The Old Telegraph Track Adventure

The Old Telegraph Track Adventure

by Jodie
(Western Australia)

The Tip of Cape York

The Tip of Cape York

Our Cape York adventures have been amazing. We’ve tackled the Old Telegraph Track twice and the creek crossings have been quite different on each trip. Our most recent journey in 2010 was so much fun we spent about 5 weeks exploring the region.

The fun started when we hit the dirt roads. We left Cooktown and took the track through Lakefield National Park. We don’t like leaving too many stones unturned. We were most impressed with the magnificent lily lagoons, with brilliant bursting pink flowers and enormous green leaves covering an entire lagoon. There were also plenty of fishing spots along the rivers.

When we reached the Peninsula Development Road we found a great camping spot just outside of Coen beside a freshwater creek, where we swam and relaxed with heaps of other happy campers, either starting or finishing their adventure. We love how friendly everyone is on these outback tracks, sharing information about the roads and best spots to camp, etcetera.

The real fun began the next day when we got up early, packed up camp and were all set to make our way up the Cape towards the Old Telegraph Track, some 200km or so away. Once we reached Bramwell Junction, where the OTT begins, we were practically chomping at the bit. We were definitely excited.

It was just the two of us and our dog at this stage, but we’d done the track before and were confident on our own, plus my husband is an avid four-wheel driver.

The first crossing at Palm Creek surprised us as it had changed a lot since our last trip. As always, hubby (Daz) got out and sussed out the crossing on foot while I photographed it from every angle and walked across the creek to snap away at the over excited driver in his pride and joy towing our camper trailer across it. The four-wheel driving and creek crossings are the ultimate part of the adventure up the Cape.

A few crossings later we hit the famous Gunshot Creek and we couldn’t believe our eyes. It had really changed and there were several ways to attempt it, our previous route totally demolished and others worse than ever. There was no way we were attempting those, even though we had an audience, being a group camping at the creek.

We took the easiest route (although I wont stress the word easy) being a sloppy descending mud track with an almost hairpin bend at the end. The Troopy took the track nicely until the bend, where the camper came into contact with the side of the bank and one stressed out photographer screamed at hubby to stop. Luckily we had two strapping lads to help push the camper around the bend. We could have done it successfully on our own, being loaded up with recovery gear and all, but it was easier getting a hand from friendly campers enjoying every minute of it just like us.

The other crossings were fine, some a lot deeper than others, but our vehicle got a wash which was great. We got to swim at Fruitbat Falls and Twin Falls which was awesome. They are so scenic and refreshing and good spots to have a wash too.

After exploring the end of the OTT at the Jardine River we made our way to the ferry and across we went to continue our journey to the top of the peninsula and meet up with some friends who beat us to it. We stayed at Punsand Bay for a couple of weeks and lapped up the facilities, enjoying the pool, bar and restaurant. We made it to the tip of Cape York a couple of times and fished and photographed ourselves at the northern-most point of the Australian continent. Daz caught himself a Snapper here. We were in our element. We stayed there for hours enjoying the views and wetting a line in this iconic location.

Whilst staying at Punsand Bay we did plenty of exploring. There are heaps of tracks to take up there and go fishing, mud crabbing and sightseeing. We also took fishing charters and a tour across to Thursday Island. We had the time of our lives up the Cape. Daz caught so many fish and muddies the whole time we were there. His best efforts were a 96cm Barramundi and a 1m Queenie. Plus the boys would gather oysters off the rocks and find enormous mud crabs. We were in seafood heaven.

After an amazing time up the top we visited the places of interest we’d missed on the way up. We camped near Mutee Head on the Jardine River, where Barrumundi and Golden Trevally where biting. We then ventured into Iron Range National Park, crossing the pumping Wenlock and Pascoe Rivers and camped at Chili Beach amongst the palm trees. We also stayed at Weipa by Albatross Bay for a few days, relaxing and fishing the Pennefather River. Then, unfortunately the fun was nearly over. But all good trips come to an end eventually and then we get to relive them through our photographs and stories. Writing this has just got the travel bug buzzing in me! Cape York is an adventure of a lifetime.

