Back from the Cape and................

Submitted: Tuesday, Sep 23, 2003 at 20:51
ThreadID: 7392 Views:2269 Replies:19 FollowUps:38
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We and 98% of others we talked to on our way home, have found the Cape trip a complete waste of money and time on an over rated getaway. I know we travelled up there after the "tourist season" and the drought had its affect on the area but - a blind bat can see it is over rated. We found the OTL was the only worthwhile part of the trip, and it isn't worth the round trip on the heavily corrugated roads. Mechanically, we only had minor brake problems which ended up an expensive outlay while up top, only to find they hadn't corrected the problem after a couple of return trips back to the mechanic. So we headed for Mareeba from Seisa travelling the bypass roads using our gears for the rest of the trip back, to get them seen by another mechanic - more money. Truthfully the bypass roads were no worse than the roads below and above the OTL. We were told by some very disappointed travellers that we had saved our money by not going to Thursday Island, as it has lost its culture and there are a lot of shops closed down. To us, the beaches were no more special than what we have around us here. Maybe for those who live in the city see it in a different light of skill, thrill and adventure, but we find we have the same type of adventure right here on our doorstep without the many kilometres of rough road to see only a little here and there. Don't let us turn you off, find out for yourself, just do your research before heading off, ask a lot of questions on your way up, especially in caravan parks and rest areas.
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Reply By: Stephen - Tuesday, Sep 23, 2003 at 21:21

Tuesday, Sep 23, 2003 at 21:21
You don't say where you are from, but I can only add that I have heard this all before and have been advised to go elsewhere !! Its a hell of a drive from Sydney and its an up and back trip ... long mileages ...
AnswerID: 31812

Follow Up By: Member - Geoff & Jen - Tuesday, Sep 23, 2003 at 21:55

Tuesday, Sep 23, 2003 at 21:55
We are from Qld and I feel our Gov. can spend a lot more money in the bush if they want to boost the tourism in these natural areas for all to see without pouring the $ into revamping the Suncorp stadium etc. etc. and worthless crap in the city. We met a bloke from Melbourne along the way and he had met so many people who were so negative of the cape that he cancelled his tagalong tour. He had planned to be on the road a couple of years so wasn't prepared to wreck his vehicle on one trip.
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Follow Up By: Eric from Cape York Connections - Tuesday, Sep 23, 2003 at 22:13

Tuesday, Sep 23, 2003 at 22:13
Geoff & Jan The bloke from melbourne wast going to see mutch if he wasnt going to go on the ruff roads or did he not go because you didnt like the cape.
All the best
EricCape York Connections
FollowupID: 22703

Follow Up By: Kev - (Cairns,QLD) - Tuesday, Sep 23, 2003 at 22:27

Tuesday, Sep 23, 2003 at 22:27
Forget the Gov spending money in the bush, the whole reason you go bush is to get away from all that.
Some of the best destinations i have been to over the years have now got a bitunen road there & every thing is fenced off & charging fees to camp. That just wrecks it for me !

As said you need to leave the beaten track to see the real side of the trip.
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Reply By: Kev - (Cairns,QLD) - Tuesday, Sep 23, 2003 at 21:23

Tuesday, Sep 23, 2003 at 21:23
How long did you spend up there ?

Did you cruise straight up, stay at a caravan park & come back again ???
You need to get off the beaten track.

Maybe people expect to much, each to ther own.
AnswerID: 31814

Follow Up By: Member - Geoff - Tuesday, Sep 23, 2003 at 22:11

Tuesday, Sep 23, 2003 at 22:11
Kev, we are from Qld and had planned to spend a few weeks up there, but had stayed in a number of places over the 10 days and returned back to travel across to Kurumba from Mareeba and had a great time with good communication in the car without the distubing noise of the corrugations. No , we didn't expect a smooth and easy road, but it wasn't worth the kilometres for what we had seen, when we can travel in remote areas within 400klms around here on good surfaces and yet have as much or more rugged terrain with water to do some 4x4 driving with just as beautiful deserted beaches. The concentration in driving over these corugated and dusthole roads didn't give the driver time to admire any scenery, unless he had hired a vehicle and couldn't give a stuff to what had happened to the suspension and the everything else that is held together with weld or bolts.
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Follow Up By: Eric from Cape York Connections - Tuesday, Sep 23, 2003 at 22:33

Tuesday, Sep 23, 2003 at 22:33
You can now blame the gov on a bad holiday.
All the best
EricCape York Connections
FollowupID: 22709

Follow Up By: Member - Geoff & Jen - Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 07:16

Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 07:16
I did not particually specify the cape roads when I blame the gov for bad roads. If you read it properly, I said the bush, which entails our whole trip from Rocky - Charters Towers- Mareeba up to the tip. There is such a thing as road saftety, and when you have to drive on the wrong side of the road including over hills, to dodge heavy corrugations or pot/dust holes, this is when roads should be upgraded to a point of safety. There is a lot of traffic on the cape road (I am not referring to the OTl here, when speed limits are naturally kept to a minimum) I am talking of the amount of tourists, locals, semitrailers and army using this corrugated road as a highway and some ( especially 4x4 drivers) do not give a stuff to the other drivers on the road or the vehicle they are driving, when they hit speeds beyond the roads capability. So a little upgrading in dangerous places would not go astray, mainly to protect the innocent.
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Follow Up By: Voxson (Adelaide) - Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 08:02

Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 08:02
Hey You.... No-one "HAS TO" drive over hills on the wrong side of the road to dodge anything..... What a dumb thing to say.....
I know i wouldnt drive over a hill on the wrong side of the road just to stop some bumps from causing me discomfort when you could be "and probably would be" going to cause a head on accident....

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Reply By: Willie - Tuesday, Sep 23, 2003 at 21:35

Tuesday, Sep 23, 2003 at 21:35
Hi Geoff and Jen,
Sorry to hear that you had an unhappy trip. The Cape, like all other places, has its own charm, its own environmnet and its own eco systems. Getting to remote places normally does mean travelling roads that are not in good condition. Doing a rushed trip to anywhere does have its share of detractions. Some people go north for the travelling, some for the fishing, some for the history and some just to get away from it all and to relax in crystal clear pools and to laze in the sun. You have to take it as it comes and enjoy what you experience. Yeah, and vehicles can break down anywhere.
Never a dull moment
AnswerID: 31817

Reply By: Eric from Cape York Connections - Tuesday, Sep 23, 2003 at 22:02

Tuesday, Sep 23, 2003 at 22:02
Geof And Jan how long were you away for. I must addmit TI has changed over the last 5 years either you like it or you dont did you go to horn Il. Were are the beaches you are talking about that are better than around us. What did you expect to see up inthe cape.
Also did you travell with any one else. Also were did you go, a breif run down please. What did you mean about the round trip around the otl . Ihave done the top about 10 times and cant wait till next season.Who are you going to ask all the questions in what caravan parks and rest areas. If you have all the same sights in your back yard it must be unbelevable, so you wont need to leave home agian.
All the best
Cape York Connections
AnswerID: 31828

Follow Up By: Member - Geoff - Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 08:04

Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 08:04
Eric, we travelled in a convoy of 6 vehicles, 1 of the 6 said they might go back. The others say seen it done it, thats it. As far as the people we were talking about cancelling their tagalong, they had done it days before we met them, as they had heard details before they left home, and after travelling for a few months had picked up more negatives, therefore cancelled. So apologise please!! we had nothing to do with it. We were told they were to grade the road after we have left, so maybe people who go now or early in the season get a good deal,plus with the business and area you are in you have a choice and the insight when would be the best ime to travel. We haven't, we have a holiday once in 3 years and cannot afford the time to take off months. So you can brag of your 10 times, good on you. As far as rest areas and C'parks (apparently you don't know what goes on between the travellers) it is a place of information which you gather up and then weigh up, in time figure it out for yourself. We got to see many great places over the years
from what we have weighed up and on the other hand, stayed clear of others, this includes towns, rest areas, c'parks, and meal venues etc. We do live in an area (just within 1klm-20klm) where we can cross a rocky deep river, climb daring hills,drive through forested tracks with wildlife, visit beautiful non windy beaches, swim and fish in safe rivers and seas. So we ARE in an unbelievable area. That is another thing we noticed to wake up to the sounds of silence - little or no bird noises, where as here the bush is ringing with birdlife. So for national parks and all their "don't " laws hasn't done much for the enviroment up there. We travelled to the top and went to most of the beaches and towns on the western side of the cape. So in all we did expect to see more things closer together without the huge amount of klms between, ( Instead of looking forward to the next dip sign to have a laugh at) and probably a lot more tropical scenery. We are not totally dissapointed as we did have a good time, eventually, when we stopped, met some great people along the way,caught a huge crab, no fish. Just didn't fit the whole picture that was painted.
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Follow Up By: Graham - Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 20:38

Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 20:38
Mother Nature humbley apoligises for not providing you with an exact replica of your home.......MAYBE YOU SHOULD STAY AT HOME AND SAVE US ALL FROM YOUR BLOODY WHINEING.
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Follow Up By: Prado Boy - Thursday, Sep 25, 2003 at 04:22

Thursday, Sep 25, 2003 at 04:22
G'day Geoff,
To me - part of Australia's charm and character (and similarly in many parts of Canada) is the HUGE distances between anything.
If you want to see interesting places in Oz - you need to be prepared to cover the Km's somehow - wether that be by air, land or sea. Travelling should be part of the fun - not a chore like you make it out to be.

