Looking for something a bit different on your Cape York adventure? Head out to the Cape’s west coast, along the Gulf of Carpentaria to some places often forgotten just because they’re not on the main track.
WE ARE HERE
Now, because we were coming at the Cape from Gulf country, we didn’t want to simply dash across to Musgrave and head north. Ausventure loves taking the scenic route! So from Karumba we made tracks to the Aboriginal community, Kowanyama.
Kowanyama turned out to be such a ripper spot that we spent 3 nights enjoying 3 different camps that the area had to offer. Driving through town we definitely stood out as this place is only visited by keen fishermen and the occasional traveller, we even attracted the attention of the local police! The cop was a nice fella, sharing advice with us and happy to chat each time we passed back through town on our way to the next site.
Our first camp was on the river 30km out of town. There wasn’t a heap of shade, but the banks of the river were perfect for catching some Barra and not getting caught by a croc! It was open and vast and there was no one else around, except for a million stars at night.
Next we found a secluded spot driving down along sandy tracks to Topsey’s beach camp. It’s safe to say this place was a favourite campsite from all our Ausventures so far. Beautiful white sand, we found a spot nestled in the sheoaks to protect us from the wind. Beach combing with a baby Jabiru and fishing for Barra as the sun goes down. It was hard for us to leave this one.
After saying cheerio to friendly Mr Plod one last time we headed out of town towards Pormpuraaw. But we didn’t get far. On the banks of the Mitchell river out of town, was a grassy clearing perched above the water at Shelfo’s Crossing. Shaded with a stellar view and path down to the clear shallow water to take a dip, we thought it would be rude not to stay… So we did! There was sadly a bit of trash around and a couple of utes passing through in the dark of the night, but still plenty of peace to enjoy.
Finally we did drag ourselves away from Kowanyama and made it into the community at Pormpuraaw. A well used dirt road with some bitumen sections into town from the main highway meant the community here was a bit more familiar with travellers passing through. There was take away food and an art centre, with camping out along the beach where we stopped for lunch.
The beach stretched for miles with plenty of space to camp. Unlike the blue ocean waters at Kowanyama, the muddy flats reached far into the distance here. With camping fees a wee bit steep for us, and the memory of how stunning Kowanyama had been, we continued on out of town, seeking more fun and adventures.
Further north along the west coast of the Cape is Weipa, a mining hub and town with all you need to restock supplies. It also has a bonza free camp location out at Pennefather camp. An old ranger station with beach front huts sits abandoned and is available for first in best dressed. There’s a basic toilet, sun, sand and sea. What else do you need!? Again, this area has a heap of rubbish around, washed in from the ocean as well as campers and locals alike. So be responsible and do your bit – take a bag of trash out when you leave. But it is an awesome free camp possie with fishing, crocs and Eagle rays leaping out of the water in front of you. And if you’re lucky enough, you may catch a glimpse of a mumma turtle up in the dunes laying her eggs, or the little dudes hatching out into the big wide world a few weeks later!
So when you head up north for a Cape York adventure, don’t forget the west coast where there is incredible free camping, wildlife to discover and a tonne of down time chillin’ to be done.
Our next blog will be from: the OTT!
Until our next update - see you on / off the road 😉
Cassie and Micky