It’s July 2014 and we’re hoping to meet our friends G & S while we’re in the Cooktown area. G keeps trying to ring us but his phone cuts out. We drive out to Endeavour River Escape just north of Cooktown. There are a few kilometres of dirt road and a very narrow bridge and we’re greeted at the homestead by our host Leanne who leads us to the camp in a cut down and dusty but typical outback Suzuki. Walking down the track towards us is G still trying to get phone reception. The Sunland Patriot hasn’t been washed since they left home in May and is covered in orange dust from their trip via the Birdsville Track and up to Cape York.
There are about 20 camp sites here hidden in the rainforest about 400 metres from the homestead. Each site is actually big enough for four vans and most have the privacy of tracts of bush around them. The camp is well mowed. It has good water and clean hot showers and toilets. There are no powered sites. There is an open camp kitchen.
I am trying to photograph the house lagoon when Leanne picks me up in the Suzuki and takes me up to the homestead for a close look at the ‘baby’ crocodile that lives there. The homestead overlooks the water lily filled lagoon and the croc suns itself on the opposite bank.
It is a cool evening and perfect for a few drinks by the fire. I wake next morning to a massive headache which is no surprise as the empty wine bottle on the sink is labelled Dragon’s Blood! We laze in bed with the window open so that we can gaze at the bush surrounding us.
We visit the Clydesdales, this is a working Clydesdale ranch and passionfruit farm. We walk through the rainforest to Cameron Creek ever mindful of crocs. Bush turkeys scratch about the camp. Tan coloured ants with big emerald green bellies walk all over us and two ugly yellow spiders “own” the rubbish bins. But hey, there are no cars, planes, trains, trucks, only the sound of birds and the squeak of tree limbs in the bush.
We walk to Fuller’s Landing, where a hundred years ago crops were loaded onto boats to be shipped down river. As we lean on the metal croc barriers gazing at the murky brown river, Woody shouts “Jesus, I heard a growl” and stops dead in his tracks. S and I rush over and gingerly look about the scrub. “Oh look, it was just a branch rubbing on my hat” says Woody. Thanks for scaring the life out of us.
We find vines strong enough to climb on and enormous green ‘Tetris’ shaped seed pods hanging from trees. This is a special place.