KATHERINE to CAIRNS VIA THE SAVANNAH WAY
Hi everyone. We have definitely done some miles since we last blogged but are now just south of Cairns and LOVING the GREEN GRASS and NO DUST!!!
We ended up staying in Katherine for 3 weeks as Shaun did some carpentry work for Power Projects. We loved catching up with friends Scott & Dale Jones and their kids. Scott is the local Baptist pastor here so we enjoyed going to Katherine Baptist while were here. Shaun and I even had a wonderful night to ourselves while the kids had a sleep over at Scott & Dales. . . Thank you so much guys and the kids loved it as well!!! We did a few of the touristy things while we were here. The breakfast boat trip up Katherine Gorge was Spectacular, enjoyed the Hot Springs which were just behind the caravan park where we were staying, Low level (popular swimming/picnic spot). We really enjoyed our stay in Katherine and headed off for Mataranka on the 28th Oct.
This was a really lovely place to stop and what was going to be only an over nighter turned into 4 nights. We stayed at a Caravan Park place where this guy twice a day would feed the Barra and reach down and grab one. The boys just loved watching him and over 4 days I think went to every one of these. There were heaps of Peacocks wandering around putting on a great display. The owners of this park were so nice and we were parked next to a lovely couple from NZ (the Langs. . . . Hi guys!!) We spent a day visiting the Mataranka Hot springs and Homestead (We had all watched 'We Of The Never, Never', in Katherine so had some history of the place), also went to Bitter Springs. Anyway it was time to say goodbye. We had decided to visit the Daley Waters pub as Shaun and I really wanted to check it out and then to head east to Boorolla and along the Savannah way.
The Savannah Way
With much excitement, as we knew this would be the last lot of remote places we would visit for a while, we headed off. First stop was the Daley Waters Pub for a counter meal and a few drinks. Just an amazing pub, full of everything you can imagine hanging all over the walls and we even added to their wall. Shaun did it the 'chippy way'. Had to get the ladder out and screw the singlet to the wall!!! The kids all drew on the singlet and signed it so if ever you go this way make sure you see if the Tunstall's Travels singlet is still there. We turned left at Daley Waters and headed along the Carpentaria Hwy and put in a big day and stopped at Booroloola. We pulled in nearly on dusk and Shaun notice a guy mowing his lawn and the sign on the property said Power Projects, which was who Shaun had worked for in Katherine. To cut a long story short we ended up camping there the night and the guys were so lovely. Even gave us Barra and Mangos the next day. So now officially on the Savannah Way we headed towards the QLD border only 256 ks YAY!!! We don't know who names these signs but when we got to QLD the sign says Welcome to QUEENSLAND 'Home of the Morning Glory!!' We now know what they mean buy that, but at the time we couldn't stop laughing. Anyway, drove till a few ks before Doomadgee and found a lovely free stay beside a billabong.
Lawn Hill National Park
The next morning we set off early as we wanted to make a detour and spend some time at Lawn Hill National Park. We drove through Burketown, down to Gregory Downs and then into Lawn Hill National Park. The last 40ks was shocking driving. We stayed at a lovely place called Adels Grove which was like a shady glen and were able to park right near the swimming hole. We all enjoyed our stop here and stayed 3 nights. They offered Jaymon and Eli the air-conditioned school room. So in the afternoons we did school and the mornings were spent doing things. Shaun spent some time trying to fix their fridges and to say thanks they gave him the use of one of the canoes. So the boys and him set off one afternoon and canoed up the Lawn Hill Gorge and had a ball. Also spent a morning at the cascades. These little rapids were just lovely and we all enjoyed laying in the rapids and playing around. The swimming hole had a pontoon and lots of tyres to float around on so we spent a lot of time chilling out around here.
Cheryl turns 40!!!
