Cape York trip

Submitted: Friday, Mar 17, 2006 at 09:18
ThreadID: 31829 Views:2991 Replies:7 FollowUps:7
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Hello all,

I'm heading up to Cape York at the end of May to early June and would like some info on a couple of access roads I may travel on - depending on info I get on this site and also once I actually get there. I'll be traveling via the bypass roads as I'm towing an off-road caravan. The OT track can wait for another time.

1. The track between Batavia Downs and Sudley homestead: How good is it? Can I tow an off road van through there or is it too narrow and winding. Are there many creek crossings and what are the approaches to these creek crossings like? Are they steep and slippery? Are there overhanging trees along the track that could cause a problem or is it relatively clear? How long would it take to do the trip from Batavia Downs to Sudley? Any info from those that know would be appreciated.

2. What is the track to Captain Billy Landing like with the same questions as above?

3. Would I be able to get into Eliot & Fruit Bat Falls, and out again, or do I park the van somewhere before I go in there?

The objective of this trip is to get to the Cape and Thursday Island, not to maintain or boost my 4WD prowess.

Thanks and I look forward to the info flowing in.

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Reply By: Pterosaur - Friday, Mar 17, 2006 at 14:14

Friday, Mar 17, 2006 at 14:14
G'day Toolman,

Info from last year (August - October):

1. VERY CORRUGATED - the big ones! It's a fair track, with several creek crossings (2 or 3 from memory), although they were dry when I was there. Approaches were OK, although one at least my be slippery if wet. Track is relatively clear (no worries about clearance etc.,), don't quite remember the time to cross, maybe an hour or so.

2. Can't help you

3.Yes, but check locally first - conditions can change.

have a good one !

AnswerID: 161146

Follow Up By: Member - Toolman (VIC) - Saturday, Mar 18, 2006 at 22:16

Saturday, Mar 18, 2006 at 22:16

Thanks for your feedback. I apprecoiate it and will keep in mind what you've said.

FollowupID: 416152

Reply By: Member - Glenn D (NSW) - Friday, Mar 17, 2006 at 14:51

Friday, Mar 17, 2006 at 14:51
Hows it going Toolman,

Cant remember too much twisting at Batavia Downs . You could probably give them a ring and find out rather than rely on word of mouth.

Great trip , depending on the time of year could have lots if corrugations. When we went it was better going on the Track than the by pass road which was in a bad state.

Hopefully this is a photo of the worst crossing in Batavia Downs , that is if I have managed to post it ( I am acomputer illiterate )

AnswerID: 161156

Follow Up By: Member - Glenn D (NSW) - Friday, Mar 17, 2006 at 14:54

Friday, Mar 17, 2006 at 14:54
Sorry that is crap I had to shrink it heaps to get it under the size limit.

If you click on my member profile I have loaded the photo in and you can actually see it .

FollowupID: 415887

Follow Up By: Member - Toolman (VIC) - Saturday, Mar 18, 2006 at 22:15

Saturday, Mar 18, 2006 at 22:15
Thanks for taking the trouble to post the photo. Based on what Eric and other have posted and also on your photo, I don't think the track is a wise place to take my van. I'm no hero and tend to err on the side of caution.


FollowupID: 416151

Reply By: Leroy - Friday, Mar 17, 2006 at 15:03

Friday, Mar 17, 2006 at 15:03
Geez it doesn't look like the sort of trailer I'd like to be towing up there. The rear overhang of the van and drawwbar length may give you some grief but hey I didn't tow a van like that up when I went so it's hard for me to comment.

AnswerID: 161158

Follow Up By: Member - Toolman (VIC) - Saturday, Mar 18, 2006 at 22:18

Saturday, Mar 18, 2006 at 22:18
You're right and that's why I asked the questions. No good finding out I can't make it when I'm already there is it.

FollowupID: 416153

Reply By: Eric from Cape York Connections - Friday, Mar 17, 2006 at 17:36

Friday, Mar 17, 2006 at 17:36
First Question what van are you taking is it the one in your picture.

