We are on the road from our campsite near Bathurst Heads. This is not a place for people. It is a place for termites, mosquitoes and crocodiles – and decaying old carcasses of trucks.
Beryl walks out of the campsite in the heat. I wonder at her bravery to walk among the swamps and billabongs, crocodile habitat.
Despite the desolate landscape, we come upon occasional wild beauty. White water lilies shimmer on dark lagoons. A wild horse watches us as he drinks, then turns away. A horned bull stands and stares, daring us to come closer. Flocks of black cockatoos perch on the scrubby trees. There’s life in the scrub around us.
We turn towards Weipa at Kalpower campground. The Peninsula Development Road is red, full of corrugations, but light rain damps down the dust thrown up as we drive along. The roadsides are green with fresh new growth, grasses and eucalypts. Flat sided magnetic ant hills stand high, buttresses built to point to north. Tall striped grasses wave in the wind.
The road to Weipa is plagued by racing caravans, eager to book the last site at the caravan park. They overtake on blind bends in clouds of red dust.
We are lucky to find enough sites free at the campsite when we arrive and we settle in. Suzanne makes friends among the locals and is soon the newest member of the Weipa golf club. This exalted position brings privileges. She signs us all into the golf club for dinner and dancing, the best night in town. It’s a hike from the caravan park and Suzanne once again comes up trumps. She’s a hit with the local taxi driver, Steve, 59, and we travel by taxi bus to our evening out.
We dance the night away to seventies disco, night fever, hot stuff, Jive talkin, nut bush city limits. Heather and Max hit the dance floor rock and rolling to greased lightning. Through the evening, Suzanne sprays us with her magic mist, kept in a bottle at her side. Is it a secret recipe to keep mozzies at bay, or love potion number nine?
Weipa is a hit with us, and we are a hit with Weipa. As we leave a local says, “Don’t go. Youse was our excitement.”