Cape Melville to Cooktown

Submitted: Tuesday, May 26, 2015 at 11:26
ThreadID: 118981 Views:1584 Replies:4 FollowUps:3
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As part of my plans for going to Cape York, on the way back we plan to detour out to Bathurst Bay and Cape Melville. We will be coming in from Musgrave Roadhouse up to Cape Melville but would like advice on the best way from Cape Melville to Cooktown.

I am an experienced 4wder but a very cautious, timid and nervous one. Given we'll be travelling solo I don't want to take any risks with difficult water crossing and dodgy tracks where I could come unstuck or stuck, whichever way you want to look at it.
I will be towing a camper trailer and be well equipped with winch, and other recovery stuff but would be just as happy to never have used it when I get home. To me winching isn't a fun part of a trip.

The info I'm after is which is the easiest way to head down to Cooktown from Cape Melville. Do I go back to Kalpowar and down through Old Laura and Battle Camp or is it easy enough to go via what I think is referred to as the Starcke Track which heads through Starcke NP, Mount Webb NP and near to Cape Flattery?

Thanks in advance

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Reply By: gbc - Tuesday, May 26, 2015 at 11:45

Tuesday, May 26, 2015 at 11:45
The southern road section from Wakooka to Starke (boatramp turnoff) is the hardest bit. In and out via Kalpower is always the easiest way to go.
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Reply By: vk1dx - Tuesday, May 26, 2015 at 15:41

Tuesday, May 26, 2015 at 15:41
If you want the quickest way then go via Kalpower and Battle Camp. Personally I would take the Starckie Track. It was not hard at all when we went up a few years ago.
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Follow Up By: Grizzle - Tuesday, May 26, 2015 at 16:00

Tuesday, May 26, 2015 at 16:00
I agree, we went through there last year. Slow but not difficult. If you can get up to Bathurst Bay you can get through Starckie as it is easier.

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Follow Up By: Member - sparra - Tuesday, May 26, 2015 at 21:19

Tuesday, May 26, 2015 at 21:19
Yeah I would take the starke track too,not a bad drive through there,take your time and smell the roses.
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Reply By: geo22 - Tuesday, May 26, 2015 at 18:35

Tuesday, May 26, 2015 at 18:35
Definitely easier to get to Cooktown via Kalpowar & Battle Camp. The Starke track is lot less travelled route so if travelling alone may be a safer option.
Try giving the Cook Shire office in Cooktown a call, they were very helpful when I last contacted them. They have a pretty good handle on the roads in that part of the world.

Enjoy the Cape & have a safe trip.
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Follow Up By: Member - TonyV - Tuesday, May 26, 2015 at 21:51

Tuesday, May 26, 2015 at 21:51
The roads on the north section of Lakeland are still closed, so you can't cut through from Musgrave Station to Kalpowar.

Keep an eye on

Cook Shire road conditions or call Musgrave, 07 4060 3229 or the Lakefield Ranger 07 4060 3271

Cairns FNQ.

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Reply By: Member - Rosco from way back - Wednesday, May 27, 2015 at 07:43

Wednesday, May 27, 2015 at 07:43
As others have suggested. Take the Starke Track and give yourself 2 days. It's a good run and straightforward. We have done it solo on a couple of occasions. The only possible tricky spot would be crossing the Jeanie (sp) River, which last time I was there was only tricky going west. Unless its changed dramatically you would have no problems with a CT in tow. Towards the Cape Melville end you will encounter a fairly steep decline. Start out in low range for safety's sake and it'll be a breeze.
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