Old telegraph track, how long does it take?

Old telegraph track, how long does it take?

by Emma W
(Mount Cotton)


My partner and I are heading up to the Cape in June this year, starting from Mount Cotton (about 30 minutes north of the Gold Coast).

I've been mapping out our trip which we plan on doing in around 3 weeks.

I've so far planned up to the Bramwell Junction.

Now that I'm up to the Old Telegraph Track I'm having trouble finding information on how long these roads actually take, because a few Kms on these roads obviously take a lot longer than normal.

We don't plan on taking any of the bypass roads, my partner has a lot of experience in 4wding and also competes in 4wd competitions, so we would like to do the whole length of the Old Telegraph Track including Gunshot Creek etc.

How long does it actually take to complete the track (on average)?

Would you recommend only doing a few hours driving a day rather than long drives?

And what website do you go on to book camping?

Any suggestions for the Cape York trip (not necessarily just the OTT).

I'd greatly appreciate and advice and tips, I really want to be as prepared as possible, we've done lots of camping and 4wding before, just not in north Qld.

Thank you


Comments for Old telegraph track, how long does it take?

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Hi Emma,
by: Katrin

The Old Telegraph Track only takes a day or two in average. If your partner has a lot of experience in four wheel driving, only the northernmost crossings will be challenging enough for him, plus Gunshot. Most of the track is challenging for a traveller, not for an overly experienced four wheel driver, just so he doesn't get his hopes up and then get disappointed. That said, it also depends on when you go, the earlier in the Dry Season the more challenging, and June is fairly early.

Also the OTT is not the only one, there are also the CREB Track, Starcke-Wakooka Track, Running Creek Track, Old Coen Track, and Frenchman's Road that you may like to include. Bloomfield Road is not so much of a track but another famous one.

National Parks camping can be booked here, or by ringing 13 74 68 (there is no website to book ALL Cape York camping, it's all business by business, full details in Destination Guide).

All your other questions (how much of the day you want to drive etc..) are answered in the Cape York Pocket Guide, which also has advice and tips, you can download it for FREE.

Happy to help if you get more questions :-)

by: Emma

Thank you for you advice!

Yes we thought we'd go in June rather than July so it's a little trickier, and hopefully less crowded too.

Ill probably have a lot more questions as I go on planning :)

by: Katrin

No worries Emma, ask away as you're getting them :-)

By the sounds of his experience, and the fact that you don't like crowds (that's me too!), you could even try planning on May provided the roads are open.

The start of the season is a tricky one, depending on when the roads do open (in most years they do open by May but we've lately also had some later starts), he'd definitely enjoy the challenges more (higher water levels that is mainly); and - June can already get fairly crowded, particularly late June does get crowded with school holidays. So the first half of June is heaps better than the second one when it comes to crowds.

Reply to Katrin
by: Emma

Hi Katrin,

Couple more questions if you're not sick of me yet!
So you've convinced me on the CREB track, and that's now on our list of things to do. Do you still have to take the ferry accross the daintree river on this track? Or does it basically by pass it?

Also when we finally reach the tip (wohoo!) I believe there is bush camping at pajinka, do you have to book that in advance.
I've had a look on the link you gave me for booking


But when I click on the book online link the page just says loading, but never loads.

I have heard the ferry over the jardine river covers camping expense aswell? I might be making that up though because I can't remember where I read it.

I'm pretty sure that's it for the moment :)

Oh on a side note,
Have you ever done a day trip over to Thursday island? Did you think it was worthwhile? It dosnt seem like there is much to do over there, aside from a museum, which dosnt sound like that much fun considering its an hour and a bit boat trip 1 way which is $112 per person.

Thank you again Katrin, I really appreciate you insight and your valuable time


Hi Emma,
by: Katrin

No worries!

Sorry for my late reply, no I am NOT sick of you :-)

No need to take the ferry when doing CREB Track, you'll drive through Daintree river :-)

Pajinka no longer exists. The best place to camp at the Tip is Punsand Bay Resort and Camping Ground, and yes it may be worth booking in June.

The national parks camping booking page loads perfectly on my computer, so the fault must be in your end. The best thing is usually to try again later, possibly reboot your computer and make sure your internet connection is good (you can also book by ringing 13 74 68).

The Jardine River Ferry does not cover all the camping but some, this (and all other FREE camping) is really well detailed in the Destination Guide, with detailed maps and all.

Thursday Island, i have done the trip. It depends entirely on your interests. Torres Strait Islands are not your usual snorkelling paradise, they are Indigenous islands so a cultural and historical experience. Personally i find them interesting but i know a lot of people don't think it's worth the trip.

It is a beautiful ferry trip, on a sunny day the waters are bright blue. Peddell's Ferry is $56 per person one way. Maybe see how you feel once you are up there, if you can plan a spare day into your schedule.

No worries Emma, and if you get more questions i don't often take two days to reply :-)

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