Cape York

Cape York This is the true 4WD journey to the tip of Cape York following the Old Telegraph Track (OTT) and its many challenging river crossings.
StartClick to Reverse the Dynamic Map and Driving NotesCooktown
FinishSeisia
DifficultyDifficulty 4.5/5 Suitable for4WD 
Distance848 kmMinimum Days24
Average Speed46.9 km/hrDriving Time18 hrs 4 mins
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Rating Be the first to rate this item0 Reviews
Article By: Michelle & David Martin
Page Updated: 7 Oct 2014

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Description

This Trek Note provides the most challenging route to Cape York via the Old Telegraph Track, or OTT as its known. There are other easier ways to get to the tip of Cape York, however this route will allow those who have exceptionally sound 4WD skills to experience the journey in its most natural form.

The alternative route to the one shown in this trek note is to use the Bypass Roads. We provide a separate trek note for those that wish to use this easier route. The trek note is called Cape York via Bypass Roads. You can still access sections of the Telegraph Track if you refer to the map for entry/exit points.

There are many other interesting places to visit on the Cape York Peninsula that we've not included in either of these main thoroughfare routes to the top. Instead, you'll find details about these in separate Trek Notes because they can all be accessed off the two main routes at noted exit points. We suggest you should research all these side trips and build your own itinerary. See the full list of Cape York side trips here.

Once you've reached Seisia, you still have a little way to go to reach the true "tip" of Cape York. Australia's most northerly point. Refer to our Cape York - Seisia to the Tip Trek Note for details on how to get there, and other things to explore in the area.

How to Use this Trek Note

The idea of a Trek Note, is that we provide a recommended route to explore an area with point-to-point guidance and extensive trip planning information about when to go, what to see, and where to camp. However, all the facts and data files are available should you prefer to build your own route/itinerary.

To see the route we recommend, click on the "Map" tab. Then, use the Moving Map Control to take a virtual tour of the route. You can reverse the order of the direction notes by clicking the arrow alongside the words Start/Finish at the very top of the information on this page.

Click on the "What to See" & "Where to Stay" tabs to see more about each Place that the route follows. Click each listed Place to open a separate page (and download for Members only) to enrich your understanding of the area.

A text list of Place to Place distances (see Directions tab) is given, plus you can download the route file to load into your GPS/Navigator. Go to our shop to obtain the complete EOTreks Route Files download.

If you just want the raw data files (for use with mapping software or to load into a GPS/Navigator), then the track file and waypoints are downloadable for free (Members only), using the Download Treks button at the top of this page.

You can also print this page (use the print icon button) and text from all sections (Description, Preparation, What to See, Where to Stay, Directions, Related, Feedback) will be reformatted into one easy-to-read document (except for detailed Place information – do these separately).

Environment

Cape York is the name of the most northern point of the Australian continent and is often referred to as "The Tip". In fact, the whole peninsula of land that lies above the 16°S latitude is called Cape York Peninsula - this narrow peninsula is bound by the Coral sea to the east the Arafura sea and Gulf of Carpentaria to the west and the Torres Strait to the north. Locals however, refer to Cape York "proper" as the area north of the Jardine river.

Map

Take a virtual tour of this trek using the interactive map below. You can click any feature on the map, or use the Moving Map controls to watch the trek in auto-play from start to finish. As each feature is selected, it will flash green on the map, and a panel will open above the map with more detailed information for that selection.
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Preparation

For detailed checklists & advice regarding remote area travel, you are strongly encouraged to read the following articles: 4WD Driving Skills & Rules; What to Take; Recovery Gear Needs; Spare Parts and Tools; Food & Water; Water Tank; Long Range Fuel Tanks; Suspension; EPIRB; HF Radio; UHF Radio; Satphone; Staying in Touch as well as Travel Etiquette; Care for the Environment; Snake Bite Treatment; Outback Survival; & Driver Fatigue.

Official track reports are reviewed weekly and you'll always find the latest report in the ExplorOz Road Conditions section.
A trip to Cape York must be carefully planned. You need to plan for the worst and be prepared to handle repairs and maintenance in the bush. Your vehicle will need to be extensively prepared for remote area travel and you will need to ensure you have made essential modifications and carry specific safety equipment & communications.