Left Lawn Hill on the 2nd Nov as we wanted to be in Kurumba for my birthday and we wanted to actually see the water of the gulf. So we put in another really hard day of driving heading back out on that yucky road and across to Gregory Downs, down to Burke & Wills and up to Normanton and into Kurumba. We found a nice little Caravan Park called The Sunset Caravan Park and settled in for a few days. I had the most amazing day on my birthday and considering how far away I was from everyone I felt very loved. Shaun and the kids all had hidden a cake mix in the van and cooked a yummy birthday cake for me. Eli and Jaymon had made me Zebra rock necklaces and Shaun and the kids had been scheming for awhile on the computer to check out a surprise. They cooked me breakfast and turned on the computer to show me my present. Shaun had organized to book a boat to sail around the Whitsundays!! I was so excited. Amy thinks Daddy has bough me a boat and cannot understand the concept of hiring
We will probably do it next year as we want to be back in Brissy for Christmas.
GREEN, GREEN ,Atherton Tablelands
Decided to put in one last big day and head for the Tablelands so decided to head through Normanton, Gorgetown and the rest of the Savannah Way. We actually did not find the Savannah Way to bad. Yes, in parts it was rough but no where near what we think rough is. We found a wonderful free stay on a river just east of Innot Hot springs, and before the range and stayed the night here before heading into Atherton. As soon as we had come over the range we just went WOW. The grass was green, the cows were fat and it was all so lush. I think we have traveled for so long in remote places in the dust and dirt it was just so nice to see rolling green hills. Atherton was a beautiful place a we camped at the Big 4 (which was actually cheaper and nicer than the other CP). Met a lovely family, Lynne , Grag and Will who the kids loved playing with...Hi guys!!! We spent the first few days visiting the Dams and waterfalls (We were amazed at the lack of walking involved to get to these places and the bitumen paths!!) Probably the highlight of Atherton for the boys was the Crystal Caves. Jaymon and Eli love their rocks and have quiet a collection from all around Australia. This was a man made cave in the main street but his collection was one of the biggest we have ever seen. At the end the boys went halves and cracked a Geode on their machine and have a great specimen to take home. What a small world it is, while we were in Atherton we also met a couple who were good friends of Ellen & Adam who we traveled with in WA for awhile. They were even travelling in their van. The boys really enjoyed playing with Mat and Cameron and we hope to catch up with them when we visit NSW.
Cairns to Babinda
We came from Atheron through Mareeba, up and down the range and after nearly being run off the road by a car trying to pass us on a corner we arrived in Cairns. We decided to stay at Crystal Cascades Big 4 and after a time of feeling very lost we arrived and settled in. We spent a few days shopping and running around. Went to see the Crystal Cascades and were a bit disappointed. I think when you have come out of the Kimberlys and into a city where they have fences and bitumen everywhere so you can only swim where it is safe you feel a bit like this. . . .Sorry hard to describe. Anyway that is just how we were feeling. Poor Shaun had an awful experience. I was having a shower with Amy and I came back to find Shaun gone and Jaymon said he was over helping a lady whos husband had collapsed. Anyway to cut it short Shaun ended up doing CPR on the guy while the Ambulance was on its way. He was taken too hospitable and a few day later died. The poor lady was from Austria and was all alone, we could not do a lot as her English was not that great, so just took here some flowers and the Caravan Park took over with the rest. We had very heavy hearts for a few days.
The next day we had a big day out up to Karanda on the train. The kids absolutely loved it and relished every moment on the train. Loved Karanda especially the lolly shop where I think we spent most of our time watching how they make those yummy hard lollies with the pictures in them. Jaymon and Eli were fascinated and they all spent some money here. Jaymon picked up a great bushmans hat that he had been looking for on the whole trip. We then took the Skyrail down and stopped at the interpretive centre. The Skyrail is worth every cent as you get to see so much of the forest, Cairns and the ocean. We spent a lovely night with Shauns Uncle and Aunty - Allen and Angie who live in Cairns and then spent one more day visiting the Lagoon on the water front before we set off to head south.
We are now at an amazing free stay in Babinda with gorgeous swimming holes. Shaun came here as a boy and wanted to show the kids this spot at the Bolders where the water disappears down a hole and comes out somewhere else. We are looking forward to being home for Christmas and spending time with you.
All our love
The Travelling Tunstalls
Shaun, Cheryl, Jaymon, Eli and Amy