What are we gonna do now, mate?” Glen’s voice bordered on concern and irritation.

It would seem our impromptu detour through the river wasn’t going over well. Not that this was wholly without cause, mind you. After all, what was supposed to be through the river quickly turned into less through and more of just being, well, in it; stuck.

“Yeah, well, it could be worse,” I replied, pausing briefly to gather up some of our belongings that were now floating out through the Land Rover’s open door.

“Not possible,” Glen laughed.

“Sure it is. Plus, there should be someone coming along sometime that will pull us out. Right?”

No. We didn’t plan it this way. We didn’t plan it at all, really. It just kind of happened, you know? But then again, it all seemed so natural; two biologists – along with all the financial inadequacies that that implies, an old Land Rover, and Australia’s Cape York Peninsula. It was a combination destined for adventure – well, destined for something, anyway.

And so it was!


The idea was simple. We had a Land Rover, a 1976 Series III 109 to be exact. We had a thought, to take it to the tip of Australia, through Queensland's Cape York Peninsula. We had, most importantly, the desire to explore; the desire for adventure.

Neither of us had undertaken a trip of this magnitude before, that is, taking a four wheel drive vehicle through four wheel drive territory, and the idea of spending the next 3 weeks camping in World Heritage rainforests, and chasing endangered species with a camera, was rousing. Our fingers gently trailed over the topographical map we had just purchased the day before.

“It doesn’t matter how we go, but I would really like to get to Iron Range National Park at one point,” Glen said. “It’s the only place in the world you still have a chance to see a Chondropython.”

I gave a perplexed face.

“Green tree python. They’re endangered, and now survive in this single area of Australia.”

I could understand Glen’s fascination with this snake; he is somewhat of an expert when it comes to snakes. What am I saying, he is THE expert on them. He has spent the last twenty some odd years diving the reefs off of Australia studying sea snakes, and has the superbly worrying stories to prove it.

Not to mention he is somewhat the minor celebrity because of it, too. Or, more correctly, his finger is. It, along with a bite sustained from a sea snake, are pictured in the book Venomous and Dangerous Marine Animals.


I wasn’t sure if I should be proud to know him, or concerned that I’m going into isolated areas of the world with a guy that gets bitten by venomous snakes. But one bite from twenty years of annoying snakes isn’t too bad, I thought, and was quite happy now to have him along.

And really, a better mate on this trip I could not ask for. I mean, of the 10 most venomous snakes in the world, all can be found in Australia. It is the only place on the globe where venomous snakes outnumber the non-venomous species. And chances are we’d run into at least a few of them. So it was good to know we were a little prepared for it, although what we were going to do about all the other noxious or otherwise deadly things out there – and there are plenty, trust me – was still up in the air. But hey, we’d cross that bridge when we got to it.

It was decided from the beginning that we weren’t going to be terribly picky in our route. Our first goal would simply be to make it to “The Tip”. What we would do past that was uncertain, although we both did agree upon eventually coming back home, in one piece and with as little scarring as possible, if we could at all help it.

“The Tip” or “The Top” is the northernmost point on the Australian continent, situated, appropriately, on the tip of the Cape York Peninsula – a triangle of land stretching north into Torres Strait – and marked with a little sign saying so. The real thrill in this, however, is not in being there. No. I mean, it’s nice and all – very nice indeed, actually – but it was the journey that we were after. And Cape York, from our modest appraisal of the map, seemed as though it would provide thoroughly.


Copyright 2007 drivenbydiscovery productions