The Roads: both state and federal Government do not waste money on roads. Bitumen roads are there to carry a high volume of traffic regardless of the fact you havenít seen another vehicle in the last 4 hours. If you have the bad luck to break down or a forced to stop just wait and before long somebody will come along. Maintained gravel roads also carry their fair share of traffic otherwise it would be pointless maintaining them at all. Governments do this so the transport industry can move vast amounts of freight around the country, locals have road access for 12 months of the year and the blessed tourist can come and all have the living daylights taxed out of them. The price of diesel fuel is an absolute disgrace but enough said.
The Carnarvon Highway near the National Park
The road to Mapoon from Weipa. Flat, strait and dusty. Note the trees on the side of the road, the dust coats their leaves and eventually kills the entire tree.
On the other hand the OTL near Cannibal Creek
Unmaintained tracks are just that, Unmaintained, and usually on accessed by 4 wheel drives and foreign tourists in the next best thing, a Hertz rent a car. The above is one of the many crossings on the Overland Telegraph Track (OTL) which is the gazzetted road between Cook Shire and the Jardine River. Vehicles on this road can be few and far between and if you are unfortunate enough to break down wait with your vehicle and somebody will eventually appear out of the dust. In outback OZ if I see someone broken down , I stop and see if they require assistance and if youíre a little bit windy about whatís confronting you lock the doors and ask through a half lowered window. I picked up this pearl from a regular traveler but I have never struck anything but decent people and Iíve stopped for hundreds.
The OTL is a pretty ordinary piece of thoroughfare by anyone's imagination but even though it appears to be a neglected beyond belief it is quite safe provided you know just what you are doing and you minimise the risk to you and your vehicle. Look where you're going and if you cannot see the path your wheels and going to take get out and have a look. For further on this and other roads to disaster check out the pics on the "Fickle Finger of Fate" page.
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