Thursday, 8 August 2013

Cape York Adventure Part 2: Weipa and Mapoon

The drive from Coen to Weipa is probably the most repetitive section of the road up the Cape.
Getting stuck behind a road train means moving pretty slowly behind an immense sandstorm, they also chop up the road really bad and it had been a while since the road had been graded.
When you are not stuck behind a road train it's all bumpy red corrugations and the trees beside the road a red with the all the dust sprayed over them.
Once you are nearing Weipa however, you are rewarded with sealed roads, it's amazing how much you appreciate them when you get to them whilst driving up the top!

Weipa is on the west coast of the Peninsula butting up against the Gulf of Carpentaria. There's a major wharf servicing the major Bauxite mines in the area and bringing in produce from Darwin, because of this Weipa is a great place to restock!
It's also a very pretty area and again, awesome winter weather! We stayed at Weipa Caravan Park and Camping Grounds for a couple of nights to escape the corrugations, relax and Jeni also had a job interview.
This particular caravan park we loved and hated at the same time. They had numerous rules, cleaned the dunnies during morning glory time and were a bit low on amenities for the cost, however they had a swimming pool which was very pleasant when you have gorgeous weather and croc infested beaches!
The shoreline of Weipa was rather interesting as large solid bauxite deposits protruded through the sand where the sand meets the soil also turns instantly red.

North of Weipa is Mapoon, not New Mapoon, just Mapoon, New Mapoon is further north!
Once you're out of Weipa heading north you get to cross a couple of long bridges across rivers. These are pretty memorable due to the fact they are single lane for road and single lane for train. Fortunately there's not copious amounts of traffic flowing through.
There's a few places offshooting the main road to Mapoon which you need a permit to explore, fish or camp for those keen to find something secluded. Once you reach Mapoon you don't really find a lot! Small shop and a few community things. Further on and you reach Cullen Point, which has a campsite and memorial plaque by the beach.

Even though it's a bit out of the way Weipa will most likely be a destination on all trips to the top. Good news is that if you head north after or come to Weipa from the north, there is a short cut road to and from Batavia Downs which is a much easier drive then from the south

- Cameron

Next The Old Telegraph Line and the Bypass