After leaving Karumba we headed back South then East towards Cairns, stopping at a small town called Croydon, here we found Esther’s high chair covered in ants in the back of the caravan, now spreading across the floor and up the wall… whoops, need to triple check it next time before we pack it in. A lovely park with lush grass, shade and lots of roo poo, which Esther thought she should taste test…
Next stop Mount Surprise, here we stayed at a small “caravan park” called Planet Earth Adventures for a total of $12/night (unpowered) with hot showers and clean toilets. The park owner who is also a snake handler brings around a huge black headed python and discusses safety and first aid with the kids, along with a chance to hold him. We really wanted to take a photo of Esther with the Python to scare the grandmas, but she was wiggly and more interested in the camp fire behind us so we left.
At this stage in our trip Esther was learning to climb stairs, we have two going into the caravan. Daniel happened to be 20m away foraging for wild cherry tomatoes and Esther was playing on the stairs, I was in and out of the caravan, shutting the fly screen behind me to keep the fly’s out all while trying to keep an eye on Esther. She was playing on the grass next to the van (she couldn’t move far at this stage), then lifting herself up standing by the step, then she would get up onto the step, but she would perch on the edge of the step, that’s when we would normally help her back down.
So there she was sitting on the step proud she got herself up there, without any idea how to get down, if I called out to Daniel it would startle her and she might fall off, if I opened the door I’d knock her off. So I just watched… as she tumbled off. Lucky kids are so resilient!
The next day we had a tour booked at the Undarra Lava Caves, we’ve always been so proud of how well behaved Esther is, until today. There were stairs, lots of stairs and all Esther wanted to do was climb up and down them by herself! Including when we were no where near the stairs she wanted to get down and would become quite vocal about it if she wasn’t put on the ground. The guide was sick of us by the time the tour was over, the granny’s thought Esther was cute, but the guide… he didn’t like having someone compete for his attention! That and I dropped my hat, my sunnies and my torch all at separate times. Worst behaved tour participants ever!
A fishing town in the Gulf of Carpenteria. I caught a seagull, well he went after my bait and then flew off with it, luckily he eventually dropped it and lived to tell the tale. Dan caught a fish, but it had to be returned (just too big)! It was a gorgeous spot, but there are Eustarine crocs and it made me so nervous sitting by the beach. As Dan would say I expected a croc to jump out of the water snap him up and drag him off all in the blink of an eye. I swear becoming a mum (and having been a paramedic) has made my imagination run wild… I remember standing on a jetty in Darwin, Dan was holding Esther near the edge and I was worried he’d drop her (even though he’s never dropped her before) and I would have to jump into croc/shark infested waters to get her (5m drop), do egg beater kick to keep us both above water for who knows how long before being rescued from such a predicament.. haha. Although after spending time in Kakadu I feel a little less tense and expecting such a great feat from the crocs, meanwhile Dan get’s concerned when the fuel guage says 1/8th tank (long range tank) and 180km to go.. we’ll make it, pftt I’m no safety nanna there!
Back at the caravan park we enjoyed watching loads of wallabies, including a joey drinking from the dripping water taps.
We left Mt Isa and headed East then North, stopping at another roadside campsite rated a million stars, Dan lit a campfire and we enjoyed sharing it with one other couple.
The next morning we discovered these little birds drinking water from our caravan:
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Lawn Hill National Park:
This is Lawn Hill Gorge it has been carved out by Lawn Hill Creek, which flows all year and is fed by numerous freshwater springs from the limestone plateau to the west. The water is known for it’s clear blue tinge due to the lime leaching out of the limestone. There are freshwater crocs.. although all we saw was a turtle. We also swam at Indarri falls just around the bend. They run tours on a solar powered boat, Dan with his man power managed to catch up to them and we overtook them !!!
Riversleigh World Heritage Site (in Lawn Hill National Park):
Murrays Place @ Gregory Downs
This guy lets out his lawn for free/ donation to RFDS. He has a little Coffee Shop/store, super friendly and even got to buy some freshly laid chook eggs, as you can see below they are free range! There is also free camping down at the Gregory Downs River.
It was a short visit, but if we don’t keep moving Cape York will be washed out before we get there!
We loved Mt Isa. Not what we expected for an outback mining town. Bigger and drier than we thought, clean and plenty of shops to restock, including a well stocked baby shop (Molly’s Baby Room) one would wonder how they survived as a small business in an outback mining town, so we asked, their survival was online sales! There were also a few hairdressers and a Yoga class that was just what I needed.
We heard about a lake and decided to try our hand at fishing there one evening. So we set off early with a picnic dinner. No luck on the fishing (too many reeds), but what an awesome evening, which included meeting a family headed the other way around Australia. With only dusty dirt caravan parks in Mt Isa, this croc free grassed area was an oasis in the desert and perfect for Esther to ‘crawl wild’! Still no barra though 😦
Mt Isa Lookout:
Being inland Mt Isa was a little cooler at night, first time we’d needed blankets in a while, yet very warm days. In trying to think what else we did in Mt Isa I remember I also emptied the toilet cassette and got chatting with someone while I was there… always a great place to meet people as you stand back with the hose trying to rinse the cassette and not get splashed by any residual contents.
We have a rule, actually Dan has the rule: if you use it you empty it… Daniel will exhaust all other avenues before he uses it, for anything. I on the other hand figure it’s there to be used especially in the middle of the night and thus get lugged with having to empty it, although it doesn’t gross me out as much as it does him, I guess working in the field I have, there has been previous exposure! I do try to time emptying it with having a shower straight after and putting all my clothes in the wash, as some of the dump points aren’t that easy to pour into and you can’t always know where it may have splashed. The trade is Daniel mostly does the bin and sullage. Although there was one time he used the toilet and I didn’t so it was ALL his responsibility! #lifeinacaravan