After reading the replies here and your extensive comments - I wonder like many others whether you
a) had the correct mental outlook to undertake and ENJOY a trip to the cape
b) are way too used to the creature comforts of your home (admittedly you paint a lovely picture of it - where EXACTLY is it - I know Q'land pretty well and can't think of anywhere that is like what you describe! Those bush tracks beaches and rivers all within 1 Km sound very tempting! What's real estate prices like there?)
c) did much research into the trip before you went (anyone who looks at a map knows that to get the the cape - you HAVE TO COVER MANY Km's!!! - unless you live in Weipa!)
d) are way too used to living a cushie life?

Also - no way I would endanger the lives of other road users by going onto the wrong side of the road at the crest of a hill to avoid some corrugations or a pot hole! Even if it was 2 ft deep! Slow down man - and think before you do stupid stuff like that! Maybe some driving on loggin tracks would change your mind about that kinda anti-social behaviour - atleast the log trucks comin the other way sure would!

I'm not normally one to publish negative replies - but Sheesh!!!!! The roads are going to be bad up there - get over it!

Prado Boy
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Reply By: Eric from Cape York Connections - Tuesday, Sep 23, 2003 at 22:07

Tuesday, Sep 23, 2003 at 22:07
One more thing out of about 100 plus trucks we have had with us not many problems if any only small ones . Its better to go early season than later.
About 98% of the people I have talked to love it in the cape.
All the best
EricCape York Connections
AnswerID: 31830

Follow Up By: WAYNED - Tuesday, Sep 23, 2003 at 22:31

Tuesday, Sep 23, 2003 at 22:31
we are preparing a trip june/july '04 to weipa & cape is this considered early sorry those other people didn't enjoy themselves, i & family have never been beyond cairns and i can hardly wait to experience a little of all the wonderful and beautiful things i have heard about. we are from brisbane and counting down the days.
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Follow Up By: Eric from Cape York Connections - Tuesday, Sep 23, 2003 at 22:38

Tuesday, Sep 23, 2003 at 22:38
Wayned june/july is about the best time we have a trip starting on the 28 th june . Have a look at our web
All the best
EricCape York Connections
FollowupID: 22710

Reply By: Eric from Cape York Connections - Tuesday, Sep 23, 2003 at 22:29

Tuesday, Sep 23, 2003 at 22:29
Qld is a big place narrow it down a bit to a few hundred ks to were you are from.
All the best
EricCape York Connections
AnswerID: 31834

Reply By: Eric from Cape York Connections - Tuesday, Sep 23, 2003 at 22:43

Tuesday, Sep 23, 2003 at 22:43
geoff 10 days you ant seen anything . You need no less than 18 days. The best is 21 pluss.
All the best
EricCape York Connections
AnswerID: 31838

Follow Up By: Member - Geoff - Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 08:23

Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 08:23
The stupid thing is Eric, time isn't a factor, as our son who was with us had 2 weeks off, to get there and back for work, did the most damage to his car, has said he would go back any day. So there you go, it depends on the individual. We are baby boomers and have given our kids a good start with good education, plus, plus and we are the ones who need a good holiday with still little time and money to spare on our selves. So maybe we will get there again in our slower years. Ha Ha. IF that is such a thing.
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Reply By: Brimo - Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 07:41

Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 07:41
Each to their own but we heard similar bad stories on our way up and if we had have chosen to heed them we would not have had the fantastic trip that we did.I must admit we heard a similar amount of good stories too.
The common thread of the bad stories seemed to be people in too much of a hurry to "do" the Cape.
Part of the adventure is to take the time, relax {remember it's a holiday} Some days we only travelled 30 ks figuring if we ran out of time to get to the top, so what?
We travelled most of the way up the OTT and loved every minute of it, met some wonderful people and our old 40 series troopy never let us down.
Yes, research is the key on any trip but remember, the whingers are usually the loudest, we that enjoyed it are quietly sitting having a beer and reminiscing.
We have done a lot of ks all around Oz by 4wd and I reckon it's one of the best tripswe have done. Sorry it wasn't the same for you

Regards Brimo
AnswerID: 31849

Reply By: JimB - Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 07:49

Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 07:49
Hey Geoff and Jan,

I'm sorry you found the Cape to be disappointing. My favourite wife and I have been twice and loved it each time. I have got the impression that you went up the Dev Rd, OTL and back. Just going straight up would be boring as batsh...t. The really special and memorable places are off the beaten track. Ron & Viv Moon have an excellent book that'll pinpoint some of those spots.

Sunsets over the gulf have been magic from the west coast, sunrises magic over the east coast. Some fun drives, some isolation, some seclusion, quietness. The only disapointing aspect for us was that we weren't game to swim in the ocean. The creeks are crystal clear and refreshing.

Gotta take your time, plod along and enjoy the scenery. We met a couple at the Laura pub one Sunday arvo who had left Cairns on the Friday, driven to the Jardine Ferry (shut 'cos it was midnight), gone to the Tip Saturday morning, back down to Weipa sat night and then were on their way back to Cairns. Woudna seen a bloody thing, one of those trophy trips (been there, done that).

CREB Track as well is awesome countryside.