This will help answer your questions.

All the best
AnswerID: 161184

Follow Up By: Member - Toolman (VIC) - Friday, Mar 17, 2006 at 22:03

Friday, Mar 17, 2006 at 22:03
Yes it is the one in the picture. It is a Regent Extreme which is an off road caravan, meaning its really an off the "sealed" road van with Simplicity independant coil spring suspension. What concerns me is the distance from the caravan wheels to the tow ball means it wont be good around tight corners or down steep gullies. The ground clearance at the back (departure angle) is quite reasonable.

FollowupID: 416005

Reply By: Mr Fawlty - Friday, Mar 17, 2006 at 17:44

Friday, Mar 17, 2006 at 17:44
I was up that way last August and frankly the corrugations just wore me out so I did the unthinkable and turned around & went back to Cooktown just in time to see Dick Smith buying all the real estate that was for sale in preparation for the new "Noosa" style Cooktown that he presumably has planned now that there is a sealed road all the way...
I stopped at one point with my trusty tape measure and measured the corrugations: average 320 mm pitch and an average depth of 130 mm.....
Decided that I would fly or go by sea next time... I spose the best way is to let someone else write off their suspension and take you....
AnswerID: 161187

Reply By: bardenboy - Friday, Mar 17, 2006 at 21:30

Friday, Mar 17, 2006 at 21:30
I was up there last June

1 - Can't Hehp

2 - The drive into Elliot & Fruit BAt falls from the south is a easy road, except there is one river crossing which is quite deep, if you keep to the right you shoukd be OK, but walk it first

3 - The drive into Cap Billy Landing is an easy one, no hard bits, A lovery spot for a day or two, there is a new shelter there and pit toilet.

Happy Motoring

120 series Prado TD
AnswerID: 161242

Reply By: Eric from Cape York Connections - Saturday, Mar 18, 2006 at 08:12

Saturday, Mar 18, 2006 at 08:12
Toolman the track Batavia Downs and Sudley homestead last season was very corrugated. You are going up fairly early season and the 3 crossings on the track can be very slippery and fairly steep. Which way are you going from wepai across to the development rd ?
I haven't been to captains for a few years so I cant comment.
For # 3 I would park the van outside as it can get tight if there are a few cars in at the falls.
I would also get some good rubber on the van and take it easy.

All the best
AnswerID: 161288

Follow Up By: Member - Toolman (VIC) - Saturday, Mar 18, 2006 at 22:08

Saturday, Mar 18, 2006 at 22:08
Thanks for the reply and the advice which I will be heading.

Based on what you say I won't be taking the van across that track . My plan was to head up to the Cape and then on the return leg head for Weipa across the track from Batavia Downs rather than go all the way around. What I might do is see if I can leave the van at Batavia Downs, if not then I'll just give Weipa a miss this time. My friends who are traveling with me have a time restriction on their vehicle hire so we may not be able to afford the time to go down to the Weipa Road turnoff and head back up to Wiepa then back again.
I don't expect to be breaking any land speed records and have anticipated averaging about 170Km a day after leaving Laura. Is that being realistic? The road conditions I hope will be ok at that time of the year but I'm not sure when they grade the Bamaga Road after the wet.

I've done rough roads before, having driven across the Nullabor several times before they sealed the bit between Ceduna and the WA border so I have some idea of what to expect.

The Van is new and has Goodyear Wrangler A/T tyres which I hope will be good enough.

Again thanks for the info and if you think of anything else you reckon I should know, I'm always open to advice from those who know. Who knows. if your hernia is mended I might see you on the road up there somehwere.


FollowupID: 416150

Follow Up By: Eric from Cape York Connections - Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 05:47

Monday, Mar 20, 2006 at 05:47
Tom the hernia is fine thanks back at work now.
You can go around the bottom and back to wepia in time it will be similar. That is a good question about the grading.
There has been a fair bit of road works around Laura.
All the best
FollowupID: 416326

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