Cape York

Submitted: Monday, Oct 28, 2013 at 17:33
ThreadID: 104899 Views:2768 Replies:8 FollowUps:8
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We are planning a trip to Cape York in 2014 and I am after some info from our seasoned travellers. Any suggestions for the best camping at Cape Tribulation. Also we are wanting to do the Bloomfield Track with a camper trailer. What is it like from Cape Trib to Cooktown via this Track, how long does it take, and can it be done return to Cape trib in a day?
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Reply By: Member - Chris_K - Monday, Oct 28, 2013 at 17:55

Monday, Oct 28, 2013 at 17:55
Hi Denise

We were up at the Cape about 12 months ago - so someone else may have more up to date information than here goes (we didn't camp at Cape Tribulation so I'll leave that for someone else...we saw lots of options though):

Cairns to Cooktown via the Bloomfield Track was pretty easy as they have concreted the tops of most of the more challenging hills. Low range was the go on the way cooked brakes that way. Quite a few creek crossings, but nothing that would get in the way of a capable 4WD...if there was recent rain, I would suggest a snorkel - otherwise all pretty easy stuff.

We did Cairns - Cooktown in an easy day towing a camper via the Bloomfield Track - and stayed at Endeavour Falls outside of Cooktown. You can do Cairns-Cape Tribulation-Cairns in a day (we did it in March in a Falcon) - but doing the whole Cairns->Cape Tribulation->Bloomfield Track->Cape Tribulation->Cairns would be a bit of a challenge in a day. You haven't stated - but if you are continuing north you wouldn't need to head back to Cairns anyway.

AnswerID: 520527

Follow Up By: Member - Denise F - Monday, Oct 28, 2013 at 18:21

Monday, Oct 28, 2013 at 18:21
Hi Chris
Thanks for that. If it isn't that bad, we will probably only stay at Cape Trib a couple of days and then take the trailer through to Cooktown, as we are heading all the way up to the Tip....wasn't keen having to do back tracking. Any ideas on what the creek crossings would be like in May? Also looking at the map were thinking of going from Cooktown to Laura via Endeavour Battlecamp rd, do you have info on this. Otherwise any suggestions for that part of Australia, places to see, avoid etc.
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Follow Up By: Tonyfish#58 - Monday, Oct 28, 2013 at 18:44

Monday, Oct 28, 2013 at 18:44
May is an unknown time for what roads will be open, it is best to keep this link - and look after the Wet Season, In May the roads could still be closed.

The Battle Camp Road likewise could still be closed, but only time and the Wet will tell :-)

Most of the Roads you will travel to the Cape are now Highways. It is no longer a 4 x 4 Trip, any high clearance vehicle will do it with ease. Any standard car will do it with ease truth be known.

Now days they keep the roads closed way after the roads are easy to drive. Then they let all the mates get in early to catch the fish. ;-(

It is a nice drive though and early is best.

Regards Tony
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Follow Up By: Tonyfish#58 - Monday, Oct 28, 2013 at 18:46

Monday, Oct 28, 2013 at 18:46
Cook Shire Road Conditions

Sorry forgot this site needs to post links another way?

Regards Tony
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Follow Up By: Member - Chris_K - Monday, Oct 28, 2013 at 18:48

Monday, Oct 28, 2013 at 18:48
Hi Denise

Cooktown through to Laura via Battlecamp Rd was not too bad either. My thoughts on this are:

On the way up:

1. We stayed outside Cooktown at Endeavour Falls...nice little place to camp - and on the way to Laura. If you stop at Old Laura Homestead, this is a nice place for morning tea/lunch. Battlecamp Rd was corrugated in places - but nothing that a well set up - off road camper & vehicle would have trouble with. They seem to grade it semi-regularly...but early in the season you might be too early, and miss out on the work...again, it depends on the rain! The river crossing at Old Laura was wide but ok...again check the rainfall before heading off.

2. We detoured to Weipa and did a fishing charter...great fun.

3. Stayed at "The Bend" just north of Coen (free camp on the river...brilliant - but get in early).

4. Chose Bramwell Station as opposed to Bramwell Roadhouse (Junction) great hospitality and much nicer (in my opinion). Bramwell Junction seemed busy and dusty.

5. At the top we stayed at Loyalty Beach - Punsand Bay is also apparently nice. While at the Tip take a day trip to Thursday Island - great day.

On the way back:

4. Stopped at Twin Falls...again fantastic spot, and you really need a couple of nights here to take it all in.Fruit Bat falls are also close by - but you can't camp there. You also need to book all these National Parks online now.

5. Archer River - home of the Archer River burger I ever consumed. Actually - I had one for lunch AND dinner! Camping accommodation is quite good to the River.

6. Stopped a Jowalbinna (outside of Laura) to have a look at the Quinkan Rock art...the "guide" seemed a little vague...but still a nice place to stay.

We didn't stay at the Moreton Telegraph station but had lunch there...also looked quite nice, green and shady in parts.