Most people travel in convoy throughout the Cape not just for company, but for safety and backup. Just remember that overly large convoy groups can be hazardous on narrow dual-direction tracks and due to the bulldust on many Cape Roads, large groups may need to spread out so far apart that the leader lose radio communications with the tail-end charlie. For these reasons, you'll find a smaller convoy more enjoyable and practical.

Permits

Permits are required to access all areas of Aboriginal land. The permit is provided when you pay your ferry fee to cross the Jardine River at near Bamaga.

Camping permits are required in all National Parks and Reserves on the Cape York Peninsula and these must now be purchased in advance before arriving at your campsite. Self-registration for camp sites is no longer possible. To obtain an e-permit book online at www.qld.gov.au/camping, or phone 13 74 68.

Fuel Supplies & Usage

Fuel SymbolMusgrave Roadhouse, Archer River Roadhouse, Bramwell Junction Diesel4cyl 106 litres * ULP4cyl 137 litres LPG4cyl 170 litres
6cyl 122 litres *6cyl 128 litres *6cyl 149 litres
8cyl 130 litres8cyl 141 litres

Best Time To Visit

Closest Climatic Station

Lockhart River Airport
Distance from Trek Mid Point 67.72km NW
 JanFebMarAprMayJun JulAugSepOctNovDec
Mean Max. °C 31.631.330.629.7 28.727.427.127.7 29.030.431.832.2
Mean Min. °C 23.723.623.422.9 21.920.119.419.2 20.521.923.023.6
Mean Rain mm 395.9390.8452.3296.9 106.858.443.429.2 15.729.172.2208.4
    Best time to travel      Ok time to travel      Travel NOT recommended

Services & Supplies

The following locations have various services and supplies: Musgrave Roadhouse, Bramwell Junction

What to See

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Save time and download all digital map data for this trek (all places are included in the trek download).
This list may not be complete for the entire region. Places listed here are directly located along the plot file associated with this Trek Note. You can locate other nearby Places by browsing the map or searching Places.
There are a total of 9 place entries

Isabella Falls - QLD

Water Body,River,Stream,Falls
Located where Battlecamp Rd crosses Isabella Ck via a ford. This is a safe place for a cool dip in the water.
Position: -15.299 145.004 Altitude: 193m PlaceID: 80627 Updated: 28 Oct 13 03:22

Twelve Mile Hut - QLD

Point of Interest
Position: -15.20321 144.39226 Altitude: 53m PlaceID: 29088 Updated: 30 Nov 07 02:16

Twelve Mile Waterhole - QLD

Water Body,River,Stream,Falls Camp Free
Very nice place to stay but watch out for the large Croc.
Position: -15.19588 144.40088 Altitude: 50m PlaceID: 69484 Updated: 18 Oct 13 10:58

Circular Swamp - QLD

Water Body,River,Stream,Falls
Position: -14.8994 144.17164 Altitude: 23m PlaceID: 69474 Updated: 03 Mar 06 08:47

Morehead River - QLD

Water Body,River,Stream,Falls
Position: -14.69525 143.9944 Altitude: 14m PlaceID: 69395 Updated: 03 Mar 06 08:46

Gunshot Creek - QLD

River Crossing Point of Interest
This infamous crossing of the Old Telegraph Track is indeed exceptionally challenging. Although there are actually 2 options to get across the creek here....
Position: -11.8119 142.49561 Altitude: 56m PlaceID: 80697 Updated: 28 Oct 13 10:36

Fruit Bat Falls - QLD

Water Body,River,Stream,Falls Toilet Point of Interest
Just 2.7km off the Telegraph Track the falls provide a refreshing break from the dust.
Position: -11.44 142.43401 Altitude: 81m PlaceID: 80580 Updated: 11 Dec 08 10:42

