Cape York trip

Hi everyone. My girlfriend and I are planning on driving up to Cape York from melbourne in October. I have estimated the total trip will take 6 days from Melbourne to the tip, does anyone else have a better time estimate?
I also have a Ford Ranger PX 2WD, I plan on putting bullbar and tow winch on it as well as other precautions to avoid getting bogged, or getting out. Which tracks will suit a 2WD the best? I know to avoid the Old Telegraph track at all costs, but what are some 'easy going' tracks to go on?

Thank you.

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Reply By: Les - PK Ranger - Wednesday, Mar 06, 2019 at 07:22

Wednesday, Mar 06, 2019 at 07:22
Mitchell, sounds like a great trip for you both.
I haven’t been up there yet, but pretty sure even with 2wd and avoiding the usual 4wd tracks, sticking with main PDR route, you won’t really need the bull bar and winch.
Better to save the few grand.
Enjoy the planning and trip.
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Follow Up By: Member - McLaren3030 - Wednesday, Mar 06, 2019 at 07:34

Wednesday, Mar 06, 2019 at 07:34
Good advice from Les, however, a bullbar May come in handy in case of a roo strike. One thing I would do is beef up your suspension. The corrugations can be pretty severe.


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Reply By: Member - Mark (Tamworth NSW) - Wednesday, Mar 06, 2019 at 07:35

Wednesday, Mar 06, 2019 at 07:35
Melbourne to the Tip in 6 days? The vehicle will make it, not sure if you will though.
Yeah it's possible sitting in a vehicle for 12-14 hours per day. When are you allowing time for setting up/packing up camp, cooking/ eating and sleeping.
Certainly no time for looking around except at the road straight ahead of you.

Mitchell if you are time limited like most of us, fly to Cairns and then hire a a 4WD kitted out with all the camping gear from someone like Captain Billy. You will have much more fun. To do the PDR in October a 2WD Ranger is fine. Roo bar is only a consideration if you want to drive at Dawn/dusk for that trip, winch again I doubt is necessary unless you are going where you shouldn't (perhaps MaxTracks instead, they are much cheaper?)
Buy the Ron Moon and or Hema Books on Cape York from the ExploreOz Shop here on line. That will provide all the answers you seek and give you a lot more good ideas
Enjoy your time
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Follow Up By: Tony W - Saturday, Mar 09, 2019 at 10:14

Saturday, Mar 09, 2019 at 10:14
Wot Mark Sed.

I did the Melbourne to Cape York trip in about 6 days and vowed never to do it again.

I would definitely hire a 4wd in Cairns if I ever went back to Cape York. And that is a big if.

I found it was full of speeding yobbos with rubbish everywhere and a hopeless camping system in the national parks where others get your pre-allocated camp spots and there is no one to police it.


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Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Wednesday, Mar 06, 2019 at 08:13

Wednesday, Mar 06, 2019 at 08:13
Hi Mitchell

First question is, have you ever been to FNQ before?

If you hope to get to the cape in 6 days, you will be in for very long days in the saddle and you will miss many great things along the way.

It is a very long way and if you stick to the PDR, you will not need a bull bar or winch.

Have a look at the Blog I did on our 7 week trip last August, and it will give you an indications of what the PDR is like,

Our Cape York Trip in August 2018

It is a great place and take as much time as you can.


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Reply By: Member - nickb "boab" - Wednesday, Mar 06, 2019 at 08:56

Wednesday, Mar 06, 2019 at 08:56
Driving up in 6 days is a really bad idea in my opinion as you will not have time to take anything in , so many good places to see long the way ...As Mark said fly to Cairns and hire a car would be a far better idea.
Cheers Nick b

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Reply By: Member - Bigfish - Wednesday, Mar 06, 2019 at 09:11

Wednesday, Mar 06, 2019 at 09:11
I,d allow a minimum of 10 days with the drive through Vic and NSW the longest behind the wheel. I base a good trip on the journey...not the destination!! Just so much to see before you get anywhere near the tip..Rush it and you will be disappointed.
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Reply By: Alloy c/t - Wednesday, Mar 06, 2019 at 11:12

