Monday 22 June 2015


Our journey to Chillagoe

The daintree was a lovely spot to visit and Im so glad we drove up there, but while we were there it rained. And rained. And rained.

We left the Daintree with a soaking wet camper trailer, and a nasty cough for Craig, myself and Charlotte.

After spending the day exploring the area it was 3.30pm when we pulled out of Daintree village and Craig said ‘that’s it we are driving to Mareeba and staying the night in a motel.’

So we put DVDs on for the kids, turned the wipers on full and headed inland towards Mareeba.

Arriving at dinner time and with no home set up to make food we opted for the safe option of a red rooster family pack. We sat inside the takeaway joint balancing green peas on plastic forks and eating chicken with our fingers as we watched the grey clouds growing lower and lower over town.

Just on dark we pulled up at the Mareeba Motel and spent half our weekly camping budget on a room!

I gave the kids a nice warm shower and put them in their PJs and they climbed into bed and watched a little TV before going sound asleep.

As I got into bed myself I thought how strange it felt to not climb a ladder to get in! It has now been two months on the road plus two and a half weeks at mums before we left that we have lived in the camper. I miss my ‘real’ bed that is packed up in a sea container way back in Perth but I am used to the camper and it was definitely a big change to be in the motel. We all slept through the night and woke the next morning to the next challenge.


Again, I had no kitchen to make food. All our supplies were in plastic tubs under the camper and the room service breakfasts had to be ordered the night before which we hadn’t done. Funny how as a mum all eyes turn to you when its meal times. Craig looked at me and said well, we better hit the golden arches!

So off we went to Mcdonalds. Our second takeaway meal in a row!!!! Bacon and egg burgers and hotcakes went down well. Craig and I felt much better and Charlottes cough sounded like it had eased off a bit. Our initial plan was to head south from mareeba to the table lands, then to Winton and longreach. But looking at the weather we saw we would end up very wet as Queensland experiences an unusual rainfall. A quick look at the map and on advice from a fellow facebook traveller, we decided to head the 140km inland to Chillagoe to set up the camper and dry off.


We arrived mid morning and I will admit. I was in a bad mood and I couldn’t’ shake it. You would think with the luxury of the motel room the night before I would have been refreshed and ready to go, but I was feeling unsettled, displaced, still a bit ‘flu’ish and tired.

I wondered out loud to Craig what the F we were doing here, before taking on the task of unpacking the wet camper then wiping it down with vinegar and water to kill any mildew. I then washed. Everything. Doona covers, sheets, matress protectors, towels… I also aired on the line all our doonas and sleeping bags.  Old people tried to stop and chat but I was on a mission and had my head down to get the job done.

We were only going to stay one night but the next morning Craig went and paid for another so we could use the day to explore the caves in the local area and have some down time. We did a fair bit of school work in the morning then had a guided cave tour in the afternoon. Craig, on his morning walk, saw a guy who collected holdens. Holdens everywhere. He was impressed. Then that afternoon while getting fuel he came across another old man who collected fords. Fords everywhere. Chillagoe was a town of surprises!

Chillagoe Caves

galahs on the power pole 

Another day another beer

With our plan to still head south to Winton we sat down that night and found a dirt track on the map as a short cut to take us down. I knew we would bush camp a few nights so took the thermo mix to the campers kitchen to make cake, spaghetti sauce and to boil rice as bases for some easy to cook on the side of the road meals.

As I was sautéing onions (speed 1, 100 degrees 2 minutes)  I thought of the map we had looked at earlier. I thought of Cape York that we were bypassing due to time, costs and ease ability. I also thought of all the time we have planned to have in capital cities. Brisbane, Sydney…… Places we could easily fly to from Perth any day.

But Cape York.

Well when would we ever get to do it? Next trip? But what if that’s not till we are old. Two tour guides we had spoken to on our trip had said that in ten years time the whole cape road would be bitumen and the experience of the telegraph track would be gone forever, it was already too commercialized. Would we miss out if we left it till a next time trip?

To be honest I, personally, am not too fussed. But I knew it was something Craig wanted to do. I knew the car and camper had done the Gibb so at least that was something towards knowing our set up was ok to go. I knew the kids are already fabulous travellers who would really be happy wherever we go.

The thermo mix beeped telling me the onions were done. In two minutes I had decided for us that we would do the cape.

I called Craig over and aired my thoughts. He agreed immediately. We decided to get the car serviced and the camper looked over by a mechanic before we headed off to ensure all the barings etc were good.  We looked at the map and decided to head back to Mareeba, do a big shop, get the car sorted then start heading the couple of hundred KM north to the Pennisula Development Road to start another big part of our road trip.

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