Blooming marvellous! 20-26/06/11

Posted: June 26, 2011 in Oz

Why do people buy Land Rovers? They’re not cheap, they’re about as comfortable as a church pew after a two hour sermon, and about as reliable as a hot British summer. So why do people, me included, spend £1000s of our hard earned cash on these relics of the British motoring industry to drive around the world in a car that wouldn’t look out of place in the 1940s? Common sense surely dictates you would buy something cheaper, more reliable and more comfortable.  It’s a lesson I’ve yet to learn, and it was these very questions I was pondering in a car park in Port Douglas whilst underneath the car taking the rear prop shaft off. An hour earlier I had noticed an oil like substance was leaking from the hand brake casing, and normally new leaks wouldn’t bother me as I’ve given up worrying about them all, but this one drew the eye as there should be no oil in the handbrake. Strange… so we both thought it best to have a closer inspection, which entailed taking the prop shaft off and hence, pondering the above mentioned question. Luckily it seemed that the oil was actually grease, which due to the warmer weather was running off the underside of the car and dripping onto the handbrake casing. So no major issue, just another leak, just another little spot to add to the collection that we leave on any car park we stay in for more than 20 minutes, and another grey hair for me. Today we’ve noticed there’s a clunk coming from the front differential or half-shafts, but its only when we turn right so we’re not worried about that so much. When it starts happening when we turn left as well then we’ll worry. To be honest I’ve become a bit paranoid about the car; with only a month left I really don’t want to have to pay to get it recovered back to Brisbane. So why do we buy Land Rovers? Because they are still pretty cool and the ladies love ’em!

We managed to tear ourselves way from the sand, sea and pool at Ellis Beach, just outside of Cairns, and psyched ourselves up for the long drive to Port Douglas. Twenty seven minutes later we arrived. Port Douglas is a lovely little town that sits right on the shoreline and has amazing views out across the reef.


It’s a little touristy but not too bad and the little cafes and stores made for a number of hours of pleasant browsing. We are still trying to find something to bring back from Oz, we have both refused to get a didgeridoo, as it’s frankly far too common, so our search continues, maybe some artwork? Or a nice set of tea towels?

It was also time for my 4th hair cut of the trip. I hate having my hair cut, and quite frankly I would have waited until I got home, when I could have gone to my nice man at North London Bounds Green Tube Station, who doesn’t talk to me and certainly does not ask what I’m doing for my holidays this year. But I was told, and after I awoke one morning to find a pair of nesting sparrows in the ‘do’ I couldn’t really argue. (It’s obvious humor, but still funny.)

Ever northward after Port Douglas we drove up into the Daintree National Park and camped at Cape Tribulation. The cape was named by Captain Cook, as it was the start of his problems and trials as he ran his ship aground on the reef in this area. It was to be the most expensive campsite so far, $40 a night, but the setting was great, on the beach yet still within a rain forest. Pretty special.


After a couple of nights, and a day of doing walks within the rain forest and along some stunning beaches, we started on the road to Cooktown. There are two ways to go, the main surfaced road or via a harder route through the jungle known as the Bloomfield Track. I did what any self-respecting man would do and tried to convince Megan that we shouldn’t risk damaging the car (or getting it muddy) and take the safer main road. She would have none of it and we set out on Saturday morning for the Bloomfield track.


To be honest it wasn’t that bad, there were some bloody steep sections, which required low range hot smelly brakes and plenty of man guts, but other than a few small river crossings it was almost civilized.


Halfway along the track we stopped at Bloomfield Falls……impressive.

Around lunchtime, with the worst of the track conquered we stopped at a famous pub (well it is around these parts) for a bit of lunch and my first lunchtime beer of the trip. Having forded rivers, well streams anyway), and driven up 80 degree slopes I thought I owed it to myself. The fact that I was asleep by 3pm that afternoon probably means it will be my last. Man, I can’t handle my beer anymore.


So we are now in Cooktown, the last major Australian town before Papa New Guinea and tomorrow we head up to Cape York proper. Today we have been to the Cooktown museum and learnt all about Captain Cook, who landed here in….well a few years ago…. to repair his ship after hitting the reef. The museum is very good and actually has the anchor and a cannon from the original ship, The Endeavor. There is also a great look out on a hill over looking the town with a lighthouse on top of it.  I have a bit of a thing for lighthouses…


But the big news of the day was the massive ten foot long man eating python we saw! I say ten foot, it was actually a metre and luckily my little girl shriek scared it away, back into the bush. I’ve said it before, there’s just far too much wildlife in Australia!

  1. Inishmore says:

    Land Rovers Dont leak!, they just mark their spot!

  2. Tom B says:

    It’s all part of it’s charm, plus if you ever get lost you can follow your trail home!

    New ‘do is much better by the way :o)

  3. Tom McGuigan says:

    Wot … no photo of the massive ten foot long (one metre) man eating python? Never mind about life and limb, we wanted a photo of the beast trying to devour you!!!

    Talking of photos, I see you avoided showing us a close up ‘after photo’ of the haircut!

    • simon maple says:

      Have to let the hair grow out a bit before the ‘Photo’. Not a great cut it has to be said. As for the snake, it was just too big to fit in one photo!

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