Eliot Falls - QLD Overall Rating: 5/5

Water Body,River,Stream,Falls Toilet Camp Fee
Camping area with tracks and boardwalks to nearby Eliot and Twin falls.
Position: -11.383 142.41299 Altitude: 60m PlaceID: 80652 Updated: 11 Jun 09 09:18

Jardine River - QLD

River Crossing Point of Interest
Whilst the vehicular crossing is rarely taken these days, as it is treacherous and many have lost their vehicles in the strong currents,...
Position: -11.15303 142.35532 Altitude: 18m PlaceID: 102836 Updated: 29 Oct 13 01:41

Where to Stay

DownloadDownload Trek
Save time and download all digital map data for this trek (all places are included in the trek download).
This list may not be complete for the entire region. Places listed here are directly located along the plot file associated with this Trek Note. You can locate other nearby Places by browsing the map or searching Places.
There are a total of 9 place entries

Endeavour Falls Tourist Park Queensland - QLD

Caravan Park Toilets Showers Camp Kitchen Barbeque Power Public Phone Laundry
Enjoy nature at its best in this family friendly landscaped tropical park amidst virgin woodlands and surrounded by spectacular bluffs and ranges....
Position: -15.3712 145.0289 Altitude: 74m PlaceID: 86986 Updated: 28 Oct 13 04:07

Old Laura - QLD

Camp Free
Old Laura Station was owned at one stage in the early 1900's by the Grogan brothers. Their daughter Mary, now Mary Geraghty is now in her 80's (2007) and happens to be my next ...
Position: -15.34492 144.45532 Altitude: 64m PlaceID: 29106 Updated: 05 Jul 08 10:50

Twelve Mile Waterhole - QLD

Water Body,River,Stream,Falls Camp Free
Very nice place to stay but watch out for the large Croc.
Position: -15.19588 144.40088 Altitude: 50m PlaceID: 69484 Updated: 18 Oct 13 10:58

Musgrave Roadhouse - QLD

Roadhouse Caravan Park Fuel Airstrip Water Supply Toilet Food,Shopping Camp Fee
Phone: (07) 4060 3229
Position: -14.78111 143.50374 Altitude: 84m PlaceID: 28959 Updated: 30 Oct 13 10:31

The Bend Camp - QLD

Camp Free Toilets Fire Ring/Pit Pets Allowed
camp site.. and bush camping available
Position: -13.92417 143.19444 Altitude: 204m PlaceID: 99639 Updated: 14 Jun 14 07:34

Archer River Roadhouse - QLD Overall Rating: 4/5

Roadhouse Fuel Rubbish Bin,Tip Water Supply Toilet Camp Fee
Phone: (07) 4060 3266
Position: -13.43704 142.9407 Altitude: 107m PlaceID: 28882 Updated: 15 Nov 13 23:00

Bramwell Junction - QLD

Roadhouse Caravan Park Fuel Rubbish Bin,Tip Water Supply Toilet Food,Shopping Camp Fee
The Telegraph Rd becomes the Telegraph Track where the Southern Bypass Rd begins at Bramwell. Pleasant camping amongst the termite mounds.
Position: -12.09314 142.55841 Altitude: 49m PlaceID: 78403 Updated: 30 Oct 13 12:36

Eliot Falls - QLD Overall Rating: 5/5

Water Body,River,Stream,Falls Toilet Camp Fee
Camping area with tracks and boardwalks to nearby Eliot and Twin falls.
Position: -11.383 142.41299 Altitude: 60m PlaceID: 80652 Updated: 11 Jun 09 09:18

Jardine River Ferry Campground & Service Station - QLD

Camp Fee Toilets Showers Barbeque Pets Allowed
This is the site of the vehicle barge that crosses the Jardine River. The river usually runs at 4m deep at the ferry crossing with a fair current....
Position: -11.10389 142.28305 Altitude: 21m PlaceID: 99651 Updated: 01 Nov 13 09:52