AnswerID: 31850

Follow Up By: Member - Geoff - Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 08:15

Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 08:15
Yes JimB, maybe we picked to wrong place at the wrong time. We might just have to do it again when and IF we retire and take 6 months.
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Follow Up By: Member - Geoff - Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 08:35

Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 08:35
We saw most of the west side of the cape and have photos of the beautiful sunset at Punsund bay, Loyality beach and over the shipping dock at Seisa, Weipa. We then had to go to Mareeba to get our brakes rediagnosed and repaired and went over to Kurumba. So we didn't miss much in the time we had there.
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Reply By: Member - Eric- Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 08:34

Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 08:34
Geoff , could you please wait 3 or 4 weeks before you comment on the cape . I dont intend in been smart . From my experience , if I go on a holiday that didn't go my way ,I usually come backbleepOFF , after a few weeks , the cost factor on repairs is erelavent , and the many kms of corigated roads , and whatever else you came across is seen as the adventure . Please remember the journey should always be better than the destination .
I am sure than in 3 or 4 weeks , you will look at it in another way

RegardsCraigs hut 2003
AnswerID: 31855

Reply By: flappan - Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 11:40

Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 11:40
Hey folks. Hope you all decided that the Cape is no longer the place to visit . . .

Leaves more space for us . . .


AnswerID: 31866

Follow Up By: Eric from Cape York Connections - Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 12:17

Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 12:17
Flappan there wernt to many up there this year I was there in school hols for 4 weeks . With 7 trucks in all and they had a ball.
All the best
4wd Tag Along AdventuresCape York Connections
FollowupID: 22738

Follow Up By: flappan - Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 15:07

Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 15:07

We are doing it Jun/Jul next year, probably with a decent size crew.

Unfortunately, only 3 to 4 weeks.
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Reply By: Member - Melissa - Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 11:51

Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 11:51
Hi Geoff & Jen,

Sorry to hear you were disappointed with the Cape. My experience of my Cape trip was of having had a blast. Altogether we spent 5 weeks up there and on the CREB track (fantastic rainforest scenery & 4WDriving). Also loved TI so I'm disappointed to hear it has gone off a bit.

If you were expecting crystal clear blue seas, yes you would find the Cape beaches disappointing (although Punsand Bay is lovely). On the east coast the wind howls in most of the time but the beachcombing and fishing on some of the remote beaches is very entertaining. Also agree that it's not an area of magnificent scenery like say the Kimberely, but it is a true outback experience and even if you are only remotely interested in history and take the time to check it out, it can be an extremely interesting and rewarding trip. As for bad roads well, hey that's what 4WDriving is all about. The moment the govt upgrade or bitumenise (God forbid) even part of the track would be terrible. Weipa is what it is...a mining town. But after several weeks up the Cape most people I talk to and myself included tend to find it a bit of an "oasis in the desert". Laura is an true outback town and an entertaining place to have a coldy. The nearby rock art galleries very interesting, particularly with one of the local rangers acting as a guide. Cooktown is well worth a visit and I thought had great ambience.

But in the end, it's each to their own. What I would say though is that if you're reading this thread and haven't yet done the Cape, don't be put off. Do your homework and have realistic expectations and you won't be disappointed. There were 7 vehicles in our convoy and every single one of us would have turned around in Cairns and done the whole trip again.

I know a bloke who spends a bit of time on various forums. To quote some of his comments on places we have both been..."not worth the effort", "wouldn't go out of my way", "not much to see", "just a drive through the scrub". In every case I could not have disagreed more strongly. He's entitled to his view and me mine. All I'm saying is that everyone has their own perspective and people should make up their own minds.

Geoff & Jan, I sincerely hope your next trip is a whole lot more satisfying for you.

:o) MelissaPetrol 4.5L GU Patrol &
Camprite TL8 offroad camper
AnswerID: 31867

Reply By: Troopie - Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 11:51

Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 11:51
G'day All
Sounds ok to me - the less people that go up there the better it will be next time we head up! The only negative comment I would make about the Cape is the large number of absolute morons you come across!!!

Apologies for the length, but below is a copy of a letter to the editor I planned to send to a notable 4wd mag after our last trip - I didn't get round to it as the softer side of me prevailed and I decided not to embarass the people I mention. I've changed it slightly to account for this.

Anyhow - I provide it for interest and education only...

Dear Ed
I've been a sunscriber for some time and recently read with dismay that Porters Rd. has been closed. Another nail in the coffin of tracks open to the public - which leads me to the reason for this letter. As has been said time and time again - it's the behaviour of a few - that spoil it for the many. Clearly, saying this alone isn't enough - so how about some public humiliation of the few!

This message is not a whinge - but designed to serve as a warning! I'm a younger 4wder, mad keen about visiting Australia's best spots. In May-July '02 I completed a single vehicle trip up Cape York. During this trip we had the pleasure of meeting and/or travelling with some wonderful groups of people. However, we also saw some acts of disgrace and blatant environmental vandalism - the sort of behaviour that results in the closures we all hate to see! I'd like to use one group of three vehicles as a "special" example.

