Cape York – The Tip of Australia

The caravan park at Sesia is located right on the beach. Picture perfect with plenty of white sand and palm trees. However despite the constant heat there is no swimming here. Saltwater crocodiles are common in these waters.

We took it easy in the morning lingering over pancake breakfast. The day was warming rapidly and we wished the caravan park had a pool. Finally we got ourselves together and headed for the tip.

Fifteen kilometers of the worst corrugations we’d encountered found us travelling along at a crawling pace even without the trailer. Tracks had developed beside the road where cars had left the road. Though the tracks were corrugated too!

The final couple of k’s is a single lane track through tightly grown forest before emerging at the beach. We parked up and followed the path up the hill and across the top of the rocks finally reaching the sign post stating that we’d reached the most northerly point of the Australian mainland. It was pretty windy here which provided blessed relief from the heat.

After taking some time to absorb the moment and the amazing scenery we made our way back to the car and headed to Punsand Bay. This is another caravan park located right on the beach. It looked like a nice park and their Corrugation Bar area is nice. We grabbed a late lunch and a beer in the most northerly pub in Australia.

There are some ruins of a failed hotel nearby but we weren’t in the mood. Instead we stopped at the Croc Tent to buy a few souvenirs before heading back to our camp.

We couldn’t face the idea of packing up and tackling the dirt roads again so we spent another day in camp at Seisia. After popping to the supermarket we ended up chatting with a bloke who runs a four wheel drive tag-along tours. The road conditions and corrugations were the subject of our conversation and he told us that the roads are in the worst condition he’s seen them in all his years of coming up here. We could well believe it.

We got an early start to try and beat the heat and the ever present humidity and headed south again. It wasn’t too long before we found ourselves at the ferry for the Jardine river. We drove on and crossed without incident before encountering those bloody corrugations again.

We stuck to the development road for the northern bypass but when we reached the turn off for the fruit bat falls we turned onto the Old Telegraph Track. A short way along a single lane track we arrived at the national park. We walked down to the river and encountered what seemed to be a scene out of Cocoon (and yes we realise we are showing our age with that movie reference!). Once the tour group of oldies had left we had the place to ourselves and had a quick swim.

We started up the OTT towards Elliot Falls but didn’t make it very far. We pulled up in front of a water crossing. There was a car on the other who was waiting for their mates and another couple on the same side as us who were also pondering whether to cross. They had seen the bloke on the other side cross the waterhole and told us that it was quite deep and that there was a large deep hole on the edge of the safe line to take.

We pondered whether or not to give it a try, whether we should attempt to drag the trailer through or leave it behind and try with the car only. We waited a bit to see if another car would come along that we could watch first hand. But in the end we decided not to risk our car and home and turned around.

Sticking to the development road we decided to get as far as we could and reached Archer river. We considered going for a swim in the river when we saw people returning with towels slung over their shoulders, but by the time we got set up there wasn’t much daylight left.

While we were stoked to reach Australia’s most northerly point, we had found the whole journey quite tiring. If we return to the Cape we’ll do it without the trailer so that we aren’t as restricted and can do more four wheel driving and exploring.

We decided to skip the town of Weipa and head straight for Cooktown. Another big day of driving and we found ourselves taking the road through Lakefield National Park again. As we approached the crossing for Salty Creek we looked up stream and saw a crocodile head submerge into the water. The water level was only a few centimeters deep at the causeway and we crossed quickly.

We reached the old homestead and took the turn off towards Cooktown. Once we left the national park we found the roads climbing as we crossed the Great Dividing Range again. Late afternoon we finally rolled into Cooktown.

 

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