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TPC
8th September 2014, 12:01 AM
I am considering doing a trip to Cape York in 2 or 3 years, with my job I need to plan a long time in advance.
As I live in SA I have a long way to drive to do this trip, I figure it will take me 4 to 5 big days to get to Cairns.
A few people on here have been to Cape York and I am wondering how long I should allow for a return trip from Cairns to the tip allowing time to see some sights along the way.

I know I am planning a long time in advance but I think it is always good to have something to look forward too so I know what I am working for.

I think Paul (PMC), Pearcy and Apollofish have been up there so would like to here from you guys and anybody else that has been up there.

Maxhead
8th September 2014, 06:16 AM
It really depends on how long you want to spend in different locations and how many different places you want to visit. There are heaps!!

As an example it took as 3 weeks roughly but I would have loved to stay lot longer as we missed out on a heap of places but it was great just to get a couple of weeks in. If I was going to do a dedicated Cape trip I would want to spend a month at least but that might not be feasible for some people.

One thing I do know is that you will love it up there:)

Good luck

FNQGU
8th September 2014, 07:00 AM
As mentioned - how long have you got?

Also, is this a family trip or a adults trip, or a boys trip? ie what time of year are you thinking? (I no longer go up there outside of November/December really, just to avoid the tourists, plus the fishing is better....)
Are you tenting it or need accommodation or taking a camper etc?
Are you keen on doing the Old Tele Track (great drive, but not as much fun with a camper)?

It is bitumen now all the way from Cairns to Laura, and then a few patches from Laura to Coen.

The good parts to see are off the beaten track a bit and take a bit of planning. Many tourists these days just stay on the main drag and drive to the tip and then drive out again.

There is some great rock art at Laura, and some really good up and coming Aboriginal artists at Lockhart River.

Chilli Beach is nice, but windy and gets a LOT of tourists.
Captain Billy's Landing is a good stop for lunch, but windy and isn't a camping spot.
Vrylia Point is one of my favourites for fishing for a week, but it is a bit of a hike on bad corrugations (usually) just for a stop-over.

If you like 4wdriving, then the OTT is a must, also the Frenchman's track, and if you have time, I really like the Maytown Track. The Creb Track is another good one, but it has been closed for a while due to damage and it does get a fair few vehicles on it. Plan for it if you can though.

Lakefield NP has some nice lagoons but is over-rated for mine and if you want lillies and quiet, then I prefer Chong's Swamp in Mungkan Kanju NP, just North of Coen.

Fuel Stops - Weipa is cheapest by a long shot. Then Coen and Bramwell after that. Other spots are sky-high and I once got a tank full of contaminated fuel from the Jardine Crossing so will never fuel up there.

The Archer River roadhouse makes a great burger but the fuel price is ridiculous and it is only 70k's to Coen anyway.
The Moreton Telegraph Station also does reasonable food and fuel prices are just ok if you really have need. Musgrave is about the same, as is the Hahn River Roadhouse.

Don't forget Cape Melville and Bathurst Heads either. There is a nice drive from Cooktown up and around there and then back into Lakefield NP.

Portland Roads is a nice spot, but there isn't much there. The Prawn Trawlers used to anchor up there a bit and you could get fresh prawns from a local bloke but I don't know if that is still going.

Unless you are on a fishing trip, I wouldn't bother visiting Porpuraaw or Kowanyama or Aurukun, although Aurukun has some good art on occasion.

Weipa is worth a visit and is good for a re-stock. Good meals at either the Bowls Club or the Albatross Tavern.

Punsand Bay Lodge at the Tip is a good spot to stay, otherwise Seisia caravan Park.

Lot's of options really depending on your preferences.

TPC
8th September 2014, 08:30 AM
It would be my wife and I going along with 2 or 3 other couples and no kids.
We plan to take camper trailers and want to do the Old Telegraph Track.
We would probably allow ourselves 8 weeks but almost 2 weeks of that will be taken up getting up to Cairns and back to Adelaide.
I would prefer to do it out of tourist season but will probably will be in season to avoid the biting bugs.

jack
8th September 2014, 11:54 AM
Hi Tony,
We took almost three months so meandered up to Cairns and back, the actual Cape trip was three weeks.
A rough itinerary is on this page http://www.nissanpatrol.com.au/forums/showthread.php?16669-RLI-s-Cape-York-travelling-Wilburys-tour-August-2013!/page19&highlight=wilburys
If I did it again I'd spend at least 4 weeks on the Cape, so much to see and do. Recommend staying at Punsand over Siesa and wouldn't bother visiting Thursday & Horne Islands (overpriced and nothing to really do - my view). Punsand was quiet even during peak season which was great and we had a complete area to ourselves. I would cut our stay at the top by one day and spend that exploring other places. Loved Vrilya Point but the midges loved my wife which sort of spoiled it for her.
You'll have no issues doing the OTT with a well setup camper trailer, plenty did it. Geez it's almost a year since we returned, now I'm depressed :frown:

threedogs
8th September 2014, 03:47 PM
Ron Moon has the best guide to Cape York book going around.
Some call it the bible for any Cape trip,
Any good 4x4 shop should sell it
I last went in '83 a lot has changed since then but keen to go again in a year or two