Whilst staying at the remote Bathurst Bay, this particular group arrived and establish camp some distance away - no problem, until one of the three vehicles went to collect firewood. In the tropics, even in winter, a large fire is simply not necessary. This vehicle dragged several large lumps of tree back along the track, past the campsites of others at speed - but while doing so, a very large stump came loose from the drag chain - ok, the driver may not have noticed. However, the act of dragging the wood back along the sand-dune track badly ploughed up the track, ok it will erode anyhow - but that's not the worst of it? The next act of vandalism truly amazed me. A short time later they drove back along the track - and drove around the lump of wood - carving a new track through the delicate dune vegetation adjacent to the track!!!! We all know that driving on dune vegetation is simply not on! All it takes is for a ranger to visit the area around that time, which runs through Cape Melville NP, and another case for closing areas such as this is made!

Further, we were unfortunate enough to come across this group again some time later! We were camping at Palm Creek with two lovely retired couples we'd met on the track that day. These three vehicles arrived late in the day, blasted up out of the creek with their heavily modified vehicles and trailers, and set up camp nearby - again no major problem (although we made it out with half as much erosion and spinning wheels). The next morning they were up and gone early - but the state of their camp site was something horrific!!! They camped close to the water, and failed to dig holes for their human waste - which included all the smelly stuff, toilet paper and even dirty nappies!!! At least 6 adults and many kids can make a lot of waste in one night!!!!

So, to the people in the ....................(vehicle descriptions were here), the ............ (2nd vehicle), and the .......... (3rd vehicle) - SHAME SHAME SHAME - I hope you know who you are, you're a disgrace!!!!!

To the majority of us out there who do the right thing, keep it up - but when you see idiots like these people out there - make a note and get their acts recognised - perhaps that will curb their behaviour!
AnswerID: 31868

Follow Up By: Leroy - Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 14:45

Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 14:45
Toilet paper and nappiers.....we saw it everywhere. If it wasn't for this site we wouldn't have discovered 'burning the toilet paper'. We had one of those long gas lighters and took that along with the TP and the spade. Wish we could educate everyone.....

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Follow Up By: Troopie - Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 15:16

Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 15:16
Amen - it's not that hard!!!!
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Reply By: Eric from Cape York Connections - Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 12:04

Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 12:04
Geoff I wasnt bragging about doing the cape 10 times I was just stating the fact that its a job and boy do I love It. Also from most of the other replys it sounds like you talked to the wrong 98% of people. Also the comment about driving on the wrong side of the road to avoid corrugations on a crest if it was a pot hole on a tar road would you go on the wrong side of the double yellow lines to avoid it. What I am trying to say is enjoy the whole thing and not only the destination.
As you said your self it is a long distance detween things up in the cape , but then agian I wish ayres rock and the kimberly and the simpson and fraser Is and the flinders and the high country and the great ocean road and the canning were closer together so I could do all of them in a couple of days , to save all that distance you have to travel. Just one more thing what tyre pressure did you run on.
All the best
Eric Cape York Connections
AnswerID: 31871

Follow Up By: Troopie - Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 12:08

Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 12:08
G'day Eric
You're a lucky bugger - want to swap jobs?? Any positions going??

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Follow Up By: Eric from Cape York Connections - Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 12:23

Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 12:23
Troopie In my real life I am a builder but I am lucky to have a couple of trips to the cape each year and still get a buzz from it.
All the best
EricCape York Connections
FollowupID: 22739

Follow Up By: Troopie - Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 12:36

Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 12:36
Good on ya!!! I'm sure the people that go on your trips don't complain about their trip to the Cape.

I think the discussion was right though - you simply can't rush a trip through places like the Cape. If you want to rush places and see heaps of "stuff" without damaging your vehicle - stay on the black-top and drive up and down the main coast roads.

We save up our hols and do the trips for as long as possible. I reckon it's better to see a little less and experience a little more. The alternative is experience a little more.... corrugations and breakdowns and see less anyhow.....

Have a good one!
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Reply By: Catherine - Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 14:34

Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 14:34
I was very interested to read everything here, as my partner and I are doing a trip to the cape in July next year with our club.

Im from Melbourne and really looking forward to it, 1 - because of the areas we are going to, I've heard they are magical, but 2 - because of the people that are going on this trip.

Thanks for all the comments, certainly stuff to keep in mind.


AnswerID: 31888

Follow Up By: Troopie - Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 14:56

Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 14:56
G'day Catherine
You'll have a blast! As you say - there are some magic spots, but you rightly point out - they can be made (or broken) by the company.

I'm also often amazed with places like the Cape - you only have to step half a meter of the "beaten path" and you can end up with some great places all to your self.

Have a good one - and remember, the faster you go on roads like those up there - the more likely your dream trip to the Cape will become a nightmare or busted vehicle bits and strained relationships - not to mention strained budgets.....

