THE CAPE PART 1 – CAIRNS TO BRAMWELL JUNCTION
FUEL & SUPPLIES
Fuel is available at Cairns, Port Douglas, Daintree, Cooktown, Laura, Musgrave Station, Bramwell Junction, Coen and more
It is essential to change your tyre pressures regularly up here there isn’t one pressure that suits all. We stick with 28psi on the dirt and 35psi on the blacktop. When it gets rough or on bull dust we can drop down to 25psi
PERMITS AND FEES
There are many permits and permissions required to travel Cape York, sticking to the main roads and you should be right but head off and youll need to source permission
First you pass by the Cairns northern beaches and then the beautiful coastal road between Wangetti and Craiglie, southern Port Douglas.
Then you have some sugar cane fields around Mossman, and later a few beaches. And then you enter the Daintree rainforests, Daintree Village and Cape Tribulation.
From Cape Tribulation to Bloomfield is the so-called ‘hardest’ bit, although not as hard as it’s been made to sound. There are steep bits, there are creek crossings, and yes it’s the first bit you have unsealed. But it’s still a road, not a four wheel drive track like the neighbouring CREB Track that starts in Daintree Village.
After Wujal Wujal and Bloomfield, the road gets better and is now almost completely sealed. You first drive through the small community Ayton with some beaches, bays and the mouth of Bloomfield River. Then you drive through Cedar Bay National Park, and later the small communities Rossville and Helenvale.
Helenvale has the famous pub Lions Den Hotel, and also the Mungumby Lodge.
After that you come out to Mulligan Highway south of Cooktown, and drive past the Black Mountain National Park, then the turnoffs to Archer Point and Trevethan Falls, and then Annan River and national park before you come to Cooktown.
Elim Beach is in a fairly remote location in Cape York that requires 4WD to get to. It is about an hour-and-a-quarter from Cooktown and about 26km from Hope Vale Aboriginal community.
10km after Hopevale is the Battle Camp road. Along here for another 8km or so there is the beautiful Isabella Falls, a fresh water creek crossing, cascading down into several pools before becoming a small waterfall.
Continuing on, cross over the Normanby River, a small crossing that wasn’t very deep; maybe half-way up the tyre rim. No swimming here as it does have Crocs in it.
Arriving at the old Battle Camp station is a good stop for lunch and to take in the sights. Battle Camp Station and the Battle Camp Range just to the south of here were named by a group of gold diggers who were heading west to the Palmer River to seek their fortune when they were set upon by a band of Aboriginals.
From here you have the choice of taking the turn off to Lakefield National Park. Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park (Cape York Peninsula Aboriginal Land) (CYPAL) has a rich and diverse landscape. In the north grasslands and woodlands, wetlands, coastal estuaries, mangroves and mudflats are prominent. In the south, sandstone hills and escarpments dominate the landscape.
The Musgrave Roadhouse is located 136 kilometres north of Laura, and is halfway between Cairns and Weipa, providing an ideal resting place for travellers heading north to the Cape York Peninsula.
The roads coming out of Lakefield, Kowanyama and Pormpurraw all meet up at Musgrave – once again making Musgrave Roadhouse an ideal base.
Musgrave was first built as an overland telegraph station in 1887.
The Telegraph Road leaves the PDR 145km east of Weipa and some 50km north of the Archer River and its roadhouse. While this road follows the original route of the The Overland Telegraph Line (OTL) Track, it has been upgraded with all resemblance to the old track lost. For one, the crossing of the mighty Wenlock River is now bridged.
The old Moreton Telegraph Station offers accommodation and pleasant camping. Likewise, Bramwell Junction, at the intersection of the OTL Track and the bypass roads, offers meals and a pleasant camping spot. Nearby, Bramwell Station offers accommodation, camping, a lively bar and restaurant along with a self-drive track towards the remote east coast