Cape York- Average daily distances

I've resurrected plans to get to the Cape after our last attempt was thrown into disarray with the arrival of Cyclone Larry in 2006.

My question is:
I plan to go straight up to Seisia without any diversions except Weipa and I intend to use the bypass roads. Starting from Lakelands, Conservatively, on average, how many km's have people done per day. I know that depends on current road conditions so I'd be interested to know from peoples actual experience how long you took, rather than me trying to gestimate. I will not be towing anything.

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Reply By: Member - Howard (ACT) - Friday, Apr 03, 2015 at 11:48

Friday, Apr 03, 2015 at 11:48
I have driven Lakeland to Weipa in a day no worries.That was towing a camper trailer.had originally planned to overnight at archer river but when we were there for lunch we decided to carry on to weipa.
on the same trip lots of locals from weipa were at the top on the weekend as it was a public holiday and they came fishing.
again a single days drive Weipa to Bamaga via bypass roads.
its about 450 km each day
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Reply By: Member - Tony F8 - Friday, Apr 03, 2015 at 13:22

Friday, Apr 03, 2015 at 13:22
May I enquire as to the reason for the direct track to Siesia. I realise that I have answered your question with a question, but I am intrigued.
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Follow Up By: Member - WBS - Friday, Apr 03, 2015 at 22:06

Friday, Apr 03, 2015 at 22:06
We are parking our caravan at either Cooktown or Cairns then tenting it for the rest of the journey. We are not happy campers but will do it when the need arises so I figure if we see the Cape first then we've achieved our prime objective. I do plan to see other places on the way back, such as Captain Billy's Landing, Cape Weymouth and Cape Melville, but if it all gets too hard with the camping, we can cut our trip short without missing out on the Cape yet again. I think our return journey from Cooktown will last about 21 days. That's the plan.

I've lived in a tent full time for over a year and am not unused to camping, but my wife has only camped for the odd day or two. I'm pretty sure we'll cope as she is no quitter but just in case. I'm doing it this way.

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Follow Up By: deserter - Sunday, Apr 05, 2015 at 10:28

Sunday, Apr 05, 2015 at 10:28
Just for info - we did same a few years back. At that time the Mareeba Rodeo Grounds allowed you to leave the van for free and they kept an eye on it. Dunno if they still do.
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Reply By: toffytrailertrash - Friday, Apr 03, 2015 at 13:40

Friday, Apr 03, 2015 at 13:40
We went up mid May last year and the road had just been graded and they were still working on some sections, but we averaged 80kph for most of the way. Stayed overnight in Laura, lunch in Coen and had a leisurely drive through to Bramwell Station for an overnight. Left early the next day with a side trip to Fruit Bat Falls and then onto Punsand Bay. We didn't bother with Weipa, left it for another time. We towed our van and didn't have any problems. Two weeks later the rains hit again.
Enjoy your trip.

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Reply By: Member - tommo05 - Friday, Apr 03, 2015 at 16:57

Friday, Apr 03, 2015 at 16:57
We went up in October last year, and as opposed to Merv the roads definitely hadn't been graded for a while. We made almost no diversions on the way up and got to Seisia in about 2.5 days from Lion's Den Hotel.
First day: Lion's Den to Coen, including a stop in Cooktown for last minute supplies and a short break just before Laura to check out the Quinkan rock art (which I would recommend).
Second day: Coen to the top end of the southern OTL, we took the bypass road but we did go in via the ranger station just to have a quick look at the OTL, gunshot in particular. Then we went back out, but back in at the top end to camp at Sailor Creek.
Third day: Swim at Fruitbat Falls to start the day and in Seisia by lunchtime.

Not really sure how many k's that was each day, but as a guess I would say we would have averaged 80-90 kph from Laura to Bramwell Junction, and probably about 60 kph on the bypass roads.

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Reply By: Mazzy1 - Friday, Apr 03, 2015 at 22:40

Friday, Apr 03, 2015 at 22:40
Hi Wbs I did the Cape York trip in july larst year towing a 18 ft of road van from cook town to bamiga was a comfortable 3 day drive and even though some of the road was a bit corrugated we were able to maintain an average speed of 80 klms hr .as we are fro Western Victoria we were away for 10 weeks which included 12 days at the cape. Will be going up the center and down the west coast this winter regards mazzy1
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Reply By: Member - Tony F8 - Saturday, Apr 04, 2015 at 07:24

Saturday, Apr 04, 2015 at 07:24
Ok well I guess that explains it, I think it would be a shame not to take in some of the history of the Cape, it is well worth doing the 2 island tour, particularly Horn Island with Vanessa Seekee. Another option if your not interested in the Cape's rich heritage would be to hop on MV Trinity Bay, a merchant ship out of Cairns, it docks at Seisia, from there hire a vehicle, book in to a cabin at either Seisia, Loyalty Beach or Punsand Bay, do the tip and the island tour and fly back to Cairns.
The road conditions will vary greatly and depends on the road crews being able to grade, they generally try to do that before the school holidays, but the roads soon deteriorate with the volume of traffic. To give you an idea of the amount of traffic, when I first starting exploring the Cape in the mid 80's there were about 3000 vehicles per season, now that figure is up around 40,000. Do some research into the Cape's history and you may find you will want to experience some of it.
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Follow Up By: Member - WBS - Saturday, Apr 04, 2015 at 09:17

Saturday, Apr 04, 2015 at 09:17
Thanks Tony,
I am definitely interested in the history of the places. I do a lot of research before any trip and this is part of that process. To me the research is part of the adventure. Getting the type of info you have provided along with everyone else who has responded is an important part that I really appreciate because it is first hand.

We hope to get out to Somerset and other places of historical significance and I will definitely do the 2 island tour you have suggested.
On the return leg we'll be diverting to a few places but only if the road or track is not too challenging.
I'll take a peek at Gunshot Creek to see how many people attempt that crossing. I won't be one of them.
I've abandoned plans to get to Cape Weymouth via the Frenchmans track opting instead to go down to the road just north of Archer River then up to Cape Weymouth. A bit further but probably less of a challenge.

Thanks for the info
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Reply By: Member - Tony F8 - Saturday, Apr 04, 2015 at 13:01

Saturday, Apr 04, 2015 at 13:01
Glad to hear, the Frenchmans track can be one of the toughest on the Cape, It is worth taking the north track into Nolans Brook, it can be entertaining seeing how people cross it, it is also a very picturesque spot, and the track in is fine. Once at Someset drive the track down to the beach, walk south for about 100m along the beach and you will see the stone well that the Jardines used to draw water up to the homestead. North of where you park just up from the beach is the graves of Frank and Sana, his wife, Gordon Vidgen and Can Can, Frank's loyal servant. On the headland you can see to the north was where the army barracks were located.
Enjoy your trip.
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Follow Up By: Member - tommo05 - Saturday, Apr 04, 2015 at 19:48

Saturday, Apr 04, 2015 at 19:48
And not to forget the Aboriginal cave paintings at Somerset too..

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Reply By: Ozshooter - Saturday, Apr 04, 2015 at 22:43

Saturday, Apr 04, 2015 at 22:43
I live in Weipa and I drive from Cairns to Weipa in around 9 hours depending on road conditions. Weipa to the Bamaga is around about 6 hours. Went for a drive to Bramwell road house today the dips were washed out but the rest of the road was good.
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