Quick Cape York Trip

Submitted: Monday, Jan 12, 2009 at 22:10
ThreadID: 65068 Views:3060 Replies:9 FollowUps:13
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I have been planning a run to Cape York with my family in June and was allowing 21 days for the entire return trip from the Gold Coast where they live.

Some of my family have now told me that they have only 16 days in total that they have free to do the trip. There will be plenty of drivers in the 4 cars for sharing the hours behind the wheel so the cars can cover a fair distance each day without worrying about driver fatigue etc.

Is this enough time for them to do a return trip from the Gold Coast? Is it still possible to do the OTL in one direction?

I realise that it will mean there is no time for enjoying the sights on the way but hey, they are city folk so what else can I do? Ha!

Thanks in advance.

BW
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Reply By: Olsen's 4WD Tours and Training - Monday, Jan 12, 2009 at 22:18

Monday, Jan 12, 2009 at 22:18
Hey it is once in a lifetime...convince them to take the time
AnswerID: 344004

Follow Up By: Big Woody - Monday, Jan 12, 2009 at 22:23

Monday, Jan 12, 2009 at 22:23
I totally agree but their employers aren't quite as understanding.

We have even been playing with the option of getting their car up there on the train and we can have it ready for them when they arrive by plane in cairns. That would give us 14 days for the return trip to the tip and they can fly home again and we will take their car home for them.

Flights to Cairns are so cheap now and it looks like it is only about $260 one way for their car from Bris-Cairns on the train. That is cheaper than diesel.

BW
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FollowupID: 611860

Reply By: Kev - Member - Wynnum - Monday, Jan 12, 2009 at 22:24

Monday, Jan 12, 2009 at 22:24
Hi Woody,

It will be a very quick trip. You can do Gold Coast to Cairns in 23hrs non stop changing drivers of course. You won't do it in quick time if you have children in any of the cars.

That will leave you 14 days to do the cape. That's about the normal time that is allocated with one night stands at each location.

Kev
AnswerID: 344006

Follow Up By: Big Woody - Monday, Jan 12, 2009 at 22:33

Monday, Jan 12, 2009 at 22:33
Thanks Kev,

No kids on this trip and no women either so unless Murphy has his way with us there shouldn't be any hold-ups. Ha!

BW
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FollowupID: 611862

Reply By: Crackles - Monday, Jan 12, 2009 at 22:29

Monday, Jan 12, 2009 at 22:29
Know of a group that took 16 days from Melbourne return so yes it's more than possible from the Gold Coast. Suggest a couple of long days to get to Mareeba & the same on the way back leaving 11 days of steady driving to look around the Cape & one spare in case of Murhpy. This would give possibly 3 days around the tip.
Not ideal but if time is short is far better than staying at home :-)
Cheers Craig............
AnswerID: 344008

Follow Up By: Big Woody - Monday, Jan 12, 2009 at 22:37

Monday, Jan 12, 2009 at 22:37
Hi Crackles,

Wow, 16 days return from Vic sounds like a mission. Would love to do the OTL on the way up if we can fit it in.
Sounds like it might just be achievable if we are prepared for some 24hr runs between GC and Cairns.

BW
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FollowupID: 611868

Follow Up By: Crackles - Monday, Jan 12, 2009 at 22:54

Monday, Jan 12, 2009 at 22:54
Forget the 24 hour driving. I find it pointless as you're only going to need a rest day to get over it. If as has been suggested it's a 24 hour drive to Cairns then break it down to 2 x 12 hour days up & back. Many of the tour companies are doing the Cape including side trips in only 12 days anyway.
The 16 day trip was in the bad old days when there was no easy Development road & included crossing the Jardine & Wenlock rivers as well as a side trip out to Thursday Island.
The only hassle you may have is there is not much leeway allowing for a breakdown.
Cheers Craig............
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FollowupID: 611880

Follow Up By: Big Woody - Monday, Jan 12, 2009 at 23:03

Monday, Jan 12, 2009 at 23:03
Wise advice Crackles.

If the breakdown happens then we will deal with it. There will be enough vehicles and drivers in the group that those restricted by deadlines will be able reshuffle throughout the other vehicles and get back to Cairns to fly home if necessary. The rest of us will wait out the repairs.

Thanks for your help.

