Written By ~ The Group (Edited by Webmaster)
Participants ~ Allan & Helen Kidd (Trip Leaders) Land Cruiser 105
Gary (Coops) & Elke Cooper Prado 120 D4D manual
Rick Hall Land Cruiser 79 series ute
Schuey Land Cruiser 105
Rob & Jenny Hamblen Land Cruiser 105
Barry & Dot Slattery Land Cruiser 100
Karen & Richard Dibley Land Cruiser HJ60
Aaron & Malcolm Moody Land Cruiser 105
Ken Ryan & Linda Chalmers Troopy
Duration ~ 29 Days
Destination ~ Cape York - The Tip
1st August: Cairns to Lions’s Den
Cairns was the starting point. Bypassing Port Douglas and with a ferry crossing over the Daintree River, the convoy passed through Cape Tribulation before leaving the bitumen onto Rykers Road until we arrived at Wujal Wujal.
A range of wildlife attractions and other adventure opportunities intermittently accented the landscape together with an eclectic array of unique letter boxes. The radios were unusually silent as we cruised the last few remaining kilometres to the Lion’s Den campground with good food, drink and company.
2nd August: Lion’s Den to Cooktown
After leaving from the Lion’s Den we progressed slowly to Black Mountain Lookout. The convoy stopped for photos and to marvel at the scenery. We followed the blacktop to Cooktown
3rd August: Cooktown to Elim Beach
The road conditions were good with a lot more sealed road than the maps had indicated, probably about 70%, except for the 20k from Cooktown and the last 12k into Elim Beach remain dirt. The scenery was very pleasant. The critical part of the journey followed the Endeavour River, although you don’t see it most of the time in the Endeavour Valley.
Hope Vale is a clean and tidy looking township with a large number of new structures. The scenic view as you approach Hope Vale is quite stunning. To Elim Beach just in time for lunch. We setup camp and a few cars went for a beach drive to see the coloured sands - not unlike Fraser Island.
4th August: Elim Beach to Laura
The pre-dawn at the glorious Elim Beach campsite was heralded by a chorus of birds. It was a relaxed start to the day with a 10:30am departure. The scenery was stunning as we retraced our tracks with the stark white of the silica dunes dotted with coastal green against glimpses of an azure sea. The roadside was coloured with wildflowers - red bottlebrush, various wattles, orange grevillea and low shrubs festooned with a purple flowering pea-like creeper. On through Hope Vale, we crossed the pretty Normanby River causeway and as we travelled the eucalypts thinned and the forest floor was littered with termite mounds of every description. Shortly after 3pm we pulled up outside the Laura Roadhouse to book into the Community Campground.
6th August: Laura to Coen
We had a rest-day yesterday where we could do a self-guided tour of the Aboriginal Rock Art at Split Rock, visit the Quinkan Cultural Centre, explore the town or see the Campdraft and Rodeo Grounds.
We headed north along the Peninsula Development Road and travelled on tar, gravel and sandy sections – probably taking the corrugations at about 75kph. We then headed up the Bamboo Range with an elevation of 270m - this road was all blacktop. About 35k from Coen you got a pretty view of the ranges ahead. At this point we hit the longest stretch of corrugations, although the road today was relatively smooth.
A free bush camp about 5km out of Coen is a picturesque and popular river spot. The running water is clear and there is a pretty little cascade where you can bathe!
7th August: Coen to Chilli Beach
On to the Cape York quarantine border where we all stopped to receive a free information kit, then the Archer River Roadhouse. Along the final stretch to Chilli Beach we encountered numerous creek crossings with largely gravelled bottoms, mud bogs and slides. There was a strobing effect due to the light filtering in from the canopy which made spotting the pot holes near impossible. Eventually we made it to Chilli Beach where we found a beautiful fig and palm forest bordered by a croc infested beach and creek.
