cape york

Submitted: Sunday, Apr 01, 2018 at 08:48
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just trying to find out the quickest way to Cape York from Victoria I have only 1 month of work
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Reply By: Member - Boobook - Sunday, Apr 01, 2018 at 09:13

Sunday, Apr 01, 2018 at 09:13
I had 5 weeks and it was way too rushed.

By the time you get to Cairns, and return you have about 2 and a bit weeks left which is not enough in the cape.

At the risk of getting flamed like answering a similar question on another forum, by the time you pay for fuel, wear and tear, a service, tyres, accomodation and food, it is about the same price to fly there and hire a 4wd, giving you an extra week or more on the cape without rushing.

Tony
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Sunday, Apr 01, 2018 at 10:09

Sunday, Apr 01, 2018 at 10:09
If you do decide to drive, make sure you include Longreach as a stop and a day break. The Qantas Museum is the main highlight of the drive. Book ahead to do the 747 tour. Crawling through the avionics bay and looking inside the tail is amazing.
Tony
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Follow Up By: AlbyNSW - Sunday, Apr 01, 2018 at 17:56

Sunday, Apr 01, 2018 at 17:56
Tony makes a valid point with regards to your timeframe and cost of the trip.
I think you need 3 weeks from Cairns to the Tip and back to Cairns again as a preferred minimum and that is moving everyday.
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Reply By: Hoyks - Sunday, Apr 01, 2018 at 09:54

Sunday, Apr 01, 2018 at 09:54
What Tony said, I took 3 weeks from Brisbane and it was a rushed trip. I had 2 nights at Tinaroo Dam and 2 nights at Chilli Beach, but the rest was driving. The poxy National Parks pre-booking system forces you to stick to the itinerary too,
The 2 x 800km days out of Brisbane and the 1200km back were done to make up time at the top end, but knock you around (I was the only driver).

Coming from Vic you will lose the best part of a week in travel alone.

If you are doing a Mach run anyway, I'd suggest heading to Dubbo, Walget, St George, Roma and straight to Charters Towers.

From there you can head to Atherton and drop down to Mossman if you want to have a look at the Daintree, head to Lakeland and straight up the PDR or drop into Cairns. Going via the Hume and Pacific Hway will add around 600km to the trip.
You are looking at 3000km just to get to Atherton from Melborne, so its a bit or a drive. Doing it at night isn't advisable as they have big roos out that way and not a lot of rain, so they will be near the roads too.

Another option may be to drive to Brisbane and stick the vehicle on the Sunlander to Townsville. Its a bit of messing around, but you can stare blankly out the window, have a beer and a sleep while someone else does the driving for you.

No need to pack everything, including the kitchen sink either. The Cape is a long way from anywhere, but its not that remote anymore. Unless you are pushing off into the sticks, at that time of year there will be someone along within 15 minutes. On my trip I carried too much stuff and saw vehicles broken from carrying too much gear. Water is easy to come by, 500km fuel range will see you get most places and back to somewhere you can fill up again, I took 1 fuel jerry and tiped it into the tank, but didn't really need to.
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Sunday, Apr 01, 2018 at 10:10

Sunday, Apr 01, 2018 at 10:10
Yes that booking system is totally anti tourist friendly.
Tony
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Follow Up By: john m85 - Monday, Apr 02, 2018 at 14:38

Monday, Apr 02, 2018 at 14:38
thanks for the info I will go the Dubbo way
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Reply By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Sunday, Apr 01, 2018 at 10:02

Sunday, Apr 01, 2018 at 10:02
John
I agree with above response re flying and hiring but to answer your question, ....

up the Newell Highway, take the Castlereagh Highway north at Gilgandra through Walgett onto St George then Roma, keep going north to Emerald, then Charters Towers on through Greenvale to Atherton Tablelands.
Two drivers sharing 12-14 hour says it's 3 days.
I've done it from Tamworth on my own in 2 days and i can get to Melb in a day. Its not relaxing though.
Mark
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Follow Up By: john m85 - Monday, Apr 02, 2018 at 14:48

Monday, Apr 02, 2018 at 14:48
thanks Mark that was very helpful
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Reply By: Les - PK Ranger - Sunday, Apr 01, 2018 at 10:28

Sunday, Apr 01, 2018 at 10:28
I'm hoping to get up there next year (every year another bit trip comes up elsewhere !), and in the course of researching find most reports say you need about 3 weeks Cairns to Cairns. And that is a minimum to enjoy and see some things.

