show grounds learning how to go around wet corners and not step on the brakes when a skippy shot out in front of the car. Being an auto driver, I left it upto the experts and skipped out on the training and went shopping instead.

So, we left for our camping trip to the Cape on Thursday afternoon. Our first stop was the Daintree forest which was a 2 hour drive away. In a convoy of 8 4WDs, with the lovely Rose entertaining us all the way there, we reached PKs (a backpacker hostel) where we were spending the night. We had our dinner, hung with the other backpackers and  participated in the pool competition before we called it an early night before the long journey the next day.

Day 2, we left PKs at 6:30am and drove a short way down to Cape Tribulation and had a breakfast by the beach there. Photo sufficient for this one :o)

From Cape Trib we took the scenic, (but challenging), coastal road to Cooktown via the Aboriginal community of Wujal Wujal. From Wujal we continued on to Cooktown, with a quick stop for a dip in one of the watering holes along the way. In Cooktown we refueled, changed the second flat tyre we had on the trip and had a leisurely lunch at a local fish and chips joint while the boys changed the flat tyre. We then proceeded up another challenging road, (Battle Camp), up into Lakefield National Park and on to our camping spot for the night in the park at the Hann Crossing on the Kennedy River

Once we got here, we proceeded to set up camp. The girls started getting the pre-dinner snacks ready while Vit cooked us THE tastiest fish on the bbq. For mains, we had steak and dessert was tim tams and chocolate. Yep, a three course meal on a camping trip... it was fantastic! While we were sitting around the camp-fire, one of the others noticed eyes in the water staring out at us. Everyone scrambled over to the rivers edge to spot the croc who was most likely sizing us up for his next meal... but a few minutes later, the eyes disappeared. We played a few games around the campfire, sang a few songs, put up our mosquito nets and went to bed with one eye open.

The next day, we woke up to an awesome view of the calm Kennedy river (no crocs in sight) had a lazy (but substantial) Saturday breakfast of bacon, eggs, sausages and cereal and packed up camp. Before we left, we did a check of the vehicles and noticed that two had flats. Vit and the boys proceeded to give us a tyre changing demonstration before we headed out of the national park. We took some bush roads, crossed a few rivers (including the Laura river) and travelled through the parks to the coast on Princess Charlotte Bay met up with a group of Lama Lama traditional owners of that country.

Once we got there, one of the Traditional owners mentioned to us that there was a place down the beach where we could go to get oysters. So, a few of us set out with screwdrivers and an appetite and navigated our way down the beach to the oyster rocks. We spent a leisurely afternoon on the beach, eating oysters, catching fish and even managed to catch a sizeable mud crab which we cooked for dinner. The evening was spent hanging out with the Traditional owners of the Lama Lama land, and cooking a meal of pasta for the 25 odd people on the campfire. After dinner, the boys set up a huge bonfire which we all sat around and shared stories.
The third morning, we had a quick breakfast, packed up, thanked the Traditional owners for letting us camp the night and proceeded on to our next destination. Unfortunately, due to the height of a tidal creek and another river crossing, we could not take the adventure road north to the township of Coen. We had to backtrack a bit and as the wet season has just finished, we had drive to some muck and this is where the driver training came in handy. We almost got bogged, but the legendary Vit managed to get us out without us having to get out and push. So, after that little bit of excitement, we headed to the Musgrave Telegraph Station Roadhouse for a quick lunch and then on to Coen. Here, we got out for a stretch, dropped off some stuff for one of the secondees and I checked out the SexChange Hotel (formerly known as the Exchange hotel) where I will be spending a week. From Coen we travelled another hour North up to a lovely spot on the Archer River where we camped the night. Once we got there, we unpacked our gear for the night and went for a dip in the river which was a great, (and croc safe), swimming spot. We had a pre-dinner snack of prawns by the river and then headed to the Archer River Roadhouse for dinner. 

Our last morning of the trip, we woke up, said our goodbyes to some of the secondees (as they were travelling further up north to work in some of the communities) and made an early start back to Cairns. 

Thanks to the lovely Rose and Vit for organising this and taking us up... t'was a fantastic trip!

Now its down to business.... and the start of our four weeks working with the different organisations that work with the communities in the Cape.

1 comment:

the catalm elephant said...

as always, your travel posts are inspiring! the details - the barbecued fish, bunking driving sessions, croc on the look-out, oysters - make one visualise the adventure as one reads. do keep such posts coming.