All the best!!

FollowupID: 22754

Follow Up By: Member - Geoff & Jen - Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 15:49

Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 15:49
Catherine, you should be right by July as the roads should be still in top shape after the initial influx. We were told by an Archer river employee and the Jardine ferry operators that the time we were up there was the worst the roads had ever been and that the promises of upgrade had been put off over a number of times. I had a client in this morning who said he had a near accident when he had radioed a vehicle in front to ask if it was safe to overtake. As he overtook, the vehicle in front swerved to miss a great hole in the road, as they couldn't see each other from the dust, therefore creating the second vehicle to head for the trees. The first bloke did highly apologise. Do as Troopie said take plenty of time just in case, and go for it.
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Reply By: Jen - Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 18:35

Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 18:35
It is interesting to read of your experience Geoff & Jen. We too returned from the Cape 7 weeks ago after a trip that had been in the planning for 2 years and had great expectations There were 5 cars in our convoy, 4 with kids ranging from 2-15 years. I , like yourselves, was disappointed in the trip. We took near on 4 weeks to do the trip from Mossman and had allowed plenty of time to see the sights, go off the beaten track etc. In my mind I had expected more of an oasis, not the dry, dusty dirty conditions we encountered. We did find an oasis at Chili beach, but after 2 nights of being nearly blown away, we had had enough. Definitely worth a look, but it is a long way to go to see a beautiful beach that is inhabited by the crocs so you can't swim anyway! Bathhurst Head was another spot we stayed at for 3 nights, the guys had a ball fishing from the tinny, but once the tide went out and it went WAY out, it was a mud hole, so they had to be back early or had the long walk through the sinking mud dragging the tinny behind them.
We did manage to visit Dal Nixon at his homestead??? ( if you can call it that!!) and the sand dunes were definitely worth a look, but get his permission first. We wrote prior to leaving Melbourne.
The OLT was fun. The bypass roads were rough in spots, particularly south of the Jardine - did the front and back shockers, and had to wait in Seisa for new ones. Pundsand bay was a black sandpit, not fun when you have young kids. Thursday Island was as you said a waste of time ( 2 hours on the boat each way), not a lot open on a Sat. morning. Horn Island was a better trip to do, particularly if you get Vanessa who brought the history alive.
We stayed mostly at camping grounds or just on the side of the road. Be prepared for non grassy sites, plenty of " green butt ants" that nip, and bush, bush and more of it.
It was an expensive trip, by the time you take into consideration the vehicle, camping gear etc and it was overrated. I would happily go back to the Red Centre for the " WOW" factor of the country, but frankly, the Cape left me with no "wow" factor at all and I am sad about that.
AnswerID: 31905

Follow Up By: Eric from Cape York Connections - Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 18:58

Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 18:58
Jen the cape is a funny old place every one says to me on every trip they didnt think it would be that dusty and were are all the rain forests.
The old green ants are buggers but if you put baby powder around your tent or swag or clothes line they dont like travell over powder.
The good thing about going on a tag along we try to make the trip as enjoyable as posible and go to more worth while places.
But they are not for every one.
All the best
EricCape York Connections
FollowupID: 22772

Follow Up By: Willie - Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 19:58

Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 19:58
Green ants are also quite nice to eat. Just a few mind you and you have to get them afore they get you! You aint a camper until you have eaten a green ant.
WillieNever a dull moment
FollowupID: 22776

Follow Up By: Leroy - Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 21:22

Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 21:22
Green ants, mud flats, dragging the tinny...... the wind on the east coast (mind you we scored cracker no wind days at Chilli Beach and you can swim there fairly safely), rough corrogated roads, the remoteness of it all, I donlt know what you are all unhappy about. It's a different part of the country to explore and probably different from anything else most have ventured. It's dry but not barron. Frenchmans track....trees views....river crossings...You can go to the Vic high country and camp in the mud this time of year if that is any consolationand you can't get cross some of the rivers!

Leroy......Oh and I could get into the ant eating thing...hehe
FollowupID: 22779

Follow Up By: Member - Geoff & Jen - Thursday, Sep 25, 2003 at 08:17

Thursday, Sep 25, 2003 at 08:17
Jen, we too had done a year of planning and spending between the 6 vehicles, and had a picture in our mind painted by the people who obvioulsy do not ever see a sunrise or a sunset and live in the fast lane and never have lived in the real bush. We live in the dry bush have to drive on a bush track, so we did expect a holiday of change. Not bitumen roads, but safe roads with safe drivers. Although this is an undiscovered area we have beauty within our reach, and we want to keep it like this, without the hype of tourism. In previous forums I have invited people to come stay here on our property, on their way through our area. BUT I have definently changed my mind when I read some of these replys. We had bought books, hired videos, spoke to 4x4 club members ++ and they all portrayed the picture of the tropical north with every creek running and grassy spots to camp. Every time we came across a creek in our travels there was a excited Yah from the lead car over the radio.
As for Eric, we had our tyres at the correct pressure for the weight we had in the back, 28 in the front and 30 in the back. Our vehicle rode well and comfortable. Thanks for the offer of the video, but as I said above, they only cover the best of everything. Our group also took video coverage of different areas of the cape as we split up after reaching the top and went different roads and places, which we are to see when we get together in a couple of weeks.
FollowupID: 22786

