Journey to the end of the continent on an exhilarating outdoor adventure through the heart of Northern Queensland. A nature lover’s paradise, the Cape York region is largely unspoilt, its vast wilderness untouched, unharmed and unbelievable. One of Queensland’s most remote locations requires a 4WD and some serious planning to navigate the journey safely, as visitors are met with a wealth of obstacles and treacherous river crossings. You will need more than a day to tackle Cape York - here are four epic attractions to help get you started.
The Old Telegraph Track is the ultimate 4WD experience and one of the most iconic off-road drives in Northern Queensland. A pulsating, yet challenging journey, the track is notorious for devouring cars with a plethora of river crossings and obstacles at every turn. Be well prepared, pack extra supplies and map out your route before tackling this legendary trail, it may save your car or better yet – your life. The track starts at Bramwell Junction and heads north towards the coast. Flanking the west of the Jardine River National Park, word on the street says if you can make it past the river crossing at Palm Creek then it’s likely you can handle the rest of the journey. Those brave enough to make it through will be rewarded with some of Queensland’s most spectacular untouched scenery including the magical Fruit Bat Falls, Twin Falls and Eliot Falls. If time permits, park up at Fruit Bat Falls for a refreshing dip in the pools sparkling emerald-green waters. After an exhilarating journey through the heart of Northern Queensland, the track eventually wraps up after Nolan Brook with the option to continue to Jardine National Park or take the ferry (with your car) across the Jardine River.
A jungle of lush dense rainforest, pristine grasslands, tropical savannahs, and low-lying wetlands support a diverse range of wildlife in the Jardine River National Park. Only accessible via 4WD, the park presents many challenging obstacles and wetlands to contend with due to Northern Queensland’s largely remote environment and high rainfall density. Deriving its name from Queensland’s largest perennially flowing river – the Jardine River (named after the Jardine brothers), the park is one of the most popular attractions near the Tip, due to its epic 4WD trails, fishing, and three magical waterfalls. Fishing is accepted in certain sections of the Jardine River with anglers chasing some of the world’s most prized sporting fish including – Barramundi, Queenfish and Spanish Mackerel. Both Eliot Falls and Fruit Bat Falls are crocodile-free which is quite unusual for Northern Queensland. A great place to stop for a swim, you could easily spend all day lounging in the tranquil waters of this pristine waterhole. Camping is permitted near Eliot and Twin Falls, Captain Billy Landing, north & south of Jardine River, and Ussher Point, while Fruit Bat Falls is day-use only. Campers must be well prepared and self-sufficient, with no amenities available in this beautifully remote location.
The holy grail of any Cape York Peninsula adventure is a trip to the Tip – the Northernmost point on the Australian continent. Gaze into the wilderness at the northern edge of Australia’s rugged coastline, with breath-taking coastal views of the gorgeous emerald-blue ocean, Frangipani Beach, York Island and Eborac Island. A tick off the old bucket list, the Tip can be reached via two short walking trails – the Top Walk and the Bottom Walk. The Top Walk is the most conventional route leading from the carpark to the Tip, though is a little steep in some sections. While the Bottom Walk section is shorter, cutting across Frangipani Beach is tide dependent and not always accessible. Pack your fishing gear and cast a line, either safely from the rocks or from Frangipani Beach. The Tip is the meeting point between the Coral Sea and the Gulf of Carpentaria, making it a premier location for fishing and home to many incredible sportfish species. As day turns to dusk soak up the scenery with a picnic dinner and a few cheeky sundowners as you spy the evening sun dancing across the horizon as it slowly sets over the ocean.
Another mouth-watering 4WD adventure off the beaten track is the Five Beaches Drive starting east of the Tip at the Somerset ruins. The trail traverses across five enchanting beaches, each one slightly different to the next. If you packed a rod, pull up at Fly Point where the current rips off the rocks. This area is a prime-time fishing spot and well worth stopping by if you’re a keen angler or just admiring the view. From Fly Point, venture south for five kilometres along the coast, weaving through the rainforest and over headlands. If camping is your goal, there a plenty of great spots to stop just off the shoreline, perfectly sheltered from onshore winds. Rise and shine to catch the morning sun ignite the Queensland sky as it soars high over the ocean, before kick starting your journey further down the coast. After finally reaching the 5th beach, you will spot a great lookout that extends out over a 6th. This is the end of the line for the Five Beaches Drive although if you are feeling adventurous there are a further three beaches to tackle if weather permits. Access can be risky when tides are high so it’s best to familiarise yourself with the local weather forecast before venturing any further down the coast.