Thinking about Cape York......

Submitted: Sunday, Feb 02, 2014 at 13:57
ThreadID: 106051 Views:2864 Replies:4 FollowUps:9
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Happy New Year everyone
Thinking about towing a jayco swan outback up the cape. I would be avoiding the OTL and using the bypass because as we know jaycos aren't really designed for any hardcore work and I don't want to be living in a submarine!
Never having been to the cape before, i'm just wondering if the jayco would handle the bypass track. She's handled the Strzelecki Track and she made it to Poeppels Corner in the Simpson no worries, but there aren't any creeks out there! My tow vehicle is a triton diesel.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Cheers, Tanker
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Reply By: Tony F8 - Sunday, Feb 02, 2014 at 14:24

Sunday, Feb 02, 2014 at 14:24
Afternoon Tanker.
Going the bypass you will have no trouble, if they have been graded, otherwise just corrugated, doin what you have, you would be used to that.
The other option is leaving the van at say lakeland and doing what is the real cape route. Unfortunately many people don't appreciate the history of the Cape, of which a large part is the OTL, it will give you a bit of an insight into what was done with horse and cart. Do a bit of reading about the early days up there, and it will make enjoy your trip even more enjoyable.
With the basic recovery gear and a bit of patience, your triton will have little or no trouble doing the OTL.
Cheers and safe driving.
Tony F8
AnswerID: 525630

Follow Up By: Tanker - Sunday, Feb 02, 2014 at 16:41

Sunday, Feb 02, 2014 at 16:41
Thanks Tony
I do like the idea of tackling parts of the OTL. Perhaps I could even park the van in a ground along the bypass and do a day run or two along parts of the OTL (or even an over-night run if I pack a tent) Could that be an option?
I am really interested in the history of the place, so it would be a shame to go all that way and miss the whole experience.
Thanks again for the info
FollowupID: 807587

Reply By: Member - Chris_K - Sunday, Feb 02, 2014 at 16:50

Sunday, Feb 02, 2014 at 16:50
Hi Tanker

As mentioned above, there are a couple of parts of the OTL that you could be disappointed if you missed them. For example, the creek crossing on the way to Twin Falls might cause a few issues for a Jayco, as they are not the most water-tight of creatures....and Twin Falls/Fruit Bat Falls was a real highlight for us. You can actually go and have a look at some of the creek crossings without taking the camper. For example, Palm Creek (the first crossing heading north) is great to have a look at - you can park the camper at say Bramwell Station and wander off to have a look at the people trying to cross. Then head back, pick up the camper and go around it!

I reckon, you'd be fine on the Development Rd, provided that the speed was kept down, and you did some basic dust sealing on some of the external vents, and perhaps underneath the camper. Perhaps let a little air out of the tyres as well to stop some of the worse corrugations. Road conditions (corrugations & water) will obviously depend on what time of year you intend to travel .

Here's a photo of the creek crossing heading into Twin got a little deeper toward the middle.

AnswerID: 525643

Follow Up By: Member - Bob S9 - Sunday, Feb 02, 2014 at 17:03

Sunday, Feb 02, 2014 at 17:03
My advice is leave the Jayco at home. What is the point of doing Cape York if you are going to miss the "real deal". It's a long way to the tip so why spoil it.
FollowupID: 807589

Follow Up By: Tanker - Sunday, Feb 02, 2014 at 23:31

Sunday, Feb 02, 2014 at 23:31
Hi Chris
A big thanks for your very useful tips. I certainly don't want to miss the highlights but I do have two young kids to keep dry! I love your photo - my Jayco has survived the back beach of Fraser and Eli Creek etc. but anything above the floor level (say 600mm) and she starts filling up. Looks like you have a great set up.
Thankfully dust hasn't been an issue as yet and we've certainly covered some miles off the blacktop, but then again, the missus seems to see dust that I don't notice - go figure!
I certainly see where Bob is coming from, but I'm sure I'll be heading up to the Cape again after the kids leave home........
FollowupID: 807622

