Cape York

Submitted: Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 at 19:01
ThreadID: 108489 Views:3045 Replies:11 FollowUps:5
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Hi everyone..we are embarking on a trip up to the cape early september...3 kids, myself and my lovely wife!!! Weve done a bit of this stuff, but im not too interested in trashing our prado just to cross a deep bit of water. (yes, obviously there will be some water crossings...we know!) We intend to leave our expanda in cooktown, then just car it the rest of the way to the tip. Im keen to hear any peoples thoughts/ideas on car/camp set ups that suit 5 people. In a perfect world, a tent, mattresses, sleeping bags and of course the necessary camping goods to cook up with. I built a single drawer setup that houses a good size fridge/freezer engel perfectly. I think we`ve got the dual battery and Uhf side of things sorted. Id like to know the good people on this websites thoughts if anyone has used Ron moons cape york guide book (13th edition) as compared to the hema cape york atlas (4th edition) as well as good maps etc. Cheers, David.
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Reply By: tommo05 - Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 at 20:40

Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 at 20:40
Best advice I got on Ron Moon v HEMA was to just get them both. Then you don't have to worry about which one is better. And I must say they are both useful in their own ways, I'm glad I took that advice. I also think the maps in the two books are more than enough to get you where you need to go.

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Reply By: Bludge - Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 at 21:04

Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 at 21:04

Ron Moons guide, is still one of the best for the cape. I would also suggest the HEMA North Queensland Map 10th edition (the green one) as it details the rip distance from Lakeland to the Tip with camping, stations turn offs and creek crossing. The HEMA Cape York Map (Brown cover) misses those details.

At the moment the road is fine for travel Laura to Coen (dirt) is a little rough but Archer River on is in very good condition. Unless there is an abnormal wet period there is no water sections until the Jardine Ferry on the Development Road, should you chose to follow the OTT the turn off is at Bramwell Junction, you will have 70kms of OTT to where the Development road crosses the track. Its 110km on the Development Road. Then the OTT is 45km with 11km to cut back to the Development Road after Nolans. Or 62km on the Development Road.

Fruitbat Falls and Twin/Elliot Falls are on the OTT just north of the Development road cut over, you will need to cross Scrubby Creek to get to Twin/Elliot Falls.

If you do not intend to take the OTT I would be tempted to take the Expander to the top.

The rest is relatively easy, a lot of traffic and the roads will become corrugated, rain and they will become slippy and soft.

Adjust tyre pressures and drive to the conditions, its not a race and you are on holiday
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Follow Up By: Tony F8 - Thursday, Jun 26, 2014 at 15:44

Thursday, Jun 26, 2014 at 15:44
2nd Ron Moons for a guide book
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Follow Up By: Bludge - Thursday, Jun 26, 2014 at 16:51

Thursday, Jun 26, 2014 at 16:51

Road updates can be found on facebook The Croc Tent

Were regular information from travellers is published.
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Reply By: Member - sdr00y (Beecroft,NSW) - Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 at 21:13

Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 at 21:13
My suggestion is to do a test pack of all your gear a long time before you leave. If you are used to having a van of some sort it can be deceptive how little space a car can have. We (2 adults 3 kids) have done a few trips (Kimberly and Cape) and I have found with 5 we needed a box on the roof to fit everything in.

Some things to compare/consider: 1 big tent for 5 vs 2 x 3 person tents. Folded up size and weight, sometimes 2 smaller tents are better than 1 big one.

Amount of food (stored in boxes is the way we do it) you will need for 5 x the amount of days between shops.

I have a troopie with forwards facing rear seat for the kids, cargo barrier then a shelf system in the boot. We stored recovery gear & fridge left side bottom. Spare parts & tools right bottom. Right middle 2 plastic crates food. On top of the shelf has 40l water, 5 x clothes bags, 1 plastic crate cooking/washing up gear. Fold up table sits between shelf system and rear doors. On the roof, gas cylinder in a milk crate, in a big space case on the roof 5 x sleeping bags, 2 x 3 person tents, 5 x self inflating mattresses.

Pillows are either in the cabin with kids or in the boot part.

