road to Cooktown

Submitted: Monday, Jan 10, 2005 at 21:57
ThreadID: 19240 Views:5079 Replies:8 FollowUps:11
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Hi all,
Can anyone please tell me if it is possible to reach Cooktown from Port Douglas by motorhome? In fact, can anyone tell me just how far north one can go in such a vehicle? The motorhome is a 23ft Mercedes Sprinter. The trip (if possible) will be in the dry winter months. Any information and advice will be appreciated.
George QLD
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Reply By: Member - Roachie (SA) - Monday, Jan 10, 2005 at 22:08

Monday, Jan 10, 2005 at 22:08
I've been to the Cape twice. Both times I've done the bit from pt Douglas to Cooktown via the Bloomfield track and you wouldn't take your m/home there. However, there is an inland road from Mareeba and I think you'd get thru that way....others will know better.
AnswerID: 92273

Follow Up By: GeorgeQLD - Monday, Jan 10, 2005 at 22:13

Monday, Jan 10, 2005 at 22:13
Thanks Roachie,
I guess I will have to do some more research. I hate to wreck the motorhome.
FollowupID: 351115

Reply By: Rob from Cairns Offroad Training & Tours - Monday, Jan 10, 2005 at 22:44

Monday, Jan 10, 2005 at 22:44
George the inland route is no problem at all for a motor home but I wouldnt advise the coastal road for a motor home. Is your Srinter a 4wd if not no way on the coastal road. In good dry weather you could drive to Weipa or Bamaga if you stay on the Development roads. You would not fit up the Telegraph Track. Cheers Rob
AnswerID: 92282

Follow Up By: GeorgeQLD - Monday, Jan 10, 2005 at 22:59

Monday, Jan 10, 2005 at 22:59
Thanks for the advice, the Mercedes Sprinter is not a 4WD vehicle but has dual rear wheels. I will definitely drive on the inland road to Cooktown and then check the road conditions for any further northward travel. Would absolutely love to get as far north as Bamaga if at all possible on the Motorhome.
George QLD
FollowupID: 351122

Reply By: Tripp'n Around - Monday, Jan 10, 2005 at 23:28

Monday, Jan 10, 2005 at 23:28
Hi George

Ditto on what Rob said.
The other way is to head to Mereeba, go through Lakelands (a nice place to stop for a home grown/brewed coffee) and onto Cooktown. Cooktown is a nice quiet place to veg out in, but can get quite blowy at times with plenty to see and do as well. Archer 's Point which can also can be very blowy is something to be seen. You would also get all the way to Weipa (even in a normal car) but take your time. Also watch the water level of the Archer River. I would see this being your only set back, if they get too much rain before you leave.
Weipa is a wonderful place to visit and up until June/July 2004 they still didn't take pre-bookings. It is a book as you arrive setup. The campsites are very shady in places with lots of green grass, it was for us.
You can also get a charted flight at Weipa which will take you to the Cape for the day if you want to go there but don't have the time or 4WD to do it in.
Another place you might like to ask about is Lafield N.P. with the Parks people in Cairns or direct contact with the Ranger at Lakefield. IF the road in has been graded b4 you get there (just north of Laura) then you can make it to Kalpower Crossing with little very trouble, but you must book here about 6 weeks in advance if going in peak periods to avoid dissapointment.

Have fun and enjoy our lovely Cape area.

AnswerID: 92299

Follow Up By: Tripp'n Around - Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 12:42

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 12:42
Hi George

Correction..........head out through Mossman .........geeesh slaps head :) always getting Mossman and Mereeba mixed up.

Also the drive along the coastline from Cairns, to Pt Douglas/Mossman (better if done in reverse as you hug the coastline on the way back to Cairns) is quite spectacular especially on a very clear day. Make sure you stop at the Lookout halfway along, this is a very good spot take photos.

FollowupID: 351242

Follow Up By: Tripp'n Around - Saturday, Jan 15, 2005 at 21:28

Saturday, Jan 15, 2005 at 21:28
Hi George

In the reply from Gregr futher down in the post he has said go through Lakefield to Cooktown, it is Lakelands.
Don't get confused.
Archers Point near Cooktown is quite nice even if just to stop and have a look.
It can get very busy there with people staying there, as Greg has said.

Lakefield is the N.P. a few hours drive north of Cooktown.
As Gregr has said, don't take Battlecamp Rd either.
Head back out the way you came in past Black Mountain and turn right at Lakelands to get to Laura, Coen, Archer R and Weipa.
Do take your time if you decide to go that way, don't rush.
If you are lucky and they have graded the roads or have put more bitumen on it, then it won't be so bad.
Best advice is to ask before you head off, which you would normally do anyway.
We saw a normal converted bus in the camp ground at Weipa (just past the Woolies right on the waterfront at Nanum and is the only camping ground we know of in Weipa) that was owned by two oldies and I mean oldies.
So nothing is impossible.


FollowupID: 352293

Reply By: Eric from Cape York Connections - Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 06:16

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 06:16
As said above you can go the inland way to cook town.
When you get to lakland downs you ver right to cooktown and left to Wepia.
When at cook town you could stay at Cooktown caravan park you will have to book
Phone John and mary on 07 4069 5536. Its a nice small park very clean and Johno can give you a few tips on day trips from there.

