Cooktown to Cape York

Submitted: Saturday, Apr 18, 2009 at 09:10
ThreadID: 67957 Views:6992 Replies:7 FollowUps:0
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Hi all,
My wife & I are going on a 3 month journey from Melbourne to Cape York. Our intention is to take our 16.5ft (not off-road)to Cooktown & then camp the rest of the way to the top; spending a couple of weeks in the area.
Is this the right approach with the van?
If we stay to the main roads from to Cape York are we likely to experience any tough driving conditions.
We are travelling by ourselves, have a 2006 Diesel Prado & it is our first big trip.
Any feedback would be appreciated. Will be away July till September.
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Reply By: Member - lyndon K (SA) - Saturday, Apr 18, 2009 at 10:46

Saturday, Apr 18, 2009 at 10:46
Hi Colin

Main road from Melbourne to Cooktown will be fine. I highly recommend the coast drive from Cairns to C/town, very pretty, you won’t be able to take your van though as it is very steep, allow at least a day each way, more if you have the time. Tent style accommodation is available at the Lion’s Den hotel about half way between Cairns and Cooktown. This track is an easy drive if taken slowly, not towing and no rain has fallen.
When in Cooktown visit the cemetery(take your insect repellent),and go to the top of grassy hill, walk or drive, just not with the van behind you! :)
Also go to the museum that is located in the old convent building, if you like history this will keep you busy for hours.
A drive down to quarantine bay is also worthwhile.

Cheers Lyndon
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AnswerID: 360114

Reply By: GoneTroppo Member (FNQ) - Saturday, Apr 18, 2009 at 10:54

Saturday, Apr 18, 2009 at 10:54
The main roads to the cape are not challenging as such, but corrugations are a major factor and if the van is not up to it will start to desintegrate pretty quickly.

Plus you'll end up wanting to go a see this and do that and will not be able to because of the van.

I ran a trip last year with 8 vehicles ex Victoria and three of then left their van here on our property (just south of Cairns) then tented it.

They were all really glad that they did!!
AnswerID: 360118

Reply By: Member - Bob C (NSW) - Saturday, Apr 18, 2009 at 12:05

Saturday, Apr 18, 2009 at 12:05
Hi Colin
My wife and I did the trip 3 yrs ago on our own and loved it.We left the van at Lakelands caravan park [for a nominal fee] and tented from there in a Rodeo Twin Cab without a scrap of trouble.We took the bypass road and found the trip easy enough driving to the conditions. The campground at Seisia is great and the fishing off the wharf good fun.called in to Weipa on the way back.Picked up the van and went into Cooktown for a few days before calling at Port Douglas a great base to explore from.Good luck and happy travelling
AnswerID: 360139

Reply By: wendys - Saturday, Apr 18, 2009 at 18:45

Saturday, Apr 18, 2009 at 18:45
When we did Cape, left van at Wonga (near Daintree). This enabled us to drive the Bloomfield Track as part of the Cape trip. We took the Battlecamp road to Lakefield NP. Recommend a stay at Kalpowar camp area. Seisia camp is wonderful. We also stayed Punsand. You may find the bypass roads corrugated - just drive carefully. Watch out for Dip signs and believe them! A Cape Dip can be a 20 foot deep gully with a big gutter in the bottom - beware. Recommend a side trip to Chilli Beach/Iron Range - do it on way south as you will, by then, have a "feel" for Cape tracks and conditions. On way north, deviate for a short way onto the OTL track to visit Twin, Elliott, Fruit Bat Falls - a real highlight of Cape. Enjoy the trip.
AnswerID: 360210

Reply By: kiwicol - Saturday, Apr 18, 2009 at 23:39

Saturday, Apr 18, 2009 at 23:39
Hi Col, The road from Cairns to Cooktown is great, but you miss out on some of the best rainforest by not travelling through the bloomfield track. Leaving the van in Cairns Or the Tablelands is a better way to go. Travel up the creb track and come home the Bloomfield track and you will see some of the best country going. I am a local living at Tolga, and have travelled these routes many times. I have acerage so if you need to leave the van safely with no charge, no problems. Just email for any help . Regards Col
AnswerID: 360255

Reply By: Beddo - Sunday, Apr 19, 2009 at 18:17

Sunday, Apr 19, 2009 at 18:17
The bypass roads are WIDE corrugated boring roads, take the OTL it is slow going but interesting, when I did it a few years ago now it was not that difficult. You need though with a Prado, we use them at work all the time, recommend 2 inch lift & snorkel. What I liked about the OTL was the creek crossing it was a challenge but we only had water to head light level, the difficult crossing like the first we encountered Palm creek or so had alternate crossings that were easier. It was fun watching people attempt the harder options - not sure whether they made it there.
I would recommend Battlecamp road back to Cooktown on the return, we took the inland route first then returned via Battlecamp Rd - glad we did, we found this road to be the most corrugated & we had our only issue with the vehicle here - battery shifted sideways & broke an earth lead.
Have Fun, cheers Beddo
AnswerID: 360389

Reply By: Member - Colin D (VIC) - Monday, Apr 27, 2009 at 21:42

Monday, Apr 27, 2009 at 21:42
Thanks to all who responded. We will head north with a lot more confidence with the knowledge given. Appreciate the support of all & the offer of accommodation of van etc. May give an email closer to the event.
AnswerID: 361955

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