24th June, 2015
Leaving Gills Moon Lagoon we continued on into Lockhart River. The road was … variable. Mostly it was pretty good though there were some very wet, slippery parts, some river crossings and a few bad potholes that nearly swallowed us.
Iron Range National Park, which is were we are now is unique in that it has stunted heathlands with she-oaks, grevilleas, banksias and sedges around the Mt Tozer area before moving into the largest remnant of lowland rainforest left in Australia. Another truly beautiful drive. We stopped at the Mt Tozer viewing platform to see the heathlands close up, with Mt Tozer in the distance.
The studio where the Lockhart River Gang artists work is a home converted for the purpose. The front two rooms are crowded with prints and paintings. Ric and Gill chose 4 pieces they liked and we chose 3 that we liked – one of them is a crab, my star sign – significant with my birthday less than a month away.
We also chose a Silas Hobson black and white print, and a Patrick Butcher lino print hand coloured. We were incredibly lucky to have both of these artists drop in to the studio before we left and posed for a photo with us. Patrick Butcher spent quite a bit of time describing his print and what it all meant. Wow – how good is that!
We picked up a few extra groceries at the general store in Lockhart River – I feel so sorry for the locals for the price they have to pay for groceries and fuel – and headed to Chilli Beach. This road had lots of ‘dips’ all potentially with little stream crossings or washouts at the bottom of them, and one quite long river crossing which was good – not too deep. The road quality wasn’t too bad – corrugations in patches and some soft sand.
Our campsite here at Chilli Beach is perfect. Here on the eastern coastline of the Peninsula the wind blows constantly, only varying in intensity. Our campsite is a short 20 meters from the beach, but tucked in behind huge mangrove trees which are so thick overhead that even when it rained we were well protected. Campsite 20 for future reference!
25th June, 2015
On our first full day here we did the beach walk to the mouth of Chilli Creek – 10K return. The beach is thickly lined with overhanging coconut palms and has to be the prettiest tropical beach you’ll find. We all loved it – it was just so perfect … except for one thing!
Unfortunately it’s also perfectly located for the ocean to deposit it’s rubbish on it. Just above the high tide line is littered with plastic bottles and rubbish which mostly originates from other countries and ships. More than 5 tonnes of rubbish is removed from the 6.5km beach each year. Most deadly of the rubbish are the ghost nets – fishing nets that are cut adrift to float the oceans ensnaring fish and turtles and condemning them to die a slow death.
A campfire tonight! Not too successful though because those south-easterlies did make it a bit chilly to sit out.
26th June, 2015
After a bit of a wander on the beach we headed to Portland Roads. During WWII an airstrip was established just outside Lockhart River. A road was constructed to Portland Roads where there was already a jetty servicing the local gold mines. The jetty has been swept away, but the original footings are still there. Portland Roads is a very quiet little hamlet with a few homes for fisherman, a bed-and-breakfast accommodation, and a cafe where you can reputedly get the best seafood on the Peninsula. How could we not go there!
To see all our photos from our stay at Chilli Beach CLICK HERE.