As I prepared the art work for a recent six week journey to cover the 4000 km return road trip to the Tablelands Regional Gallery in North Queensland I recall packing into our small but fully equipped caravan a large dose of anticipation, and the expectation that I would return home creatively inspired. One of the highlights of this trip was walking the trail to the tip of mainland Australia at Cape York. I had wanted to do this since driving to Cape Reinga on the tip of the New Zealand continent in 2012. It seemed back then the logical thing to do, to explore the very tip of my own country, and see what would come out of this experience.
The time to do this had to be during the Atherton leg of the Hidden Dimensions travelling exhibition, but we had some time constraints. May is normally the end of a very wet season for the North, and we also lacked backup in the shape of accompanying vehicles, so we opted to store our 4WD and van in Cairns and go with an Oz Tours small group tour. Although not driving ourselves had restrictions I was pleased to be letting someone else with local knowledge take the risks as we observed the remains of shattered dreams along the way. Besides the company was sweet and we discovered a lot about the people that shaped this land. The tour guide was a wealth of knowledge and had so many stories to tell, some just a little more daunting than others.
The trip really began for me on the Bloomfield Track, not for the faint-hearted I feel, as we headed North from Cape Tribulation after our first night in Cooktown. In the end the shining light had to be Punsand Bay, situated 5 km from the tip. Despite housing a large camping resort, relatively empty while we were there, this section of beach remains a wilderness, throwing up a varying selection of flotsam and jetsam and creating a safe haven for marine turtles. One nest erupted with tiny turtle hatch-lings fleeing to the sea on our last night. It was sad to think that not many will survive to adulthood.
With only eight days one way to catch a glimpse of the landscape as we had a flight back to Cairns from Bamaga, I personally missed not being able to visit the more remote indigenous centers. The tour did include a full day on Thursday Island and Horn Island and was ample enough to fulfill the dream for now. Australia is such a large country blessed with many beautiful and inspiring landscapes and I take a lot of photographs to remind myself of this. I am looking forward to a similar road trip, carrying an art exhibition and my dreams to Perth in WA next year.
We became quite accomplished at being on the road, free camping when we could along the way, and meeting others on the journey to explore Australia and hear their stories. All had their own agenda for their travels and there were all ages, expectations and types of accommodation vehicles from the humble to the majestic. Life it seems is just like this trip. Each journey has to be personal and each outcome remains uncertain. As we get wiser we can forget the expectations of others and fulfil only our own dreams. Life needs to be sweet..
‘ Eat honey because it is good, And the honeycomb which is sweet to your taste, So shall the knowledge be to your soul, If you have found it, there is a prospect, And your hope will not be cut off.’ Proverb 24:12 KJV