Cape York Campsites

Submitted: Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 18:08
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Hi,
I know there was discussion about this last year and from what I read it did not work well. What do you do book a heap of camp-site on the speculation you may be there on a particular night and what happens if someone else is in your prebooked camp-site?
Has anything changed or is it easy to find a free campsite.

Thanks in anticipation.

Cheers
Graham
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Reply By: Idler Chris - Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 19:29

Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 19:29
I was up the Cape last year and it was a bl..dy mess. You end up with sites unsuitable for your set up, if you get delayed you lose your dough, a lot of the time there is somebody else already set up on your site, just one hassle after another. Our 4WD club will not be going to QLD until they change the system.
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Follow Up By: Member - Graham N (SA) - Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 20:30

Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 20:30
Thanks for that Idler Chris, didn't think of the unsuitable site issue, I guess we will have to take pot luck at free camp-sites.
Thanks again
Cheers
Graham
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Follow Up By: steved58 - Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 20:36

Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 20:36
I second that had to set up camp with bollards in my annex 3 of them had to use that site the rest were all booked although 60% were empty booked and paid for and people did not turn up good money spinner for
Qld if we keep going I for one will not
Steve
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Follow Up By: The Rambler( W.A.) - Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 23:27

Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 23:27
Been there 3 times,never booked ,always found a campsite even if it was not where the "authorities" wanted you to be, and my travel throughout Australia I have never booked and don,t intend to start now.
The whole system is just a scam that will never work and if you want to follow the others like sheep --good luck.Maybe you will find me in the bush on your travels.
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Follow Up By: Member - Graham N (SA) - Monday, Mar 11, 2013 at 07:56

Monday, Mar 11, 2013 at 07:56
Thanks for your replies Steved58 and Rambler, I'll keep a cold 'West End' in the fridge for when I see you in the bush.

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Graham
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Follow Up By: Patrol22 - Monday, Mar 11, 2013 at 13:39

Monday, Mar 11, 2013 at 13:39
I took a group of 5 vehicles, 4 with campertrailers, to Cape York during July and August last year. We booked our sites online and about 2 months before departure. All worked well for us with no cockups at all. I too was tempted to head off with no bookings and just turn up and take a spot....but then again I thought that would just be totally unfair to those who did go by the rules and could only end up in arguments. There are of course lots of places to camp along the OTL and off the tracks in non-NP areas and many of these are great spots.....just can be a bit hit and miss sometimes. If there is one place you will absolutely need to pre book it is Eliot Falls - and the ranger comes a visiting here quite frequently. We also had a visit from the ranger at Chili Beach and he had to sort out an issue where one site (nothing to do with my group) had been double booked.
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Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Monday, Mar 11, 2013 at 15:32

Monday, Mar 11, 2013 at 15:32
I won't re-post my rant about Lawn Hill a few years ago, let's just say I agree with Chris.

Whole organisation was a bloody mess !! - Booked 4 days in advance with Q-NP and paid over the phone - turned up at our allotted day about 4pm after a long drive, no campsites, no NP Ranfers, no-one overseeing anything, best response we got form other campers was "1st in best dressed mate - shoulda turned up at 10 am" - drove around the area about 4 times looking for our two sites - nothing left - no-one came through to check if the current lot were legit ..... in the end we drove onto the tent area and set up there.

Couple of smart-arses told us they'd report us to the ranger ... to which we replied "happy to if you can find one ... and BTW we can find out who's nicked our spot at the same time..."

Couldn't organise the proverbial in a brewery...............
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Follow Up By: Member - Kevin C (VIC) - Monday, Mar 11, 2013 at 15:57

Monday, Mar 11, 2013 at 15:57
Getting a bit off track from the Cape, but in response to Lawn Hill - we tried phoning from phone box in Camooweal.
I rang the number for what I thought was Lawn Hill Nat Park.
Got an automated message eminating from Brisbane and advised to phone another number. I was livid. Of course didn't bring my pad and pen!!! How silly of me.!!!~ So we just took off. Locals told us not to take first turn off but the head East for approx 80 Ks and then turn left which we did. Rds were in excellent condition ( for Off Rd Van & 4WD.) Came across quite a bit of road making machinery. Went into Lawn Hill -saw plenty of sites - went to office. Bloke busy with computer - didn't look up and acknowledge us - finally I interrupted his looking at a car sales site only to have him say he wasn't on duty and the ranger was about somewhere. This was at the front desk at the window!!! We were so cheesed off we drove out and went to Adels Grove where we had the best week. A commercial place - well run and a great eating area. No choice of meal, however what was available was great and the company of others on the deck made it a most memorable week. Queensland Nat Parks are not a patch on SA and WA parks people.
Back to the Cape - we are heading there in July and after reading the many threads have become a little apprehensive about our timing, but I'll get back to threads once we've been. We are catching the " Trinity Bay" coastal freighter from Cairns which after 3 nights will drop us at Seisia. I HAVE BOOKED AT LOYALTY BEACH.
WILLI & KEVIN CARNEY 2850'
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Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Monday, Mar 11, 2013 at 16:23

Monday, Mar 11, 2013 at 16:23
Kevin, at least you found someone in the office .... shut up tighter than the Bank Of NSW - no-one within cooee .....