Directions

LocationsDistanceDirectionTime
Cooktown to Endeavour Falls Tourist Park Queensland 31.55 km NW 295° 31 min
Endeavour Falls Tourist Park Queensland to Cooktown McIvor River Rd & Endeavour Battlecamp Rd 4.54 km N 10° 5 min
Cooktown McIvor River Rd & Endeavour Battlecamp Rd to Isabella Falls 5.56 km NW 316° 8 min
Isabella Falls to Old Laura 68.65 km W 265° 1 hr 28 min
Old Laura to Twelve Mile Hut 18.95 km NW 337° 20 min
Twelve Mile Hut to Twelve Mile Waterhole 0.52 km NE 49°
Twelve Mile Waterhole to New Laura 5.24 km W 289° 5 min
New Laura to Lakefield Rd & Kalpower Rd 33.02 km NW 330° 33 min
Lakefield Rd & Kalpower Rd to Lakefield Ranger Base 1.26 km N 343° 1 min
Lakefield Ranger Base to Circular Swamp 4.45 km NW 313° 4 min
Circular Swamp to Breeza Plains Outstation 12.99 km NW 322° 12 min
Breeza Plains Outstation to Morehead River 22.3 km NW 319° 23 min
Morehead River to Nine Mile Bend 35.87 km W 269° 38 min
Nine Mile Bend to Violet Vale 21.54 km W 260° 31 min
Violet Vale to Musgrave Roadhouse 12.12 km SW 240° 11 min
Musgrave Roadhouse to Coen 107.65 km N 340° 1 hr 26 min
Coen to The Bend Camp 3.68 km N 348° 6 min
The Bend Camp to Archer River Roadhouse 63.07 km NW 333° 53 min
Archer River Roadhouse to Telegraph Rd & Penninsula Developmental Rd 51.57 km NW 335° 45 min
Telegraph Rd & Penninsula Developmental Rd to Telegraph Road - Batavia Downs turnoff 48.69 km N 349° 36 min
Telegraph Road - Batavia Downs turnoff to Moreton Telegraph Station 23.64 km N 349° 28 min
Moreton Telegraph Station to Bramwell Junction 55.97 km N 347° N/A
Bramwell Junction to Palm Creek Tributary 1.42 km N 348° 5 min
Palm Creek Tributary to Palm Creek 1.71 km N 347° 5 min
Palm Creek to Ducie Creek 3.17 km N 11 min
Ducie Creek to South Alice Creek 4.58 km N 343° 15 min
South Alice Creek to North Alice Creek 7.78 km N 348° 22 min
North Alice Creek to Heathlands Resources Reserve Boundary 7.82 km N 347° 26 min
Heathlands Resources Reserve Boundary to Dulhunty River 3.75 km N 349° 13 min
Dulhunty River to Bertie Creek 2.07 km N 344° 11 min
Bertie Creek to Gunshot Bypass Track 1.82 km N 352° 6 min
Gunshot Bypass Track to Gunshot Creek 0.52 km NW 313° 2 min
Gunshot Creek to Telegraph Track & Heathlands Access Trk 6.33 km N 18 min
Telegraph Track & Heathlands Access Trk to Junction OTT & Bypass Track 7.75 km NW 334° 27 min
Junction OTT & Bypass Track to Cockatoo Creek 7.59 km N 345° 19 min
Cockatoo Creek to Old Telegraph Track & Southern Bypass Rd 14.35 km N 353° 19 min
Old Telegraph Track & Southern Bypass Rd to Telegraph Track - Northern Bypass Road Junction 9.14 km N 341° N/A
Telegraph Track - Northern Bypass Road Junction to Fruit Bat Falls 2.7 km NE 52° 3 min
Fruit Bat Falls to Telegraph Track - Northern Bypass Road Junction 2.7 km SW 232° 3 min
Telegraph Track - Northern Bypass Road Junction to Telegraph Track - Eliot Falls Junction 11.02 km N 349° N/A
Telegraph Track - Eliot Falls Junction to Eliot Falls 1.82 km NE 26° N/A
Eliot Falls to Telegraph Track - Eliot Falls Junction 1.82 km SW 206° N/A
Telegraph Track - Eliot Falls Junction to Canal Creek 0.32 km NW 335° N/A
Canal Creek to Telegraph Track - Sam Creek 3.67 km N 355° 2 min
Telegraph Track - Sam Creek to Telegraph Track - Mistake Creek 1.51 km N 357° 2 min
Telegraph Track - Mistake Creek to Telegraph Track - Cannibal Creek 1.9 km N 358° 2 min
Telegraph Track - Cannibal Creek to Telegraph Track - Cypress Creek 1.83 km N 352° 2 min
Telegraph Track - Cypress Creek to Telegraph Track - Bridge Creek 12.78 km N 349° 12 min
Telegraph Track - Bridge Creek to OTT Exit to Bypass Track 1.42 km N 342° 2 min
OTT Exit to Bypass Track to Jardine River 5.14 km N 339° 6 min
Jardine River to OTT Exit to Bypass Track 5.14 km S 159° 6 min
OTT Exit to Bypass Track to Junction OTT Exit & Northern Bypass 9.76 km SW 222° N/A
Junction OTT Exit & Northern Bypass to Jardine River Ferry Campground & Service Station 23.46 km N 348° 22 min
Jardine River Ferry Campground & Service Station to Southern Bypass & Usher Point Rd 12.51 km E 74° 13 min
Southern Bypass & Usher Point Rd to Junction Bamaga Rd & Track to DC Wrecks 10.86 km N 354° 8 min
Junction Bamaga Rd & Track to DC Wrecks to Junction Bamaga Rd & Seisia Rd 5.09 km N 359° 4 min
Junction Bamaga Rd & Seisia Rd to Injinoo 6.86 km NW 313° 5 min
Injinoo to Bamaga 7.15 km E 77° 6 min
Bamaga to New Mapoon 3.38 km N 354° 4 min
New Mapoon to Seisia 2.53 km NW 321° 2 min
Cooktown to Seisia 848 km     18 hr 4 min
Distance is GPS recorded driving distance (not straight line), Direction is straight line from start to end, Time is calculated from actual GPS driving data.

