Day Nineteen – Off-Road in the Daintree

One of the problems of camping under lush, lush rainforest canopy is it tends to block the sun, so my natural alarm clock (the sun) didn’t wake me up until 8:30. Whoops!

I had a few running repairs (replacing the broken oil pressure switch) to get done before we left camp, and I guess being out in the open working on the car attracted a little attention. We had some French boys staying at the adjacent campsite who offered some help, and another Irish traveller check that we were OK, which is nice.

We ended up chatting more with the two Frenchmen and decided to travel north (at least the leg to Cooktown) together, mostly for the sake of safety during the river crossings. I had mixed reports on the difficulty of the trail – a clerk at a shop said it’s a piece of cake, the Irish man I was talking with earlier said his heart was beating out of his chest during some of the river crossings. The clerk said the water levels were low, the Irish man said the water levels were high. I guess it’s all relative!

20130601_RCH_2651 20130601_RCH_2660 20130601_RCH_2663Just past our campground was a nice little water hole (thanks for the advice, free map!). Had a quick swim. Probably broke the GoPro (I’m an idiot and forgot to put the waterproof rear case back on…).

20130601_RCH_2671 20130601_RCH_2677 20130601_RCH_2680 20130601_RCH_2684We also went for a quick walk along the beach at Cape Tribulation – beautiful mangroves, rainforest and beach.

20130601_RCH_2686 20130601_RCH_2690After the Cape, the real 4WD trail began. A lady at the shop by the waterhole suggested that if the first creek was too difficult, we should turn around and come back. So, we were a little hesitant crossing the first one. We got out, walked, hummed, harred… then someone else drove through without slowing down, making us feel like chumps.

The Irish man said that the second one was the hardest – it wasn’t at all. We kept crossing small and shallow creeks, not even bothering to get out an inspect them. Some were deeper and rocky, most were shallow and smooth under the water.

A little while later we finally came to the Bloomfield River, and it made my eyes open! It was so wide, and until we came to the concrete causeway, I had no idea how we were going to cross that. The Irish man had described this one to us, and he said his heart was still beating out of his chest when he thought about it. There was a concrete causeway across the river, but the was quite a strong current flowing about 20cm above the concrete. I could see how it could be dangerous, but after seeing Landcruisers drive through at 40kph, I didn’t hesitate crossing it – and as with all the ones before, it was easy!

I was pretty sad not to have my GoPro for all these creek crossings… Hopefully I learnt a valuable lesson today…

20130601_RCH_2694 20130601_RCH_2698 20130601_RCH_2699 20130601_RCH_2700Next stop was an odd little country pub called Lions Den. This place was FILLED with the memorabilia and insignias of countless travellers that have passed through. Everything from stubby coolers and business cards to g-stings and bras!

20130601_RCH_2701There was even a t-shirt from Charlie Boorman when they travelled through on their TV show By Any Means.

20130601_RCH_2706It was tempting (and easy) to stay at their campground, but we balked at the $12/person (not much on its own, but will quickly add up). The French boys talked us into trying to find a free camp on the side of the road. We eventually found some feint tyre tracks that led us to an opening on the side of the road. Pretty sure we’ll be fine here for the night!

19日目 6月1日(土) デリちゃん、初めての川渡りの巻。

ロスが冗談で毎日ラジオ体操をしたほうがいいかもねというので、頭の中で音楽を流し、なかなか清々しい1日をラジオ体操から始めました笑  今日も炊きだめしておいたご飯でお茶漬け。

キャンプサイトでお隣さんだったフレンチボーイズと友達になって、今日は一緒に移動することに。 Daintreeからクックタウンまでは、4WDのみ走行できる舗装されていない道路なので、車2台だと色々と助け合えるし心強いです。
今日は、小さな川を渡らなければならないらしいので、ちょっと緊張。最近1日のうち1、2時間ほど雨が降っているので、あまり川の水かさが多くなければいいけど。。途中、小さな川で少し泳いで、Cape Tribulation ビーチで少し散歩をしていざ出発。(ゴアナという大きなトカゲを見つけました!誰かが落としてったパンをむしゃむしゃほおばってました。ごっつい体してますが、実は意外と可愛い顔してます。)

出発前に川の側の店で先の道路状況(川の深さなど)を聞いたところ、最初の川が深いと思ったら引き返せばいいし、それが大丈夫だったら2つ目が一番難しいそうなので、そこで様子を見れば大丈夫とのこと。

私たちもフレンチボーイズのティボとトレブも川を渡ったことがないので、ドキドキ。ティボと私は川に入ってみて深さを調べる。 深い所で膝の高さので楽勝そう♫ すると1台の車が余裕で通り過ぎて行ったので、私たちもいざトライ! 私は、ティボと川の反対側に行き撮影隊になる。 デリちゃん無事すんなりと初の川渡り成功! つづいて彼らのパジェロもなんなくクリア。 2つ目の川は、最初のよりは少し深いものも、なんなくクリア。(でも普通乗用車が川の端に乗り捨てられていました。) ビデオをとっている時よりも、車の中からの方が簡単に感じました。
その後も、熱帯雨林の森を超え、急な坂をのぼり、ビーチを見渡し、絶景の中をデリちゃんは、ご機嫌に走行をつづけました。

無事に無舗装のエリア75kmほどを走り終え、有名なパブLions den Hotelに到着。
ココは、とても古い歴史のあるパブで、お客さんは、観光客と地元の人々が混じり合い、店内にはここを訪れた多人々のサイン、名刺、パンツ,巨大なブラ笑、T—シャツなどなどで埋め尽くされていました。(俳優のイアン マクレガーとバイクの旅ドキュメンタリーをした人の写真とTーシャツもあったよ。) みんなでビールを1杯飲みちょっといい気分に。ここは、キャンプサイトが一人$12らしい。ちょっとほろ酔いで移動するのも面倒だったけど、ボロいシャワーがあるのみに$24はちょっと高いので、今晩は道端で車泊することにして先を進み、30分ほど運転した所でメインの道路の端に小道を発見。 少し行くと平らな小さな土地が広がっていたので、今日はそこでみんなでキャンプをします。
クックタウンまでは、そう遠くないので、明日は、クックタウン散策とおそらくさらに北を目指します!

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One response

  1. Tim Cz

    Charley Boorman! Nice!

    June 2, 2013 at 17:40

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