In hindsight we should have gone to Adels Grove.

Bit off topic, however points to some 'organisational' issues in QNP's....
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Reply By: Member - OnYaBike - Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 23:58

Sunday, Mar 10, 2013 at 23:58
All the replies so far must be geared to National Parks. But there are other options both paid and free.
However it is very busy in the peak months, generally around June - September.
As I mentioned in a post on another topic, last year I happened to go in late October after having been up in July. The difference was astounding. No convoys of camper trailers in both directions, we counted one vehicle with trailer coming South as we drove North. The usual camp areas were almost deserted: Archer, Seisia, Loyalty Beach.
The Croc Tent at Lockerbie was taken down and I think Punsand Bay had closed for the year, but everything else everywhere was open for business.
The slight deterioration in the road at the end of the season was more than made up for by the lack of traffic. The weather was warmer but by no means uncomfortable.
At Seisia they told me that business drops off dramatically once the September school holidays both Qld and down South are over.
My advice: if you can, travel to the Cape a bit later in the year. Hope I haven't spoilt it for myself this year.
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Follow Up By: Member - Graham N (SA) - Monday, Mar 11, 2013 at 08:03

Monday, Mar 11, 2013 at 08:03
Thanks OnYaBike might consider going latter in another year. Good to know there are other options, I can't see us booking ahead as we would be uncertain where we would be at a particular time.

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Graham
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Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Monday, Mar 11, 2013 at 15:24

Monday, Mar 11, 2013 at 15:24
Same thing Onya up in the Kimberly - my first trip was mid-late Sept 5 years ago (after a short but brief hot-spell that drove all the Bickie Dippers south !!!) - hardly anyone on the roads ..... had most of the campsites to ourselves or didn't have to book.

Went again mid June-July 2010 .... bloody nightmare ... in a couple of places we were sleeping standing up !!!
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Follow Up By: edwin - Monday, Mar 11, 2013 at 15:35

Monday, Mar 11, 2013 at 15:35
hi onya bike,did the same, bloody great, didnt hardly see anyone, punsand was still open but was winding down. gotta say that it was bloody warm tho, if you dont like the heat its not wise,around 40s on the OTL , but cooled off in just about every creek crossing that had water in it. hadnt seen another car for 2 days when we tackled nolans brook, still very deep. a big tip for first timers tackling nolans is 2 let your tyres down as if your on a beach with very soft sand around 12-14 psi and it will help immensley. I used to do some recoveries of drowned cars from there when I worked at Seisia and 99% of them didnt think about tyre pressures, it will only take 10 or 15 minutes to do, much cheaper and easier than a tow truck and putting the car on the ship back to cairns for the insurance assessors, not to mention ruining you and your family's trip .Was a bit sad that there was a fair bit of rubbish left over from some idiot travellers around the place, people see a 44 gallon drum and think its a bin(yep the old garbo is gunna come thru on monday morning just like at home !!) and the overflow pile gets bigger and bigger, nolans brook was disgusting.
Anyway, a great time to go to beat the crowds. have a great trip Graham
Edwin
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Follow Up By: Idler Chris - Monday, Mar 11, 2013 at 19:43

Monday, Mar 11, 2013 at 19:43
edwin is right on the money. Your 3t truck is less than 1t when the water is over the bonnet which is Nolans. I am 70 and when I was there this year with a dirty old blue tarp on the front all the vultures standing on the banks watching (there must have been at least 60 people) and you could see them all thinking this old fart is going to be another drowning. At 14psi the 100 series crusier did it easily, in fact I had to be gentle on the throttle or I would get wheel spin with the weight of the water in front and the lack of weight on the wheels.
DO NOT use water bra's as they deform around the bull bar and created little eddies and adds to the resistance. The most rigid tarp you can find is best as it remains relatively flat and a more slippery surface for the water to get around. Does not look as good but gives you the greatest chance of getting through.
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Follow Up By: Member - Graham N (SA) - Monday, Mar 11, 2013 at 21:08

Monday, Mar 11, 2013 at 21:08
Thanks for your replies and will take on board the tyre pressure idea.
I e-mailed QPWS and they replied they would issue me with a copy of a certificate that I was the permit holder for the particular camp-site, should hold a lot of authority when confronting some six foot six bloke two pickaxe handles across the shoulders and a rum in hand who has accidentally camped in my spot.

