We poked through a gap in the mountains and the landscape flattened out, to remain that way for the whole of the drive – about an hour and a half. A layer of bush and scrub stretched into the horizon, dotted all over with enormous termite mounds.
“I wouldn’t like to own any land around here” comments Katie, who’s apparently beginning to think about land ownership, at the age of six. Jees. At six all I wanted was a plastic Boba Fet and an X wing fighter. Fuck sake.
Anyyhoo we get there, drive through town first of all (eh, was that it..?) and then direct ourselves to the caravan park we’ve selected.
We’re taken to a tiny little spot right next to a camper van, and another camper trailer that looks a wee bit like ours. We set up, and by now we’ve got it down. No bother, we’re done in 30 minutes, let’s go and check out the town.
Our first stop is the tourist information office, which turns out to be the most successful stop as everything else is shut. Even the fucking coffee shops. 3:30pm on a Tuesday and we couldn’t find a coffee for love nor money.
Granted Charters Towers had a lovely couple of heritage buildings, and the stock exchange was nice – but still, it was all shut. There’s a lookout over the town we decided to visit. That can’t be shut. And there are some old WWII bunkers up there that might be worth a look too.
Well we got to the lookout. Although not on the road that was intended. Google Maps struck again and took us up some off-road track, that I quite enjoyed actually.
The view was nice from the top. A broad perspective over the tiny town and the vast flat landscape. The old barracks were supposed to have an audio visual presentation that activated as you entered – but it didn’t work. We stood there in a wee concrete box waving our arms, then gave up and walked back to the girls who hadn’t even gotten out of the car.
So that was it – the end of Charters Towers and we headed home for dinner. Pft.
On the way down we followed the main, tarmacked road that we should have driven up on in the first place. On the turn off for the dirt track we arrived on I noticed a sign.
Hmm… I didn’t mention it the time, but shit!
Anyhoo, I think Charters Towers would have been much more interesting a couple of hundred years ago. When thousands of adventurers were out seeking their fortune, and then blowing it all in the boozers, and on ladies of negotiable affection. Or even just when it was open, perhaps.
We got back to our camp and the camper trailer next to us was now occupied with people, who turn out to be a wee bit like us! Their kids were a touch older, but they had the same car with the same modifications. They had a very similar camper trailer to ours, and they even had the same tubs! We got chatting and they all seemed really nice.
Cape York is now looking more like a reality, and one of the ways that you can get up there, is by taking the Bloomfield Track north of Cape Tribulation. They were thinking about doing the track too, and we talked about maybe heading up that part together. Time will tell.
Anyway it was nice to bump into some folks who were doing the same kind of thing as us. Makes me think we’re maybe not that daft after all.
We packed up in record time, hit the road back towards Townsville, then north towards the Atherton Tablelands. After a brief stop at another one of those ‘big’ things (a mango this time) we only had another hour to go until we reached Murray Falls. A national park camp site we thought would do the trick for a night or two, and it most certainly did.