Cape York Trip Itinerary – 10 Days to the Tip!

When we first set out, one of our goals was to reach the tip of the cape. It’s one of those places where danger and excitement are practically synonymous. After hearing countless comeback, fishing, campfire stories and breakdowns, we were eager to make our own.

You may only visit the Cape between April and November (depending on the rain), so planning your trip accordingly is essential. We avoided the summer months since campgrounds are too crowded during the school year and instead visited Cooktown around early September to get ready for the tip.

Planning a Trip to Cape York: Ten Days to the Finish!

For many people, a trip to Cape York is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the unspoiled natural beauty of Far Northern Queensland. 

Cape York is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity thanks to its spectacular natural vistas, rich cultural heritage, and challenging terrain. 

In this plan, we lay out a 10-day trip to Cape York, marking stops at several of the cape’s most famous landmarks and some lesser-known but no less fascinating attractions. 

Prepare for an unforgettable journey across one of the country’s most beautiful areas, whether you’re an experienced traveller or newly starting.


1. Cooktown

This quaint city is perfect for us. There’s a ton to do in the neighbourhood, and this trip marks the beginning of an incredible journey to Cape York. 

A spot at the famous Cooktown Holiday Park was reserved for us. It’s a gorgeous park that offers ample tree cover, spacious grassland sites, and a pool fit for a resort.

A busy crossroads for travellers going north or south. In addition to being a convenient stop for resupply, Cooktown is rich in attractions. 

We left our RV at the BIG4 Cooktown Holiday Park for the day to relax and do laundry. The park is great, and the staff is accommodating and pleasant.

If you’re searching for first-rate seafood while in town, the genial proprietor of Nicko’s Seafood has got you covered. 

Keep an eye out for the guy as he makes his daily seafood delivery run through the trailer park; his prawns are to die for! Ask him where to leave your RV while you shop for prawns and proceed with the trip.

The “Lions Den Hotel” is located only 30 kilometres away. This pub is a North Queensland institution. We enjoyed a refreshing beer there as our children played on the next playground. 

This is one heck of a bar. Thanks to its eccentric souvenirs, swimming hole in the back, and wood-, it’s a tourist hotspotfired pizzas. Those in the area must visit. What’s not to like about this place, with its long history and legal bar?

After spending two nights packing and loading the van, we have everything we need to get on the road, including a few last-minute supplies.

When we initially set out, one of our goals was to reach the very end of the cape. It’s among those places where danger and excitement are practically synonymous. After hearing countless comebacks, breakdowns, fishing, and campfire anecdotes, we were eager to make our own.

You may only visit the Cape between April and November (depending on the rain), so planning your trip accordingly is essential. 

We avoided the summer months since campgrounds are too crowded during the school year and instead visited Cooktown at the beginning of September to prepare for the tip.

We brought a chemical toilet with us, which proved quite useful. We also have a 12V shower with us. To get HOT water, we had to plug it into our vehicle. It’s pleasant to enjoy a hot shower on a cool evening, and taking an outdoor shower is a massive thrill for kids.

On your trip to the cape point, we suggest stopping by Elim Beach. This is a magnificent place, and you must see the multicoloured sands.  

We take a long trip along the battle camp route to Weipa the following day. Which, while essentially just a well-kept gravel road, was a fantastic alternative for travelling back through Laura and Cooktown.

For our camping trip to Cape York, we’ve partnered with OZTRAIL. Come by ELIM BEACH and look at our set-up for further details on the equipment.


2. Weipa

The drive to Weipa was smooth and easy. More than half of the freshly graded material was bitumen. This area took us by surprise. A close-knit community provides its residents with almost everything they want. 

We were surprised to see grass when we pulled into Weipa Caravan Park. But once inside the gates, the vegetation was as lush as ever, so we picked the perfect spot to pitch our tent overlooking the water.

The pool is fantastic, the cafe serves delicious pizza, and the vibe is relaxing. We thought it was such a lovely spot to unwind that we stayed for two nights. It’s the northernmost point where you may find a major shopping mall. 

Stocking up in Weipa is the best plan, as there will be limited opportunities to buy supplies on the way north.

The Old Telegraph Track

3. The Old Telegraph Track

We are excited to begin travelling on the Old Telegraph Track after departing Weipa. We stop briefly to visit Bramwell Roadhouse for gas and photographs, and then we’re on our way.

There is only one vehicle track through the dense bush at the beginning of the trail, and it’s rather mild, with several rocky spots and washouts. The track starts becoming rough until you reach Palm Creek. The brook has a steep entrance and exit, so be careful. 

You should take the route to the right to avoid having to winch up the exit when pulling a trailer. 

The Bertie Creek

4. The Bertie Creek

We must do a few more modest river crossings and navigate rougher trail stretches before we can set up camp. We figured Bertie Creek would be a great site to stop on the OTT because we had been there before. 

