Hotel Landcruiser

As a follow on from my last post, I thought I would write about our recent honeymoon adventures.

We flew to Cairns to collect our new car. We had been watching the heights of the rivers closely before our trip. Another option was to pop the new car on a barge and get it delivered to Weipa – the only problem with this option was there was a 2-3 month backlog of freight and cars apparently weren’t a priority. So a driving adventure was decided on.

The lovely couple that we bought the car from even collected us from the airport and once our transaction was complete we madly dashed around K-mart and grabbed a few things on our shopping list. Some new pillows and sheets, just in case we needed to use the roof top tent were included in our purchases!

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We then found ourselves booking into a fantastic hotel for the night, complete with a few upgrades and bonuses after we told them it was our honeymoon 🥂 🍾

It was the next day that the true adventure started. We started the now quite well known drive back to Weipa. The PDR – which is the road that has long sections of dirt and gravel roads was treacherous. Huge washouts from the rains of wet season. We checked the levels of the rivers whenever we had reception and contacted interested family and Joey’s boss (he was due to be back at work on Monday morning) to give update some of our trip.

The above pictures are the actual road, the reflectors have been put in to alert drivers to the gaping big holes in the road. As we continued driving any rain we got however light the shower was made one of us say “this isn’t good” or “we don’t need this”.

On a good day the drive from Cairns back to Weipa takes about 10 hours. This trip took me two and a half days and Joey four and a half days and the car took an extra day and a half.

We arrived at Archer river early on the Monday morning after arriving at the previous town late the night before, it was raining, everywhere was closed so we decided to sleep in the back of the car. Putting up the tent got scrapped due to the rain and Joey thought he’d start driving again once he’d woken up, which I pointed out he couldn’t do with me in the tent still asleep 🙄  We went from a 5 star hotel the night before to the hotel landcruiser!

Archer river was just under 1 metre above the road when we arrived early in the morning. We sat there with two other people also trying to get back to Weipa for the next 12 hours. We would move from the edge of  the floodwaters back up to the roadhouse that is there. The roadhouse was closed due to it not being tourist season, but the owners were so helpful, selling us some frozen foods that they had stockpiled for the wet. And checking on us and coming down to the water for a few chats throughout the day. Thankfully their toilets were also accessible for our stay

I kept thinking of that phrase “a watched pot, never boils”. It seemed the more we sat there staring at the marker nothing happened.

There were two truckies that were on the other side of the river, who had come from Weipa the previous day. They turned around and headed back at about 10.30 saying that they’d been there for almost 24hours and watched it hardly move, possibly even just rise slightly.

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It got to about 3.30 and we could see it was definitely dropping. And just after 6 we decided it was time to make a move, while it was still light.

All 3 of our cars got through, one car stalled and we towed that one to a cattle station up the road where it was left and the owner got a lift to our next stop.

I held my breath as we crossed, not because I didn’t feel safe, I knew Joey was confident. I think it was just the unknown and having just watched the girl ahead of us stall and evacuate her car by climbing out the drivers window, I was a little bit anxious 😟  and the river was flowing pretty quickly!

Next stop was Myall creek which was also flooded, this one was well over 2 metres over the bridge. Our new friend Kass, who’s car stalled and was left back at the cattle station had gotten a message to her husband via the roadhouse owners to meet her at Myall. He had brought their boat and came across and collected Kass. As she left she gave us her leftover supplies and said she’d be back with more and to check on us the following day. True to her word, Kass and her friend turned up and brought their boat back over to our side.

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Joey convinced me I should go back with the girls on the boat. I didn’t want to leave my new husband but I really wanted a shower. So off I went, leaving Joey for two more days. No way to contact him again a there is no phone reception there.

It was early Thursday evening that I finally head from Joey telling me he was leaving the car at the nearby cattle station and heading home. I was so glad to have him home.

Early on the Saturday morning we got news the creek was down so we raced back across – the creek is about an hour out of town. We crossed over and collected the new car which also meant I then needed to drive one car back across the creek to get us all back home 😱.

The picture above of us crossing over in the red car shows the reflectors that were along the side of the little bridge and you can actually see the marker today. Earlier in the week this was nowhere to be seen.

We got our car from the kind people at York Downs who let us leave it on their property for a few days. Unfortunately we had gotten their phone number wrong so when we tried calling to offer to grab them some supplies from Woolworths we weren’t able to contact them.

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We made it back home and are absolutely loving the new car. Now as I write this post we are waiting for Cyclone Nora to possibly hit. Weipa is now at a warning level. Stay tuned for updates………..

#seeyouontheroad

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