Wednesday, Mar 06, 2019 at 11:12
Work out some of your milage by various routes to not only get to QLD to begin with but then to get to the 'stepping off' point - to get to Cape York going inland , working out a route to Charleville is quicker than the standard Melb / Syd / Bris and less traffic /roadworks slowing time poor travel , Charleville to Townsville is easy in a 10 hr day or take the 'lynd' north from Hughenden......6 days 1 way is 'do-able' from Melb to the 'Tip' if only stopping for fuel and a feed and a restless sleep at night and your fully prepared to 'miss' the best bits that Qld has to offer north of Cairns .....
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Reply By: Malcom M - Wednesday, Mar 06, 2019 at 11:43

Wednesday, Mar 06, 2019 at 11:43
If you only have a time budget of 6 days travel each way, how long have you allowed to explore the cape?
Might be another reason to hire ex Cairns.

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Reply By: rumpig - Wednesday, Mar 06, 2019 at 13:05

Wednesday, Mar 06, 2019 at 13:05
Can you drive Melbourne to The Tip in 6 days?...yep...will it be enjoyable?...likely not if you class The Tip as being all the way to the sign itself.
I don’t mind decent days behind the wheel, did Melbourne to Brisbane in 2 days for example coming home from Tassie, but i’ll never do that again as it’s just not enjoyable. Melbourne to Cairns is roughly 3000klms, so call it 4 days driving at 750klms a day which means 9 hours behind the wheel a day each of those 4 days, then a few more decent days of dirt to The Tip....If that sounds ok for you then go for it, but it won’t really be relaxing.
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Reply By: Member - Murray R (VIC) - Wednesday, Mar 06, 2019 at 22:20

Wednesday, Mar 06, 2019 at 22:20
lf you use google earth it says 4000KM and 60hrs which is about 700KM a day for 10hrs driving each day for 6 days. Once you get to the PDR you won't be doing 700KM a day on the dirt more like 350KM and where you stay.
Early October is school holidays so would be busy and the corrigations bad due to all the traffic. Your car will make it but l would fit good shocks, as for bullbar not necessary unless you want to drive at night.
l went a few years back and took 10 days going directly there by staying inland all the way from Melbourne as up the coast to lnnisfall is slow going (as to many towns) We did on average 700KM a day but only 350km max on the PDR
Enjoy your planning and have a great trip because it's a great place to visit.

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Reply By: Michael H9 - Thursday, Mar 07, 2019 at 17:40

Thursday, Mar 07, 2019 at 17:40
You always get a lot of comments on here saying don't do this or that unless you have some sort of luxurious timeframe to do it, otherwise you won't enjoy it. For a lot of people this is true, but for many others it's not. I've had a lot of very enjoyable trips that cover large distances in extremely short timeframes and I know others that have done similar. The only way to find out is to do it. I tried because I didn't want to wait until I was 70ish to get that perfect timeframe because I can barely get 2 weeks off work at a time. My friend went Sydney to Cape York and back in less than 2 weeks and had a great time. Sure, if he did it in 2 months it would have been much better, but it was a lot better than staying home.

Have a great adventure, make road safety a priority, and learn what you like and don't like about long distance trips. Swap drivers every couple of hours and slow down at night in roo country. I haven't bothered with a winch or bullbar since the early 90's.
AnswerID: 624268

Reply By: AlbyNSW - Saturday, Mar 09, 2019 at 08:34

Saturday, Mar 09, 2019 at 08:34
Hi Mitchell
How long have you got for your planned trip and what are you expecting to get out of it?
If time is short I would think about flying to Cairns and hiring a car from there
If you consider your fuel costs in getting there and time taken out of your overall timeframe you might find it better value to spend more time up in the region rather than the mad dash getting up there and back.
Also you might get to see more places in a hired 4WD
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