Sitting here listening to crickets chirping is rather relaxing. Tonight is our third night on the road and we’re spending it at our third free campsite, found courtesy of the Wiki Camps app, Rifle Creek Rest Area just outside Mt Molloy, Queensland. It’s a great spot – big grassy area perfect for tents, campers and caravans, showers (cold only) and flushing toilets, and right on the highway for easy access. They do ask for a donation to help contribute to the costs of running the amenities, but that’s more than reasonable for what you get! It is a busy spot so I’d recommend trying to pull in early if you’re able. We arrived at roughly 5:30pm and had a little trouble finding a spot for our convoy of three 4-wheel-drives.
Last night we spent the night at the Puma Roadhouse in Charters Towers, Queensland. Now, this one isn’t quite as tranquil – you will have to deal with the noise from trucks (expected as it is a truck stop) and trains – but free hot showers is worth a bit of noise! Please make sure you ask at the service station about camping here. While it is listed as a free cam on the app, there is a big “NO CAMPING” sign out the back that just so happens to be the camping area. They ask that you only stay one night and stay out of the way of the trucks. Fair enough, really.
Our first night on the road was also a great find. Our first Wiki Camps success was finding Jambin Hall, near Biloela, Queensland. We had the spot to ourselves! It’s a huge grassy area that’s perfectly flat – ideal for tents. There is only toilets available, no showers, but they are very clean. The app gives good reviews for the pub across the road but we didn’t try the food.
Cooking has so far been a success. We have a few minor dietary issues to deal with, particularly keeping everything lactose free. I’ve nominated myself as the camp cook as I wanted to ensure we were eating good, wholesome food each night, a decision that our fellow campers have appreciated! Dinner on our second night was the biggest hit – spaghetti bolognese followed by freshly baked pineapple and strawberry cobbler with ice cream for dessert. The cobbler was so easy to bake in the Weber Baby Q barbecue – I’m very glad I made the decision to pack it. We found the fruit at a roadside stall and had the ice cream stowed away in an Engel fridge that we have running as a freezer. It was a huge hit and a luxury that the others in our convoy didn’t expect.
Tomorrow we’re hoping to make it to Coen. Finally it feels like we’re starting the real “Cape York” part of the trip! It’s been fun watching the country change along the road as much as it has through the first three days of driving. I experimented a little with the GoPro camera to put together a short montage of footage driving the highway today to highlight how much things change. It’s not as dramatic as I’d hoped for as most of the video I took was near the Atherton Tableland, but it was still fun to put together. I’m looking forward to getting video footage on the Old Telegraph Track in particular – there’s some impressive creek crossings that will be great to watch back!