Monday, August 1, 2011

homebound - at snail pace

Having crossed over from WA to the Northern Territory and rejoining the Stuart Highway at Katherine, we feel that we are now more or less on the home run, but in a very lazy and haphazard way.

We do seem to cross the path of famous explorers. First at Newcastle Waters, a magical oasis, alive with birds, which saved the lives of explorer Stuart and his party in 1860. We veered West into Queensland and drove right up to the Gulf of Carpentaria, with a nod to Burke and Wills, and visited Normanton (model for Neville Shute "a Town like Alice"). Then through York Peninsula and up to deligthful, unspoilt Cooktown, where Captain Cook's Endeavour crashed on the reef, forcing Cook and his crew to spend seven weeks there. From there we had to turn back South, as the bitumen goes no further, but we were both seduced by Cooktown, a wonderful antidote to Cairn and Port Douglas. We made a romantic detour to Cape Tribulation (site of our honeymoon, can it really be thirteen years ago?)
The necessity to service our car made us take a detour through Atherton Tableland, which turned out to be a very happy accident as we have discovered a wealth of beautiful scenery, magical rainforest's, spectacular fig trees, away from the main tourist tracts. Hopefully, this is too high in the hills for the salt water crocs, although the fresh water crocs are making their presence felt (see the front page of the local rag above). And the snakes are still in evidence everywhere, in front of our car yesterday, almost under our feet this morning.

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