It’s no doubt that every traveller and 4WD lover alike has Cape York on the top of their ‘must see destination’ list and for good reason too. It’s one of the most unique parts of Australia there is to explore. From the crystal clear creeks, bountiful fishing spots and untouched natural wilderness it really is an experience like no other. Here are a few things to know when planning your trip.
There is so much more than the Old Tele Track
Cape York is often referred to as a four-wheel drive playground but if that’s not your thing then don’t stress, there is so much more to see and do without having to worry about bog holes and winches. One of our favourite experiences during our time at the tip was exploring the plane wrecks from WWII where huge amounts of debris still lays in the bush surrounded by empty oil drums. Some of the best swimming holes and waterfalls are very easily accessible just off the main road and the atmosphere at the many stations you get to stay at on the way is unbeatable. Live music every night, meeting new friends and exchanging stories, not to mention the feeling you get when you reach the sign at the tip of Australia! Cape York is as easy or as hard as you want to make it – don’t let the Gunshot horror stories keep you from exploring it.
Fuel is Expensive & Far Between
Being in such a remote area, you can understand why the price of fuel is higher than normal but another thing to make note of is that the fuel stations can run out of supply without notice. Always carry spare jerry cans to avoid having to sit and wait for the next fuel truck to arrive in a couple of days’ time. During our trip, the Jardine Ferry station ran out of fuel supply without notice for over a week. Luckily we had already filled up prior, but always have a back up.
(You can expect to pay anywhere from $1.80 – $2.08 per litre for diesel)
Just like fuel, groceries and alcohol are also pricey so stocking up as much as you can before you go is smart. If you haven’t got a freezer then it is a good idea to get some cryovac meat from your butcher to last a couple of weeks in the fridge for your trip. You can find frozen bread for as much as $6 a loaf, so grabbing some long-life wraps to substitute for lunches will help keep the food bill down. There are also limits to how much alcohol you can take and carry with you, so be sure to stick to these guidelines as the fines are hefty if you get caught. We paid $84 for a slab of beer at Bamaga, which was cheap compared to the $110 price for the same at Punsand Bay!
Red Dirt & Corrugations
The main road to the tip is the Peninsula Development Road which is a dusty, dirt road filled with corrugations. The road does get graded through out the season so the condition of it can change regularly. To make the ride easier on you and your vehicle, make sure to let your tyre pressures down (we ran 28 PSI in the front and 30 PSI in the back, towing 1.4 tonne) and stick to a sensible speed. This is also a road train route and they don’t mess around so make sure to slow down and pull to the side if you see one approaching – it just might save you a new windscreen! Corrugations are tough on your vehicle so make sure to carry basic spares with you such as filters, belts, fluids and a tyre repair kit.