Cape York. Is my rig suitable for this trip

Submitted: Wednesday, Apr 25, 2007 at 10:49
ThreadID: 44700 Views:3583 Replies:12 FollowUps:8
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Hi folks. Is there anyone who has done the Cape York trip say from Cairns to the tip and back. I am planning to do the trip June/July 07 and want to find out the most conservative roads to take, and the suitability of my rig to do the trip. I have a Patrol wagon 3lt diesel manual, and am towing a robust camper trailer which has done the strezlecki, birdsville, mereenie loop, and tanami tracks. I am still trying to put photos of my rig on my member page, they will be there shortly. ANY feedback is welcome. Thanks Graeme W.
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Reply By: 120scruiser (NSW) - Wednesday, Apr 25, 2007 at 11:35

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2007 at 11:35
Hi Graeme
When I do the cape I will fly my kids to Cairns and hire a 100 series to go up and back and then fly back home. You can get the cruiser with drawers, gear, roof top tents and everything.
I have a tour operator as a customer and a group of our friends have done it a few times. The tour operator reckons the trip can put 100 000 km on your vehicle in wear and tear. One of my friends cars had cracks, grills and other stuff rattling out. I won't mention the brand or model. What I am getting at is that your car will do the easy run up and back no probs and if you take the OTL will make it ok as well but keep in mind the harshness and the consequences of a trip like that.
I love doing my trips and I love my car but I am not one to wreck my car whilst engaging in my hobby as then it becomes an expensive hobby, and thats not to mention being belted around the ears by the SWMBO for having not only to spend the dollars on the rig but then the dollars to fix it.
In answer to your question, it will do it no probs as you can go straight up and back. Enjoy the corrugations. Good shocks and springs are a bare minimum.
AnswerID: 235714

Follow Up By: Member - Graeme W (QLD) - Wednesday, Apr 25, 2007 at 11:46

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2007 at 11:46
Hi 120scruiser.
Thanks for that response. My Patrol was bought to do just this sort of thing without being a fool in this environment. If there is rough stuff to do I'll do it, BUT if to get to the tip is about going over Macho washouts and paint scratching tracks lined with scrub thats to close, I need to know beforehand to make a wiser decision.
I also need to know that if I tow my camper will there be any real reason not to take it.
And when I get my Hema Maps It would help to know which tracks I am plotting/following, so which is the recommended route.

Regards Graeme W.
FollowupID: 496882

Follow Up By: Leroy - Wednesday, Apr 25, 2007 at 20:21

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2007 at 20:21
This is what your patrol was built for. Nothing macho about going to the cape just need to take a few precautions wrt to river xings, speed etc. 3 mates have patrols that have done the cape and you wouldn't really know it appart from some sand blasting of bit's and pieces under the vehicle. The trip was a bit harsher on my Rodeo but it also coped.

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Reply By: Alan H (Narangba QLD) - Wednesday, Apr 25, 2007 at 11:50

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2007 at 11:50
When we went up the cape, we went straight up the bypass roads and then slowly came home down the telegraph track.

The bypass roads are where the nasty corrugations are and the telegraph track is where the scenery is.

We went 2 days Cairns to Bamaga via the bypass roads and then 2 weeks to come back down the track. The track needs care but you need time to experience the creeks, waterfalls and bridges. Gunshot can be bypassed if you don't want to drag the trailer through there.

Conditions change, you just have to be prepared and then read the conditions at time of travel.

Enjoy your trip
AnswerID: 235717

Reply By: Member - Brian H (QLD) - Wednesday, Apr 25, 2007 at 12:04

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2007 at 12:04
I did the Cape August 05 and while condition would have changed I did it in my 1997 Rodeo single cab ute and I had no problems at all.

The other parties took camper trailers and they all made it no issues as well. We just took our time walked the creeks and walked any areas that had some degree of difficulty so we each knew the path to take. We did not do Nolans Brook as it was at that time from what people were saying about a 1 metre in depth and difficult exit and care was really needed. We simple opted not to do it.

