Cape York, QLD

By: John Mack, Photography by: John Mack

Cape YorkBushtrackers at Somerset Beach
Cape YorkCarefully avoiding gutters on a side track
Cape YorkCarnivours Pitcher Plant Fruit Bat Falls
Cape YorkCautiously heading through the rainforest
Cape YorkCockatoo Creek Crossing OTR
Cape YorkCTA 33 CapeYork10D15050
Cape YorkEliot Twin Falls
Cape YorkExiting Somerset beach campsite
Cape YorkJardine River Ferry
Cape YorkLaura River Battle Camp Road
Cape YorkLeaving Crystal Creek lunch stop on the OTL
Cape YorkMap
Cape YorkMusgrave Telegraph Station
Cape YorkScrubby Creek Cross here to get to Eliot Falls
Cape YorkSomerset Beach
Cape YorkTag a longs are popular up here Moreton Telegraph Station at Wenlock River 6 edited 1

The Cape York Peninsula is an iconic location that can easily become the trip of a lifetime.

Cape York is a fantastic destination with much to see and do, however getting there is half the fun. With corrugated roads, ferried river crossing and largely facility free areas, this beautiful far north region is a 4WDers dream. So fire up your adventurous spirit and get organised!


An untamed wilderness rich with Aboriginal culture and Australian pioneering history, Cape York is a fascinating, if somewhat hard to reach, destination. When you do arrive, ensure you take the time to visit ‘The Tip’, mainland Australia’s northernmost point. The location is marked by a stone monument and fantastic views out over the Torres Strait.

The area is wonderful for anglers, with a number of fishing tours in operation. You can also get up close and personal to Australia’s most impressive creature, the crocodile, with croc spot tours, or take a scenic helicopter flight to witness this exotic location from above.

The Torres Strait Islands are located off the coast of Cape York, with a ferry between Cape York’s Seisia Jetty and Thursday Island’s Engineers Jetty taking only a little over an hour. Therefore, a day trip to the islands should definitely make it on to your to-do list. Visit the Heritage Museum and Art Gallery which details the regions WWII history; learn about the culture and history of the Torres Strait Islands at the Gab Titui Cultural Centre; and much more.


The drive north from Cairns will take you past a number of beautiful sites and destinations on your way up the Cape York Peninsula, including Laura, Cape Melville National Park and Cooktown. However, no trail is as interesting as the old Telegraph Track, which has become somewhat of a 4WD mecca. The track follows the original telegraph line through the Peninsula, and for a long time was the only route through the Cape. While the track can add a little more time to your journey, the scenery it will take you through is unforgettable, with spots like the Fruit Bat Falls and Nolans Brook Swimming Hole just some of the highlights.


Getting there

There are several routes you can take from Cooktown to Bamaga, which is about 835km.

Option one is to take the scenic dirt road trip to Old Laura via Battle Camp Road, head north via Lakefield National Park to Musgrave Roadhouse on the Peninsula Development Road.

Option two is to take the sealed road via Lakeland and Laura (sealed section ends) and on to Musgrave Roadhouse. Continue on Peninsula Development and the Southern Bypass Road to Jardine River ferry and on to Bamaga. The Old Telegraph Track at the northern end is strictly experienced 4WD only – not suitable for caravans.


  • 4WD tours
  • Fishing and charter boat hire
  • Island tours
  • Helicopter flights
  • Excellent bird watching
  • Remote bush camping
  • Great beaches
  • Bushwalking
  • Side trips: Captain Billies landing,  Lockhart River and Portland Roads, Princess Charlotte Bay on the east coast, Weipa and Karumba on the west coast.

More info

  • The best time to visit is during the dry season in May to September. 
  • Vehicles and caravans/trailers must be in good mechanical condition, carry spares and two spare tyres/wheels and first aid kit.
  • Jardine River ferry crossing fare for vehicle and caravan was $145 in 2014. This includes return trip and unlimited free camping across the Cape Peninsula Region.
  • Any water source including the sea may contain dangerous estuarine crocodiles.


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The full feature appeared in Caravan World #536, April 2015. Subscribe today for the latest caravan reviews and news every month!