05GUSTS
8th September 2014, 05:12 PM
Hi TPC,
We've just got back from 3.5 weeks in the Cape (plus 8 days up and back from Nthn NSW) and had a blast. Towed a dedicated offroad camper trailer to carry all the goodies deemed necessary by Miss 4yo and little Miss 18mth old. Did the Tele Track and Frenchmans without problems, but did winch out of Palm Creek (got to the top southbound but couldn't haul CT over the lip!). Would definitely allow minimum 4 weeks up and back from Cooktown to make the most of it, and free camp whenever possible. We camped along the Tele Track for 4 nights and spent 3 days at Vrilya Pt at the northernmost camping area. Left after the mid-year school holidays to avoid the crowds, and only really met up with people at creek crossings and campsites. Successful fisherman we came across all had roof topper tinnies, didn't have much success off the banks. Also agree with Apollofish re-Punsand Bay, good open campground with bar, fresh cooked meals and a pizza oven if you tire of camp oven/bbq fare. And the Ron Moon book was invaluable for both planning and reference while away as Threedogs alluded to. Biggest hassle was pre-booking National Parks sites especially if you've never been there before. Already planning our next trip hopefully 2016 or 2017.
Good Luck,
Phil

pearcey
8th September 2014, 05:33 PM
good day Tony
when we did the cape we took out the paper map put a strait edge from Adelaide to Cairns which gave us the shortest way. There are plenty of good stops on the way and if you want there are some great sites to see as well. We went for 6 weeks and took 1 and a halve to get to Mt Carbine where we left the caravans then tented it for 3 weeks to the tip and back then 1 and a halve coming home Would like to catch up for a beer and a chat. With 12 months planning you wont go wrong .
Cheers and Beers Pearcey

FNQGU
8th September 2014, 06:16 PM
I highly recommend the Maytown track too. It gets bugger-all traffic as most think it is too hard. It is doable with a camper trailer (just), but I would avoid the big jump-up and stick to the main track. Maytown itself is one of the many historical gold strike areas and has quite a history.

The far southern camp site at Vrylia is also a great spot. 20+klms of beach driving from memory, with some soft stuff, but it wasn't hard.

Elim Beach is another great spot that is very accessible and yet most of the tourists don't bother. It is only an hour and a half or so North of Cooktown and the coloured sands there are fantastic. Limited camping but I've never missed out and have been many times.

Forget Port Stewart unless you are a dedicated fisherman and know where you are going.

I wouldn't tow a camper through Nolan's either. Unless you are looking for trouble. The rest of the OTT is definitely do-able with the camper though, if as mentioned, it is capable.

Fruit Bat and Twin Falls are now 'bookable' on the NP website and really are a must for a swim and lunch at a minimum. Great spots for a swim and a beer/wine and a stop-over for the night too, but they are very popular.

The best burger on the Cape is actually at Mt Molloy on the way up. Only 40k's out of Mareeba.

Don't forget to consider things like the Chillagoe Limestone Caves (about $6ea) and also the Undara Lava tubes if you have the opportunity. Both are well worth it.

Cuppa
8th September 2014, 09:28 PM
Sounds like a 3 month trip to me! :)

TPC
8th September 2014, 09:53 PM
Sounds like a 3 month trip to me! :)
I wish I could take 3 months, I do have that much leave still owing and will have more by the time I do this but 8 weeks is about the limit I could take in one go.

pearcey
9th September 2014, 08:14 AM
Time to retire mate. Seriously you will get a lot done in 8 weeks. Our only problem over the 6 weeks with 7 vehicles was some friendships became a bit strained. It was interesting as everybody had spent time together on many shorter trips over many years.

Scorpiovee
9th September 2014, 08:35 AM
How many times can you get back there? 4 weeks up there and I still didn't see everything!
Work out how long you can stay up there for, make a list of what you want to see, the roads you want to travel on, and do NOT try keeping to a schedule.
You won't have the time to really appreciate it if you do


Sent from my iPhone using Motorculture mobile app

Cuppa
9th September 2014, 01:54 PM
When I eventually get up there my hope is to leave Cooktown as soon as the roads dry out, & to stay up on the Cape until just before the next Wet......... unless we discover good reason to remain for the Wet too. :)

NP99
9th September 2014, 07:11 PM
It would be my wife and I going along with 2 or 3 other couples and no kids.
We plan to take camper trailers and want to do the Old Telegraph Track.
We would probably allow ourselves 8 weeks but almost 2 weeks of that will be taken up getting up to Cairns and back to Adelaide.
I would prefer to do it out of tourist season but will probably will be in season to avoid the biting bugs.

Could train part of the way.....

FNQGU
11th September 2014, 06:38 PM
When I eventually get up there my hope is to leave Cooktown as soon as the roads dry out, & to stay up on the Cape until just before the next Wet......... unless we discover good reason to remain for the Wet too. :)

Best time of the year is the wet season I reckon. And it can be surprising just how much of the country is still open to traveling around a bit. Plus there is almost no one else around and you can have loads of great places all to yourself.