Tackling the Tele – Northern Most Pub on mainland Australia

After a morning of checking out the plane crash sites we drove back into Bamaga to grab some supplies from the bakery.  We got some great cakes and pies from here on our last visit, but this time their produce was pretty bare and what we did manage to buy was nice, but not great.  I wonder if they’ve changed hands since our last visit.

We did later find out that the supply boat had apparently broken down and supplies had been delayed by days ……. this obviously affected the bakery and also the supermarket, which had no supplies of bread or cold meat etc.  One of the downsides of living in a remote area.

Next on the bucket list was a stop at the Bamaga Tavern.  Why you may ask?  Well to have a beer in the northern most pub on the Australian mainland of course!

After a few beers and lunch we all headed back to camp to relax for the afternoon.  It was incredibly hot, so we both decided to go for a drive around the area while the others relaxed back at camp.  We took a drive through Umagico and Injinoo and found a great little park right on the water.  It was a beautiful spot and the breeze was great, it was a much more bearable temperature than it was back at camp!

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While George took the drone for a few flights, Shelly walked around taking photos.

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I love the photo below, it really sums up the cape region, the colours in this photo really say ‘Cape York’.  The blue of the sky, the green of the tropical palm trees, the rich red of the dirt, the sand and the beautiful aqua blue water that surrounds the land, this is what it’s all about, this is why we love the area.

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While we were all off exploring for the day, Jim & Jacky and David & Maria were off on their own adventure, a day trip to the beautiful Thursday Island.  This is another stunning place to visit and again, filled with history.  We spent a day on Thursday Island during our last visit to the cape and loved it.

Back at camp we experienced another amazing cape sunset.

What better way to end the night and discuss the days adventures than a campfire on the beach ….. yes this is the life.


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Tackling the Tele – WWII Plane Wrecks

There are a few WW2 plane wrecks around the area, the easiest to find is the DC3 that crashed in 1945.  This one is situated just off the side of the road to the Bamaga Airport.

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The DC3 aircraft, operated by the RAAF, departed Archerfield Airport in Brisbane en route to New Guinea.  On 5th May 1945, the plane clipped some trees and crashed at this site in Bamaga and all on board were killed.

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From what we’ve read, the RAAF personnel killed were initially buried at Jackey Jackey War Cemetery, but were later relocated to the Townsville War Cemetery.  Jackey Jackey Airfield (now known as Bamaga Airport) was named after Jackey Jackey, the Aboriginal friend of Edmund Kennedy, and the only survivor of the Kennedy expedition.

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This particular wreck is fairly well-preserved and the most intact of the wrecks.

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After checking out the maps it looked like there were two more wrecks located out past the airport so we went in search of these.  After venturing off into the bush we ended up finding the Beaufort Bomber.

As you drive through the bush you pass numerous fuel dumps from WWII.  There are literally thousands of rusting fuel drums lying around.

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We then tried to follow our paper maps to make our way to the second plane wreck in this area, a Kittyhawk.  Our track was gradually getting deeper into the forest and the track was getting narrow and very overgrown.  After weaving our way through the bush on tracks that looked like they hadn’t been driven in years, we finally worked out why they looked that way …. the track was blocked off!!  Now that was fun trying to turn four 4WD’s around on a tight track …. and I meant tight, at times our brush bars were nearly touching trees on either side of the track as we were driving.

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We later heard that the third plane wreck has now possibly been removed.

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Both planes have fences around them, but other than that they are open to the elements and it’s amazing how intact these planes actually still are.  If this was in Sydney they would have been vandalised, covered in graffiti, stolen or scooped up and placed in a museum, which is great for preservation, but you lose some of that history and ‘feeling’ of being there.  This is what we both absolutely love about remote travel, most people actually have respect and it’s because of this that these important sites can remain.

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Both of these planes lay where they crashed, it’s quite a sobering and eerie feeling to know that you are standing in the exact place that people lost their lives.  At the same time though, it’s great that these crash sites are still there and we can pay our respects.  Each site has a plaque and it’s a nice memorial to the personnel who died in the plane crashes, selfless men and woman who made the ultimate sacrifice for us.


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Tackling the Tele – Seisia and surrounds

After crossing the Jardine River you enter into the Northern Peninsula Area (NPA).  The NPA covers the communities of Injinoo, Umagico, Bamaga, New Mapoon and Seisia. This is the gateway to the Torres Strait islands and of course to the tip of Australia!

Entering the NPA also meant the start of our alcohol restrictions, which may have meant some of the boys having a drinking session the night before to dispose of some liquor!  A lot of the communities in the Cape York region have alcohol restrictions (limits to the amount and type of alcohol you can carry, as well as the alcohol content allowed), some are even dry communities where no alcohol at all is allowed. This is quite normal in many remote towns and Aboriginal communities across Australia, so it wasn’t anything new to us, but you really do need to do your research before travelling remote as there are huge fines that apply if you are caught with alcohol in your vehicle.

The peninsula north of the Jardine River is surrounded by water – the Coral Sea to the east, the Arafura Sea and Gulf of Carpentaria to the west, and the Torres Strait to the north.

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This area is full is history, with ruins at Somerset and also WW2 relics around the Bamaga area.  If you have the time, there is so much to explore in this region.

Even taking a drive out into some of the communities is an eye opener.  The one thing that is really confronting and got to us on both visits is the amount of stray dogs.  The poor things are so skinny, just pure skin and bones and most of them with either terrible skin conditions, cuts and wounds and limps from old untreated broken bones.  It’s heartbreaking to see this.  There are so many puppies running around and some of the mummy dogs look like pups themselves, it’s such a horrible situation. We just wanted to pack them all up in the 4WD and take them home with us.

It’s not only the stray dogs you need to worry about, it’s the wild horses that roam the streets and campgrounds aswell.

We were all staying at the Loyalty Beach Campground, which is where we both stayed last time.  There are a few campgrounds around, but we loved this one last time so decided to stay there again.  It’s quite a large park with plenty of space for everyone, the facilities are good, the staff are friendly and helpful, the sunsets are amazing …. and they have a bar on site!

The view from the bar

Two of the vehicles from our group arrived at the park earlier in the day and found us the perfect spot, right on the beach.  We couldn’t have asked for a better place to call home for the next 3 days.

Here’s a little bit of random trivia for you …… Seisia (pronounced Say Sea A) is the most northern community on mainland Australia.  It’s name was derived after a family of Saibai Islanders moved to the area after World War II, in 1948 .  Seisia was formed by taking the first letter of the names of 5 men – Sagaukaz, Elu, Isua, Sunai, Ibuai, Aken.


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