Conditions on Cairns to Cooktown Coast Road via Ferry Crossing

Submitted: Monday, Apr 12, 2010 at 19:55
ThreadID: 77674 Views:7885 Replies:9 FollowUps:3
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Can anyone give info on the Cairns to Cooktown Coastal Road. What conditions are encountered and what level of 4wd experience is recommended. I have a pajero. Also I believe a ferry crossing is involved. What does that cost? I guess a round trip would be coast road up and inland route back. Suggestions welcome.

thanks Kc
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Reply By: Motherhen - Monday, Apr 12, 2010 at 20:58

Monday, Apr 12, 2010 at 20:58
Hi Kc

We did the loop in 1999, but i don't think much has changed. Unless the very shallow crossings are deep, not problem for your Paj. No idea what ferry cost, then or now, but i don't think it was much.

Wonderful round trip.


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AnswerID: 412688

Reply By: Wilko - Monday, Apr 12, 2010 at 21:51

Monday, Apr 12, 2010 at 21:51
Hi Kc,

I did it in a Rav4 but it was toward the end of the dry when the rivers were at the lowest.

The main probs I had was a couple of steep hills and lack of low range.

You should be ok with the Pajero, although if there is some moisture around being towards the end of the wet,it could be another story.

I'd check with someone up that way

Cant remember what I paid for the ferry, I think it was $10 or 15 something like that.

Beautiful country stop in at the Lions Den pub for an ale, its unique

Cheers Wilko
AnswerID: 412689

Reply By: On Patrol & TONI - Monday, Apr 12, 2010 at 21:55

Monday, Apr 12, 2010 at 21:55
the Bloomfield track is what you are talking about from the Daintree ferry to Cooktown. I drove that in the poring rain back in 2007 with no serious difficulty once north of Cape Tribulation the track can be steep at times and care should be exercised in those sections, if the causeway across the Bloomfield River at Wujal Wujal is deep that will be your only real problem and in the dry season that would be rare and well signed back at Cape Trib.

If you know how to use that stubby lever on your left you should enjoy that drive, dont forget to stop at the Lions Den Hotel for refreshments along the way.

The ferry was a minimal amount, in fact so minimal I dont remember it.

Enjoy, Colin.
AnswerID: 412690

Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Tuesday, Apr 13, 2010 at 16:57

Tuesday, Apr 13, 2010 at 16:57
The actual Bloomfield track is only from to Cape Tribulation to Wujal Wujal see this link.

The steepest hill on the complete route is north of the Bloomfield Track. It is probably the steepest hill on any road in Oz (others may like to comment.) The track is easiest to drive from north to south. In that direction most vehicles will make it if the water crossings are low.
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Follow Up By: Tonyfish#58 - Tuesday, Apr 13, 2010 at 17:09

Tuesday, Apr 13, 2010 at 17:09
The steepest hills are the switch back and the now concreted section (name escapes me) They are well South of Wujal Wujal.

The only other small very steep pinch is just South of Wujal Wujal and has a bypass around the side.

The locals call it the Bloomfield track from Rossville to the Daintree ferry

Cheers Tony
FollowupID: 682802

Reply By: Member - Peter H (QLD) - Monday, Apr 12, 2010 at 22:31

Monday, Apr 12, 2010 at 22:31
Hi Kc,
Here is recent chart of costs for the Daintree ferry, and also check road conditions at Cook Shire website on this LINK:

The Daintree Ferry provides access into the Cape Tribulation area. This is accessible by conventional vehicles except during periods of heavy rain. The road is sealed as far as Cape Tribulation. Crossing the Daintree River via a vehicular ferry is an experience not to be missed.

After crossing the Daintree Ferry you travel through lowland and tropical rainforest passing road junctions for Cape Kimberley and Cow Bay.

The Daintree River Ferry operates from 6am to midnight each day.