Most of the creek crossings have bypass tracks, so depending on the conditions, you can bypass all or none. Towing a camper - you should have a good look before going in. We looked at some, bypassed some and did some...Twin Falls you have to do a couple of creek crossings to get in...but its really worth that one!

There is probably more - but that's all I can remember at present.


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Follow Up By: Member - Denise F - Monday, Oct 28, 2013 at 19:50

Monday, Oct 28, 2013 at 19:50
Thanks Chris, that's great info. Have started looking at some of your suggestions for where to stay. Will have to invest in hema maps though as google maps is pretty useless for that far north.
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Follow Up By: Member - Chris_K - Monday, Oct 28, 2013 at 19:56

Monday, Oct 28, 2013 at 19:56
Hema Maps for the iPad is brilliant...used it every's nice to know exactly where you are....we also have a Hema HN5i - not so good as the screen is really small, and you can't really scroll around to see stuff.
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Reply By: Member - Chris_K - Monday, Oct 28, 2013 at 18:00

Monday, Oct 28, 2013 at 18:00
Hi Denise - sorry misread that...thought you were doing Cairns->Cape Tribulation and back...from Cape Tribulation through the Bloomfield track and back to Cape Tribulation is doable in a day - relatively easily depending on the prevailing conditions (i.e. rainfall). Not sure why you would wanna go back though!


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Reply By: Member - Granty55 - Monday, Oct 28, 2013 at 18:49

Monday, Oct 28, 2013 at 18:49
Hi Denise,
We went up to the Cape via the Bloomfield Track in June this year. We stayed at Daintree Village, so can't help with camping at Cape Trib but the Bloomfield track was a great trip, plenty of creek crossings and a couple of really steep ascents and descents, check locally about creek levels, before setting off. We had lunch at Wujal and checked out the Wujal Wujal Falls and made it easily to Cooktown in a day. Don't forget to call into the iconic Lions Den Hotel, just before Cooktown. From Cooktown we headed across to Musgrave Station on the PDR via Battlecamp Road. The road was good when we went through but conditions do vary depending on the season. Lots to see going that way. Hope this helps.
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Reply By: Member - Denise F - Monday, Oct 28, 2013 at 19:35

Monday, Oct 28, 2013 at 19:35
I have another question.....just looking at distances between places and time to get there, between Archer River Roadhouse and Bramwell Junction is only 236km, but it says it will take 10 hours....isn't this the main road. I am just using google maps at the moment....will be getting Hema 4wd maps for my ipad.
AnswerID: 520539

Follow Up By: Member - Chris_K - Monday, Oct 28, 2013 at 19:52

Monday, Oct 28, 2013 at 19:52
10 hours? Maybe walking. Again it really depends on the road conditions at the time, and in early May, the roads may still be closed if there is lots of rain about. We easily cruised at 80kph on the Development Road sometimes even 100kph on the really smooth stuff, when it's straight and no oncoming traffic. Some of the Development road is actually bitumen - every now and then you get a bitumen break for a little while which allows overtaking and stopping for a rest without all the dust. Even averaging 60kph - that section will only take about 4 hours....
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Follow Up By: Tonyfish#58 - Monday, Oct 28, 2013 at 19:55

Monday, Oct 28, 2013 at 19:55
The Locals will do it in around 2 Hrs and that was before the road was done up, so watch your mirrors :-)

It would take no more than 3.5 to 4 Hrs

Regards Tony
FollowupID: 801001

Reply By: RodnSue - Monday, Oct 28, 2013 at 21:14

Monday, Oct 28, 2013 at 21:14
Hello Denise, we too are planning on going to the Cape York next year.
I'm not sure if this will help you, but I am currently reading Ron & Viv Moon's book "Cape York An adventurer's Guide"
It is hard to find in the shops at the moment, but their website contacts says another edition is due around March 2014.
I am reading an older version borrowed from the library. It is loaded with information that will be invaluable for our trip.
There may be other authors for Cape York trip books that some other folk on this forum can advise on.
enjoy your trip, Sue
AnswerID: 520543

Reply By: Member - Ivan (ACT) - Wednesday, Oct 30, 2013 at 06:07

Wednesday, Oct 30, 2013 at 06:07
We did a trip in 2006 - a lot of what you ask is covered in our trip report, hope it's helpful

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Reply By: Lyn W3 - Wednesday, Oct 30, 2013 at 09:01

Wednesday, Oct 30, 2013 at 09:01
Make sure places like Chili Beach, Portland Roads, Bramwell Station and Capt Billy Landing are on your list.
AnswerID: 520603

Reply By: TOAB - Thursday, Oct 31, 2013 at 15:14

Thursday, Oct 31, 2013 at 15:14
Im still in the planning stages myself. Probably a couple of years before I can get away.
I found this site that seems quite good.
I figure a local may know of a few tricks and tips.
AnswerID: 520683

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