Please keep in mind the road conditions are constantly changing. QLD had experienced a late wet season and some of the roads had been freshly graded. The paving works looked to be progressing well, so there will be more paved sections than dirt as time goes on, but as a guide, here is our trip itinerary for our run to the Northernmost Point of Australia.
Wednesday 22nd May 2019 we travelled 384km in 7hours
8:30am departed ‘Archer Point Campground’ (near Cooktown)
9:35am started on the ‘Peninsula Development Road’
11:30am stopped on the side of the road for lunch (1hr)
3:30pm arrived at ‘The Bend South Campground’ in Coen
An almost even mix of bitumen and dirt made for quite a smooth drive on our first day.
Our cubs travelled well, mostly slept, and enjoyed a play in the red dirt after lunch.
The campsite at Coen was a nice little stopover on the sandbank by a small creek. ($Free).
Thursday 23rd May 2019 we travelled 228km in 5.5hrs
8:30am departed Coen
11:30am stopped at ‘Moreton Telegraph Station’ for lunch (1.5hrs)
2pm arrived at ‘Bramwell Junction Roadhouse’
A bit of roadwork was happening during this section but it didn’t slow us down too much. Keira loved seeing the diggers. We averaged 80-100km/h on bitumen and 50-70km/h on dirt.
Our cubs had a short nap then entertained with books, toys and snacks the rest of the trip.
Bramwell Junction Roadhouse ~ the start of the Old Telegraph Track ~ was a nice big, open space with shaded areas. Friendly service with basic canteen facilities (no alcohol) and clean amenities. ($25p/n & Diesel sold at $1.79p/l)
Friday 24th May 2019 we travelled
216km in 4.5hrs
8am departed Bramwell
11am crossed the ‘Jardine River’
12:30pm arrived at ‘Punsand Bay Campground’
(Crossing on the ferry we broke the plastic foot on one of the back-stabilising bars & slightly bent the spare wheel bracket.)
The last leg was slightly more corrugated than previous sections ~ our antenna snapped off from the shaking (but it was a few years old and has travelled a few rocky tracks) and we lost a screw in our front light bar (but easy fix with a cable tie).
It rained a little making some areas slightly slippery so whilst we averaged 60-70km/h most of the way, we did drop to 30-40km/h a few times.
A quick stretch of the legs at the Jardine River Crossing, $130 paid to the service station for our return ferry ticket and straight on to the ferry we went.
The dirt road into Bamaga had just been graded so it was a smooth 100km/h drive.
We setup at Punsand Bay – what an amazing spot – and spent the afternoon walking around the campground and playing on the beach. (Unpowered Bush Site 2A + 3I = $36p/n)
Saturday 25th May 2019
Early morning risers meant we started the 45min drive to The Tip at 8:30am. We had never really looked into the actual walk, only knew it to be approx. 700m across some rocks. Well, it was a little rockier than we had pictured and whilst it was mostly an easy walk, there was a little bit of a climb up and a few slightly steep sections down but overall a good little hike and the end definitely makes it worth it.
We each carried a twin in their carrier and Keira walked most of the way, hitching a ride with one of us in some sections.
Standing at The Northernmost Point of The Australian Continent was an amazing feeling and we were so glad we decided to make the last-minute trek.
There were a few people at the tip with us, but we were lucky and didn’t have to wait long for our turn at the sign.
After some time at the top, letting our cubs play in the small puddles and climb some rocks, we headed back to check out ‘The Croc Tent’ and collect our ‘Cape York 2019’ sticker to commemorate our trip.
Sunday 26th May 2019
We headed out to Somerset, the start of the Five Beaches track.
Stopped over at the war memorial and then made our way on to Beach #1. Weaving from the picturesque beaches to the fun, sandy tracks behind, we had a fantastic day.
The tracks were easy and an hour later we were on Beach #5 setting up our awning, cooking lunch and enjoying the beautiful scenery.
Our afternoon was spent swimming in the campground pool, playing on the beach and a special treat of delicious wood-fired pizzas for dinner.
Monday 27th May 2019
A day for exploring we drove around the surrounding towns.
We stopped at a few places for a fish but it just wasn’t our day to catch anything.
We then headed back to the campground for a little down time before we started packing up, sadly.
We had an amazing 4 nights at the top of Australia, and as much as we wanted to stay longer, it was time to make a move towards the next part of our journey.
Tuesday 28th May 2019 we travelled
216km in 6.5hrs
8:30am departed ‘Punsand Bay Campground’
9:30am crossed the ‘Jardine River’
11am stopped at ‘Fruit Bat Falls’ for a swim & lunch (2hrs)
3pm arrived ‘Bramwell Station’
The roads back down were fairly worn; you could tell the traffic had increased meaning more corrugations, a bumpier ride and a few bigger washouts than what we encountered coming up. It was still better than we expected but we could only imagine the conditions once the roads got busier through season.
Fruit Bat Falls was spectacular. A refreshing swim and beautiful landscape made for the perfect stop. Our cubs loved splashing around the waterfall.
Bramwell Station hosted a fun, entertaining evening. We decided to book into the buffet dinner; a lovely home-cooked style dinner with live music. Lots of open space for our cubs to run around and clean amenities made for an awesome stopover.
($25p/n to camp & $30pp for the buffet dinner - drinks not included but reasonably priced.)
Wednesday 29th May 2019 we travelled
41km in just under an hour
Left the van at Bramwell Station and headed over to check out the start of the ‘Old Telegraph Track’
10:30am departed Bramwell
11:15am arrived at ‘Moreton Telegraph Station’
How could we come all this way and not check out the OTT?
We drove down the track to find it quite messy with tree branches fallen everywhere but lots of sidetracks to get around. We made our way around to a small crossing and followed it all the way to the first big crossing – Palm Creek (about 4km from the start).
Palm Creek was muddy and very chewed out. Whilst we didn’t attempt the crossing because we didn’t have time to winch all day, it definitely got us excited for our plans to return in a couple of years to, hopefully, complete the OTT.
We returned to Bramwell, hitched up the van and headed down the road to Moreton.
We spent the afternoon fishing (with our travel buddy catching 2 fish, finally).
Our cubs loved the big open grass areas to run around, clean amenities and basic snacks for sale in the office.
($20p/n for power & water but the generator turns off at 8:30pm so don't rely on it and get in quick for a shower before the pump & lights turn off.)
Thursday 30th May 2019 we travelled
361km in 6 hrs
9:30am departed Moreton
11:30am stopped at Coen for lunch (1.5hrs)
3:30pm arrived ‘Hann River Roadhouse’
The road from Moreton to Hann River Roadhouse was definitely rougher than the way up. We were averaging 60-70km/h and really had to keep an eye out for washouts and dips.
Hann River Roadhouse was an awesome stopover. Big open space, sporting equipment for our cubs to play with, fire pits and farm animals roaming. Our cubs loved the animals and the outdoor shower was a highlight for us. (Unpowered $20p/n & sold diesel for $1.78p/l)
On Friday 31st May 2019 we departed Hann at 9am and at 11:30am turned off the PDR towards Lakeland.
And just like that Our Trip to The Tip had come to an end.