Daintree River Ferry fees:-
For any enquiries please contact Customer Service on (07) 4099 9444.
As of 1 July 2009 the following fees to travel on the Daintree River ferry will take effect:

Motor Car & Utilities (private use)

one way $11.00
two way $20.00

Buses 6 to 10 seats

one way $12.00
two way $23.00

Buses 11 to 20 seats

one way $23.00
two way $44.00

Buses 21+ seats

one way $36.00
two way $69.00

Licensed Public Transport buses

one way $7.00
two way $13.00

School Buses

one way $6.00
two way $11.00

Passenger, Bicycles & Pedestrians

one way $1.00
two way $2.00

Motor Bikes

one way $5.00
two way $9.00


one way $4.00
two way $8.00

Machinery Not Carrying Primary Produce

one way $8.00
two way $14.00

Machinery Carrying Primary Produce

one way $4.00
two way $8.00

Multi Day Pass (5 return car / ute trips)


Your Pajero should have no trouble if the road is open - you will see that Cook Shire advises some sections are closed at present.

Cheers, Peter H

AnswerID: 412693

Reply By: kend88 - Monday, Apr 12, 2010 at 23:30

Monday, Apr 12, 2010 at 23:30
We did the trip in June last year in our Mitsubishi Challenger. Pretty well first time I had used it in 4wd other than backing my caravan over sloping front lawn.
We had no problems at all but I said to my wife at the time I would have probably enjoyed it more if it was someone elses car I was driving.
It is only about half the distance of the inland road but took near twice as long. I was possibly a bit over cautious though.
We left our van at Wonga Beach CP, great spot, drove to Cooktown and had an overnight in the motel, the one opposite the wharf and fish and chip etc. shops. Best motel setting in Oz I reckon, and reasonably priced too.
You can't go to Cooktown without throwing in a line off the wharf with the locals, priceless.
Could have easily spent an extra night there. Plenty to see.
If coming back on the inland road, keep a look out for wandering cattle.
AnswerID: 412699

Reply By: Scotto73 - Tuesday, Apr 13, 2010 at 13:19

Tuesday, Apr 13, 2010 at 13:19
The coast road does not require any special 4wd experience to conquer it. As others have mentioned, there are a few steep climbs but the Pajero will not have any issues.

The major obstacles are the river crossings which, depending on what time of year, can be quite deep. This is always the case with the final crossing called Woobadda Creek.

Be sure to stop in for a drink and a look around at the historic Lion's Den Hotel. I have stayed here in one of their Safari Tents. Beers are cold and the food is delicious. In Cooktown, a visit to the James Cook Museum is worthwhile and very interesting. Drive up to the top of Windy hill for some beautiful views.

Lastly, if you have time, drive further north past Hopevale to Elim Beach. There is lots of information and photos in this forum and on the internet about this beautiful destination.

Some of my photos are here -


Cairns, Queensland
AnswerID: 412744

Follow Up By: Tonyfish#58 - Tuesday, Apr 13, 2010 at 17:13

Tuesday, Apr 13, 2010 at 17:13
Ditto as Scott says - The river crossings can be impassable if you are around when it rains.

Windy Hill as Scott says must be either the lighthouse at Archers Point or the lighthouse on Grassy hill in Cooktown.
FollowupID: 682804

Reply By: Member - Geoff H (QLD) - Tuesday, Apr 13, 2010 at 20:31

Tuesday, Apr 13, 2010 at 20:31
Ring the Cow Bay hotel and speak to Wallaby he will tel you how the road are, however the conditions would have to be extreme to stop you getting through in a pajero.
AnswerID: 412812

Reply By: Fatso - Wednesday, Apr 14, 2010 at 13:56

Wednesday, Apr 14, 2010 at 13:56
I met a bloke here in Cairns a few years back that did that drive in a "CELICA".
He drove it home to Melbourne after that.
A Cairns TAXI went up & back that very same road last year. He had a tour. It was a FALCON STATION WAGON. The driver got sacked for it though.
So don't panic about that one.
AnswerID: 412892

Reply By: kcandco - Friday, Apr 16, 2010 at 22:39

Friday, Apr 16, 2010 at 22:39
Hi Everyone Thankyou for your help. I'm a bit concerned about the water levels... will see what its like when I get that far. I don't like wet carpets. What are the conditions in the steep sections?


AnswerID: 413208

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