Follow Up By: Member - Melissa - Thursday, Sep 25, 2003 at 13:18

Thursday, Sep 25, 2003 at 13:18

I think I'm starting to get the picture...basically the Cape wasn't what you expected. Once you hit central Qld big tides, sandflies, mud flats are the norm. The further north you go, the more so. And you have to expect dusty, dirty conditions when travelling on dirt roads/tracks and camping out in a savannah like landscape like the Cape. The Cape trip is about the remoteness, the outback experience and the 4WDriving and all that it entails good and bad.

A similar experience to you was the first time I went to Broome, touted as WA's tropical paradise. I couldn't believe it at first. It was supposed to be tropical so where were the rainforests and so on, not dusty and everything stained from the red soil etc. The difference was that I hadn't done any homework, we went to Broome on a spur of the moment thing (literally decided to go the day before we set off) and I didn't have realistic expectations of what to expect. Once I got over my initial disappointment the place really started to grow on me. We've been there 3 times now and I absolutely love it!

I don't know where else you've travelled except the centre but my experience is that nowhere is perfect. Heat, flies, dust, bad roads (and sandflies, big tides on the coast) are generally the norm when travelling outback or up north. You've just got to accept it. If you can't do that then your gonna be disappointed the next time you head off for an outback 4WD adventure.

:o) MelissaPetrol 4.5L GU Patrol &
Camprite TL8 offroad camper
FollowupID: 22809

Follow Up By: Eric from Cape York Connections - Thursday, Sep 25, 2003 at 15:26

Thursday, Sep 25, 2003 at 15:26
geof And jan Iwould still like to send the video naturally you cant show all because as you said the streches between are long and dusty.
But I think the video shows it warts and all . Then you could see it from our eyes for what it is And take in the big picture.
All the best
Ps im off for a couple of weeks now as of saturday i have got to rest my typing finger and learn how to spel . My wife always has a chuckle at it. Cape York Connections
FollowupID: 22815

Reply By: Eric from Cape York Connections - Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 18:38

Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 18:38
Geoff And Jan I do think you talked to the wrong 98% of people from reading all the above replys. I also think if you had not rushed and had a few more rest days you would have enjoyed your trip a hole lot more. I would like to send you one of our vidios free of charge. It was done last year and Peter lead the trip. If you would like to email me your address to Iwill send you one free of charge. If any one would like one ring life style video productions on 03 97 90 06 56 and john will pleased to sell you one for about $ 30
All The best
4wd Tag Along AdventuresCape York Connections
AnswerID: 31906

Follow Up By: Eric from Cape York Connections - Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 19:03

Wednesday, Sep 24, 2003 at 19:03
Thats and not cinnections buttons are to closae toyuther.
All the best
EricCape York Connections
FollowupID: 22773

Follow Up By: Member - Geoff & Jen - Thursday, Sep 25, 2003 at 16:42

Thursday, Sep 25, 2003 at 16:42
I don't think so Eric, after this tourist attack for my honesty, I am not going to give you our direct address as we may find a terrorist attack on our property as well. Before we went to the cape I had given your name to 3 people who wanted the challenge of the cape, one was my parents. The stupid thing about it is after all I told them they still want to go early in the season next year. Maybe I should show them this thread and the reaction I obtained from some arrogant cape loving people, for my honest feelings. Thanks all the same. Jen
FollowupID: 22823

Follow Up By: Member - Geoff & Jen - Thursday, Sep 25, 2003 at 17:20

Thursday, Sep 25, 2003 at 17:20
Eric, just a friendly tip, when you go away , take a game of scrabble and that will get your spelling up to scratch. That worked wonders with our boys in the schooling years. Play it with your wife, and the winner wins............... whatever tickles your fancy. Good fun. Try it. Jen
FollowupID: 22829

Reply By: Troopie - Thursday, Sep 25, 2003 at 14:26

Thursday, Sep 25, 2003 at 14:26
This has been a surprisingly fascinating string for me! I work in the environment and natural resources field so I tend to have a pretty good grasp of Australia's "environment", how different it is/can be and what to expect. It's important to note that places like the Cape may be wet in terms of annual average rainfall - but remember the rain all falls in a couple of months - the rest of the time it's bloody dry. In true terms - there is actually very little "rainforest" on the Cape - and what is left is a relic of the past. Also - as far as I know - the Cape has experienced a couple of the dryest years on record.

It's also important to remember that Australia is the dryest inhabitated continent on the planet! Further to this - Australia is not only dry in an average sense - but the weather is highly variable - variable in space and time. So bearing this in mind - it is always a good possibility that you can visit a place that is described as an oasis/dessert and find it completely the reverse!!!