The big thing I felt was don't rush it and keep the speed down. Our trip was Brisbane to Cairns and back. Your rig should have no issues at all.

How long have you planned to do the trip in? Do it and enjoy I will be going back as soon as I can and spend a lot more time :).


AnswerID: 235719

Reply By: Oz Travellers - Wednesday, Apr 25, 2007 at 12:09

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2007 at 12:09
We did the Cape the easy way. With a tour operator from Cairns in ac comfort over the 1100km of road corrugations, not having to worry about our car. Then we returned via a lovely 2 day trip by sea. I saw a few people loading their car onto the freighter for the return sea journey, an option to consider. Sparky
AnswerID: 235721

Reply By: marq - Wednesday, Apr 25, 2007 at 13:13

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2007 at 13:13
If I can do it with old tyres with no tread left - holden rodeo carring 800-900kg, driving thru rivers and creeks as high as the top of the tires - you should be fine.

Insects are the biggest problem if it's been wet - make sure you have midge proof tent and cooking/eating area.
AnswerID: 235728

Reply By: Member - Ross H (QLD) - Wednesday, Apr 25, 2007 at 13:34

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2007 at 13:34
Hi Graeme
We done the cape last september towing a early model assie swag camper, up and back OTL.

My trip report is post 38399
and pics are post 38689

Just take care and drive to condition and make sure you have good tyres and shocks and remember it is not a race its a HOLIDAY!!!!.
Your car will sh$t it in just be careful at nolan brook (walk first)
Twin falls is a must for a couple of days.
regards ross
AnswerID: 235731

Reply By: Member - Duncs - Wednesday, Apr 25, 2007 at 13:54

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2007 at 13:54
You have bought yourself a very nice hammer.

Now go and knock in some nails.

AnswerID: 235732

Reply By: mrbasilbrush - Wednesday, Apr 25, 2007 at 15:52

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2007 at 15:52
Hi Graham, My mate and I have been preparing for the cape trip for the past 12 months.
We plan to head off around the 24th june for three weeks.
We do not have any particular planned program. We will just be taking it as it comes.
Providing nothing at home (Brisbane) stops us from heading off, we will be travelling in my 89` dual cab hilux and his 94` GQ Patrol LWB.

I`m sure your vehicle will be more than adequate for the trip.

See you there.

Happy travels

AnswerID: 235755

Follow Up By: Member - Graeme W (QLD) - Friday, Apr 27, 2007 at 17:57

Friday, Apr 27, 2007 at 17:57
Hi Mr Basilbrush.

It looks like we will be leaving around the same time, so lets try to stay in touch and maybe meet up along the way. I start 5 weeks leave on the 22nd and am leaving Brisbane.

FollowupID: 497332

Reply By: Pezza (Bris) - Wednesday, Apr 25, 2007 at 16:12

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2007 at 16:12
Hi Greame,
There is no "conservative road", there is only one way till you get to Bramwell Junction, from there on you have a choice of the OTL (Overland Telegraph Line) track or the Development Rd.
Most of Ross' photo's are of the OTL, this track changes from year to year but with your rig you won't have a problem, when I got to the gunshot there was a newly graded "highway" to the left of the steep crossings which you could have driven a commodore through, the following year it was gone so check it out when you get there, there is an easy bypass around if you don't want to do it.
The last half of Ross' pics are the northern half of the OTL which is a little rougher than the southern half, (Nolans Brook, the log bridges, etc.) if you don't want to do this bit you can take the Development rd from Elliot Falls to the Jardine river ferry.
If you're worried about scratches have a look at my rig pics, the photo of the bike 'head on' on the sandy track is the OTL and is as close as the foliage gets to the track.
On a whole, the corrugations on the development rd are the only thing that could give you any major dramas, as long as you use normal common sense, if you put good quality shocks on and lower your tyre pressures to around 25-30psi (depending on how much crap you have jammed in your car :-) and take it easy at say 40-60kph give or take, according to where you feel the most comfortable, you will have an enjoyable trip with no damage whatsoever.
You would be surprised at the amount of people that run up there with 50psi in the tyres and try to do 90kph because they're on a time limit, you will find they are the ones that "blow" shocks and do countless other damage.
The Hema 'Cape York' map should be the only map you need and the book 'Cape York an adventurer's guide' by Ron and Viv Moon is an extremely good source of info for the whole area.
Remember, your vehicle was built for this sort of travel and isn't this precisely what you bought it for?