Follow Up By: Member - Chris_K - Monday, Feb 03, 2014 at 09:31

Monday, Feb 03, 2014 at 09:31
As Bob said - it would be a shame to miss out on the nice stuff, and Twin Falls is one of those (many) places, you would be disappointed in missing. Depending on the amount of water during the wet season, you might be ok with 600mm of clearance - but then again you might not. It also depends on how much damage you want the Jayco to sustain. I've seen some Jayco campers in out of the way places, with bits hanging off, and parts missing - but they obviously made it...not sure if they all got back home in one piece though!
FollowupID: 807635

Follow Up By: Nicole G - Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 10:51

Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 10:51
Hi Chris,
Can you tell me what time of year your Twin Falls Creek Crossing photo was taken. We are also thinking of doing Cape York with camper trailer June/July. I would rather do with tent, however if I pull a trailer I can split the 3 up in the back with the extra seats. Thanks Nicole
FollowupID: 808762

Follow Up By: Nicole G - Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 10:55

Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 10:55
Sorry, left out the word kids. Split up 3 kids in the back and eliminate arguments!!! Ha ha!
FollowupID: 808763

Follow Up By: Member - Chris_K - Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 13:04

Sunday, Feb 16, 2014 at 13:04
Hi Nicole

We left in mid June and came back in early July. Having a trailer is certainly helpful in relation to getting the maximum use out of the car space! The creek levels will obviously depend on the wet season, and when it all dry's out. The following web site was useful for us:

FollowupID: 808785

Reply By: quincy - Monday, Feb 03, 2014 at 20:27

Monday, Feb 03, 2014 at 20:27
did the cape trip last november, roads we good to us as the grader had been around the last 100 km to the Jardine crossing was tough thou. My friend has a jayco outback and did have a few problems with the suspension (but still got home safely) i would be checking the road conditions very close if your conerned. Bramwell station is a good place to stay and have heaps of info on the roads as they are the contractors for nearly all of the cape road. but what a awesome plac it is.regards chris
AnswerID: 525718

Follow Up By: Tanker - Tuesday, Feb 04, 2014 at 22:32

Tuesday, Feb 04, 2014 at 22:32
Gidday Quincy
Thanks for the info about the Jayco.
Just wondering what year/model your mate's Jayco is? Mine is a 2010 model (had a Goldstream Wing before that which was a great rig) which was the last year they had a solid axle. I was out at Birdsville last July and saw a brand spanking new 2013 Outback Eagle up on blocks, with the left wheel bent about 200mm out of line with the right. If you were towing it, she would've been travelling down the road at an angle of about 45 degrees, fishtailing all the way!
The story goes the left wheel of the van hit a bad corrugation and the suspension bottomed out. The right wheel just kept on travelling, but because of the new (supposedly better!) independent suspension setup, the left wheel snagging was not able to be counterbalanced by the right wheel through a solid axle. The result was that the full force of the corrugation was absorbed by the left wishbone setup which understanding was ripped and bent backwards. The owners had to leave it behind at Birdsville while they drove back to Sydney, trying to work out how they were going to transport the thing back home.
Was your mate's Jayco a solid axle set up or did it have the independent suspension? Just trying to work out my chances of getting up to the Cape unscathed.
Thanks again for the info.
Cheers, Tanker.
FollowupID: 807780

Reply By: quincy - Saturday, Feb 08, 2014 at 09:01

Saturday, Feb 08, 2014 at 09:01
Hi Tanker, mates jayco is a solid i think the key is making sure you have a look at the end of every day underneath to make sure all your bolts are there and are tight. i have independent under my off road van and i lost a couple of u bolts last year doing the gibb river road (coz i didnt check everyt day). Main key drive to the road condition. before we did the cape last year there was some horror stories coming out of the cape about the roads i wouldnt be reading into them too much as when we got there they were pretty good, and for a good part of it travelling between 70-80 kms with a full van in tow.. my advise just do it ...its god country when you get to the top. if you worried about the drive put your van on the barge and you meet it up the top... regards quincy
AnswerID: 525963

Follow Up By: Tanker - Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 09:52

Sunday, Feb 09, 2014 at 09:52
Many thanks Quincy. Great tip about checking under the rig. I recall having to do some running repairs at Windorah last year after coming in from Birdsville because of rock damage (brake cable, sullage hose, gas line etc) but I must admit, I could've checked my suspension a lot more closely.
I'm going to take your advice and just do it.
Cheers, Tanker
FollowupID: 808158

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