Arnhem Land - Cobourg Peninsula

Submitted: Saturday, Jan 19, 2008 at 19:26
ThreadID: 53673 Views:7510 Replies:6 FollowUps:7
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We are going to Arnhem Land - up to the Cobourg Peninsula (Gurig National Park) in August with a Landcruiser 100 series and a 16ft pop top full off-road caravan. We have the Permit for access. We have been told by the National Park that the store and cabins (Cobourg Adventures) at Black Point have now been closed and not likely to be open for this coming season. The tours, fuel supply and boat hire are also closed.

Does anyone know the road conditions between the Border Store and Black Point.

We would like to go to the Victoria Settlement. We have been told that there is only boat access to Victoria Settlement and with no boat hire available we would like to know if there is another alternative. We think there is a 4WD track going up to the Seven Spirit Bay Resort and possibily 4WD access to Victoria Settlement.
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Reply By: The Rambler( W.A.) - Saturday, Jan 19, 2008 at 21:11

Saturday, Jan 19, 2008 at 21:11
Hi Wendy,
I am not suprised that the store,cabins, fuelsupply,and boat hire are now closed at Black Point as Iwent up there a few years ago and was VERY dissapointed with the whole set up.In fact all the peaple in our campground did not stay the full term of the permit as they were also not impressed..Don't go here ,this track closed, Don't do this etc.Even closed access to the jetty but the visiting army were allowed on to the jetty.The track from the border store was quite corrugated and at the time caravan access was not advised--it may be different now.Idon't know about the Victoria settlement but I certainly won't be doing another trip up there.Eastern Arnhem Land (Gove etc.) was mich better in my opinion.
AnswerID: 282563

Follow Up By: fruers - Sunday, Jan 20, 2008 at 00:13

Sunday, Jan 20, 2008 at 00:13
I went out to the end of the jetty to take a picture of a big croc carrying a pig, see below!

I do alot of things that most people would regard as stupid (like climbing down mitchell falls and standing behind the waterfall), and normally I reckon the rangers are overreacting, but I think they were right in this case, the jetty was in pretty dodgy shape.

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Reply By: Member - John P (NT) - Saturday, Jan 19, 2008 at 22:41

Saturday, Jan 19, 2008 at 22:41
The road up to Cobourg is usually bad to terrible unless it has just been graded ,which doesn't happen very often.
Victoria settlement can only be reached by boat so far as I know.
I know the ranger out there so I will try and give him a ring and post the result when I get on to him.
I think it is a great spot but it sound as though you will have to be more self sufficient now.
all the bestJohn P
AnswerID: 282596

Follow Up By: Member - Wendy C (NSW) - Saturday, Jan 19, 2008 at 23:29

Saturday, Jan 19, 2008 at 23:29
Thanks John. That would be great to hear what the Ranger has to say about the road and also about getting across to the Victoria Settlement.
Wendy C
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Reply By: Grandma June - Saturday, Jan 19, 2008 at 22:54

Saturday, Jan 19, 2008 at 22:54
Hi Wendy

I am sorry to hear that the store at least is closed, and we also used the fuel supply. The store was very useful and carried most everything. We were there in '93, admittedly a long time ago now, and had a great time. It was our kind of recreation and enjoyment and we had two weeks there. The fishing was great and that's mostly what we did, apart from my beachcombing.

The only way possible then to Victoria Settlement was to take the tour boat which carried about 6-8 people. It was about a 1/2hr trip if I remember rightly. The tour operator then had to complete a few trips to ferry us all in a tinny to the shore, telling us that he had to keep a lookout for the local croc! I don't know about road access there though, I suspect not.

Hire boats were not allowed to go that far. They were only for local fishing which we did one day for 1/2 a day.

Road conditions at that time between Border Store and Black Point were "mostly" fantastic - like a highway. It was only after passing Murganella that the road deteriorated, and that was for a further approx 30kms. When I say deteriorated I just mean corrugations.

I know I haven't answered your question about access to Victoria Settlement, but I feel sure that they wouldn't have changed things as they were very strict then about only boat access.

I feel sure however that the road conditions I have mentioned between Border Store and Black Point should be much the same as they seem to keep them in good condition, except perhaps for the section past Murganella.

We only took a tent with us at the time although we towed a trailer. Caravans were not allowed and we weren't even supposed to be towing a trailer.

I hope you have a good time as this place is my favourite place in Australia and I really hope to go back there one day. I was in tears the day we left and my husband never lets me forget that. I hope you will give us a report on your return.

AnswerID: 282600

Reply By: Member - BIGMARK (QLD) - Saturday, Jan 19, 2008 at 22:58

Saturday, Jan 19, 2008 at 22:58
Hi Wendy,
We went up there and camped for a week about 3 yrs ago and were lucky enough to have "followed" the grader in and only got some bad corrugations for the last 20km but was completed on the way out.We had a camper trailer and tinny.The fishing was good,the oysters were better.Crab pots are not allowed but we caught them with a wire on stick under the rock ledges at low tide.Seeing that the store is now closed you will need to be fully self sufficient,especially your fuel.Victoria settlement is a boat trip.I dont think I would attempt to drive there.We loved Cobourg and will be going back.
AnswerID: 282603

Reply By: fruers - Saturday, Jan 19, 2008 at 23:51

Saturday, Jan 19, 2008 at 23:51
When I was there in June the grader had just finished grading the whole road so the conditions were outstanding. A couple of people overtook us doing 110+.