All the best
AnswerID: 92311

Follow Up By: GeorgeQLD - Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 07:01

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 07:01
Thank you to both Tripp'n and Eric for the great advice and help. The place sounds great and we will look out for the latest on the road conditions as we get there. This will be the first stage of our planned trip around Australia and we would hate bot to have spent at least a couple of weeks in this facinating part of our continent. The flight to the top sounds great also.
Cheers to all,
George QLD
FollowupID: 351140

Follow Up By: Well 55 - Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 08:22

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 08:22
George, from Port Douglas you can head towards Mosman and take the Rex Range road, the turn off is a couple of k before Mosman, it comes out at Mt Molloy. Just down to the left as you hit the T intersection there is a free roadside camping area, not a bad feed up at the pub in Mt Molloy.

The road is sealed all the way to just passed Lakeland Downs, then its only a short distance on dirt till you get to the Hells Gate T/O. with black top all the way to Cooktown.

FollowupID: 351150

Follow Up By: Rob from Cairns Offroad Training & Tours - Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 08:56

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 08:56
What do you mean by the Hells Gate turn off? Cheers Rob
FollowupID: 351162

Follow Up By: Well 55 - Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 09:48

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 09:48
Correction LION's Den T/O
FollowupID: 351173

Reply By: Member - Ross P (NSW) - Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 16:47

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 16:47
Agree with most of the comments so far.

Have a look at Endeavour Falls Cravan Park about 30 Kms north of Cooktown - beautiful spot accessible by dirt road. Stop and look at the water lilly ponds on the way.

Don't know if it's possible to put the Sprinter on Seaswift's Trinity Bay cargo boat but if you can, it's possible to go up to Bamaga via Thursday Island from Cairns and/or back again.

We went up the Old Telegraph Track in the Pajero and came back on the Trinity Bay. Just be prepoared to blow your diet if this is possible for you . A great trip.

We avoided a doulble dose of corrugations, didn't miss a spot, and came back in 3 days two nights of luxury. Plus you can have the Sprinter to do sight seeing at the tip without having to suffer the corrugations on the Peninsular Developmen t Road.
AnswerID: 92453

Follow Up By: GeorgeQLD - Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 22:16

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 22:16
Thanks Ross, I will investigate your suggetsion. It sounds great fun.
All the best,
George QLD
FollowupID: 351428

Reply By: Member - Mick S (QLD) - Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 18:04

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 18:04
Whether the gravel from Lakeland to Black Mountain is suitable for a motorhome is open to discussion. We received conflicting opinions in November whether we should take our 24' van and decided not to, leaving the van at Atherton and taking just the 'Cruiser. Could we have got through with the van ? Yes. Would I want to subject my gear to the rigours of this road? No. I felt more at risk of tyre damage etc on this stretch than on the Bloomfield track on the return leg. Cooktown remains as unspoilt & beautiful as it is because of it's relative isolation and indifferent access roads. My fear is that when the bitumen goes through (1 to 2 years depending on who you talk to) it'll become another Port Douglas. I know it's hypocritical for a tourist to blame tourism for spoiling the good tourist spots, but it's a strange world, isn't it?
AnswerID: 92476

Follow Up By: GeorgeQLD - Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 21:12

Tuesday, Jan 11, 2005 at 21:12
Thank you Mick, I think you have just given me some very good advice. I will evaluate the situation when the time comes and will act accordingly. I do not want to damage my equipment either and may hire a 4WD for the Cooktown visit. I have still not taken delivery of the motorhome as yet and have the option to cancel. May be we will be better off with a 4WD towing a decent caravan. Perhaps we will see more on our intended trip around Aus this way.
George QLD
FollowupID: 351415

Reply By: Member - Peter (on the move) - Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 13:52

Friday, Jan 14, 2005 at 13:52

You will destroy your motorhome if you travel the corrugations to the tip or only to Weipa. In the dry the developmental road is able to take two wheel drive traffic all the way to Weipa, and with good ground clearance you can make it all the way to the tip.

The corrugations are the issue. When i say destroy, i mean you will have so many rattles bangs clunks after doing the trip you will want to sell it.

I got rid of my new 100 series after 22,000 kms of Cape, territory and central desert for this very reason.

Cheers Pete.
AnswerID: 93040

Reply By: gregr - Saturday, Jan 15, 2005 at 19:21

Saturday, Jan 15, 2005 at 19:21
hey george
we were in cooktown in august nissan patrol and kimberley kamper

road from mareeba thru lakefield to cooktown is fine about 50 kms of dirt road
in the stretch lakefield to black mountain and then on to cooktown is bitumen

you will do it fine as a number of caravans and 2 wheel drives do it every week during winter and dirt section is reasonably well maintained

forget the bloomfield / cape trib road as when the bitumen ends the road is dirt rough and dusty and a couple of real steep hills - low range for me in a 4wd to get up one on them

forget the battlecamp rd to lakefield its got to be the worst bl**dy corrugated road ever i average 15 kms an hour on it

you can get to weipa in a 2wd ok but a some significant risk as a very stoney and corrugated road is the development road in places - we blew two bfg all terrains on that bl**dy road and eventually gave it a miss about a 100kms short of weipa

forget about taking the motor home to the tip of cape york - again you can get there on the development road in a 2 wd but at a real cost in wear and tear and blown tyres etc

in cooktown the 2nd caravan park on the right is the one we thought was the quitest and best - dont go to the first as its sites are dusty and too close together - have a look at all three before you decide

wish you an great trip - is you have a small tinney and a trailer take that with you as it gives you some good fishing options

forget archer point its a really nice spot but people get there set up and stay for ever so no place to camp much unless your very lucky as the few spots usually taken

see you regrads greg

AnswerID: 93273

Follow Up By: GeorgeQLD - Tuesday, Jan 18, 2005 at 20:20

Tuesday, Jan 18, 2005 at 20:20
Thanks for the great advice Greg. I will see what the conditions are like when the time comes and will be happy just to get to Cooktown. It sounds a great place.
FollowupID: 352812

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