There are moments on long road trips when your eyes seem to be playing tricks on you. Especially on the 1000km drive south to Cairns from the top of Cape York Peninsula.
You’re rattling over the corrugations, peering through the swirling red dust. A termite mound by the road-side looks briefly to be an elephant. A fallen tree branch seems to be the world’s biggest snake. In October 2011, we were heading down the Cape York road from Musgrave, eight straight days of driving and we were getting weary.
Up ahead, we see figures moving on the road. We slow down, expecting a stray cow, a giant wallaby, maybe just a dust devil. But as we get closer, we see a bloke and a donkey, walking south at a steady clip. We pulled up to say g’day to Norton Judd, and Esther the donkey.
Norton has been on the road a long time. He’s 71 now, and after a few years of retirement in Melbourne he decided to walk the Bicentennial Trail. He left Healesville in Victoria in June 2009, and walked to Cooktown FNQ. Along that 5000+ kilometre journey, he met Esther, a 10 year old jenny and decided she’s the ideal travelling companion.
Having reached Cooktown, Norton decided to go a “little bit further” to visit friends at Musgrave. We met him on his way back to Cooktown. Listen to Norton talk about his life on the road.