The ranger informed me that they grade the road once at the beginning of the season and once toward the end (some time around October).

During the week we were there, the road in the park itself was deteriorating pretty quickly, so I would think that by August it would be very corrugated with a few deep bulldust patches. On the way back, a late season storm had dumped 50mm of rain overnight and the coopers creek at Oenpelli was flowing over the road and around 600mm deep and 200m wide. It wasn't something we expected as there wasn't a drop of rain at Cobourg. We put the tarp on and got some good photos (see below).

Have you enquired with National Parks about the caravan, as they specifically say that they are not allowed.

The rest of this is a bit of rant and not all that relevant to the question asked :).

Without a boat, and favourable conditions to match, you'll pretty much be limited to a short coastal drive and the caiman creek mouth.

The side of the point where the cabins are is awesome compared to the bleep ty NP campground set WAY back from the beach and adjoining a swamp (which you can't see, but the mosquitos will let you know about it). I thought that the camping ground was good but could have utilised the area better without causing any more disturbance.

Some of the area is used for commercial, safari style hunting of the feral Banteng cattle which roam the peninsula (you should see some around the place if you get up early, they're actually a nice looking cow). This obviously makes those areas a no go zone for the average punter.

Imagine the Garig Gunak Barlu NP as the size of your hand, without prior research and arrangements, the land area you're allowed to access is the size of your thumb pad.

A campground with facilities was built in the far reaches of the park at Araru, but is not accessible. I didn't hear or read about this anywhere until we arrived at the ranger station and it was on the big map on the sign out the front. I got the impression from the ranger that this was to create more of a remote/isolated experience (which I don't think that the black point area provides) for those that wanted it. He told us that it had never been used due to problems with road access (through the outstations).

We used the hire tinnies to go down to the settlement and also do some fishing which was pretty good, but you had to pick the conditions. I wasn't a very experienced boater at the time, actually I'd never taken a boat out on open water before, but I'm a pretty experienced surfer and waited 3 days for the right conditions and left at daybreak to get there and back. I reckon this was the only time it was safe to take the tinnies down there. The tidal race with a fair bit of chop on it makes it uncomfortable at best. I dunno, a more experienced boater might have taken it in their stride :-), other guys who had their own tinnies took the tour boat, but that might have been for other reasons.

There were a lot of crocs around, in and around the caiman creek mouth and we saw one from the boat ramp which was carrying a massive pig. We saw it at 5.30pm, the guys from the hunting camp had seen it swimming past their camp at 12.30pm which I think was almost 10 k's away!

The land fishing from the sand bar at caiman creek is awesome if you fish the right tides, but unless you wait for the tide to come and go, you need to be a bit mobile to scramble up the headland. I found the land fishing from the Port Bremer side ordinary, with heaps of sharks.

My girlfriend just told me to write that if you don't fish then a week is too long to spend there, haha.
AnswerID: 282616

Follow Up By: The Rambler( W.A.) - Sunday, Jan 20, 2008 at 00:05

Sunday, Jan 20, 2008 at 00:05
Sounds like nothing has changed since Iwas there.There are a lot better places to go.
FollowupID: 547128

Follow Up By: fruers - Sunday, Jan 20, 2008 at 00:06

Sunday, Jan 20, 2008 at 00:06
Pics didn't show up for some reason, here are some direct links:
Croc with pig
Coopers Creek (wasn't even a puddle here on the way in!)

It's funny to see the varied reactions to Cobourg, some people love it while others really dislike it. The majority of the people I spoke to while there disliked the way the area had been utilised. We also had fickle weather (windy) which might have soured some peoples experience.

My personal opinion is that it's a great place if you want a comfortable stay in a developed area. If you're more adventurous and enjoy a bit more freedom, there are other less disturbed areas to focus your travels.

FollowupID: 547129

Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic)&Kath - Sunday, Jan 20, 2008 at 09:39

Sunday, Jan 20, 2008 at 09:39

and your other one
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Follow Up By: Member - vivien C (VIC) - Sunday, Jan 20, 2008 at 10:33

Sunday, Jan 20, 2008 at 10:33
John R,

your quote is priceless....but I think there's a law against that sort of thing now.

FollowupID: 547167

Follow Up By: Member - JohnR (Vic)&Kath - Sunday, Jan 20, 2008 at 12:01

Sunday, Jan 20, 2008 at 12:01
Ahh, Viv, so you read Latin? Well done ;-))) That education paid off, tell your Dad.
FollowupID: 547184

Reply By: Peter 2 - Sunday, Jan 20, 2008 at 15:56

Sunday, Jan 20, 2008 at 15:56
As far as I remember both times we've visited they have not allowed caravans at all, they didn't like us even towing the flip over camper and people towing boats were actively discouraged from doing so.
Good spot but the camping is so so and if not into fishing a week is a long time up there.
AnswerID: 282709

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