Personally, I drive long hard days on highways when I have a mission to get somewhere, but even I'd be looking at 3 days ex Melb to Cairns . . . it could be done in your month time frame, but you won't see a thing on the trip up and back apart from glances as you pass.
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Follow Up By: john m85 - Monday, Apr 02, 2018 at 14:52

Monday, Apr 02, 2018 at 14:52
thanks Les I no we might not see to much it is a rushed trip but we should see a little bit
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Reply By: Theo D - Sunday, Apr 01, 2018 at 13:24

Sunday, Apr 01, 2018 at 13:24
What are you wanting to do/see in FNQ or the Cape John?

If fishing is what you're after, can help with this.
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Follow Up By: john m85 - Monday, Apr 02, 2018 at 14:33

Monday, Apr 02, 2018 at 14:33
going up to see the cape and also a bit of fishing
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Follow Up By: Theo D - Monday, Apr 02, 2018 at 15:05

Monday, Apr 02, 2018 at 15:05
Forgot to ask if you have a boat. Even a small 12ft rooftopper opens up many options.

If you're landbased the main destinations e.g. Bamaga, Weipa, Cooktown etc are all worthwhile having a fish. Chilli Beach if you have time is a must.

If you have the 12fter then Port Stewart is excellent crabbing and fishing. Pretty harsh camping but thats the trade off. The tidal river mouths of the rivers that flow into Princess Charlotte (Bizant, Kennedy and Normanby) are no where near as heavily fished as they once were. You can camp from Lakefield to get to these rivers mainly via Bizant River.

Starcke River north of Cooktown is also very popular and very easy to access. Its only 120km north of Cooktown. Excellent crabbing and reasonable camping. The river itself fishes pretty poorly but the creek systems to the south offer some of the best fishing in Qld. You just need decent weather for a smaller boat to access these creeks.

All rivers on the western cape fish well but you will be running short of time with that timeframe. Chapman River at Pormpuraaw is excellent fishing and crabbing but you should always ask the land council for permission to camp and fish here. Access always granted jist need to ask.

Hope this helps
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Follow Up By: john m85 - Tuesday, Apr 03, 2018 at 18:18

Tuesday, Apr 03, 2018 at 18:18
all your info is a great help I will be only landbase fishing thanks.
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Follow Up By: Member - silkwood - Thursday, Apr 05, 2018 at 15:47

Thursday, Apr 05, 2018 at 15:47
You don't fly fish, do you? Even if not, Pennefather is heaven for shore-based casting. Gorgeous place, too.

Cheers,

Mark
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Follow Up By: Member - Bongo (NT) - Tuesday, Apr 10, 2018 at 20:16

Tuesday, Apr 10, 2018 at 20:16
Landed a cracker of a Queenie at Somerset Beach. Camping fees included in the price of the Jardine River ferry. No amenities or fresh water.
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Reply By: Member - Bigfish - Sunday, Apr 01, 2018 at 15:41

Sunday, Apr 01, 2018 at 15:41
I live in Cairns and last year did a rush job up the Cape. 2 weeks was ok for me but then again I,ve seen more than enough "wilderness'. A comfortable trip would be 3-4 weeks from Cairns. About 40 hours minimum from Melbourne to Cairns.....thats not seeing anything either. I prefer the journey...not just the destination. Hiring is a possibility but its bloody hard to take the personal camping gear you want. Start of June to mid September its like the centre of Melbourne up there...not my cup of tea thanks. 5-6 weeks min. if I had to do a cape/vic run.
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Reply By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Sunday, Apr 01, 2018 at 16:29

Sunday, Apr 01, 2018 at 16:29
.
A point re transporting vehicles by rail.........

I seem to recall that in some (maybe all) cases, it is required that all personal belongings be removed from the vehicle before shipping. But I cannot find reference to it now.