When we first started packing I was really surprised how much space is taken up with stuff like sleeping gear for 5.

I found 2 smaller tents easier to store than 1 big one.

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Reply By: Curlynan - Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 at 21:47

Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 at 21:47
Hi David.
We did the trip to the Tip in 2007 in a 2002 KIA Sportage. Admittedly only the two of us no kids. We went up via the OTT and came back along the Development Road with a detour out to Vrilya Point for a few days after 5 nights at Loyalty Beach.
In my opinion I must say that travelling along the OTT was much more enjoyable than the continuous bump, bump, bump of the corrugations of the Development Road.
We went up in the July of that year and I'm guessing that if your trip is scheduled for September then the water crossings will be a lot lower by then. Our only concern during our trip was the clearance of the vehicle which in the end proved no problem at all.
There are heaps of places to camp along the way on either route.
As for carrying your gear. Get a Rhino Rack for your roof with a good cover or tarp secured. We always use our rather large 6 man Coleman tent when ever we are touring without our caravan. I like the space. Some nights we only put up the inner tent and forget the fly if only doing overnight camp (weather permitting). UHF is always good to have, maps are available in Cooktown. Also talk to people in Cooktown before you leave who have recently done the trip (there will be plenty) and get recent feedback / advise from them as well. In saying there is always plenty doing the trip as well so you really won't be alone...
If you don't want to tackle the Gunshot on the OTT then there is a bypass road.
Admittedly we now have a Landcruiser and I can tell you we have repeated other tracks we originally done in the Sportage and somehow the challenge just hasn't been there.
Don't stress too much about things. Just enjoy. Safe travels and promise not to curse when you have to part with the $$$ to get across the Jardine. :)
AnswerID: 535011

Reply By: Member - Michael John T (VIC) - Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 at 23:41

Wednesday, Jun 25, 2014 at 23:41
Hi David,

Good advice given re what to carry but a couple of things to think about.

Don't be pushed into doing the OTT if you don't really want to, lots of travelers do it as a challenge and love it, but it can be daunting at some crossings, Palm Crk (the first one) sets the standard but go and have a look at it anyway. Going into Eliot Falls you need to cross Scrubby Creek but its not difficult and really a must see and stay for at least 2 days, great swimming for the kids. At this point if you stay at National parks you MUST book ahead (on line / phone) well before you leave home to secure a camp site. But doing so sets your travel agenda.

Having visited Eliot Falls if you want to you can easily do the next two OTT crossings Canal Crk and Sams Crk and then take the track out to the Dev Road. The last crossing Nolan's Brook can be difficult and annually claims 40 - 50 vehicles annually - last year I watched several vehicles go through and 4 had to be pulled out 2 of which were write offs (end of holiday) my advice is to forget it or drive in from the other side and watch for a while.

If you have time try and visit Chili Beach and Captain Billies Landing (expect a lot of wind) but they have lovely beaches to roam and quite an experience (you need to book). The other lovely spot is Vrilya Point with only one obstacle a Log bridge over Crystal Crk . Plenty of spots to camp and you can beach drive if you want to. No need to book here as it is in your Jardine River crossing fee.

Have a great time it is well worth the trip. Oh I think the Hema Book just edges out Ron Moons we had and used both.


AnswerID: 535018

Reply By: toffytrailertrash - Thursday, Jun 26, 2014 at 12:32

Thursday, Jun 26, 2014 at 12:32
We took our 21' Kedron to the Top in the third week of May and the road was magnificent, averaged approx 80kph but saying that there were some heart stopping places. Ended up taking the van into Fruit Bat falls which the feral pigs had destroyed the surrounding area rooting up everything. We spoke to many people who had gone up early as we did and quite a few that still did the Old Track and the general opinion was that if you don't want to risk destroying your car don't take the track it has been ruined. Last reports I have heard on the Kedron Forum was that the Development Road is awash as of two weeks ago, one member stated he only got 70k's north of Laura and had to turn back as the road was nearly impassable. Enjoy your trip, take the real road and take your van and enjoy the top. We stayed at Punsand Bay Park and had a ball. Just a bit tight for our big van though. Diesel was $2.40 per litre from the Jardine River to the Top. As for the Hema GPS. Not impressed, on more than one occasion we were given the message "Due to your isolated location unable to locate" Unbelievable.