BW
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FollowupID: 611884

Reply By: Mrbrush - Monday, Jan 12, 2009 at 22:40

Monday, Jan 12, 2009 at 22:40
EASY, We did it in in 2 1/2 weeks
Brisbane - rocky cabin 1 night
Rocky - Townsville motel 1 night
townsville - food shopping at cairns - Daintree camp 1 night
Daintree-cooktown-laura camp 1 night
Laura-archer river camp 1 night
archer river-tele track-gunshot ck camp 1 night
gunshot-fruitbat falls- twin elliot falls - punsand bay camp 3 night
Punsand bay - seisha camp 1 night (wish we had stayed here longer)
Seisha - archer river camp 1 night
archer river - cairns motel 3 nights
cairns - ayr motel 1 night
ayr - marybourough friends 1 night
marybourough - Brisbane

Didn`nt see Weipa,or Lockhart river area as we were`nt sure how much time we needed.
Next time we`ll know.
AnswerID: 344012

Follow Up By: Mrbrush - Monday, Jan 12, 2009 at 22:44

Monday, Jan 12, 2009 at 22:44
Sorry missed a spot.
cairns - rocky cabin 1 night
then to ayr
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FollowupID: 611874

Follow Up By: Big Woody - Monday, Jan 12, 2009 at 22:50

Monday, Jan 12, 2009 at 22:50
Thanks Mrbrush,
That is very helpful info that we will consider as we plan the trip.

I am based near Bundaberg so already have a 500km headstart on them but I don't have the deadlines either so I think I will stretch it out a little bit and spen a couple of days at a friends house on Thursday Island while I am up there.

BW
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FollowupID: 611876

Reply By: rumpig - Monday, Jan 12, 2009 at 22:53

Monday, Jan 12, 2009 at 22:53
yes it's possible to do the OTL in one direction, either north or south or even both if you have the time which you obviously don't.
just chose the way you want, most people usually do it on the run north, then those who don't want to return that way use the developmental road for the return leg home. alternately you can go up the developmental road and do the OTL on the run south.
AnswerID: 344015

Follow Up By: Big Woody - Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 16:31

Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 16:31
Yes if we can fit the OTL in then I agree with most people that it would be better to tackle on the way up.
That way if we are running behind schedule on the way south we can travel more swiftly on the new road.

Thanks for your feedback.

BW
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FollowupID: 612001

Reply By: Olsen's 4WD Tours and Training - Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 08:01

Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 08:01
While Gunshot Creek is no longer much of a challenge, that could change this wet season. Gunshot is best approached from the south. So most do the OTL on the way up.
AnswerID: 344037

Reply By: Von Helga - Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 08:15

Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 08:15
BW,
Google "Sea swift" and have a look at the Trinity Bay as a one way driving option.
I would highly recommend it.
Trevor
AnswerID: 344040

Follow Up By: Big Woody - Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 16:28

Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 16:28
Thanks VH,

That is an interesting option we had not considered.
It would be great to see the coastline of the cape all the way to the top.

We will keep this in mind when planning.

BW
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FollowupID: 611999

Reply By: Willem - Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 08:29

Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 08:29
BW

You mention 4 cars.

What are you actually driving to Cape York??


Cheers
AnswerID: 344044

Follow Up By: Big Woody - Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 16:21

Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 16:21
G'day Willem,

I drive an 80 series Landcruiser with 1HZ diesel. It is not pretty but quite well set up for off-road touring and gets used for running to and from our farm and bush work most of the time. Heaps of scratches down the side etc. but is well maintained mechanically.

The other vehicles will be a GU Patrol and 2 x '99 model Pajero's.

Cheers,

BW
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FollowupID: 611997

Follow Up By: Willem - Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 16:29

Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 16:29
Ah! You had me worried there...stating cars!!.....LOL


Cheers
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FollowupID: 612000

Follow Up By: Big Woody - Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 16:40

Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 16:40
Ah but Willem,

I read a detailed article once with photo's of an english tourist in the late eighties that arrived in cairns and brought an XW falcon sedan for $300, a steel jerry can, and a 2nd spare wheel/tyre from the wreckers.
He took his time up the OTL all the way to the tip and back without so much as a breakdown.

I think a high percentage of our modern day drama's when travelling remotely can be attributed to our impatience. If we took the time to nurse both ourselves and our vehicles through the bush then we would both come out looking better not to mention our impact on the bush itself would be minimised.

Deadlines!! Grr!!! I can't stand them. That is why I have not worn a watch for 25 years.


BW

p.s - sorry for the confusion with the language (cars/4wd/trucks) I don't know what to call them. Ha!
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FollowupID: 612004

Follow Up By: Willem - Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 19:17

Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 19:17
BW

Yes you can go many places with an ordinary car if you you are careful. All types of vehicles have been up the Cape and across the deserts for that matter. I think that the path to the Cape is well worn by now and as things improve the roads may even get better and easier. I haven't been that way yet but having lived in the tropics for 20 odd years there is no great urgency to go that way.

These days I take it easy on my annual journeys...save the old oiler and save the trailer and go and enjoy the great remoteness of the land.

No, I haven't worn a watch for as long as I can remember either....lol


Cheers
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FollowupID: 612038

Reply By: deserter - Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 17:41

Tuesday, Jan 13, 2009 at 17:41
We had to come back from the top in a bit of a hurry last year. We came down the Development road and did Siesa down to Archer River roadhouse the first day then from there to Mareeba the next day. Was pretty easy driving. So take more time on the way up then just scoot back.
AnswerID: 344135

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