If so then it would make it rather impractical to ship a holiday vehicle full of camping gear.

Does someone have further reference to this?
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: 3ways - Sunday, Apr 01, 2018 at 17:37

Sunday, Apr 01, 2018 at 17:37
Alan we came back on the Sunlander railcar from Cairns to Brisbane a couple of years back. We left all our gear in the boot of Commodore no problem.
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Sunday, Apr 01, 2018 at 21:34

Sunday, Apr 01, 2018 at 21:34
Allan - As of 2016, the only operator carrying vehicles by rail is Great Southern Rail, the Indian-Pacific and the Ghan operator.

This service is called Motorail and available to passengers travelling with GSR on the same service, or as an unaccompanied vehicle service.

Motorail is only available from Adelaide to Perth and Adelaide to Darwin.

GSR will carry only vehicles, campers and trailers. Height/width and wheel track restrictions apply.
Caravans (including pop-tops) and boats will not be carried by GSR.

As of 2016, there is no longer any vehicle-carrying services offered by any rail operator to either Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane.

GSR only require all valuables and flammable products to be removed from vehicles being transported by rail.
Luggage and personal possessions can be left in the vehicle, as long as they are not piled up that high, that they present a visibility problem to the (GSR) vehicle loading driver.

As you could imagine, if someone leaves a flammable product in a vehicle (such as an aerosol can or butane container), exposed to direct sunlight, this poses a major potential fire hazard for the train operator.

Vehicle looting has been a problem in numerous areas where the Ghan or Indian-Pacific stops for refuelling, or passengers alight for short trips around sightseeing areas.

I'm not sure if the looting problem has been controlled or reduced, but it's still a risk on the train, the same as car intrusion theft anywhere.
Thus the reason for all valuables to be removed from vehicles.

Motorail services

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Sunshine Coast) - Monday, Apr 02, 2018 at 06:43

Monday, Apr 02, 2018 at 06:43
.
Thanks Ron, that puts the 'mockers' on that a bit doesn't it.
Cheers
Allan

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Reply By: bigden - Sunday, Apr 01, 2018 at 18:43

Sunday, Apr 01, 2018 at 18:43
A friend drove bamaga to port Douglas in 12 hours but would you want to?
I did 7 weeks from melbourne to cape York including 2 weeks cairns to cairns. If I had my time again I would of spent way more in the cape and less elsewhere. So to answer your question you could do it all in 4 weeks but you really don’t get time to enjoy every thing on offer
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Reply By: Member - Jim M10 - Sunday, Apr 01, 2018 at 19:00

Sunday, Apr 01, 2018 at 19:00
Not sure but I believe Qld Rail no longer transports vehicles on it's passenger services .
You will need 3weeks to see a "little " of the cape. I have done the trip twice & there is so much more to see, I live in Cairns.
Have a few sick days!??
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Reply By: Ron N - Sunday, Apr 01, 2018 at 21:55

Sunday, Apr 01, 2018 at 21:55
There is only one way to do this in 1 month, and still be able to see some of the area around Cape York.

Drive to Cape York, taking around a week to 10 days, travelling at a sensible pace and allowing a little sightseeing along the way.

Spend about 2 1/2 weeks in FNQ, sightseeing and relaxing.

Drive back to Cairns, put car and camper on car transporter and send it back to Victoria by road, unaccompanied.

Catch big silver bird out of Cairns, back to Vic.

Pick up car and camper as soon as it arrives back in Vic.

My missus and I went from Perth (W.A.) to the Daintree and back in 1 month, many years ago.

We only took the bare 80 series wagon, and utilised cheap accommodation along the way.

We chucked the HDJ80 on the truck in Perth, and had it trucked to Adelaide. Cost - about half the going rate, as it was a backload.

We caught the big silver bird out of Perth, and flew to Adelaide, and picked up the wagon, and then drove through S.A., N.S.W. and into Brisbane - and then up the QLD coast to Cairns, where we lodged for a week.

On our return, we threw the 80 series on a truck again and sent it back to Adelaide. Cairns to Adelaide was also at backload rates.

