A Family Holiday to Cape York: Part 2
Antanya has been itching for adventure as a long-time member of Club 4X4’s team, so she’s recently taken the plunge to travel full time with her family, kicking off Exploring Not Lost (Facebook and Instagram) with a …
Antanya has been itching for adventure as a long-time member of Club 4X4’s team, so she’s recently taken the plunge to travel full time with her family, kicking off Exploring Not Lost (Facebook and Instagram) with a bucket list trip to Cape York. CLICK HERE to read Part 1.
The drive along the tele track can be slow going but exciting as you make your way through some of the best spots that Cape York has to offer. The Gunshot Creek Crossing would have to be one of the more famous on the Old Telegraph Track and a highlight for most tackling the Cape.
Whether you are a beginner or an experienced four-wheeler, Gunshot is something you want to cross off your bucket list, or at least watch for a bit of entertainment! Not for the faint hearted, the main track is a near vertical drop and when we arrived, there was a brand-new Hilux firmly wedged in the drop.
There are plenty of chicken tracks to be taken for those not willing to do the main track, which is what we opted to do to limit the risk of damage. We decided to take a wet, boggy side track that we walked first to be safe.
It was quite soft and looked challenging even as the easier track but our 200 Series Landcruiser was up to it and pushed through no worries.
Chris and Shelley’s Hilux got a bit off line coming down and around the bend in the slippery mud and had to be pulled out, but the rest of the crew just powered through.
Part of the excitement and a real highlight was seeing all our kids up on the hill taking photos and videos, enjoying every moment of this, creating memories that they will talk about for years to come.
Now everyone talks about getting down through Gunshot, but few people talk about the uphill ‘wombat holes’ getting out on the other side. Again, there was assistance needed for some of the vehicles, while others just roared up the hill. The fun with Gunshot is there always seems to be a crowd of people cheering and watching on, and always ready to lend a hand as is customary for Aussie four-wheel drivers. Another great part of the Cape experience!
Running out of both daylight and time we opted at this point to take the Gunshot Bypass road- What a mistake that was!
The corrugations where the worst we experienced on the entire trip. People on our group lost light bars, bash plates, spotlights and roof platforms just through to the vibrations from the corrugations.
After finally getting back to Bramwell Station for a few well-earned drinks and a good night’s sleep, we packed up and continued to head north with a stop at Fruit Bat Falls.
What a magical spot, photos don’t do this place justice, we could have stayed here all day!
A popular spot on the Tele Track, it’s a fantastic place to cool off and for the kids to burn off some energy jumping off the rocks into the crystal-clear waters below.
Our next stop was to be Elliot Falls for the night, but with the condition of the track, it was going to be too hard to get our 22ft Lotus Off Grid caravan in, so we decided to camp the night at the Jardine River instead.
In the past, the Jardine River was drivable further upstream where the Tele Track meets the river, but with a strong current and depths reaching as high as 4 meters, everyone now uses the ferry to cross. The ferry crossing is a short ride down a steep ramp, across the river and back up the other side. The traditional owners had the kids looking out for an 8ft crocodile that lives nearby.
After days of red dirt, dust and corrugations, you come up over the hill to catch your first glimpses of the ocean at the tip of Australia, known as Pajinka by the traditional owners. That glimpse of turquoise blue is a sight for sore eyes.
Cape York’s Punsand Bay Camping is an oasis after a long track north. As you cross under the sign, you can hear the call from the Corrugation Bar and its ice-cold beer. The water and beach front are so picturesque that it is almost cruel that you wouldn’t dare dip your toes in (the resident crocs might find them tasty), although it doesn’t seem to deter the locals who are quick to jump in take a dip, For the rest of us, that value our limbs, the pool is a welcome relief to cool off and have a few cold beverages.
Punsand Bay is a great base camp for those wanting to not only see the tip, but also explore the local area, which is rich in both wildlife and history. A short drive into town, you will find the Bamaga Airport.
Bamaga Airport was established in 1942, during WWII, as a substitute base for bomber planes. A replacement was needed for the Horn Island Airport because of heavy fire from Japanese bombing, and flooding was becoming a real issue.
There are two aircraft wrecks located near the airport; a Beaufort A9-190 Bomber lies north of the runway and a Douglas DC-3 VH-CXD, now preserved as a war memorial, can be found 3km north-west
We decided that Father’s Day was an excellent day to make our way to the tip to get that iconic photo. Decked out in our Club 4X4 shirts to fly the flag of a brand we are proud to represent, we loaded into our vehicles and headed off.
There are two ways to get to the tip from Punsand Bay; the roadway or the 4WD track. We chose the 4WD track of course!
On checking the conditions with locals at The Croc Tent, we headed across country. The track itself is pretty good, with a few boggy spots. One particularly sloppy spot caught out a group that we stopped to help get unstuck. This track also takes you past the ruins of the old, abandoned Ansett Resort.
Pajinka is a beautiful spot and it’s just a short walk up over the rocky headland to get that photo with the sign. We made it to the Northernmost Tip of the Australian Continent!!
After reaching the tip, our plan was to head to Chilli Beach, but a change in the weather saw us tracking back down through Weipa for supplies and repairs. We then headed down through the tablelands and back into Cairns for a few days to relax and wash the red dirt off. I have to say I have a newfound appreciation for sealed roads.
Cape York has so much to offer as a destination, and we only saw and experienced a small portion of it. I strongly encourage anyone with access to a 4X4 to get up there and experience it; we will definitely be back! With a the right vehicle and preparation, anyone can do the Cape as there are plenty of detours around the tough tracks, meaning it’s only as difficult as you want to make it. It’s a holiday you will remember for ever, just make sure you’re covered by Club 4X4 so that if something goes wrong, it’s not a trip you remember for all the wrong reasons!!