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Cape York News #047 - Recent Rain Impact Almost Gone, Lakefield Reopened, Two Great Events Coming
May 31, 2016

Hi everyone,

So the recent rain impact is almost gone, the PDR is almost as good as it was before the unseasonal rains that we had lately.

Lakefield National Park has reopened, and I have a little report from my partner Mark on Palm Creek crossing.

And last but not least, there are two great events to come - Cooktown Discovery Festival, and Weipa Fishing Classic.


In This Issue

• Recent Rain Impact Almost Gone

• Lakefield Reopened

• Two Great Events Coming

• Other Bits and Pieces

• Feedback Always Welcome



As was expected, the impact from the rains that we had around 20-24 May, is almost gone just about a week later.

This is completely normal as the rain impact does not last long up here - creek and river waters usually go down in hours, and the ground dries out in about a week after the rains stop.

pdr may 2016
PDR last weekend.

So the main road to the Tip - from the north to the south:

The northermost part - Bypass Roads and Telegraph Road - is fairly good but scoured and chopped up a bit, and still a little soft in some places. It's good with no traffic when you can use the middle part, but when you have to go to the sides it can be a bit soft.

The PDR, south of the Telegraph Road turnoff, is very good down until Archer, also good south of Archer (but there you got those sharp corners), and it is reasonably good down to Musgrave.

Most dips have water in, nothing very deep but some are deeper and some are shallower - if you have a dip sign there will most likely be water.

South of Musgrave there is a section that is a little rough, with some chopped up bits, not very bad or long but might take you down to 60-70km/h.

And south of that the road is good, Hann River area is good, but north of Hann River corrugations are starting to form.

The whole thing is pretty well graded still, but will corrugate gradually with the increasing traffic, so if you dislike corrugations more than a little water and wet season roughness, early season is the time to go.


The camping areas in Lakefield National Park that were closed after the recent rains, have reopened. The southern ones - Kalpower Crossing, Mick Fienn Waterhole, Dingo Waterhole, Kennedy Bend, Twelve Mile Lagoon, Six Mile Waterhole, Old Laura Homestead, Horseshoe Lagoon, and Welcome Waterhole have reopened, however Old Faithful Waterhole remains closed due to high water levels.

lakefield national park camping
Lakefield Camping.

Battle Camp Road is closed, Lakefield Road is open to Musgrave, and the camping areas north of the Lakefield Ranger Station remain closed (like they were before the rains). Sweetwater Lake, Annie River, Five Mile Creek, Saltwater Crossing, Bizant River, Brown Creek, Basin Hole, Top Whiphandle Waterhole, Bottom Whiphandle Waterhole, Orange Plain Waterhole, Hann Crossing, Hanush’s Waterhole, Melaleuca Waterhole and Midway Waterhole are all closed at this stage but will reopen.


The Old Telegraph Track looks about what you'd expect this time of the year, on the photo below is the southernmost crossing (the one south of Palm Creek), it will dry out in a week or two probably.

old telegraph track may 2016
The southernmost crossing on the OTT.

Palm Creek is shallow, but steep, particularly the northern bank.

So, going from the north to the south is easy at the moment, but from the south to the north, which is the most usual way to do the OTT, is a lot harder.

palm creek may 2016
The easier, southern entrance of Palm Creek.

The southern entrance is quite reasonable and should be done by just about anyone in a 4WD, whether you are going up or down it.

The northern entrances are steep however, steeper than the photo below makes them look.

palm creek 2016
The steeper, northern side of Palm Creek.

According to my partner Mark (who does the OTT recoveries) - coming down it should be pretty easy, but going up - it might not be impossibly steep, but because it's soft and dug out, most people would probably require either digging or winching - unless you have very large tyres like 35 plus.

He says people pulling campers will make it a lot worse, the coming tourist traffic will not help it, so it will be a challenging crossing again this year (every crossing changes to some degree after every wet season).


And last but not least, there are two great events coming - on the second weekend in June as usual (and yes we do wish the both were not on the same weekend year after year!).

cooktown discovery festival
Cooktown Discovery Festival 2013.

Cooktown Discovery Festival is a great three day event with the highlight of the re-enactment of Captain Cook's landing in the location where it happened on the Endeavour River bank.

And Weipa Fishing Classic is another great three day event, and one great thing about it is that it's not all about fishing! There is a fishing competition, but the biggest prices can actually be won by anyone who chooses to pay for the nomination to go into the draw :-)

weipa fishing classic 2016.jpg
Weipa Fishing Classic 2015.


* Punsand Bay Restaurant is now open after the renovation during this Wet Season :-) Lunch 12 - 2pm, dinner 5.30 - 7.45pm. Brand new swimming pool is also on the way - opening date TBA.

* Seisia Supermarket is now open until 9pm on Thursdays - finally a late shopping night in the NPA!
destination cape york
* And finally - there is a new Telstra tower at Jardine River - so there is now mobile reception at the crossing (and the next spot south is not before Weipa and Coen!).

Mobile reception is in the Destination Guide (not an update) - and no - an online Telstra map does not give you the completely true picture.


I really appreciate any kind of feedback on the Destination Guide.

Please let me know if you enjoyed it while planning before the trip, and while using the information once on the trip.

If you get any questions about anything, please feel welcome to contact me.

That's all for this time - happy planning, and happy travels to those on the road!!

Have a great day :-)


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