Time for a couple of days driving to fit in 1 day at Lawn hill before making it to Cairns to spend time with my bestie.
Day 1 we drive 760km, stay the night at a large rest area then crack on with the last 500kms the next day. Our main stop was for fuel at Camooweal and to work out from there the best way to travel into Lawn Hill. There are a few ways to enter, some saying it would be easier to drive all the way to Cloncurry and around through Gregory as the roads would be less harsh, but the massive detour deterred us from that idea so we decided just to drive the shortest distance even if we needed to drive a little slower on the rough roads. We entered just after Camooweal on the Thorntonia Yelvertoft road, and found this was all bitumen until the main connecting road Gregory Downs Camooweal Rd. If you were coming from this direction we would take this road again, it was rough but not any worse than we had travelled before.
The gravel road into Lawn hill was another one of these rough tracks that would claim a few victims; we did come across quite a few flat tyres and broken axels, one in particular was a pair of Dutch travellers (brother and sister), they had done a tire and already had someone helping them but needed an extra tool to lower their spare tyre, luckily we could help out here and left them to finish fitting the spare.
Soon after we saw they were back on the road as they passed us while we loaded the roof up with wood (before heading into the national park). Not far after we got going down the road we saw the Dutch couple again stopped waving for help. They had done another tyre, 2 within 10 minutes. With no other spare tyre we all thought the worst; their car would be stranded here overnight waiting for a tow truck. As we were just about to hitch them a ride into a nearby campground (to organise the tow truck as there was no phone service) we thought we would try the caravan spare just to limp them back so they could stay somewhere better than the side of the road. Well long story short, it worked, scraping parts of the brake caliper and the wrong rolling diameter but we got them to safe ground.
We pulled into the Adels Grove campsite as the sun was going down, set up and spent some time with our new traveler friends.
We now get to enjoy 1 full day exploring Lawn Hill Gorge, with many hikes to do, and kayaking up the gorge we were unsure where to start. I was keen to kayak but the prices were pretty steep so we decided not to and just enjoy the walks and swimming it had to offer.
Our first hike was 4.5km (called Island Stack), along the lower end of the gorge, a steep climb up and loop around the top of a mountain took us to some cool views around the bottom of the gorge.
We then decided to check out the other big hike, a 7km walk (called Upper Gorge Lookout) to the top end of the gorge.
Making our way back down the water’s edge we enjoyed a swim at the Indarri Falls.
There was a part of the walk that went inland away from the river but if we were to do it again we would just stick to the track that followed the river up and back as this was awesome and the inland track had nothing really to offer.
Another steep climb to our last lookout and we were done for the day. The water was so nice and clear, and the colour was stunning, with more palm trees surrounding the whole area we were in a true paradise in the middle of nowhere. Turns out they recon the palms from here at lawn hill are where the ones at palm valley in the red centre originated from, over 1000km as the crow flies!!
Back at camp we had just sold the caravan’s spare tyre to the Dutch couple so they could slowly make their way to the closest large town, Mount Isa. The boys were swapping around the tyres to put the smaller one on the front but soon realised that the car was full time 4 wheel drive and this wouldn’t work at all to get them the distance they needed to travel, with all options exhausted they would now have to wait until they could find new rims and tyres and get someone to bring them all the way to them. (They ended up making it to Mt Isa only 4 days later which was very lucky).
Camp Location: Adels Grove
Cost = $32/night unpowered for the pair of us
Travelled From: Alice Springs (with one stop over)
Travelled: 1264 kilometres
Time for another 2 big days driving to make it to Cairns, and the road out to Gregory was just as bad as the way in, so we were thankful we decided not to take the long way round.
Again we drove for as long as possible and stopped in at a large rest area for the night before finishing out last leg.
A couple of hours before we hit Cairns we came across the most amazing lush green ranges. It took us a lot longer than first thought as we had the caravan driving up and down the massive ranges but the view was stunning so it was worth it. We really couldn’t believe how stunning this area was, we came through the tablelands down the Gillies Ranges.
