Cooktown to Weipa


I didn’t put the exact location of our Archer river camp. I am keeping that a secret. The tent symbol in at the Archer river road house. Where most people camp.

The day we left Cooktown I had no idea where our next camp would be. All I knew it would be somewhere north and somewhere away from the wind and rain that we were getting in Cooktown.

We ended up at Musgrave station. A roadhouse with fuel, food and accommodation, including camping.We got there via Battle Camp Road and Lakefieid National Park. With the recent rain parts of road was very slippery and slow going.


One of the better sections of Battle Camp road.


The Nifold Plains in Lakefield National Park. It’s a flat grassy expanse dotted with ant hills.


Musgrave Station. 


In case you need to you were you are while at Musgrave station.

We stayed for 2 nights at Musgrave and this is when we meet the Nolan Family from Bellingen. Small world hey.

Matt, Norbette and there two boys Sonny and Benji were also on a extended trip away. The 3 boys got along really well and we were keen to let the kids have some social time. So we decided to travel together.


Alec with his new found friends. This dam was right next to the camp ground. You can feed the turtles bread. The resident fresh water crocodile also liked to check out whats going on.

The next day we found ourselves in a bush camp on the the Archer river. A mate of Matt’s had told him about this spot. The directions were a bit vague but between us we managed to find the spot.

We set up camp above the river with a great swimming hole perfect for the kids right below us. We stayed 3 nights here. The kids enjoying playing together. I enjoying the company as well.


Following the Nolans. The camper has been called the Octopod. It’s a reference to the children’s show the Octonauts. Lots of road works on the Peninsula Developmental road. 


Out bush camp on the Archer river.


One of the many rock pools in this section of the river.


Alec and I having some fun in the river. Thanks to the Nolan’s for the photo.


Alec enjoying another ice cup. It frozen fruit juice in a small cup. The boys pretty much lived on them for the days we were together.

We left our great little bush camp and headed into Iron Range National Park with the hope of snaring a camping spot at Chili Beach.

The drive in was a little slow. All the river and creek crossing had water in them and the road was the worst I have ever seen it. Not corrugated just lot of pot holes and constantly having to slow down for all the dips which often had water in them.Which made it hard to pick how deep or rough they were.


One of the many small creek crossings.


As you get closer to the coast the rainforest take over from the dry bushland. We caught up to 3 truck carting gravel. There were being very cautious with the wet roads.

We stopped at the Ranger station to try our luck at getting a camp spot. The best we could do is a night in one of the rainforest sites then the following night on Chili Beach. It wasn’t ideal but we didn’t have a choice.


The boys loved playing in the puddles left by the retreating tide.


Collecting star fish. 


Showing off the collection.


Some bike riding fun.

After our night at Chille Beach our new friends and us parted ways. The Nolan’s were travelling a little faster than us and were keen to get to the tip. I decided to try and find another camp in the area before continuing north.

On a Cape York map that I have. There is a camping symbol at the aboriginal town of Lockhart river. We went into Lockhart river with the Nolan’s when we first arrived in the area, and drove down to the beach to have a look. Quintel Beach is a couple kilometres out of town and has a jetty where the supply barge comes in. To the north of the jetty looked like a bit of a camping spot. Perfect, All I had to do is get permission to camp somehow. Continue to bottom of post to read about how I got permission.


Most of the town of Lockhart river.

We stayed on Quintel beach 3 nights. It was wet and windy. But it was free, quite and a had the beach to ourselves.


I think that’s clear.


Quintel Beach. The barge about to land.


Our beach camp.

After 10 days on the road, much of it bush camping. We need of a restock and a cleanup. We left the east coast and headed to the west coast for the first time this trip. To the mining town of Weipa.

Quintet Beach camping approval

On our first visit to Quintel beach with the Nolan family, I explored the possibility of camping. When driving down to the beach the road ends right at the jetty. To the south is just beach and mangroves. To the left of the jetty is the main beach area. A dirt road follows the beach a hundred metres or so. On the beach are couple of basic shelters made from roughly cut poles and corrugated iron. At the end of the track was a turn around area with a large covered picnic area which with a good wind would fall over.

I ask a elderly couple in one of the tin shelter’s who I need to speak to to get permission to camp. They told me ask the guy driving the bus in town.

When I returned after the stay at Chili beach, I realised there were a number of buses in town. So I figure the council building might be a good start. I walked into the building to find not a single person in the place.

The next stop was the local shop which seemed to be the hot spot in town. Obliviously the council building isn’t. I asking a couple of lads outside the shop. They told me I need to talk to the mayor of the town. Then pointed to a Landcruiser driving past and said “thats him.”

So I quickly jumped back in the car and proceeded to drive in the direction of the Landcruiser. Round the block I drove back to the council building and sure enough they was the Landcruiser parked in the car park. The only car in the car park. In front of the building was three people talking. I assumed one was the mayor. I waited till the conversation was over and introduced myself to the sole remaining person left in front of the building. Luckily he was the mayor and he didn’t have a problem with us camping down the beach.

I later found out that the guy in the bus was one of the elder’s.

The award for the dumbest decision made while driving a four wheel of the year goes to,

Me. Yes thats right. I have done some pretty dumb stuff in my life. This would be up in the top 5.

While at at our Archer river bush camp. We all decided to do some exploring. We got in our vehicles and followed a track up the river. We came the end of the track and got out and went for a walk. Once back from our walk we all piled back into the vehicles to headed back to camp. Matt in his Hilux performed a nice and safe 3 point turn on the track. Me on the other hand had a brain snap and decided that it was to much effort to do a three point turn. I figured the easiest way was to loop around and drive though a little puddle then back onto the track.

And that my friends is when it all went wrong. This puddle wasn’t so little. In fact it was deep. Deep enough for the mav to get stuck and start taking in water. It toke multiple attempts to snatch me out. The shame of being recovered by a Toyota will ever leave me.


I hate that sinking feeling.

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