#5 Into the Wild of CAPE YORK
Cape York Peninsula it looks like this:
10 Good reasons to go on a camping trip into Cape York Peninsula
To get lost Into the wild
Cape York Peninsula is one of Australia’s last great wilderness regions. Travelling in this vast and remote area makes you feel as free as a bird. Stressed out by your busy city lifestyle? Come up here and enjoy the silent of the great outdoors!
Forget about your Morning Alarm
Camp in the company of millions of stars and birds! The NP you will be crossing are called home for many birds species such as the Palm Cockatoo, the Eclectus parrot, magnificent rifle birds and the famous laughing Kookaburra (to give you an idea of what could be your wake up call here, watch this short video on youtube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwoNRxiW6mM.
They will be delighted to sing for you every morning! And once you get up, it will be your delight to watch them around. The water birds are beautiful too (black-necked storks with his long orange legs, the royal spoonbills with its funny spoon-shaped bill and the sarus cranes, just to quote a few).
Taste a bit of every region of Australia in only 1 trip!
Cape York Peninsula features landscapes of unsurpassed beauty and amazing variety. Along your journey, be immersed in the bush, drive on long red sand tracks, cross the wonderful Rinyirru (Lakefield) NP with its grassland dotted with thousands of giant termites mounds, spot the birds in its numerous lagoons and between the waterlilies, drive through its rivers (more info here).
Explore the dense rainforest and the vast open eucalypt woodlands in Oyala Thumothang (Mungkan Kandju) NP. Be amazed by the intact wilderness of the Jardine River NP and Heathlands Resources Reserve (more info here). Be impressed by the largest bauxite mine in the world (the ore from which aluminium is processed) in the isolated town of Weipa. Walk into the monsoon rainforest, observe the mangrove and enjoy the view of postcards beaches at the top of the Peninsula.
Let your Adventurous Spirit out travelling in 4WD
Driving on gravel roads, get your vehicle covered of dust, wash it by crossing rivers and challenging creeks, go deep into the woodlands and don’t forget to keep your eyes wide open: wallabies like jumping around!
Not only the birds love it up here, crocodiles
like it too! They live in the rivers and creeks,
wetlands and along the coast and offshore of
the Peninsula. Wallabies, kangaroos, dingos,
giant tree geckos, snakes, and be sure to meet the green tree frog once you reach the tropical shores of Torres Strait!
But also small mammals such as the spotted cuscus and striped possums are around at night. Biodiversity is impressive and you will never get bored!
Meet the Locals
Swim & relax in Magical Places
Fruitbat Falls, Twin Falls & Eliot Falls
One of the (if not The) most stunning places I have ever been to. Taking a bath in pristine spring-fed pools landscaped by nature will be a life long memory. Forget about Center Parcs or any other beach resort pools, this is way better! Water jet, bubble pools, why pay for an hydrotherapeutic cure when you can enjoy it all in a pure natural environment? Totally enchanted by the magic of the falls, I could say that just for this, the journey is worth it.
For a Flashback onto the Australian History...
Throughout your journey up north, travel into Quikan Country (named after the Aboriginal spirits, or “Quinkans”, who inhabit the sandstone bluffs) and stop at Split Rock to discover Aboriginal rock art dating back 14,000 years. Impressive caves and cliff covered with beautiful paintings. Then, learn about the Gold rush at Old Laura, Coen and the ancient gold-mining port, Cooktown. Feel the excitement of this crazy time (1870’s).
Follow the Old Telegraph Track and visit some historic stations, like Musgrave and Moreton Telegraph Station (the Overland Telegraph Line from Laura to Cape York operated from 1885 until 1962, upgraded to radio in World War II, it was used for telephone cable until 1987 when it was finally dismantled). Ponder the past of the explorers and pioneers when you reach the west coast and Weipa, as this area was the first stretch of Australian coastline to be explored by Europeans.
Once at Cape York and the tip, the adventure of the notorious Frank Jardine comes back to life again at the former British outpost of Somerset. The ill-fated expedition of Edmund Kennedy in 1848 rises up too. You get it, this whole area is full of history and explorer’s memories.
Discover Indigenous Culture
Traditional Owners of the land, the Aboriginal are involved in all levels of Cape York Peninsula national parks (CYPAL). There is a recognition of indigenous connection to the land (Aboriginal traditions, observances, customs and beliefs).
Meeting the different communities throughout your stops allow you to learn more about their culture. Taking a ferry to discover Torres Strait, its people and unique culture is an interesting trip.
Gab Titui Cultural Centre based on Thursday Island provides you with a unique insight into the region’s vibrant art and culture.
Feel the Emotion and stand Proudly at the very
Top of Australia
Some Australians have been waiting for this single moment for years. Off the coast is Possession Island, where Captain claimed the east coast of Australia for England. Behind you, lies some of the most savagely beautiful landscape on the planet. Just breathe deeply and enjoy.
Explore it yourself and find YOUR reason number 10 to go To Cape York!
When to Visit ?
The dry season (May to October) is THE best time to visit Cape York Peninsula. Temperatures average 28-30 degrees. The wet season (November to April) is too hot and humid, roads can become impassable due to the heavy rains.
4WD is highly recommended (many unsealed road and rough tracks). This is for the most adventurous people to go on their own. To check road conditions, go to:
Mobile phone coverage is generally not avalable in Cape York Peninsula. It’s essential to travel with other communication equipment such as a satellite phone if you go on your own.
How to Visit ?
The easiest way to explore the Penisula is to book one safari adventure trip with a touristic agent. There are many to offer excursions in the region with departure from Cairns. I recommend Wilderness Challenge : my tour guide was awesome, travel in small group up to 13 people (you get to know everyone), with interesting information about the area and in general very well organised!
Gear and supplies
Travel with a lot amount of drink, adequate food, fuel and basic vehicle repair equipment. You may drive for hours into the bush without seeing any supermarket.
Camping is allowed on several national parks and protected areas. A camping permit is required and a fee applies. Camping site have to be booked in advance via:
In your luggage
Large hat, sunblock, hiking shoes….
More info on Cape York Parks here: www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/cape-york