Friday, July 10, 2015


We made it to the top.

And we made it back to Cairns.

The Northern tip of Austraia looking towards Torres Strait. Daisy on the beach.

A nice run back to Cairns near Port Douglas.

8th In deference to Daisy we elected to travel the shortest distance to the bitumen straight south to Laura. There are some bitumen strips several kms long but in between it is the roughest section of road we have encountered. We stopped at Hann Roadhouse for a break before arriving at Laura late morning.

Here we  took more photos of the two Austin 7's together. The store owner at Laura has had one parked outside his roadhouse for many years so it is symbolic being able to have them side by side.

From Laura we are back on a lovely smooth road surface with no more white knuckle, heart in the mouth, bone rattling travel. We stopped at Palmer River roadhouse for a late lunch then made it to Mount Carbine where we checked into the caravan park and are able to secure a cabin overnight. This is not just two beds in a donga but the cheapest accommodation so far and the size of a small unit with all mod cons, very welcome.

9th We have a pleasant trip down the range into Mossman and then along the coast, arriving back in Cairns at midday having completed our circle with Daisy purring along and the two of us feeling very much more relaxed.

The trip has been great fun and we have been able to bring history alive which is what we set out to do, and we achieved our aim. Driving old cars though, especially under such rough conditions, you are constantly aware that you are testing the boundaries. Lang did a fantastic job driving the entire route and attending to all the mechanical needs Daisy required. Of our two New Zealanders in 1928 Hector only learnt to drive between Sydney and Cairns and he said in his book he was always happy, like me, to be the passenger. I can only imagine how difficult it was for them, no communications, no roads and no idea of what lay ahead, true pioneers who should not be forgotten.

Total distance covered from Cairns to Cape York and back was 1,624 miles (2,598km). Total fuel used was 58 gallons/230 litres giving 43mpg in the old money – pretty good seeing we spent a lot of time crawling in third and even second gear. On the good sections we played it conservative and although Daisy would do much more, we sat on 35mph/60kmh. Several of our problems were caused by the huge load she was forced to carry. The corrugations are constant throughout the trip and although the Austin 7 rides nicely, effectively having no shock absorbers results in regular out of control "drift driving", particularly on corners.

A great little car for its day and it would have been a winner on the English country lanes for which it was designed. Just goes to show you can take any car anywhere as Dick and Hector proved in 1928. Back to the 4x4 for us for a while until we feel in the need of more more punishment.