Cape York via Bypass Roads

StartClick to Reverse the Dynamic Map and Driving NotesMareeba
DifficultyDifficulty 3/5
Suitable for4WD Camper Bike 
Distance960.84 km
Minimum Days5
Average Speed69.04 km/hr
Driving Time13 hrs 55 mins
Page Updated: 8 Apr 2015


This trek note provides a complete route to Cape York bypassing all the major 4WD river crossings found on the Telegraph Track. The route uses the Peninsula Developmental Road (PDR) and Bamaga Road (Northern Bypass). This trek note is the easier alternative to the route given in our Cape York trek note due to the lack of 4WD challenges, however conditions can be very dustry and very corrugated and this route has its own fair share of problems and should not be undertaken lightly.

Whilst the PDR is currently being upgraded and there is a plan for it to be fully tarred by 2020, the route is unsealed for much of the way in the northern end and wet season conditions can make the road impassable at times. A 4WD vehicle is recommended due to the heavy corrugations and better handling and safety you will have in such a vehicle.

There are many interesting side trips to the west and east coastlines of the Cape York Peninsula too, so take a look through the separate Trek Notes we provide for optional side trips 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 (more coming in Nov '13).

In addition to the side trips, the majority of travellers will use parts of the PDR and parts of the OTT in order to explore the best of what the Cape offers, whilst avoiding the more extreme challenges found on the Old Telegraph Track.

Using this trek you will arrive at Seisia, the most northerly community on the Cape York Peninsula, however not at the true "tip" of Cape York. To reach the true "tip" of the Cape York Peninsula follow our day trip trek note called Seisia to the Tip.

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:-
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  • 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.


Fuel, most standard supplies, and some repair services are available at towns and roadhouses but spare parts are not always available. Visitors need to be self-sufficient with adequate food, water, fuel and basic vehicle repair equipment. Mobile phone coverage is generally not available in Cape York Peninsula so it is essential to have other communication equipment.

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 SymbolPalmer River Roadhouse, Hann River Roadhouse, Musgrave Roadhouse, Archer River Roadhouse, Bramwell Junction.
4cyl 135 litres4cyl 155 litres4cyl 192 litres
6cyl 147 litres6cyl 174 litres6cyl 169 litres
8cyl 147 litres8cyl 159 litres
Usage is averaged from recorded data (* specific to this trek) and calculated based on trek distance.

Best Time To Visit

Closest Climatic Station

Coen Airport
Distance from Trek Mid Point 83.71km W
Mean Max. °C32.132.131.331.030.229.628.929.831.633.434.434.7
Mean Min. °C23.823.923.421.819.517.917.317.118.920.922.623.9
Mean Rain mm294.1268.1267.
    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
Mareeba to Biboohra7.85 kmN356° 5 min
Biboohra to Peninsula Developmental Rd & Southern Lakes Rd16.59 kmNW334° 10 min
Peninsula Developmental Rd & Southern Lakes Rd to Mount Molloy14.4 kmN349° 9 min
Mount Molloy to Rifle Creek Rest Area0.97 kmN347°
Rifle Creek Rest Area to Peninsula Developmental Rd & Mossman-Mt Molloy Rd0.47 kmNW308°
Peninsula Developmental Rd & Mossman-Mt Molloy Rd to Mount Carbine28.92 kmNW306° 18 min
Mount Carbine to Junction67 kmNW307° 41 min
Junction to Palmer River Roadhouse16.29 kmN21° 9 min
Palmer River Roadhouse to Lakeland31.8 kmN17° 20 min
Lakeland to Ang-Ganrra45.94 kmNW304° 45 min
Ang-Ganrra to Laura15.55 kmNW317° 15 min
Laura to Intersection Peninsula Developmental Rd, Maytown Rd, Old Laura Rd1.55 kmNW309° 1 min
Intersection Peninsula Developmental Rd, Maytown Rd, Old Laura Rd to Peninsula Developmental Rd & Palmerville Rd17.47 kmW288° 17 min
Peninsula Developmental Rd & Palmerville Rd to Kennedy River Rest Area14.12 kmNW312° 13 min
Kennedy River Rest Area to Hann River Roadhouse42.35 kmNW308° 41 min
Hann River Roadhouse to Mary Valley Station20.39 kmNW308° 15 min
Mary Valley Station to Morehead River Rest Area8.9 kmNW312° 6 min
Morehead River Rest Area to Peninsula Developmental Rd & Dixie Rd9.97 kmNW305° 9 min
Peninsula Developmental Rd & Dixie Rd to Musgrave Roadhouse23.65 kmNW337° 23 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 Junction Southern Bypass & Bramwell Station Tk10.18 kmE75° 8 min
Junction Southern Bypass & Bramwell Station Tk to Southern Bypass & Shelburne Tk11.14 kmN16° 8 min
Southern Bypass & Shelburne Tk to Southern Bypass & Trk to Heathlands33.41 kmN28 min
Southern Bypass & Trk to Heathlands to Southern Bypass & Trk to Captain Billy Landing10.74 kmN18° 10 min
Southern Bypass & Trk to Captain Billy Landing to Track Junction20.77 kmNW300° 19 min
Track Junction to Telegraph Track & Southern Bypass Rd21.53 kmNW303° 17 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 Northern Bypass & Track to Vrilya Point24 kmNW329° 19 min
Northern Bypass & Track to Vrilya Point to Junction OTT Exit & Northern Bypass4.22 kmN358° 3 min
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
Mareeba to Seisia960.84 km  13 hr 55 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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