Cape York

StartClick to Reverse the Dynamic Map and Driving NotesCooktown
DifficultyDifficulty 4.5/5
Suitable for4WD 
Distance848 km
Minimum Days24
Average Speed46.9 km/hr
Driving Time18 hrs 4 mins
Page Updated: 24 Jun 2017


This Trek Note provides the most challenging route to Cape York via the Old Telegraph Track, or OTT as its known. There are other easier ways to get to the tip of Cape York, however this route will allow those who have exceptionally sound 4WD skills to experience the journey in its most natural form.

The alternative route to the one shown in this trek note is to use the Bypass Roads. We provide a separate trek note for those that wish to use this easier route. The trek note is called Cape York via Bypass Roads. You can still access sections of the Telegraph Track if you refer to the map for entry/exit points.

There are many other interesting places to visit on the Cape York Peninsula that we've not included in either of these main thoroughfare routes to the top. Instead, you'll find details about these in separate Trek Notes because they can all be accessed off the two main routes at noted exit points. We suggest you should research all these side trips and build your own itinerary. See the full list of Cape York side trips here.

Once you've reached Seisia, you still have a little way to go to reach the true "tip" of Cape York. Australia's most northerly point. Refer to our Cape York - Seisia to the Tip Trek Note for details on how to get there, and other things to explore in the area.

How to Use this Trek Note

Click the "Map" tab below to see the route we've provided. Icons on the map are the POIs you'll need for navigation purposes. Be sure to check the list of Nearby Places on each POI page.

If you'd like to save this information there are a couple of ways to go about it, depending on what you're actually after:-
  • Ideal solution - download the ExplorOz Traveller App from Google Play or the App Store. The app enables you to carry the ExplorOz Places, Treks, & Maps data offline in your mobile device ready for your adventures. It is a complete mapping, navigation and tracking app. For more details, read our ExplorOz Traveller page.
  • You can print a paper copy of the text using the print icon button shown above, near the social media buttons. For the best output it is advised to open each tab/section to load all images and artwork. You will still need to click open each Place page (listed in Where to Stay, What to See) to print off all available information.
  • If you have a Hema Navigator or use Mapping Software such as OziExplorer, or TrackRanger AND you are an ExplorOz Member, then you can click the Download Trek button at the top of this page to obtain the raw data files (eg. GPX) for this Trek.
  • If you're not a Member, or you'd like to batch download the entire Treks database you can obtain this by buying a product called EOTreks Route Files from our online shop.


Cape York is the name of the most northern point of the Australian continent and is often referred to as "The Tip". In fact, the whole peninsula of land that lies above the 16°S latitude is called Cape York Peninsula - this narrow peninsula is bound by the Coral sea to the east the Arafura sea and Gulf of Carpentaria to the west and the Torres Strait to the north. Locals however, refer to Cape York "proper" as the area north of the Jardine river.


A trip to Cape York must be carefully planned. You need to plan for the worst and be prepared to handle repairs and maintenance in the bush. Your vehicle will need to be extensively prepared for remote area travel and you will need to ensure you have made essential modifications and carry specific safety equipment & communications.

Most people travel in convoy throughout the Cape not just for company, but for safety and backup. Just remember that overly large convoy groups can be hazardous on narrow dual-direction tracks and due to the bulldust on many Cape Roads, large groups may need to spread out so far apart that the leader lose radio communications with the tail-end charlie. For these reasons, you'll find a smaller convoy more enjoyable and practical.


Permits are required to access all areas of Aboriginal land. The permit is provided when you pay your ferry fee to cross the Jardine River at near Bamaga.

Camping permits are required in all National Parks and Reserves on the Cape York Peninsula and these must now be purchased in advance before arriving at your campsite. Self-registration for camp sites is no longer possible. To obtain an e-permit book online at, or phone 13 74 68.

Fuel Supplies & Usage

Fuel SymbolMusgrave Roadhouse, Archer River Roadhouse, Bramwell Junction.
4cyl 106 litres *4cyl 137 litres4cyl 170 litres
6cyl 122 litres *6cyl 128 litres *6cyl 149 litres
8cyl 130 litres8cyl 141 litres
Usage is averaged from recorded data (* specific to this trek) and calculated based on trek distance.

Best Time To Visit

Closest Climatic Station

Lockhart River Airport
Distance from Trek Mid Point 67.72km NW
Mean Max. °C31.631.330.629.728.727.427.127.729.030.431.832.2
Mean Min. °C23.723.623.422.921.920.119.419.220.521.923.023.6
Mean Rain mm395.9390.8452.3296.9106.858.443.429.215.729.172.2208.4
    Best time to travel      Ok time to travel      Travel NOT recommended

Services & Supplies

The following locations have various services And supplies:Musgrave Roadhouse, Bramwell Junction