To me - that's part of the excitement and adventure of travel - we all get our own unique experiences and opportunities - it's up to us what we do with them.

AnswerID: 31973

Follow Up By: Member - Geoff - Thursday, Sep 25, 2003 at 17:10

Thursday, Sep 25, 2003 at 17:10
Yeh, maybe Troopie if you have got the time and the money to experiment with excitement and adventure on holidays, if they don't work, turn around and try again. Anyway thanks for telling others now of the capes dryness when all the videos and books show and tell otherwise. Make it known to some other sucker who is about to travel later in the tourist season, who takes notice of all the literature that over rates. Going up early in the season, scenery, roads and campspots, definently would be completely different and better, I am sure. Jen
FollowupID: 22826

Follow Up By: Troopie - Thursday, Sep 25, 2003 at 17:34

Thursday, Sep 25, 2003 at 17:34
While I was up there last (2002) it was very dry also - and I was there quite early in the season. Please don't misunderstand - my point was simply that this variability can be the case anywhere in Australia - not just the Cape. I can guarantee you on the same dates, under a slightly different climatic cycle (La Nina or El Nino for starters) the same places could very well be quite different.

Having said that - in the "dry", the Cape will always be reletively dry, rough and dusty.

In relation to your other comment - we certainly don't have the time or money to "turn around and try again". I'm reletively young, don't earn a great deal and manage to get a decent trip about every two years!! I just take it all as it comes, learn when I can and enjoy everything this country has to offer (good, bad and indifferent).

Oh yeah - a good tip for clarifying what to expect when travelling to new places - have a look at the Bureau of Met web site. From there you can look at rainfall patterns, past and present, for where you are going and determine roughly what it might be like when you are there.

Have a good one and don't stop checkin' out Oz!!!
FollowupID: 22834

Reply By: landie - Thursday, Sep 25, 2003 at 23:04

Thursday, Sep 25, 2003 at 23:04
This has without doubt been one of the most interesting discussions that I have seen on this site. Perhaps that simply highlights that I'm a newbie!

I'd like to recommend to anyone that is going to visit North Queensland that they read a most fascinating book titled "Mango Country"by John Van Tiggelen, a most recent publication.

John worked as a tour guide in the norh before turning his hand to writing.

Now, apart from being a Landy owner, I also grew up in Norf Queensland, so perhaps once again I am about to show some bias (Ay) But, I would like to share an excerpt from John's book.

"The dry's daily legions of 4WD tourists dusting up the penninsula's spine are sure to do two things. First, they will all stand on the Cape's rocky tip - mainland Australia's northern most point - and think they have achieved something special. It's a great tradition.......The second certainty for the Cape Crusaders is that each and every carload will spend more time whinging about the cost of the Aboriginal-owned ferry across the Jardine River than they will waxing lyrical about any other part of the trip."

Now I know that no one in this thread has complained about the cost of the ferry, but isn't it easy to look at the negatives, but what about the good experiences?

In all my travels it has been the people in these out of the way places that have made the trip all worthwhile, no matter what the journey to get there or back entailed.

As it says on the back of the cover, Mango Country goes beyond the travel brochures to offer an irreverent profile of a province, and an insight into Australian life away from the big city lights.

...................nar I ain't getting a commission on sales from the book.

Good luck out there (Ay)


AnswerID: 32037

Follow Up By: landie - Thursday, Sep 25, 2003 at 23:17

Thursday, Sep 25, 2003 at 23:17
Ay.....just reading my post, I'm not suggesting that the fee to cross the Jardine is a negative (or a rip-off). Good luck to them, that's enterprise !
FollowupID: 22863

Follow Up By: Eric from Cape York Connections - Friday, Sep 26, 2003 at 07:47

Friday, Sep 26, 2003 at 07:47
AY landie I think you summed it up nicely as for the $88 to cross the creek its cheaper than a rebild of the motor etc,
All the best
4wd Tag Along AdventuresCape York Connections
FollowupID: 22872

Follow Up By: Member - Geoff & Jen - Friday, Sep 26, 2003 at 08:47

Friday, Sep 26, 2003 at 08:47
Landie, Great to hear that John has painted a true picture. As for the Jardine ferry I reckon it was value for money as there is very little over water travel I can do without getting squirmish. Good Value! Also the cost of living is higher in remote places and that is to be expected. A box of 40 Smarites were over $2, plus all living and travelling expenses we were well prepared for. We did really have a great time in all, with meeting some friendly people and made the most of it. It was the information we had gathered in our minds just didn't match up when we reached the area. So this is where the over rated feeling comes from, us and many others we have talked to along the way. So there must be overrating information out there deceiving peoples minds in not only the cape but many other tourist attracting areas. Just to bring in the sacred dollar. I know there is heaps here in this area of the state, even in the real estate brochures, pictured to market. Jen
FollowupID: 22880

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