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Starting in Cooktown, head north towards Hopevale, past the green pastures and farms of the locals. No wonder people leave the city to live on acerage in the bush, it is truly stunning out there. Before Hopevale, the road turns to red dirt, the kind of dirt most city 4WD's never experience!
Make sure you stop in at Endeavour Falls, a Caravan Park which has a small waterfall at the back, and if you ask the lady nicely, she will let you see them if you leave your car parked out the front.
There is an intersection on the left about 10km before Hopevale which is the Battle Camp road. Along here for another 8km or so there is the beautiful Isabella Falls, a fresh water creek crossing, cascading down into several pools before becoming a small waterfall. Surprising how cold it can be in September! Stop here for a quick dip as it is Croc safe.
Continuing on, cross over the Normanby River, a small crossing that wasn't very deep; maybe half-way up the tyre rim. No swimming here as it does have Crocs in it.
Arriving at the old Battle Camp station is a good stop for lunch and to take in the sights. Battle Camp Station and the Battle Camp Range just to the south of here were named by a group of gold diggers who were heading west to the Palmer River to seek their fortune when they were set upon by a band of Aboriginals.
From here you have the choice of taking the turn off to Lakefield National Park (now called Rinyirru), or you can continue on to Laura. Here at Laura, the bitumen returns. A welcome relief after all the corrugations and wash outs of the Batlle Camp Road.
The Quinkan Regional Cultural Centre was really interesting and travellers have to make plans to experience the Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival as it is held every two years in June, so the next one is in 2013.
If you are lucky, you may be the only people that afternoon to walk through the Aboriginal Rock Art caves at the Split Rock Gallery, only a couple of K's south of Laura. There are 3 caves to see: the Mushroom Rock Gallery, the Split Rock Gallery and the Sandy Creek Gallery. Payment for entry into the caves is by an honesty box system for a small $5 fee per person. So cheap!
Back to Cooktown now via the Peninsula Development Road, a road that is now fully bitumened from Laura to Lakeland.
There is a wash down bay at Lakeland if you don't want to take the dirt back to the caravan park.
(As well as a pub here to whet your whistle)