Cheers

Graham
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Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Monday, Mar 11, 2013 at 21:24

Monday, Mar 11, 2013 at 21:24
Graham, make sure your permit specifies a specific site at the camp site.

We had permit numbers for 2 vehicles for Lawn Hill ... were totally useless as they :

1. didn't specify a site number &
2. there wasn't any QPWS rangers around to confirm our site.

so either QPWS had overbooked or someone nicked our spots - neither of which we could resolve.....
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Reply By: Member - gm520 - Monday, Mar 18, 2013 at 11:00

Monday, Mar 18, 2013 at 11:00
This is a good thread - watching avidly as we head off for 8 weeks in July/August (to the cape and gulf from NE Vic).

The idea of having to do a strict itinerary gives me the shakes and have had us thinking of heading west instead. I personally was very much looking forward to a casual approach to where we want to be at a certain time (we spend every other working day of the year sticking to strict regimes at work!!).

We certainly do not want to book particular dates/places months ahead as we have the time to do as we please, however this may be difficult.

I'll re-read the above posts a few times with the map in front of me and hopefully resurrect a bit more enthusiasm for the destination.

Thanks for the info,
Gary
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Follow Up By: Member - Kevin C (VIC) - Monday, Mar 18, 2013 at 11:51

Monday, Mar 18, 2013 at 11:51
Hi Gary,
Like you we will be Cape York way July/Aug.
I must admit reading some of the threads had little concerns tweaking my mind.!!
However, just the last weeks have spoken with mates who were both there last year - different times.
Maybe it's what is in the expectation of people. We usually take it as it comes.
One couple stayed basically in commercial Caravan Parks ( CP) and had no problems whatsoever.
The other couple free camp. Also no hassles. Both couples thoroughly enjoyed themselves except for the idiots that DO THE CAPE. Rush up and down in a week and then proudly claim they have DONE THE CAPE. THEY ARE A MENACE ON THE ROADS so keep your eyes peeled for the irresponsible.
I wouldn't ever deal with Q'land Nat Parks ever again after our experience at Lawn Hill. They certainly have to lift their game.
In fact I will make then aware of the Explore Oz threads system so they can read for themselves the lack of organization which they think probably works. How can anything ever work from centralized bureaucrats??? Might see you on the road.
Cheers
Willi C
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Follow Up By: Member - gm520 - Monday, Mar 18, 2013 at 12:22

Monday, Mar 18, 2013 at 12:22
We like to bush camp so hoping no dramas, equally happy to stay at commercial places if need be, and book NP sites if/when we really have to. We'll be taking the little Jayco expanda outback, plus all the tent camping gear as we expect to regularly park up and travel non-towing.

It does appear that bush sites outside of NP's are a plenty, as are non NP commercial camp sites so I'm fairly certain it'll be all good!!

Can't wait!

Cheers
Gary
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Follow Up By: Member - Kevin C (VIC) - Monday, Mar 18, 2013 at 12:42

Monday, Mar 18, 2013 at 12:42
WE can't wait either.
Haven't been away since 2010 due to family responsibilities, so biting at the bit.
We are taking our Off Rd Ecotourer.
Used to have Jayco Finch- Outback which was great, but now at an age
where we look for the bed a bit quicker.!!!

Horses for courses.

Cheers
W & K
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Follow Up By: Member - Graham N (SA) - Monday, Mar 18, 2013 at 13:44

Monday, Mar 18, 2013 at 13:44
Hi Gary, Kevin and Willi,
We are also going to take a chance on finding camp sites, it seems from the replies that there will be something available and who knows some sites that don't appear to be the best occasionally turn out alright. Some where some time you will stay at the worst camp site you have stayed at it makes you appreciate the good ones.
We are like you have no time frame and will not plan ahead.
We are going in June and taking a T-Van as our accommodation.

Cheers
Graham
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Follow Up By: Member - Kevin C (VIC) - Monday, Mar 18, 2013 at 16:03

Monday, Mar 18, 2013 at 16:03
Hi Graham,

Are you travelling with computer? I ask as I will be, so able to send to odd email now and then.
Seeing you and Gary will be up there somewhere around same time as us we might be able to tag and enjoy a happy hour together??

Our email is borough@iinet.net.au

Cheers
W & K.
P.S. Love your little saying - very wise.
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