So, you’ve made it up to Cape York. Following the road from Cooktown, all the way to the Old Telegraph Track.
By this point you will be well versed in dealing with the corrugations of the Peninsula Development Road, now a new challenge presents itself, water crossings. This is where that snorkel you had fitted before the trip will come in handy.
There are a few infamous crossings that, if you’ve done your research, you will know about. Palm Creek is the first, renowned as the tester for the rest of the track. If you can drive Palm Creek, you should be good for the rest. Defined by very steep entries, it’s a matter of easing into the crossing, before using a bit of right foot, and diff locks, to tackle the exit. If in doubt, play it safe and safely winch off one of the many trees that line the exit. Remembering a tree trunk protector of course.
After this, there are a few very pretty crossings to enjoy. Cannibal Creek, Mistake Creek and Cypress are all worth a stop to admire. They each provide their own challenges as well. Depending on the wet season, these crossings can have a bit of water through them. Most have a fairly easy bottom, so just keep the revs up and you’ll be fine.
The last two crossings of The Tele are the two that everyone remembers. Logan’s is a fairly long, straight drive through deep water. Again, it’s a matter of keeping up your momentum. A tip, just to be safe, it’s worth attaching a strap to your front recovery point BEFORE attempting the crossing. If you get stuck, it’s very hard to find the point and attach a strap underwater.
This is all just a warm-up for the one and only, Nolan’s Brook. Arguably, Australia’s best-known water crossing. There are multiple entries that change conditions on the daily. Then the crossing itself is difficult for two reasons. Primarily, it’s softer sand, meaning there is a far higher chance of bogging. Secondly, the crossing sees a lot of traffic. This means unless you get to it early, you’re likely going to be driving through a riverbed that is already chopped up from previous vehicles. Again, we’d recommend attaching a strap to your car before attempting Nolan’s. Common courtesy is to wait for the vehicle behind you because if they get stuck, you’re going to want to get them out of there quick smart, otherwise, you risk the car floating. It goes without saying that snorkels are a must here. Extended diff breathers are also helpful.
Once all the fun and excitement of Nolan’s is past you, it’s back out onto the main road north, cross the Jardine River and on to Bamaga. It’s the largest town in this northern part of the Cape. A great place to restock after a few long days on the Tele Track. From Bamaga, head a few kays out of town to stay at Alau Beach Campgrounds. Beautiful, beach-front sites and tidy facilities.
From Bamaga, it’s only 40kms to Pajinka, The Tip of Australia. The access road is all dirt, but nothing you haven’t already faced. Along the way, you have to stop in at The Croc Tent. It’s THE place on The Cape to get your souvenirs. Because you haven’t done The Cape without a stubby cooler to prove it!
Pajinka itself is accessed either by walking across the headland or at the right tide, you can wander along the flats of Frangipani Beach. The last thing to do? Get your photo next to the sign of course!
If you’re thinking of tackling Cape York, can we recommend chatting to your local ARB store to get the car in proper condition, and if the van is coming with you, why not have a chat to the Vision RV team, or even invest in a new van? They have proved one is capable of tackling the Tele Track, so you know it won’t let you down.
The trip we shot took us a total of 9 days, but we’d recommend taking at least two weeks to give you ample time to enjoy all aspects of The Cape. Below is a list of operators, equipment and attractions that we think you might be interested in.
List of gear we found helpful:
- Old Man Emu Suspension
- Air Compressors
- ARB Slide Kitchen
- Safari Snorkel
- Recovery Gear
- Kovix Alarmed Trailer Lock