Related

Nearby ExplorOz Treks

Travel Journals

The following are links to Members' Blogs that contain the words Cape York. Creating Blogs is restricted to Members only. Not a Member? Join here.
There are a total of 198 matching blog entries. Results based on search "Cape York"
Bazza

Cape York Or Bust May 23 Perth

Member: Hugh D (WA)   Search Rank: 2912
From: Hugh Sent: Friday, 23 May 2014 15:21 My departure date is coming quickly, but not quickly enough. Sunday seems so far away. The vehicle is packed,...
Created: 23 May 2014 07:32  BlogID: 5890  Comments: 1  Views: 524 
Wind farm in the fog

Cape York or Bust 31st May Cairns

Member: Hugh D (WA)   Search Rank: 2912
Made it to Cairns, six days over various terrain and through some wonderful scenery. Today a short haul, 380km from The Lynd to Cairns....
Created: 31 May 2014 06:45  BlogID: 5902  Comments: 0  Views: 382 
0 Bazza

Cape York or Bust 4th June Cape Bedford

Member: Hugh D (WA)   Search Rank: 2912
From/ To Today = Archer point to Cape Bedford nth of Cooktown Km travelled today = 124 km High Points = Being forced to change our itenary....
Created: 04 Jun 2014 08:29  BlogID: 5913  Comments: 0  Views: 437 
0 Bazza

Cape York or Bust 29th May Eastern Chief Bore West to ...

Member: Hugh D (WA)   Search Rank: 2912
From/ To Today = Eastern Chief Bore West Harts Range to Hamilton Hotel Rest Area Km travelled today = 683 km Fuel cost at Jervois $2.166; Tobermorey $2.30; Boulia $1....
Created: 04 Jun 2014 00:11  BlogID: 5914  Comments: 0  Views: 340 
0 Bazza

Cape York or bust 3rd June Cairns to Archer point light house

Member: Hugh D (WA)   Search Rank: 2912
From/ To Today = Cairns to Archer point light house south of Cooktown Km travelled today = 267 km Fuel cost at Cairns $1....
Created: 03 Jun 2014 23:55  BlogID: 5915  Comments: 0  Views: 388 
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