We finally made it into Cairns, picked up some beers and headed straight for our friend’s (Megan and Liam’s) house, in Mount Sheridan. The excitement was up there, getting to see my best friend was so good, the last time we saw each other was our wedding in Nov 2017.
We parked up on their front lawn and went straight in for afternoon tea and beers. We had planned to see some sites around the tablelands and then stay at her Aunties farm up there. With a hot shower and night’s sleep in a double bed we were ready for the long weekend.
We stopped in first to see the Barron falls.
We then had a look around the Kuranda markets, a little hippy town with some cool stalls before hitting up a cafe for lunch.
Then onto the Golden Drop Mango Winery, wow this was awesome! A large range of wines with a base flavour of mango, they were so yummy. Megan shouted us a bottle to share later on that night and we were having a great time.
We then went to try some coffee, chocolate and liquors at coffee works, but were a little late to try the full tasting experience, so Megan bought some chocolate and we cracked it out in the car.
Onto one more spontaneous stop at the Mt Uncle distillery, Megan thinking it was a brewery and sat down at the bar to organise some tastings for us all. We got a small brief and realised we were all now tasting straight spirits, something we never do and don’t really enjoy too much, haha. But we are here now so give it a go, the lady talks it up and we were all hopeful until our first sip! Yep, it’s straight spirits, taking us a long time to get through our tastings, we pull faces, laugh and end up having to shot the last of them just the get them down.
We have done so much already today, it is time to relax and enjoy the farm where we will stay in swags for the night (Liam forgetting to pack their swag, we are lucky her aunty had spares).
Wow what a piece of paradise they have here, over 200 acres of forest and mountain ranges, they have the best fire place overlooking the tablelands.
Her Aunty Linda and partner ‘Bear’ have been living here off and on for a few years now and keep it simple with basic living and kitchen areas as well as an outdoor drop toilet and hot shower. The simplicity is perfect, really being able to enjoy the peaceful surroundings and views.
It was also so good to see Linda, as Megan and I grew up together I knew Linda very well, and we hadn’t seen each other for around 9 years. We reminisced on the old days, and enjoyed a relaxing view over the massive hot fire, with a big piece of pork in the camp oven for everyone.
The next morning we enjoyed a hike up to their own lookout, passing their waterfall and swimming hole (only full in wet season) and shooting range.
Bacon and eggs breaky to fill us up before we head off for another day exploring. We stop into the Gallo dairy store for some cheese, the Macadamia cheese was amazing.
We then went on to check out Lake Eacham, what another stunning day we have, Cairns bringing out the goods.
Making it back to their house, we had a massive platter for lunch and a nap on the couch before we head out to town for dinner and drinks.
Into Cairns city for a massive share plate of fried chicken strips, legs and a range of sides with cheap cocktails, Yuuumy!
We continued our night for a few more drinks at McGinty’s Irish pub, going home for some of our own drinks but soon falling asleep on the couch as we put a movie on. A great night out and a real treat for us.
We decide on a lazy Sunday after such a big 2 days, we need some chill time so just stay around the house, mainly watching youtube videos of Cape York. Our next trip is already planned and it is with these guys so we are so excited to suss out some places to see and do around the top end of Australia. We could have done Cape York in this trip but we would of needed more time and we have none left, and why not save it for when you can do it with good friends! Liam has also done a boys trip to the cape so we are lucky we have someone with experience doing it also.
Wow what an amazing weekend, I really loved some girl time and seeing both Megan and Liam again. Thankyou both so much for everything you did for us over the weekend, it was the best!
Camp Location: Megan and Liam’s house, Mount Sheridan
Cost = FREE
Travelled From: Adels Grove (with one stop over)
Travelled: 1095 kilometres
Our next stop is to see another best friend of mine; I am really lucky to get to see some of my best friends who live so far away on our way back home down to Brisbane. We are coming for you Jess & Carl!