We meet in Cairns and after introductions, we begin our 18 day adventure! Heading up the twisting Kuranda Range we travel across the Tablelands and stop in Dimbulah for morning tea. We then head for Chillagoe where we explore balancing rock and the smelters. After lunch we have a ranger guided tour of the limestone caves before heading to camp. In the evening we are provided with a welcome meal as we get to know each other. Known for its’ clear night skies, we will have a guided observatory tour after dinner.
After our morning briefing we head for the Hodgkinson Goldfields and hit the dirt as we explore the area. After a stop for lunch we head to Mt Mulligan, cited as Queensland’s Uluru. At the base of this impressive monolith we find Mt Mulligan mine, the site of the state’s worst industrial disaster. We explore the old township and mine buildings before heading north through station lands. A short section on the Mulligan Highway and we arrive at the Palmer River Roadhouse, our stop for the night.
A short way up the Mulligan and we turn off to the start of the Peninsular Development Road (PDR). Travelling into Quinkan country we enjoy a guided tour of some aboriginal rock art. The collection of rock art galleries in the area are listed by UNESCO as being among the top 10 rock art sites in the world!
Driving on Laura we visit the Quinkan Cultural Centre. After lunch we explore the towns first lock-up and the bridge to nowhere before heading up the PDR. We stop at the Hann River Roadhouse to set up camp and say hello to some of their resident wildlife including a very friendly emu!
Today our journey is entirely on the PDR. A patchwork of bitumen and dirt sections, we keep our fingers crossed the grader has been along recently! Contrary to popular belief, the PDR goes to Weipa on the west coast and it’s actually the Telegraph Road and Bamaga Road that will take us to The Tip in days to come.
We call in to Musgrave Roadhouse taking a look at the pioneer graves and historic telegraph post. On to Coen, where we can stretch our legs briefly before continuing to Archer River Roadhouse for our lunch stop. Our final leg for the day takes us to Merluna Station to setup camp and enjoy the magnificent wildlife on offer.
Having enjoyed the morning bird calls, we depart Merluna and head to the mining town of Weipa. We are in camp before lunch and you have a free afternoon to relax, explore or wet a line. You also have the opportunity to resupply at the supermarket!
We are booked onto a sunset eco cruise to get up close with the local wildlife in this diverse habitat and hope to spot plenty of saltwater crocodiles and many bird species.
This morning we have a bus tour of Weipa and Rio Tinto’s mine. We will learn all about the bauxite mining operations and history of the area with our knowledgeable guide.
We have lunch in Weipa before we get back on the road on our way to Bramwell Station. Always an entertaining stopover, we will have a station chat, enjoy happy hour at the licensed bar and often there will be live music!
A short drive to Bramwell Junction and we are at the beginning of the Old Telegraph Track (OTT). Starting at Palm Creek, we will traverse the southern half of the OTT at a leisurely pace giving us plenty of time to size up the crossings and watch others attempt them too.
We will help the group negotiate each creek together and will always have the recovery gear at the ready!
Depending on how we travel, there are options to bypass some crossings if needed. Our camp for the next two nights is at Eliot Falls.
Today we have a free day so no need to pack up camp!
Your guide will take those who want to tackle the more challenging northern half of the Tele' Track.
You might want to take yourself for a swim and explore around Eliot and Twin Falls. There are plenty of swimming holes in the area, an abundance of fauna to seek out and some unique flora to see.
You could try and do all of the above, or none at all. It's your choice today!
Crossing Scrubby Creek we are on the Bamaga Road and heading north once more. We come to the Jardine River and cross on the ferry to the Northern Peninsula Area. We drive to Mutee Head and gain an understanding of the Aboriginal and Islander communities in the NPA.
There is plenty of WWII history in the area and we seek out radar installations, gunning placements, fuel dumps and a couple of plane wrecks. We head to Seisia to set up camp for the next couple of nights overlooking the Endeavour Strait.
Taking some of the lesser used tracks we head to Cape York, we find the terminus of the overland telegraph line and navigate the flats. Parking up, we have a short walk over or around the headland before we finally make it to The Tip. The northern most point of the Australian mainland!
We spend some time soaking up the experience before we head off to Somerset to explore the ruins of the Jardine family home.
Dropping down to the sea, we drive the beautiful Five Beaches Loop before heading back to camp via the Croc Tent. Tonight we are provided a hearty meal and celebrate our making The Tip!
We have a free day in Seisia!
You could take a fishing charter to catch those big pelagics. Or how about a trip to Thursday Island and maybe a tour around the WWII sites on Horn Island?
There’s also plenty more to explore in the NPA and of course you could just take in the sea views whilst relaxing at camp.
Beginning our journey south, we cross the Jardine before stopping for morning tea and a swim at Fruit Bat Falls.
Feeling refreshed, we head to the east coast where we enjoy lunch at Captain Billy Landing.
Back onto the bypass road we head to Moreton Telegraph Station where we camp for the night next to the Wenlock River.
First up we explore the property, taking a walk along the river searching for Palm Cockatoos, Antilopine Wallaroos and the Common Spotted Cuscus. There is plenty more flora and fauna to keep us engaged and we end up at a natural rock bridge.
After morning tea we set off towards Iron Range National Park. Lunching along the way, we arrive at Chili Beach early in the afternoon. Setting up camp, we have plenty of time to explore the magnificent beach and rainforest.
We drive into Lockhart River, first stopping at Iron Range Airfield, a former WWII bomber base. We then call in at the Art Centre and explore Quintel Beach and it’s granite boulders. Back on the tracks and we head to Mt Tozer lookout and then onto the Batavia Goldfields. We stop for lunch amongst the abandoned plant and machinery.
On to Archer River Roadhouse for a break before our final leg to Coen. We camp in town which gives us the opportunity to explore the Heritage House and maybe sink a cold one in the Exchange Hotel.
Departing Coen we hit the dirt tracks heading towards Port Stewart before turning off and heading for Lama Lama National Park. We break here for morning tea before journeying on to Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park where we see the termite mounds of the Nifold Plain, some beautiful lily lagoons and try to spot some Brolgas. We will camp at Kalpower Crossing where you can enjoy a forest walk or try some croc spotting in the Normanby River!
After packing up camp we continue through Lakefield National Park spotting the abundant wildlife as we go. We explore Old Laura Homestead which is a superb example of early property in this area.
Exiting the park we travel through the Battle Camp range before stopping at Isabella Falls for a refreshing dip. We make Cooktown for lunch, setup camp and you have the afternoon free to explore this historic town. We head out to a high point to watch a glorious sunset over the Endeavour Valley.
This morning we start with a visit to the historic cemetery, railway park and restitution rock. A spot of morning tea before we take a guided tour of the incredibly informative James Cook Museum. After lunch we head out to Archer Point to see some spectacular views of the coastline and the reef before we drive on to Black Mountain and marvel at its unique building blocks.
A short drive on to our final camp at the iconic Lion’s Den Hotel. We camp by the creek so you can go for a dip or talk a look at the pub and museum. This evening we are provided with our farewell meal and we reminisce on the adventure we’ve been on.
Our last day is a big one! Heading south we drive through lush green scenery on our way to the community of Wujal Wujal. We stop in at the arts centre and visit the awesome Wujal Wujal (Bloomfield) Falls. This is also the start of the famed Bloomfield Track which is extremely steep and climbs two ranges. We get glimpses of the ocean before dropping down to Cape Tribulation. After lunch we drive through the Daintree Rainforest where “The Rainforest Meets The Reef!” Crossing the mighty Daintree River by ferry we absorb the spectacular coastal scenery before arriving back to Cairns where we say goodbye to our newly made friends.