Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Cooktown and Gulf country

Rodeo was coming to Normanton, we missed out by a few days; the town's population tripled overnight.

Three Ways Roadhouse was just being refueled; the road train has 88 wheels.
In Tennant Creek I tried my luck at gold panning; I now understand why gold is so expensive (ended up with mostly mud).

This river crossing is near Lawn Hill; just imagine the water being 2 meters deep as it happens after heavy rain.

Lawn Hill is a beautiful spot, far away from the bitumen. But most of the area had turned to dust due to lack of rain for a long time. It is an oasis in an endless dry country.

Please meet Krys: about 8 meters long and its head alone weighs over 200 kg. It is an exact replica of one o
f the largest crocodiles in the world, shot by a lady called Krystina in 1957. We see lots of BIG models of fantasy (Big Banana, Big Crayfish, etc.) but the scary thought here is that this monster actually moved around the Normanton area not so long ago. Tanneke is just checking if she would have fitted......

In Croydon we found the resurrected Gulflander, a 1930's train that now runs for tourists once a week between Normanton and Croydon. The railway was built more than 120 years ago when gold was found near Croydon. It has no connection with any other line. This large area has had so many setbacks in the past but people keep trying to make a living. Floods, droughts, cyclones, epidemics and more. Tourism has now become an important part of the economy.

We checked this sign for the author but could not find one; interesting anyway.

On the way to Lawn Hill we found a prehistoric dig; 500 million years ago this area was an inland sea and huge birds roamed here. In the rock you can see part of a leg bone of this bird.

Someone nicked my crocs and walked away; when I wanted them back he hid behind his BIG Daddy and refused to return them......

How about a shoe lace tree? Click on the photo for enlargement of shoe strings.

The first part of the tour was conducted in a modified Landcruiser, just like an Oka, built in Cairns; perfect for off road tours.

The tour guide was extremely knowledgeable of all plants and animals. The tinnies are run on batteries that are recharged by solar panels. While moving through the water, they are completely silent. The water is at places more than 4 m deep; we also saw a fish that comes to the surface and spits at spiders which then drop in the water. This area is known for minerals and gems, in particular gold.

The cows were very friendly; Cobbold Station just runs only 10,000 of them.

Cobbold Gorge (85 Km south of Georgetown) was an unexpected beautiful surprise; we took a tour in an electric motor driven tinny.

Fresh water crocks and heaps of birds populate this gorge that is part of a private property.

On the road to Normanton, we were encouraged to run the car and trailer through an automatic wash street on the side of the road to get rid of seeds and plant material. In the outback we often find road condition signs at the beginning of long tracks (800 km plus...) and all drivers should check with the local police. No point in driving 600 km and then finding that you have to go back due to a deep river crossing, a muddy road or washed away sections, you may run out of fuel or get stuck for a week in between two river crossings. Some crossing have posts that mark the depth, can be up to 4 meters deep! If you get caught driving on a closed road you may get fined for the total amount of the repair costs; how much for say 500 km of churned up track?

When Captain Cook had to repair his ship, he had a major headache of finding a way through the Great Barrier Reef. He stood on this hill, as we did at sunset.
Here is the main street of Cooktown. Once again, the rain followed us and huge gusts of wind attacked the tent at night. Then we found that the rain had caused the Burke Development road to close, so we had to go further south and travel the Savannah Way to the west.

Ha,daar zijn jullie weer!:-)
Het idee dat een krokodil zó groot kan worden,brr.
Heb jij je "crocs" uiteindelijk terug gekregen?

Mooie foto's hebben jullie weer gemaakt!
great pictures!! "panning for gold"...are you running out of money? Must be like buying a ticket in the lottery. We hope that you had a nice birthday, Renne. Getting pretty antique.
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