Camping Cape York

Still busy planning our trip for 2014, some of our group have suggested that we just drive and stay wherever we get to each day. I am a bit of a planner and generally would be booking everything in advance.

Is there plenty of Camp sites, whether paid or free, do I need to prebook and would it be very busy about Mid May to Mid June?

Suggestions for some good spots for stopping would be great too.
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Reply By: Lyn W3 - Sunday, Nov 10, 2013 at 09:59

Sunday, Nov 10, 2013 at 09:59
Here are some must not miss things in my opinion.

Lions den Hotel
Black Mountain
Cape Melville
Charlie's mine
Chilli Beach
Portland Roads
Frenchman's Track (Pascoe Crossing)
Captain Billy's Landing
Fruit Bat and Horseshoe Falls
Bramwell Station (not the Junction)
Bamaga Bakery
Thursday Island
AnswerID: 521205

Follow Up By: Member - blackbird1937 - Sunday, Nov 10, 2013 at 13:58

Sunday, Nov 10, 2013 at 13:58
I agree with you on your must see places. I did not stop at Bramwell Station in 03, but we were lucky enough to be able to camp on the beach at Nixon's property which is no longer available.I would add Cooktown cemetery, Somerset Beach, Horne Is as well as Thursday Is and Mutee Head where the WW2 radar station was sited. There are also plane wrecks. We stopped at Jardine R van park for 1 night as it had stopped working for the day, also do some laundry, took photos of the ferry working next day also views of the river.
FollowupID: 801879

Follow Up By: Rob d b. - Sunday, Nov 10, 2013 at 14:35

Sunday, Nov 10, 2013 at 14:35
Hey blackbird. We stayed at the Nixon homestead. Dal was his name. He was mad as a cut snake but loads of fun. He was one of the most interesting guys we met on our trip. What has happened there. Is he's till there or has the station been taken over.
FollowupID: 801880

Follow Up By: Member - blackbird1937 - Sunday, Nov 10, 2013 at 21:15

Sunday, Nov 10, 2013 at 21:15
Hi Rob. The powers that be kicked Nixons off the lease to make it a park. Dal is apparently in a nursing home. John, Dals son, and his boys that we had a bit to do with are elsewhere. I met a bloke at Lorella Springs on the 15th of September this year who knew the Nixons very well. He was at Wiepa in 03 and the Nixons stopped with him when they were there. I remember the exact details that I was told, but I would prefer not to put them in print, as there was a split in the family. Dal's wife is supposed to living elsewhere.
FollowupID: 801902

Follow Up By: Rob d b. - Monday, Nov 11, 2013 at 02:25

Monday, Nov 11, 2013 at 02:25
Dal was telling us all about being evicted way back when we were there so he was expecting it. We took the drive out to the sand hills. Bit of a hairy drive dodging back burning swollen creeks and snakes. Got badly bogged/stuck at one of the crossings but managed to get out in the end. It was a beautiful station back then so I am glad it is preserved as a park. He put us under the mango trees which he assured us was full of pythons. He told us to make sure the dogs were locked up but that we were too big for the snakes to swallow. Good memories. He told us about his son and daughter and ex wife. .........

Thanks for the update.
FollowupID: 801910

Follow Up By: Lyn W3 - Monday, Nov 11, 2013 at 10:18

Monday, Nov 11, 2013 at 10:18
Has anyone been able to access Bromley Station since it was taken over, I heard at one time that permits to go through to Temple
Bay were being issued on an individual basis one at a time.
A few years ago we tried to get through to Bolt Head and the Olive River via Bramwell Station and Wendy was right we didn't get there.
FollowupID: 801921

Reply By: Rob d b. - Sunday, Nov 10, 2013 at 10:25

Sunday, Nov 10, 2013 at 10:25

We did it in the late 90's and there was no problem. I have since heard that you need to book certain places due to vehicle numbers. Better make some enquiries.
AnswerID: 521207

