Bathurst Bay, Cape York

Submitted: Thursday, May 22, 2003 at 22:44
ThreadID: 5079 Views:3627 Replies:5 FollowUps:7
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Hi all
I am doing Cape York in July, on a dirt bike tourer(please don't throw empty tinnies at me, I have a 4WD as well) One route I am hoping to take is
Cooktown - Melville NP - Bathurst Bay - Lakefield - Musgrave. By the map this is a total distance of 433km between fuel stops. I will have a maximum fuel capacity of 30L, this gives me a range of 450km under general off road conditions. Can anybody guess my concern?? All I have read about this track says that it is "slow going" especially from Starkie to Bathurst bay. I need to know if it is slow going because you have to pick your way or if it is slow due to soft sand. So long as a road is hard packed (corrogations don't matter) my fuel economy can actually improve on the bike unless I have to drop down to second or third gear for extended periods. If a road is a soft sand track, my fuel usage goes through the roof. Does anybody have good knowledge of this track?? Also are there any deep water crossings? How deep?
Any advice will be much appreciated.
PS How do you add a piccy to your post?
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Reply By: Tony - Friday, May 23, 2003 at 07:23

Friday, May 23, 2003 at 07:23
There are some sections that are only slow due to the long grass and windy track, on a bike that should not be to much of a problem, but does require carefull riding and be on the lookout for fallen trees and limbs across the track.

Most crossings are ok but very washed out but not much deeper than knee deep.

I would carry a spare 5lt just in case.
AnswerID: 20830

Follow Up By: Johno - Friday, May 23, 2003 at 23:42

Friday, May 23, 2003 at 23:42
Thanks Tony
Unfortunately my 30L fuel load includes a 10L jerry can. My mate and I will be on the road for 3-4 weeks and will have a fair load. The trick with the bike is to travel light to avoid breaking your frame/racks. We do have a couple of outs if needed. 1. Turn around after 10 litres if the maths dictates. 2. Divert to Laura if needed and save about 25km.
3. Walk

Regards Johno
FollowupID: 13490

Reply By: Member - Tony and Helen - Friday, May 23, 2003 at 10:03

Friday, May 23, 2003 at 10:03
Hello Johno
I have a friend told me he heard that the road thru starkie and up to the jeannie has been graded, he left last w/end for the trip so will find out early next month when he returns, I will post again when i hear from him.
Wish I was with him!!
Hit THE MY RIG button in the members bar at the topshe said you're
not going
down there with
me in here!
AnswerID: 20841

Follow Up By: Johno - Friday, May 23, 2003 at 23:46

Friday, May 23, 2003 at 23:46
Thanks Tony
A recent track report would be great!

Regards Johno
FollowupID: 13491

Follow Up By: Member - Tony and Helen - Wednesday, Jun 11, 2003 at 09:37

Wednesday, Jun 11, 2003 at 09:37
Hi ya Johno
See post 5403
starkie area
Tonyshe said you're
not going
down there with
me in here!
FollowupID: 14655

Reply By: Troopie - Friday, May 23, 2003 at 15:14

Friday, May 23, 2003 at 15:14
G'day Johno
I went in that way last year (not on a bike) - but while I was at Bathurst Bay two blokes came in who'd just done it on bikes - and they were knackered! Both said they wouldn't bother again - not sure why as Bathurst Bay is a magic spot!!

Anyhow - the last section into BB can be very soft. The soil there turns into a sort of white/grey talc and can be quite deep in places. I'd image this would play play havoc with your consumption - but it's only on the section that leads out to BB proper.

I think I'd err on the side of caution - if you're gonna do it I'd carry some extra.

Have Fun!
AnswerID: 20866

Follow Up By: Johno - Friday, May 23, 2003 at 23:56

Friday, May 23, 2003 at 23:56
Thanks Troopie
Some guys forget that the destination justifies the trip, shouldn't call themselves bikers. Could you also advise me if there is a reliable supply of fresh water at Bathurst? Water is another luxury that we have to ration.

Cheers Johno
FollowupID: 13492

Follow Up By: Troopie - Sunday, May 25, 2003 at 15:28

Sunday, May 25, 2003 at 15:28
G'day Johno
You are certainly right - Bathurst Bay is an amazing place! Quiet though - don't want too many people finding out!

One of the beuties of Bathurst Bay (of which there are many) is there is a source of pristine freshwater near by.

The track out to Bathurst Bay heads basically dead north from the turnoff. When you get to the Bay you drive up onto a low dune and the beach stretches away to the west and east. To get to the fresh water stream, there is a turn to the right a bit before that last dune (maybe a few hundred meters at most). This track basically wanders along behind the beach heading toward a large headland (a small stream will emerge on your left, at one point there is track that turns to the left across this stream and heads back to the beach and more great camping). Anyhow, basically follow this main track (the stream stays on your left) till the track ends in the rocks at the base of the headland (it's a couple of kilometers from the initial turn-off). Where the stream emerges from the boulders are some great little pools of fresh clean water. I know I don't have to say it - but keep the water clean! Don't wash/toilet anywhere near this spot!

If you're still not sure I suggest you get the Moon's book "Cape York - An adventurers Guide" - all this trip and the details of how to get to the water are in it.

Have a good trip!
FollowupID: 13562

Reply By: Member - Bonz (Vic) - Saturday, May 24, 2003 at 00:38

Saturday, May 24, 2003 at 00:38

A work mate did the cape on a touring dirt bike with a mate, he just made it between fuel stops, like smell of an oily rag type of just made it but absolutely loved the trip

go for it I saySo many places to go!
So much work to do :0(
AnswerID: 20902

Follow Up By: Johno - Sunday, May 25, 2003 at 22:39

Sunday, May 25, 2003 at 22:39
Thanks Bonz
I've actually done the Cape on a bike before, in 1990. Back then the mate and I had little time and one objective, GET TO THE TOP. We did the trip from Cairns and back to Cairns in five days and saw absolutely nothing except for 2000 km's of corrogations. This time we have a lot more time and intend on seeing as much of the Cape as we can. We have to carry 10L jerry's to get from Archer river to Bamaga and expect to have about 4 or 5L left, but the Bathurst bay trek pushes fuel calculations to the limit. But from what Troopie has been telling me it is a place I will have to go. I will probably tie on some Zig bottles to give me that safety net. I should be able to trade off the extra weight and space by leaving my spare jocks behind, LOL

Cheers Johno
FollowupID: 13598

Reply By: Guy - Monday, Jun 09, 2003 at 10:59

Monday, Jun 09, 2003 at 10:59
We are going on the 18 Junhe 2003.
Do you want to come?
Look at our posting 5350 - 09 june 2003 in this forum
AnswerID: 22109

Follow Up By: Johno - Monday, Jun 09, 2003 at 22:19

Monday, Jun 09, 2003 at 22:19
G'day Guy
Thanks for the offer, but my mate and I aren't leaving Brisbane till the 29 June. We will probably arrive at Melville a week after you leave. We will also be heading through Lakefield on the way north, but have made no specific travel itinery. We plan to take things one day at a time and see where we end up. We may bump into you up there, keep an eye out for two guys on identical bikes. Blue Yamaha XTZ660's. If you have access to the internet before 1st July I would appreciate a road report on the Cooktown-Melville-Lakefield section. Please post me here or email if possible.
FollowupID: 14552

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