Overland Telegraph Track
Once we’d finished up on the west coast of the Cape, stocked up with supplies from Woolies in Weipa, it was time for what we had all been waiting for. The OTT. Cape Yorks Overland Telegraph Track.
WE ARE HERE
The iconic track starts from Bramwell Junction Roadhouse, where you can top up on essentials if needed and where we took the opportunity to brim the tanks with fuel. The further north you go from here, the more expensive it gets. Arriving at Bramwell in the arvo we made the decision to get straight out there and into it. Still travelling with our friends, it’s fair to say we were all keen as mustard.
Palm Creek is the first obstacle on the southern section of the Tele track and one of the biggest. The main route starts with a deep drop off followed by mud and a nasty climb out the other side. There is a bypass but that still requires a fair old climb out. However, we didn’t come all this way to take bypasses. We came to have fun, enjoy every part of the track, and fingers crossed not break anything. In we went. The decent was no problem, up the other side however, was steep and rutted, with a nice amount of logs shoved in there from other kind individuals. The Jeep would get up but as soon as the weight from the Tvan started to climb, all four wheels would start scratching for traction. We gave it a couple of goes but decided to winch, better for this story to go on rather than end with “we broke something on the first obstacle”. Anyway gotta leave something on the table for next time we do the Cape. It’s good advice when tackling tuff obstacles while towing to use a little bit of caution. Once winched up the other side we set up camp for night number one on this infamous track.
Now just before we started the OTT we were told to be aware of some fires burning along the track. It’s always best to check in at Bramwell to get a condition report and any road closures. We weren’t going to simply turn back after coming all this way so we’d headed forward with our eyes peeled. The next morning we watched another group tackle the bypass track at Palm Creek before we packed up, excited by what may lay ahead. One of the best things about the OTT is its popularity. There’s only one thing as entertaining as doing it yourself and that’s watching others! We wound our way along the track, it is slow going, windy and up and down but that gives you time to enjoy. We passed through Ducie Creek, South Alice and North Alice before arriving at Dulhunty River. Here we literally pulled up in the cool of the river for lunch as the water ran around our wheels and toes. After filling our bellies we moved forward just a tiny bit to Bertie Creek, following a track off to the left and a perfect camp site for the night. We had only done about 25km, but that was more than enough for one day. With some smoke around we sent the drone up for a quick look, to see the burn off in the distance, a long way away.
Next morning we woke to an increase of smoke and decided it was time to get a move on. We later talked to others who’d been less than an hour behind us who said the fire crossed the track shortly after we left.
Crossing Bertie Creek was shallow with a rocky bottom. Drive along the bank a little before crossing to avoid some big plug holes. Then onto Gunshot Creek, famous for having a near vertical drop. There’s many options here and the bypass is still a challenge. We decided to do a drop that wasn’t quite as bad as the ‘official’ gunshot but it was more than enough for us. There is not much skill involved here, you just drive off a cliff with the help of a spotter and land in the bottom. Due to the weight of the trailer our bull bar firmly planted into the mud at the bottom, making for a great photo opportunity while you wait for your mates to winch you out. (I suggest taking your winch out before attempting!) This is a great place to stop and relax, and watch others take the plunge, with plenty of camping on the northern side.
Move onto Cockatoo Creek, this crossing is rocky, long and bumpy. Just have a look and walk through before crossing and choose your own adventure. On the northern bank is heaps of camping, a great spot for a dip and the perfect spot for us to set up for the night, all by ourselves.
Next morning we moved onto the aptly named ‘Turtle pond’, where surprisingly you can spot turtles if you stop for a few minutes. It also has a surprisingly deep puddle you must cross – definitely don’t forget your snorkel on this track. Finally the last obstacle on the southern section is Sailor Creek. It’s an old wooden bridge that I’ve seen others cross on videos, but the way around is also a good challenge, and a tad less heart racing with a trailer. After completing the Sailor Creek crossing it’s back out on the Peninsula Development Road for a 7km run to the northern section of the track. We had such a great time on the southern section we did it all again in reverse (with the girls driving) camping at Gunshot Creek on our way back down. The southern section of the OTT is around 80km, and although you could punch it all out in a day if you wanted, we recommend taking a few days and enjoying every bit.
Our next blog will be from: OTT Part 2 - the northern section!
Until our next update - see you on / off the road 😉
Cassie and Micky