Reply By: Member - Granty55 - Sunday, Nov 10, 2013 at 12:08

Sunday, Nov 10, 2013 at 12:08
Hi Denise,
We were up there in June this year, we didn't stay in any of the National Park Camp Grounds, as I'm pretty sure you have to prebook them and we weren't sure where we would be on a particular day! Having said that we didn't free camp anywhere, but we had no trouble finding camp spots in places like Cooktown. Musgrave Station, Moreton Telegraph Station, Weipa, Archer River, Laura, etc. We stayed at Seisia up the top, not a bad caravan park and was centrally located for drives around that area, also easy access to the Ferry across to Thursday Island. The combined trip to Thursday Island and Horn Island is worth it! Not sure when the School holidays are next year but that may make a difference to camping site availability, we just managed to head south as the school holiday traffic was heading north!
Plenty to see and do up there, talk to the locals and other travellers to find the "hidden gems"
Hope this helps
AnswerID: 521212

Reply By: Member - Chris_K - Sunday, Nov 10, 2013 at 13:45

Sunday, Nov 10, 2013 at 13:45
Hi Denise

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective), you need to pre-book all national parks in the Cape from the web site below:

Not booking = no staying...and the rangers were a pretty common sight when we were there last year. One of the best places we stayed was Twin Falls...and you need to pre-book that especially that time of year...

AnswerID: 521217

Reply By: bigden - Sunday, Nov 10, 2013 at 17:13

Sunday, Nov 10, 2013 at 17:13
hi all
we were there in june / august this year . yes you have to book national park sites but we had no problems staying anywhere else
lions den and coen pub have camping and are interesting as well as bramwell station.
2 nights at chilli beach was probably 2 nights to many but portland roads was good and we did drive down the beach to chilli creek looking for the local resident, fat boy 15' long but couldnt find him. plenty of free camping along the tele track and you could spend 2 nights easy at elliot falls (national park). all the other camp grounds alonng the way had plenty of room.
just as a side note i was very dissapointed with thursday island

AnswerID: 521220

Reply By: Member - Warrie (NSW) - Sunday, Nov 10, 2013 at 20:51

Sunday, Nov 10, 2013 at 20:51
Hi Denise, here's my 2 bobs worth. We went in early May '05 - sigh - got to go again - so there were lots of creek crossings with water but nothing too deep. Lakefield NP was still closed on the way up so we did it on the return trip. At Morton it was so empty in the first week of May the managers were desperate for a chat!! We had Fruit Bat Falls to ourselves and Eliot Falls had only a few others.

The graders were out in force so by the return trip there were lots of lovely smooth sections. Oh, and after 200 km of dirt and dust you'll be very pleased to have 20 km of tar in the middle of nowhere.There's still plenty of corrugations and some parts have a ball - bearing like surface so you're drifting around even on a flat and straight section, so take it easy. 3 weeks was not enough Cooktown and back to Cairns.

As it is Ex Oz have updated all the Cape York treks and there are pix to match so have a squiz....... W

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AnswerID: 521233

Reply By: Member - Jo Q (NSW) - Sunday, Nov 17, 2013 at 19:29

Sunday, Nov 17, 2013 at 19:29
Hi Denise,

I coordinated a Cape Trip this year for our 4WD Club and we went up in June/July. There were 7 vehicles in our convoy, no trailers. I booked everything before we left, including the National Parks. There was some traffic up there, but I wouldn't say it was excessive. Roads were also a lot better than what I was expecting. Pre-booking ensured we had somewhere guaranteed to stay every night, no matter what time we got into camp. With seven vehicles, I didn't want to take the off chance of hoping to get us all in somewhere.

We had a great trip with the total damage of all vehicles combined being a dinged tail light on a land cruiser and a chipped windscreen in a Ford Ranger. Weather was also great. We did the mine tour at Weipa as a group and also a day trip over to Thursday Island. Camped at Cooks Hut, Elliott Falls, Laura, Coen, Seisa, Lakefield National Park, Captain Billy Landing, Weipa, Archer River Roadhouse.We drove up the Tele Track and did The Frenchman's Track on the way back down. Loved every minute of it!

Enjoy :)
AnswerID: 521612

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