This section of the trip was….well… it was wow!!! Thrilling, nerve wracking, challenging, scary and beautiful. The iconic Old Telegraph Track (OTT), not for the faint hearted!
We had discovered that Liadhan was pregnant when we were at Cooktown…now morning sickness had seriously set in. So…as we sat having a snack at Bramwell Junction roadhouse where the OTT starts there was a brief discussion as to whether to continue to the top of the Cape along the Development road or to throw caution to the wind and try our hand at the road less travelled. The discussion lasted about one minute, why come this far in a 4×4 and not test it, and ourselves, as far as was possible. Down the coffee and think no more about it, put stories of lost and damaged vehicles out of your mind and point the nose of the vehicle OTT direction. So glad we did it.
The first crossing at Jupiter Creek meant that we burned our bridges, there was no turning back, it was steep and and precarious in the direction we were going and maybe impossible to do the other way without a winch. I tackled most of the scary bits myself, Liadhan did the filming (willingly) and the children were too scared to be in the car. Poor Miriam screeched and cried for her daddy all the way through the Jupiter, she must have thought I was in terrible danger.
Other highlights of the southern section of the OTT included a very pleasant camp at Dalhunty River, beautiful rapids with crystal clear water pools. Gunshot Creek? You Have a choice of 3 precipices to go down…2 are just stupid, almost vertical drops of 2 metres or more into 3 feet or more of water… end of car or even life if you tried those ones! The other, which we tackled was challenging enough.
I was now beginning to feel at one with the Landcruiser, what an amazing vehicle! Nothing was too difficult, it was raw power and strength
Not everyone tackles the whole of the OTT, there are a couple of places where you can exit and join the Development Road that, whilst corrugated, is straight, wide and avoids river crossings. Some of the people we met on the track thought we were more than adventurous for undertaking such an epic journey from Adelaide to the top of Cape York with small children and, not a few thought we were mad traversing the OTT. We sort of enjoyed our ‘mad’ tag and would encourage other families to follow in our wheel tracks…anything is possible with a degree of adventurousness and naivety and a half way decent vehicle.
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