9th August: Chilli Beach to Bramwell Station
Once back on the Peninsula Development Road the corrugations returned, often making the cabin so noisy that conversation was impossible. Happily, after 15km we turned north onto the Telegraph Road and rejoiced in the beautifully smooth ride. This rare pleasure induced some moments of radio silence. However, there were 29 vehicles travelling in the opposite direction, their dense plumes of dust required our convoy to slow to safely negotiate passage.
Moreton Telegraph Station on the banks of the Wenlock River had sprinklers watering unexpected lawns and shady trees.
Bramwell Station was our night’s camp. The campground was mostly grassed but still dusty in the dry season.
10th August: Bramwell Station to Eliot Falls
We again ventured onto the Overland Telegraph Track (OTT) to have a look at the infamous Gunshot which lived up to its name. There were many vehicles attempting all manner of crossings. It was TESTOSTERONE CITY by the look of all of the boys trying out their vehicles.
We crossed Cockatoo Creek which proved not too hard then Sailor Creek, via a little wooden bridge. Then it was back onto the main road for a few kilometres and onto the OTT again for the run into Eliot Falls. There was a small creek which we all made it across with no issues and then onto Eliot Falls for the night.
11th August: Eliot Falls to Seisia
Having turned north onto the OTT, within the first 1500m we reached our first water crossing Canal Creek, water blinds were not required. We drove down a relatively narrow track and 9:02am we entered the Jardine River NP, approaching the Sam Creek crossing. This crossing was a bit more challenging due to a steep entry, undulations and exit.
Mistake Creek was a relatively easy crossing with a bit of a steep entry and exit. Cannibal Creek had a relatively steep entry but it was easy to cross. By 12k we were at the famous Cypress Creek where we successfully crossed the rickety and groaning bridge. At 19.5k we were at Logan’s Creek. This was a relatively easy crossing as the party preceding us had done some road building which eased our descent into the crossing.
At last! We arrived at the infamous Nolan’s Creek crossing – a mere 25k since we left Eliot Falls. Various members of TLCC walked the crossing which proved to be about waist deep at the deepest spot. At 37k we made a right turn onto the main ferry road – like a super highway with heaps of corrugations. So at 60.1k we were at the Jardine River Crossing where we paid the $99 per vehicle fee.
We arrived without incident at the Seisia campground at 4:20pm.
12th August: To the Tip
It was 34k from Bamaga to the tip of Cape York. We got there early to avoid the heat of the day. The walk to the tip involved multiple rocky climbs and at low tide you can sneak around via the mudflats.
13th – 17th August: Lay days
18th August: Seisia to Eliot Falls
After a very relaxing seven nights at the Seisia caravan park we headed to Eliot Falls for a two night stay.
20th August: Eliot Falls to Captain Billy’s Landing
Yesterday was a lay day and the group took the opportunity to relax and have a swim at the Falls. The Saucepan is a great location for those who want a swim, Twin Falls provides a safe sandy, waist-deep pool for wading whilst Eliot Falls is a deeper chasm and more a photo opportunity.
We left camp for Captain Billy’s Landing. The group visited Fruit Bat Falls as it was on the way just 10km from our camp and was another “must see” location. From here the next section was 47km along the Bamaga Road to our turnoff point to Captain Billy’s Landing. After the turnoff to Captain Billy’s Landing the scenery changed from scrub to mostly rainforest along the track. No low-range driving was required. Our campsite was open and wind-swept but with a nice beach and fruit bat caves at the southern end.
21st August: Captain Billy’s Landing to Weipa
22nd August: Weipa
A tour of Weipa and the Rio Tinto Alcan Weipa (RTAW) bauxite mining operation.
23rd August: Weipa to Mango Lagoon
After a lovely stay in Weipa Caravan Park, a long, dusty drive to a remote bush, First Coen Camp.
24th to 28th August: Mango Lagoon to Kalpowar Crossing, to Cape Melville, to Starcke River to the CREB Track.29th August: Rossville to Cairns