The Old Jardine River Ford


The old river ford used to be the place to cross the mighty Jardine.

Yes, it used to be the only place before the ferry came along :-)


Nowadays it's done for fun - and I have seen people getting through, but I have also seen people fail.


The river ford crossing is mostly shallow but quite long, and very soft in the middle. It's the soft sandy bottom of the river that gets people bogged.

jardine river ford

The other thing is that in the northern end of the crossing the river is deeper, so even if you make it through the soft middle part of the river, you still risk to drown your vehicle in the northern, deeper end. And this is also the part where the crocs live, and where the water is murky so you cannot see them.

river ford crocodile jardine river

All I can say, even if you really know your own abilities and those of your vehicle, it is still a bit crazy to do it, and as always, some people do.

cross jardine river

Back in the early years, I run into these guys on the Old Telegraph Track and we did the rest togehter (great people - four Victorians and two Tasmanians - they helped me through the hardest crossings that time, I was on my own). The two Tasmanians decided to give the Jardine a go, and luckily they had plenty of people to pull them out. A snatch strap was attached before the first vehicle even went in.

crossing jardine river jardine ford crossing

So, in he goes, from the southern end of the ford, right through the soft part, and towards the deep part, and he made it!

jardine crossing jardine ford
vehicle ford jardine old ford

So the second guy goes in without a snatch strap behind him, and gets stuck in the soft part. Pulling him out from the northern side didn't work, so he was finally pulled back to the the southern bank by an OKA.

old river ford old ford
old jardine ford crossing the jardine

It is actually quite crazy to walk in this river, even in the shallow parts. It may seem like a safe thing that the water is clear and you can see that there are no crocodiles approaching you, but if there was one, it would not matter that you could see it - you would not outrun a crocodile in the water.

ford crossing jardine

Living North of the Old River Ford

By 2015, and with my local vehicle recovery partner, I had grown enough to drive this crossing (the video of him guiding me is in the Destination Cape York Travel Guide). Living in Bamaga, we now approach the Old Ford from the north,

jardine river ford track north
jardine river ford track north
jardine river ford track north jardine river ford track north

... and sometimes it means clearing trees,

jardine river ford clearing trees
jardine river ford clearing trees
jardine river ford clearing trees jardine river ford clearing trees

... chain sawing at the crossing,

jardine river ford chain sawing
jardine river ford chain sawing
jardine river ford chain sawing jardine river ford chain sawing

... still crazy enough to walk across the river if we need!

walking in jardine river ford
walking in jardine river ford
walking in jardine river ford walking in jardine river ford


Did YOU Cross Jardine at the Old Ford?

Did You Do the Old Jardine Ford?

Tell us! Send in a photo, send in a video! (The video cannot be attached here - please let me know so i can send you my email address, or put it on You Tube and send me the link - i can embed it from there right into your page).

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What Other Visitors Have Said

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Crossing Jardine River October 1988 
In Sept to Nov 1988 our family and other went to Cape York. We visited lots of other places on the way, Brisbane Expo 1988, Fraser Is, Great Barrier Reef …

Crossing on dusk, walked across 4 times 
1991, ferry was there but we were younger and hadn't seen a croc for the whole trip. Got there late afternoon, about croc teatime, 4 motorbikes, so …

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Jardine River Ferry

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