The Cape - Cape York

g'day all - this will probably get people with many various experiences stirred up. we have friends coming over from the land of the poms and have heard of Cape York and want to go there. the question is - how easy / possible / do-able is this trip for un-experienced 4 WD people ? or is it possible for the same un-experienced people to achieve this dream safely and in a solo venture ? and is it vital that a 4WD must be used, or, for them, can it be done in an ordinary vehicle ?
thanks - bb1
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Reply By: Lyn W3 - Friday, Jun 21, 2013 at 17:50

Friday, Jun 21, 2013 at 17:50
If they were my friends and concerned about their wellbeing the answer is NO in a conventional vehicle.

That being said I would ask if they have any experience driving on rough, hoorrogated gravel roads. If the answer is NO don't send them solo even in a 4WD.

Point them towards a tour company in a 4WD truck/bus.

Bit hard explaining to their kids that they wiped out on the first gravel corner.
AnswerID: 513537

Reply By: Crackles - Friday, Jun 21, 2013 at 19:35

Friday, Jun 21, 2013 at 19:35
My dad with zero 4 wheel drive experience in a near stock 80 series drove the telegraph track successfully solo in May & rode across the Jardine Ferry next to an XD Falcon that had driven up via the Southern Bypass Road.
In short most of the time it's not a technically difficult drive, rather a long rough road that requires careful preparation. Mt recommendation is to definitely take 4x4's allowing access to some of the better locations on the Cape that 2wd's simply can't reach. Read Ron Moons Cape York Guide to get an idea of where you want to go, what's involved & then decide what transport you're going to need. If it's a bit overwhelming then consider a guided tour or tagalong.
Cheers Craig ................
AnswerID: 513546

Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Friday, Jun 21, 2013 at 20:07

Friday, Jun 21, 2013 at 20:07
Spot on Craig.

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Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Saturday, Jun 22, 2013 at 08:53

Saturday, Jun 22, 2013 at 08:53
Hear Hear Crackles
Time is an illusion produced by the passage of history

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Reply By: Tim - Friday, Jun 21, 2013 at 20:18

Friday, Jun 21, 2013 at 20:18
If they get a decent hire vehicle (4x4) and take it easy they will be fine. Yeah it is a dirt road but like someone already said, sedans go up and down that road all the time. You don't get experience driving on dirt by sticking to the black top. I would certainly give him a full briefing on what not to do and I dare say the hire company would do the same.

I know some people will shoot me down, just my opinion.

AnswerID: 513550

Follow Up By: Steve M1 (NSW) - Friday, Jun 21, 2013 at 22:12

Friday, Jun 21, 2013 at 22:12
The hire companies tell them bugger all because half the time they know bugger all and care even less. I suppose you might be lucky and speak to somebody who does know a bit.

The first time I ever drove a 4x4 was a hire car in the early 1990s the bloke in Port Douglas just said if it won't go any further put it in low range. We did the Bloomfield with no dramas but it must've been an easy run because I would not have had a clue what to do if anything even moderately challenging cropped up.

Their vehicles are well insured.
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Reply By: Member - Andrew - Friday, Jun 21, 2013 at 22:01

Friday, Jun 21, 2013 at 22:01
Hi Bruce

The question to ask is about their dirt (gravel etc) road experience.
A number of people (Poms) I know of have got into serious car control issues because they had no experience of such a changeable surface. This included those who had done plenty of snow driving
They just didn't have the road craft to judge the current grip levels. We tend to forget just how much we experience differing surfaces in what we call normal driving and how fast we drive on them.

By all means support them in their adventures but take them out for a drive on gravel to satisfy yourself that they can cope ontheir own with the conditions. Otherwise this sound like a great excuse to go along as a tutor.


AnswerID: 513559

Reply By: cookie1 - Friday, Jun 21, 2013 at 22:40

Friday, Jun 21, 2013 at 22:40
I guess the best way to answer this properly is the question of how long are they out here.

If they get some good advice and maybe a short 4wd course, then why not hire or buy, and sell once done with, a 4wd (it may be cheaper than to hire ).

Anything can be done safely and enjoyably if done in a time to suit the conditions of the road, car and the drivers.

AnswerID: 513563

Reply By: Bonz (Vic) - Saturday, Jun 22, 2013 at 08:55

Saturday, Jun 22, 2013 at 08:55
My sister and brother in law hired a Patrol up that way and drove to the Cape and back, zero 4WD experience, just took it easy, but they were with a couple of other 4WD's so they did have backup, BUT they had no issues, just took it carefully and had a great time.
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Reply By: ExplorOz Team - Kerry W (QLD) - Sunday, Jun 23, 2013 at 10:17

Sunday, Jun 23, 2013 at 10:17
Hi Bruce
Just another perspective.....if your read between the lines..

I once helped a couple of inexperienced French backpackers get a hire vehicle safely down one of the drop offs at Gunshot just after the wet - I suppose they could have turned around... but they were somewhat committed. It was in their words the highlight of their whole trip to that point. They really thought they were going to die before we came along!
My point?
Adventure seems to be an inherent human need.
Defined in a dictionary thus:-
- an exciting or very unusual experience.
- participation in exciting undertakings or enterprises: the spirit of adventure.
- a bold, usually risky undertaking; hazardous action of uncertain outcome.
- any experiences outside ones usual comfort zone or range of activity.

After an adventure you are a much better, wiser human being.
It's up to the individual to choose their own level of challenge.
That's all I can add.

...except maybe that Sir Edmond Hillary maintained early on that he was " just a beekeeper"!!!
Kerry W (Qld)
Security is mostly a superstition. It doesnt exist in nature. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.
-Helen Keller

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AnswerID: 513632

Reply By: bruce b2 - Sunday, Jun 23, 2013 at 16:09

Sunday, Jun 23, 2013 at 16:09
thanks to every body. your answers and replies have been fantastic and muchly appreciated. the general gist is that, with care and pre-planning, it is achievable. but with foresight and planning. they have lived in australia for a while but have returned to the motherland and just about every other country on so called holidays. whilst being away, they have left their 4WD and caravan in storage so they can do something like this at some stage. the suggestion that i should go as a tour guide is an appealing thought which i had not considered. i should convince the parole officer that we should try it first. and i don't think it will be too hard to convince her.

thanks to all - bb1
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