Frequently asked Questions

The top 10 most asked Questions at the Cafe

 How many people live at Portland Roads?

About 10 people live full time in Portland Roads itself.

About 30 people live in the Iron Range locality overall.

What does everyone do?

We operate small businesses from home, work in the Lockhart River community, or are retired.

How did Portland Roads get its name?

Portland Roads first appears on a 1897 British Admiralty Chart. It was the name given to the ‘safe anchorage’ in front of the township called Portland Roads today.

Portland – Honouring the English “Earl’s of Portland”, who were generous benefactors to the early Australia explorers -Captain’s James Cook and William Bligh.

Roads – as a modern abbreviation derived from “roadstead” meaning “safe anchorage”.

What happened to the Jetty?

The Peninsular Development Road (PDR) began to be slowly upgraded in the 1960’s and so provided better and more economic access to the Cape. With better road access, the monthly shipping service that serviced the middle area of the Cape through the Portland Roads Jetty became unviable and ceased operating. With no use, the Jetty fell into disrepair and became unsafe. Sadly, in the late 1970’s the decision was made to dismantle the jetty rather than upgrade it.

Are there crocodiles here?

Yes, there sure are. We have about 3 resident crocs in the area. Every day, or so, we see a Croc drifting in the current out front. When the tide is in, they are usually seen between the ‘Mangrove line’ and the ‘Fringe Reef drop-off’. Beware, Be Crocwise.

What’s that spikey fruit growing at the end of your patio?

It’s called a Sour Sop, also known as Graviola, which is a fruit similar to a custard apple. It is high in fiber & Vitamin C. Best eaten cold with ice-cream. Makes good milkshakes or smoothies.

What’s it like here in the wet?

You will find that most of the people who live here will say it is the best time of the year. The winds change and comes from the North, North West. The area becomes alive and lush with the first rains; at times the ocean is like glass. It really is paradise here in the wet.

How do you get your food for the Cafe?

It’s a constant juggling act and certainly isn’t easy. We pride ourselves with the freshness and quality of our product in the Cafe, but getting it here and containing freight costs from Cairns, 800 kilometres away is an imperative.

  • We fly perishables like Lettuce and Herbs into the Lockhart River Airport.
  • For ‘Dry’ goods, we use the Cairns supermarkets’ Online services, who Pack and then Deliver via Australia Post parcel service.
  • We use “Tuxworth and Woods” freight service to truck our bulk freezer, chiller and dry goods to one of their scheduled drop-off points at the Archer River Roadhouse. Every second Wednesday, we meet the truck, collect our goods, filling the Hilux and trailer and head back.  It usually takes 9 hours return trip.
  • The Store at Lockhart River provides an essential back-up when supplies run low.
  • In the dry season Greg drives to Cairns for those hard to get items.

What’s the fishing like here?

Like most places, the fishing is good as long as you put the effort in, and fish on the right tides. The best shore based fishing here at Portland Roads is down around the boat ramp. Be Crocwise.

Can we go into the Lockhart River Community?

Yes, you sure can and you should. There is a great Art Gallery to have a look at, some wonderful rock formations at Quintell Beach, a good retail store which is replenished with fresh fruit and vegetables each Thursday, and there is fuel available. Remember if you buy local you are helping support our communities.

Lockhart River is a dry community and you must NOT take any alcohol into the community.