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What to See

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Where to Stay

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LocationsDistanceDirection Time
Cooktown to Endeavour Falls Tourist Park Queensland31.55 kmNW295° 31 min
Endeavour Falls Tourist Park Queensland to Cooktown McIvor River Rd & Endeavour Battlecamp Rd4.54 kmN10° 5 min
Cooktown McIvor River Rd & Endeavour Battlecamp Rd to Isabella Falls5.56 kmNW316° 8 min
Isabella Falls to Old Laura68.65 kmW265° 1 hr 28 min
Old Laura to Twelve Mile Hut18.95 kmNW337° 20 min
Twelve Mile Hut to Twelve Mile Waterhole0.52 kmNE49°
Twelve Mile Waterhole to New Laura5.24 kmW289° 5 min
New Laura to Lakefield Rd & Kalpower Rd33.02 kmNW330° 33 min
Lakefield Rd & Kalpower Rd to Lakefield Ranger Base1.26 kmN343° 1 min
Lakefield Ranger Base to Circular Swamp4.45 kmNW313° 4 min
Circular Swamp to Breeza Plains Outstation12.99 kmNW322° 12 min
Breeza Plains Outstation to Morehead River22.3 kmNW319° 23 min
Morehead River to Nine Mile Bend35.87 kmW269° 38 min
Nine Mile Bend to Violet Vale21.54 kmW260° 31 min
Violet Vale to Musgrave Roadhouse12.12 kmSW240° 11 min
Musgrave Roadhouse to Coen107.65 kmN340° 1 hr 26 min
Coen to The Bend Camp3.68 kmN348° 6 min
The Bend Camp to Archer River Roadhouse63.07 kmNW333° 53 min
Archer River Roadhouse to Telegraph Rd & Penninsula Developmental Rd51.57 kmNW335° 45 min
Telegraph Rd & Penninsula Developmental Rd to Telegraph Road - Batavia Downs turnoff48.69 kmN349° 36 min
Telegraph Road - Batavia Downs turnoff to Moreton Telegraph Station23.64 kmN349° 28 min
Moreton Telegraph Station to Bramwell Junction55.97 kmN347° N/A
Bramwell Junction to Palm Creek Tributary1.42 kmN348° 5 min
Palm Creek Tributary to Telegraph Track - Palm Creek1.71 kmN347° 5 min
Telegraph Track - Palm Creek to Ducie Creek3.17 kmN11 min
Ducie Creek to South Alice Creek4.58 kmN343° 15 min
South Alice Creek to North Alice Creek7.78 kmN348° 22 min
North Alice Creek to Heathlands Resources Reserve Boundary7.82 kmN347° 26 min
Heathlands Resources Reserve Boundary to Telegraph track - Dulhunty River3.75 kmN349° 13 min
Telegraph track - Dulhunty River to Telegraph Track - Bertie Creek2.07 kmN344° 11 min
Telegraph Track - Bertie Creek to Gunshot Bypass Track1.82 kmN352° 6 min
Gunshot Bypass Track to Gunshot Creek0.52 kmNW313° 2 min
Gunshot Creek to Telegraph Track & Heathlands Access Trk6.33 kmN18 min
Telegraph Track & Heathlands Access Trk to Junction OTT & Bypass Track7.75 kmNW334° 27 min
Junction OTT & Bypass Track to Telegraph track Cockatoo Creek7.59 kmN345° 19 min
Telegraph track Cockatoo Creek to Telegraph Track & Southern Bypass Rd14.35 kmN353° 19 min
Telegraph Track & Southern Bypass Rd to Telegraph Track - Northern Bypass Road Junction9.14 kmN341° N/A
Telegraph Track - Northern Bypass Road Junction to Fruit Bat Falls2.7 kmNE52° 3 min
Fruit Bat Falls to Telegraph Track - Northern Bypass Road Junction2.7 kmSW232° 3 min
Telegraph Track - Northern Bypass Road Junction to Telegraph Track - Eliot Falls Junction11.02 kmN349° N/A
Telegraph Track - Eliot Falls Junction to Eliot Falls1.82 kmNE26° N/A
Eliot Falls to Telegraph Track - Eliot Falls Junction1.82 kmSW206° N/A
Telegraph Track - Eliot Falls Junction to Canal Creek 0.32 kmNW335° N/A
Canal Creek to Telegraph Track - Sam Creek3.67 kmN355° 2 min
Telegraph Track - Sam Creek to Telegraph Track - Mistake Creek1.51 kmN357° 2 min
Telegraph Track - Mistake Creek to Telegraph Track - Cannibal Creek1.9 kmN358° 2 min
Telegraph Track - Cannibal Creek to Telegraph Track - Cypress Creek1.83 kmN352° 2 min
Telegraph Track - Cypress Creek to Telegraph Track - Bridge Creek12.78 kmN349° 12 min
Telegraph Track - Bridge Creek to OTT Exit to Bypass Track1.42 kmN342° 2 min
OTT Exit to Bypass Track to Jardine River5.14 kmN339° 6 min
Jardine River to OTT Exit to Bypass Track5.14 kmS159° 6 min
OTT Exit to Bypass Track to Junction OTT Exit & Northern Bypass9.76 kmSW222° N/A
Junction OTT Exit & Northern Bypass to Jardine River Ferry Campground & Service Station 23.46 kmN348° 22 min
Jardine River Ferry Campground & Service Station to Southern Bypass & Usher Point Rd12.51 kmE74° 13 min
Southern Bypass & Usher Point Rd to Junction Bamaga Rd & Track to DC Wrecks10.86 kmN354° 8 min
Junction Bamaga Rd & Track to DC Wrecks to Junction Bamaga Rd & Seisia Rd5.09 kmN359° 4 min
Junction Bamaga Rd & Seisia Rd to Injinoo6.86 kmNW313° 5 min
Injinoo to Bamaga7.15 kmE77° 6 min
Bamaga to New Mapoon3.38 kmN354° 4 min
New Mapoon to Seisia2.53 kmNW321° 2 min
Cooktown to Seisia848 km  18 hr 4 min
Distance is GPS recorded driving distance (not straight line), Direction is straight line from start to end, Time is calculated from actual GPS driving data.


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