Comments for The Old Telegraph Track Adventure

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Sep 25, 2012
Old Telegraph Track
by: Tony

Hi Jodie & Daz
Sounds like ya had a fantastic time at Cape York.
My wife Sonya and i are heading up in July next
year from Tassie can't wait.
Safe Travels.

Sep 26, 2012
Go Tassie!
by: Jodie

Hi Tony and Sonya
From the very bottom to the very top hey, sounds great. Hope you have a blast, it really is one of the best trips we've ever done. We also loved Tasmania, so scenic. Enjoy!
Jodie & Daz

Jan 14, 2013
I enjoyed reading you trip to the cape
by: Neil Smith

I enjoyed reading you trip to the Cape.

I will be traveling there for the first time in June / July.

We have done all Kimberly and most of NT and the Pilbara.

I see you took your dog.

Would love to take mine but was worried that there would be places I wouldnt be able to take him.

Did you encounter any issues?

Mar 21, 2013
taking your dog
by: Anonymous

Hi. I too am interested about taking your dog. We would love our dog to come along but the loudest in the group made a lot of noise about National Parks.. no dogs...rah rah.
Also - I read that Iron Range should be done on the way back down, as you appear to have done. We've already booked Iron Range on the way up, and wanting to do the Frenchman's track. Do you think we should change this?

Mar 27, 2013
Hi guys,
by: Katrin

There are no problems about dogs at the roadhouses and camping grounds but national parks do ban dogs.

The Frenchman's - if you do that track from east to west, Wenlock river has a high, steep western bank that can be hard to get up.

I cannot speak for everyone, there would be guys who will get up it, if you are experienced and have decent gear you may get up it, but generally speaking, depending on one's equipment and experience, also the season and the recent weather, it's hard enough for most travellers that they would choose to do the track from west to east for that reason (that's why i recommend it that way).

If you do it from west to east, it makes sense to include Iron Range in the loop as that's where you end up after Frenchies, and so it would save you kilometres and save you driving the same road twice.

But as you have already booked Iron Range, if you have the time why not try Frenchies from east to west and see if you get up it. If not, it will only take you half a day or so to drive back and continue your way back to Peninsula Developmental and up north from there.

P.S. sorry for my late reply!

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Old Telegraph Track.

cape york travel

Plan Your Trip... the FREE Cape York Travel Pocket Guide

Get this 50 pages guide totally for FREE. It contains information that helps you getting started with planning of your trip. You get to make early-stages desicions such as when to go, how long time you should take, how to get there and get around, where to stay (general info), what will it cost.. and a short insight to what is there to see and do in Cape York.

Plan and Bring to the Trip... the full Destination Cape York Travel Guide

visit cape york

This complete 300 pages travel guide is all you need before and during your trip. Besides the background chapters on the peninsula's history and wildlife; and the comprehensive detail about all the places (down to prices, opening hours and full contact detail), it has invaluable information on at least 10 four wheel drive tracks, at least 30 guaranteed FREE camping spots on the Cape (and at least 150 on your way to the Cape), at least 40 best swimming holes, all mapped; as well as practical things - from fuel, roads, wireless internet and mobile phone reception, how to deal with the national parks booking rules; and Aboriginal land entrance and camping permits and alcohol restrictions - to vehicle preparation and accessories and necessary recovery gear by my partner Mark who is the recovery guy on northern Cape York and the Old Telegraph Track). Not to mention locals' tips on how to spot that croc and palm cockatoo ;-)

If you liked the books or this website, let others know about it! 

Link to it from your website, your blog, your forum post... Share it on Facebook, Tweet about it...

Every link helps other travellers!

Thank you for doing the right thing and letting others know :-)

destination cape york

Latest Pages

Notice Board

Ask a Question

YOUR Adventure

YOUR Cape Memories

Keep yourself updated
on the latest -
weather, roads,
free travel tips,
and get the
FREE Cape York
Pocket Guide!




Don't worry - your email address is totally secure.
I use it only to send you the Cape York News.

Get the FREE Pocket Guide:
cape york travel free pocket guide

Get the Big Destination Guide
destination cape york book

Available with the Big Destination Guide:
cape york dog caravan trailer
FEEDBACK Pg 1 2 3 4 5

cape york businesses

loyalty beach