The Taming of the Bloomfield Track FNQ

Screen Shot 2014-08-16 at 12.19.45 pmTouring up the Bloomfield Track is becoming more and more accessible every day. I’m not so sure I like that idea but it is bringing a touch of prosperity to the region which is perhaps the upside but the history… the remote beauty of the Daintree and old Cedar forests… the challenge that it once was draws so many. I can only hope that we will not see these things slip away as more and more people can reach out into this region.

We first saw the Bloomfield Track back some thirty odd years ago and it was in its awesome days then. It was a wild region where the road itself was a challenge. That it wound through some of the most beautiful spots in the world was an invite, that you needed a serious vehicle was a necessity. We looked at the start of the track back then, tucked into the northern reach of the Daintree road at Cape Tribulation as it began its perilous climb up into the wild rainforest of Far North Queensland, with wistful eyes. When would we be able to challenge the Bloomfield Track?

We did challenge it and it was a wild ride the first time. Each successive time after that it became more tame until now it is a lovely Sunday drive almost. But for one hairpin and precipitous section, you could almost tow a van across it without a second thought in good weather.

Screen Shot 2014-08-16 at 10.39.07 amThey are busy bridging the water crossings and slowly sealing the slippery red and sandy clay sections and it is a sadness to see it’s hey day and hair raising promise for adventurers pass. It is still a lovely if somewhat less challenging drive than it once was. Though coming from the south the crossing of the croc’ infested Daintree River is still a fun and quirky entertainment.

Once over the ferry crossing, entering the rainforest is still the promise it has always been and now the tourist arm stretches well into the Daintree along the Bloomfield Track and on up to Wujal Wujal. It makes getting to Cooktown very interesting at the least, an alternative to the long tar highway route up onto the hinterlands of Atherton, Mareeba and Kuranda.

Long considered the ‘local’ desperado run and one near essential for the traditional owners, farmers and residents of the Daintree and for those people tucked away hidden in the beautiful rainforest, the road has become a necessity. The link is invaluable, and is becoming as invaluable to the tour operator on the tourist treks now as well. Once accessible only by all terrain vehicles it is slowly becoming more accessible to the two-wheel drive car… given the right weather conditions.

Beyond the settlement of Wujal Wujal is The Lions Den, an iconic Pub built in 1875 out of tin and logs dragged from the forest, a great visit for the tourer and Cooktown is an interesting stop at the very least… love the fishing off the wharf in Cooktown and the pubs are fun too.

Screen Shot 2014-08-16 at 12.20.31 pmI also enjoy the mystery and majesty of Black Mountain every time we pass this awesome natural geological formation, so much so that I wrote its legend into one of my books, Sky Song. This is the love story of the Dreaming Series about Aboriginal Lore and one of my favourite tales. It is the paranormal story of two brothers fighting for the love of a woman in legend and tale.

What was the most spectacular event of our tour though, was unexpectedly the long tar loop from Cairns to Cooktown on the road back to home base were we meet with some 3,000 head of cattle on the move. To become part of the mob… to join the drovers in their run was simply magnificent.

Screen Shot 2014-08-16 at 10.35.52 amThe cattle, meant to be crossing the rough hills in two mobs had broken away from the young, and the more experienced drovers, and decided that the main highway was a much easier path. Controlling 3,000 head on the move when two mobs join is no easy task and they had two bosses, several drovers and we counted more than a dozen working dogs but when the mob decides it is going the easy way, even the mighty B-doubles of the highways give it up and run with the mob.

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 6.53.24 amIt took only a kilometre to get the mob back where they should be… but what a magnificent kilometre it was! The drovers young and old, female and male were apologetic and keen to get the mob off the road. The best thing to do is to just move with the mob… the forbie became just one of the drovers at the back for a while along with a dozen other cars and everyone had their camera’s out. It was simply spectacular.

Screen Shot 2014-08-16 at 10.36.22 amThe break away bulls, the dancing working dogs and the easy riding men and women of the vast Cape York stations were a delight to be a party with.

It’s the milder weather of the tropics now, the wet hasn’t arrived and the heat and humidity is still a month or more away before it begins to build. Baby’s abound in the north, the kangaroos, the cattle, the birds and the fish are all busy and the poddy calves were everywhere with mum hunting and breaking away trying to keep track of junior. It was simply a breathtaking event and one that took you into a world that was particularly special, it was the wild Aussie outback station life. We LUVED IT! Our simple taste of life in the Outback was worth every second, every frame and every pile of cow sh*t we drove over. Gotta wash the car though.

Happy Travelling

Jan is an Aussie Autor. You can find out more about her work on Goodreads.com and on her web site.
Her books are available in e-book and print

Oldies at Large – Remember When…

We’ve been enjoying Cairns these last few days, and will be here for a month to get our fill of Tropic North Queensland. As I look around I see a bustling and growing tropical metropolis that is now a tourist mecca, I see so much that has changed. I first set foot in this region 30 years ago on our first adventure north of the Capricorn. We had two vegemiters in tow and I was barely pregnant with number three.

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Australia’s Volcanic Lands – Soaking atop a Magma Flow

Screen Shot 2014-08-01 at 4.44.43 pmInnot Springs in Far North Queensland is to the west, deep behind the Atherton Tablelands. It is a special place to visit and is to be found between Ravenshoe and Mount Garnet on the Kennedy Highway. You can sink you feet into the light flow of Nettle Creek, burying them in the grainy sands, which have been gathering in an Outback creek since the Dreamtime and it’s a great treat in the dry Outback. Continue reading

Oldies at Large – Freecampers and Squatters

The MerooWe’ve been back on the wallaby for a few weeks now, making our way north chasing the sun. There are two routes to choose between when travelling between north and south in Queensland.

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Oceans Long Forgotten – Tales of Ancient Worlds

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Ancient Australia – Inland Seas

We crossed and ocean today, it was an inland sea once, very like the Mediterranean, but now this one is beneath the silted rock and beds of ancient sands, it is the Great Artesian Basin. We were travelling up through inland Queensland, commonly known as a region of the Outback. A region bordered by the Carnarvon Ranges (Katjarra Ranges) to the west, a plateau section of the Great Dividing Range with the Pacific Ocean to the east. This area is now a vast plain… a flat land.

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Oldies at Large – Gods Own Country

Wuruma DamWe are camped up in Gods Own Country. It is a place well west of the coastal fringe in central Queensland. We have left the coast well behind, it is a region where life is very much frenetic at this time. It is mid-winter so the nights are freezing here in the Burnett Region but such a view we have!

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