Tip of Cape York
Cape York seemed like the ultimate test of the Jeep, Tvan and all that we had learnt over the past year travelling Oz. We’d left Victoria with bright wide eyes full of freedom, and not a lot of 4WD experience under our belts. But that was ok, we were all about adventure, grabbing life by the balls, and learning as much as we could along the way.
WE ARE HERE
As we travelled, chatted with others, tested techniques, watched many 4×4 youtube videos, and did a few recoveries after getting bogged, we were well versed in all things 4WD. All of this experience built towards what felt like the last hurdle. The final test of our knowledge and experience thus far. Cape York. And we did it! Tackling the Cape, surviving the Tele Track and making it to mainland Australia’s northern most tip. We felt like we’d earned our 4WD Ausventuring badge of honour.
Arriving at the carpark our 4WD journey concluded and we made the last few hundred meters to the Tip by foot. At low tide you have the option to trek to the tip over the rocky peninsula, or along the sandy shores that are impassible by foot at other times. We decided to take the rocky trek up and then the shoreline on our return. As we trekked along, thinking the significance of this place was in the title of ‘northern most point’, we quickly realised it was also an incredible natural beauty. It caught us completely by surprise.
At the place that signals you’ve made it, there are more than a few other plaques on the rocks. Brought here by friends and family of loved ones, the plaques remember those that cherished the adventure up ‘The Cape’, those who had always wanted to make it but missed their chance this time round, and those that made it their last pilgrimage and final wish. The moment bought clarity; how lucky and incredibly grateful we are to be here. To have made the memories, the freedom and support to get here, and courage and ability to grab our hearts desires. To live, actually live, and learn so much just by opening ourselves up to the chance. The moment was a nod to the lives we chose to chase. For us, and for everyone.
Anyway, enough of the mushy stuff. The ferry ticket over the Jardine river to reach the tip is pretty expensive ($130 return for our Jeep and Tvan) so you’re gonna want to know about a few other places to visit up here to make it worth your while…
Some tips on what to see, after you’ve seen the Tip!
After stocking up on food and fuel in Bamaga, (and seeing which cars got towed out of the Tele Track to town) check out some old plane wrecks and monuments from the Second World War that are scattered around town.
If you’re not tired of 4WDriving (and your rig is still alive and running!) take the Roma Flats track from Punsand Bay to Pajinka. We made it along this slow dusty track Tvan and all, and you’ll emerge right at the Tip.
It was the first time we’d seen the East coast all year, and it instantly brought back the memories of those eastern shore winds!
The trip out to Ussher Point took us around 3 hours one way and it was 3 hours of too many corrugations! Be prepared for a gale if you do head out this way, and National Park camping fees apply. Along the beach is plenty to explore though, and the colours of the cliffs are magnificent as long as you don’t get blown away.
Five Beaches is another beautiful drive to explore (and doesn’t take 3 hours to get to!) The track cuts in and out of five open coves, encased by pandanas and cliffs. At the northern entrance to Five Beaches, stop to appreciate local history sighting building remnants and graves of local figures and unnamed souls from many years ago.
On the West coast of the Cape, we began at Roonga Point free camp. As we drove towards the site we reached the crest of a hill that revealed the stunning sight of islands dotted over the immense blue ocean. It will literally make you gasp out loud. We watched the sun go down from our beachfront campsite overlooking the Roko Islands.
Nearby is Punsand Bay Campgrounds. We timed our trip to make sure we were here for the AFL Grandfinal. Wood fired pizzas and Pimms from the bar satisfied us while we sat at Corrugation Bar watching the Tiges whoop the Giants butts, in a less than satisfying match (although still happy with the outcome).
Further south along the west coast, we headed out to Mutee Head where you can see an old WWII radar tower. If you keep following the track west it’ll get softer, sandier and boggier, but you’ll arrive out at the Jardine River mouth. It’s a peaceful spot to camp, watching the tides rise and fall, and spot a croc or two watching you at night. Spooky!
On our way out of the Cape, we headed back in to Bamaga to grab a few supplies before realising we were too late and the shop was closed… Never mind, another day to explore some more! So we headed out to Loyalty Beach Campground near Seisha. And lucky for us it was Sunday – Fish and Chips night! We set up camp before walking along the sand to DJ’s Restaurant and Bar to grab our fish and chips on the beach and watch the beaut’ sunset and the fairy lights twinkle on.
We spent around 6 weeks from the beginning of our Cape adventure in Kowanyama, to our time at the Tip. There really is so much to see, and if you can, make sure to spend a bit of extra time up here. It’s a whole other world and you definitely don’t want to be in a rush to leave.
Our next blog will be from: more fun on our way out of the Cape
Until our next update - see you on / off the road 😉
Cassie and Micky