AnswerID: 535028

Reply By: Chargergirl76 - Thursday, Jun 26, 2014 at 13:52

Thursday, Jun 26, 2014 at 13:52
We did Cape York in August last year in a Prado, had no problems, but you do encounter alot on the OTT who aren't so lucky! As mentioned, Palm creek was a little daunting, but take it slow and be careful and you should be right. Worth a look anyway, even if you turn back, it's not too far off the bypass road. We didn't do Nolans, wasn't worth the risk as we had another 5 weeks of holiday left from there! But again, worth a look to check it out. It's fairly easy if you know what you are doing and if you don't like the look of something, just turn around and head back to the bypass road.

As far as car set up, get a roof basket/racks and save a bit of space in the car. As for food and water, yes you need to be prepared, but there are supplies along the way so don't go too overboard stocking up. For cooking, make sure you have a gas stove or similar as some campgrounds don't allow fires.

We did use Ron moons cape york guide book as well as a few others, plus hema paper maps and Hema app on the ipad. We also paid to have a trip plan drawn up for us (as our whole trip was 7 weeks and we headed over to NT after cape york), so relied on that alot aswell as it included campsite details, distances, road conditions etc. and of course, talk to locals. we stopped in weipa and spoke to a local who'd just done the tele track and he gave full directions of where to watch out, which entrance to use at nolans, gunshot etc, can't go past local knowledge.
AnswerID: 535037

Follow Up By: Adrienne M - Thursday, Jun 26, 2014 at 14:56

Thursday, Jun 26, 2014 at 14:56
Chargergirl76....wondering how you went about getting your trip plan drawn up..... think I have listened to too many forums and am getting confused. We will be towing camper trailer....
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Follow Up By: Dave(NSW) - Thursday, Jun 26, 2014 at 17:16

Thursday, Jun 26, 2014 at 17:16
This company will do a trip plan for you,
You give them the destination and time you have.
Cheers Dave

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Follow Up By: Chargergirl76 - Thursday, Jun 26, 2014 at 17:43

Thursday, Jun 26, 2014 at 17:43
Yes we used Vic from Great Divide Tours to do our trip plan. Speak to Vic about what you want and go from there. Reasonably priced and definitely worth the money, we referred to his trip notes nearly every day of our 7 week trip! Highly recommended
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Reply By: aboutfivebucks (Pilbara) - Thursday, Jun 26, 2014 at 18:32

Thursday, Jun 26, 2014 at 18:32
Don't take your expanda.
It will limit where you can visit and the road north of Bramwell probably wont be the same in Sept as it is now.
You can leave your van securely at Mt Carbine Caravan park for free, although Cooktown might be more suited to the trip you are planning.
Drive safe.

Jumping topics, how funny is this carry on.

AnswerID: 535048

Reply By: David S16 - Thursday, Jun 26, 2014 at 20:11

Thursday, Jun 26, 2014 at 20:11
Hi,I agree that that the van will restrict us too much. Much prefer to dump the van in cooktown then rough it for a bit! Never hurt us back in the day! Btw love the crazy thai sense of humour!
AnswerID: 535053

Reply By: chisel - Friday, Jun 27, 2014 at 15:02

Friday, Jun 27, 2014 at 15:02
My suggestion is to go cheap and small with tents etc since you're only using them for a few days and probably never again.
Tents are dirt cheap these days so it'll only be a $100 or so probably.
Sleeping bags - hardly need them for the cape but cheap ones will suffice. Mattresses - cheap airbeds probably cover it.
Sure the tent will be slower to put up than a nice blackwolf turbo or oztent but if you're only doing it for a few days then just put up with it.

Definitely recommend a roof rack for this rarely-used gear.
AnswerID: 535094

Reply By: Bludge - Friday, Jun 27, 2014 at 16:51

Friday, Jun 27, 2014 at 16:51

I am not advocating taking you Expanda to the Top of the Cape. I tent it on all my trips up. But you may find it interesting....

Here's one that did

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