AnswerID: 235760

Follow Up By: bob&loz - Saturday, Apr 28, 2007 at 22:19

Saturday, Apr 28, 2007 at 22:19
Pezza "there is only one way till you get to Bramwell Junction"

which is your one way. I have been up twice and have gone different ways each time. Last trip (2 cars 1 towing trak shak camper) Bloomfield Cooktown then up the coast through starke to cape Melville, Lakefield, Musgrave than Etc etc. On way back down to Laura than the old coach road to maytown and palmer river roadhouse.

Admittedly first trip was a good few years ago (1986 lone FJ55) and you probably would have trouble doing some of it now but up to palmer roadhouse, maytown, palmerville station, laura, weipa, stones crossing, agnew airfield, bramwell etc etc return was out to mouth of jardine and down the coast (in the ocean) to capt billys landing, musgrave, hanns crossing, old laura, cooktown, bloomfield

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Follow Up By: bob&loz - Sunday, Apr 29, 2007 at 09:42

Sunday, Apr 29, 2007 at 09:42
whoops i meant skirting the jardine via the east coast not the mouth
FollowupID: 497634

Follow Up By: Pezza (Bris) - Sunday, Apr 29, 2007 at 11:04

Sunday, Apr 29, 2007 at 11:04
Hi Bob,
Read the original post, do you really think the ways you mentioned are the most "conservative" tracks ?
If you would recomend the 'starke' track or 'the old stage coach track' out of Maytown to someone who is looking for "the most conservative roads" whist towing a camper trailer, then I don't think I'll be taking any of your recomendations !
There are another dozen or so ways other than yours if you include jetskis and bikes aswell, but I answered according to his post.

FollowupID: 497653

Reply By: pling - Wednesday, Apr 25, 2007 at 20:13

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2007 at 20:13
We did the Old Telegraph track 2 years ago in a GU 4.8 lt. Auto Patrol without any problems, apart from fuel consumption. Sure the trip back had bad corrigations but not as bad as the Anne Beadell.

We have a 2.5" lift Rancho suspension, roof rack and Bull bar.

Have done over 50,000 ks since the trip wih no problems and use my Patrol as daily transport around the city. Stop worrying, your Patrol will eat it, go and enjoy the trip.

Driving corrigations and camping in the bush is better than being sea sick!
AnswerID: 235797

Reply By: Member - Graeme W (QLD) - Friday, Apr 27, 2007 at 17:59

Friday, Apr 27, 2007 at 17:59
Hi All.

There have been so many positive responses from the membership that I feel more at ease, and pass my thanks to everyone who has responded.

Happy travelling to all.
AnswerID: 236227

Follow Up By: mrbasilbrush - Saturday, Apr 28, 2007 at 20:53

Saturday, Apr 28, 2007 at 20:53
Hi Graeme,
We will definately try and catch up with you and have a beer on the trip.
I george and mate michael are in our early 40`s and will be travelling with wives and kids. We are from Jimboomba and Victoria Pt.
Although as we do not have any schedule set for the trip, So I can`t say where we will be on any certain day.
We have decided to try and stay in tent parks with amenities to suit the girls better.

Regards George.
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Reply By: Member - Ross H (QLD) - Saturday, Apr 28, 2007 at 21:53

Saturday, Apr 28, 2007 at 21:53
Hi mr basilbrush
I like at victoria point and went up the cape last year so if you want to catch up I can show you some pics and maps.
Mobile in rig pics.
regards ross
AnswerID: 236496

Follow Up By: Member - Ross H (QLD) - Saturday, Apr 28, 2007 at 22:18

Saturday, Apr 28, 2007 at 22:18
should read LIVE at victoria point
FollowupID: 497581

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