We caught the big silver bird and flew Cairns to Adelaide, and picked up the wagon, and then drove Adelaide to Perth.
Seem to recall we floored it a bit across the Long Paddock and did Pt Augusta to Norseman in one very long day.

We got back into Perth inside 1 month - and we still covered over 9000kms in the 'Cruiser.

We saw a lot, but also missed a lot. Gave us a good idea of areas to come back to, and spend more time at, though.
Some areas you only need to fly through at 120kmh without stopping. LOL

Cheers, Ron.
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Reply By: rumpig - Monday, Apr 02, 2018 at 17:26

Monday, Apr 02, 2018 at 17:26
Back in 2006 we did a 3 week trip Brisbane to the Cape and back again, saw plenty but obviously still plenty more we didn't see also...had a great time though, even with a 3 year old in tow.
2 years ago did a trip to Tassie and drove to Melbourne via The Newell Hwy in 2 days to catch the ferry over, would certainly use that route again if time is the main concern to get there as is your case. Marks reply above is a decent route for the time frame you have, it'll be some long days behind the wheel, but atleast it beats sitting at home mowing the lawn.
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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Monday, Apr 02, 2018 at 18:05

Monday, Apr 02, 2018 at 18:05
I’d suggest a different route to everyone else, an inland route.

Travel to Bourke, Charleville, Longreach, Winton & Hughenden, then up the Hann Highway to The Lynd, Mt Garnet, Ravenshoe & Atherton. According to RACQ, it’s almost the same distance as the other options, is less busy, fuel is readily available and a good percentage of the route is rated at 110 kph. Less than 100 kms of good gravel on the Hann, so it’s a good trip.



Suppose you could try one route on way up, and a different way on return. I feel you would find some of the Roma-Charters Towers route to be somewhat slow, and in a few places only single lane bitumen. Anyway, your choice, John. Safe travels,

Bob



Seen it all, Done it all.
Can't remember most of it.

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Follow Up By: Old 55 - Tuesday, Apr 03, 2018 at 12:20

Tuesday, Apr 03, 2018 at 12:20
I agree with Bob Y and we did this route last year. Less traffic than the Newell and similar distance.
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Follow Up By: john m85 - Tuesday, Apr 03, 2018 at 18:25

Tuesday, Apr 03, 2018 at 18:25
thanks Bob I will do what you said try the Bourke route on the way up and CharterTowers on the way back thanks.
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Follow Up By: Member - Outback Gazz - Tuesday, Apr 03, 2018 at 20:37

Tuesday, Apr 03, 2018 at 20:37
Bob Y is on the money !!
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Follow Up By: Steve - Friday, Apr 06, 2018 at 21:02

Friday, Apr 06, 2018 at 21:02
Another vote for Bobs option

Melbourne to Laura: Roughly 4x 9 hour days driving, leaving over three weeks to have a poke around.

Of course, not ideal but if you are still working/not retired and really want to have a look, you’ll enjoy it. Go for it John. When you retire or qualify for long service leave, you can take all the time you want. Trying not to sound patronising here but you won’t need to flog yourself and vehicle - just steady and make sure you get a few 10 min breaks during the day and just a little longer for lunch. Just a framework to work on, not a route march.

Have a great trip.



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Reply By: Graham G4 - Thursday, Apr 05, 2018 at 14:35

Thursday, Apr 05, 2018 at 14:35
Another option to look at which is what I did in 2014, me and a mate did a fast run up to Cairns (3 days), left the car at Big Blue Storage just outside of Cairns. $100 per week in a lock up shed with full security and high roller door. Flew back down to Melbourne ($129 Jetstar, $45 dollar taxi ride from storage place to airport). Flew back up a week later and did 4 weeks on the Cape. Left the car in storage again for 3 weeks then me and the mate flew back up and drove it down. Yes a few more dollars but a trip like that is worth some extra to ensure a good time.

When I did Kimberley in 2016 we drove to Broome, did the trip across to Darwin and then flew back, paid for a friend and his wife to fly up and they had a 3 week holiday bringing the car back. ($1,000 total for all airfares). They obviously paid for the fuel back down as they got a trip out of it.

Just some different options to consider.
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