We veer off the beaten path just a moment to visit a secluded creek through rapids and gin-clear water where this Bertie flows into the Dulhunty. We pitch our tents, drink beer, and swim in the refreshingly calm shallow rapids.

This is a great spot to pitch a tent.

We chose to camp on The Old Tele Track on the first night, which is an absolute corker. The creek has clean water with rapids right on the edges. Beer and a bonfire make for the perfect camping trip.

Gunshot Creek

5. Gunshot Creek

We camped peacefully at Bertie Creek for the night and then headed north to the top. Gunshot Creek, with its infamous cliff fall that some insane people dare to navigate their cars through, is the next prominent landmark. 

Our obvious choice was taking the chicken track that loops to our right, across the creek, and then up the rocky slope. Lunch at Gunshot is perfect for people-watching as they explore the trail and cross the stream.

Drop of Fruitbat Falls

6. Drop of Fruitbat Falls

Fruit Bat Falls, a recognisable landmark in the OTT, was our next stop.  The OTT and PDR (Peninsula Development Road) meet at the falls. A lovely waterfall drops over an edge into a nice, shallow pool below. We rushed in to have a little fun with the swords. 

The kids thought it was magical to play beneath the waterfall. There were plenty of areas for us to spread out and enjoy the cool shade and crystal-clear water on this sweltering day.

If you keep travelling north along the Tele Track, you’ll eventually reach Elliot Falls. We also admired another beautiful pool and waterfall. If you plan, you can also stay at a fantastic campsite in the national park. 

The Waters of Logans Creek

7. The Waters of Logans Creek

We then moved on to Logans Creek Crossing, where one can watch people crossing the creek before attempting. After a long day, we pulled over to set up camp for our overnight stay to continue the trail in the morning.  

Roonga Point

8. Roonga Point

We picked an awesome place and got the whole thing to ourselves. The place had excellent fishing and blue waters. I caught a couple of fish and witnessed a beautiful sunset. Positioned midway between the campground of Punsand Bay and Croc Tent lies Roonga Point. 

When you visit the Croc Tent, ask for the mud map showing the campsites and trails. It’s cheap (only a couple of dollars) and highly recommended. 

A legendary beach camp in the vicinity of Cape York. It’s a free campsite with easy access and excellent fishing. 


9. Bamaga

A fantastic spot to do some food shopping, load up on essentials and recharge. In this far-flung corner of Australia, you should expect to pay a premium for everything from the gas you use to the groceries you buy. 

A stop at this caravan site is ideal, and fishing from the jetty marks the visit for most travellers.

Punsand Bay

10. Punsand Bay

We were thrilled to swing by, do some laundry, and swim in the shallow (borehole water) pool. We camped directly along the beach while having spectacular sunset views. 

The wood-fired pizzas here are some of the greatest we’ve ever eaten, and the rest of the meal was also excellent. Having other families around meant we could relax with a beer or two while our children played.

We spent two nights at the $44/night Punsand Bay Campground on our way to the tip of the cape.

A legendary beach camp not far from Cape York’s tip. It’s free, it’s close, and it has excellent fishing!

Australia’s Southernmost Point, Pajinka

11. Australia’s Southernmost Point, Pajinka

It felt great to reach The Tip finally. The journey is relatively easy but involves many kilometres and bumps. We parked at the base, and because of the high tide, we had to traverse an outcrop of rocks to reach the end of the peninsula. 

At low tide, you can take a beautiful, albeit slightly shorter, route through the ridge on the sand. The youngsters did great on the fifteen-minute hike. 

Our Way Back

Just because you’ve made it to the end-all, be-all doesn’t mean the fun ends! Before heading back down, some fantastic campsites are still available. 

Before you go back down, there are a few things I want you to see.

  • Somerset Beach: A Fantastic Free Campground
  • 5 Beaches Drive is a beautiful coastline loop that goes by five different beaches before bringing you back into the PDR. 
  • The Frenchman’s Track is a difficult 4WD route that leads to Chiili Beach and the east coast. 
  • Chilli Beach These pristine white beaches of Chilli Beach meet the verdant canopy of the rainforest at this beautiful campground. The 70-80 km/h gusts that day prevented us from establishing camp there. 

Telegraph Station in Moreton 

This was the final stop on this journey to Cape York, and we were delighted with our reception. We finally reached a green campground after driving over so much red soil. 

We camped in the wilderness as a fitting finale to our time in Cape York. Tonight is our last night in this hotel before we return to Cooktown tomorrow to retrieve the vehicle and continue our journey east.

The Eleven-Step Cape York Itinerary Planner

Travelling to Cape York is one of the most exciting journeys one can have in Australia. One of the greatest treks in Australia’s wilderness is across the northern peninsula of Queensland.

Here in the Cape’s vastness, human influence is minimal, and nature reigns supreme. Going around is challenging because of the terrain’s distance and roughness. Preparation is the key to a successful Cape York drive. 

We have compiled a Cape York itinerary guide to help you prepare for your monumental journey into the distant Cape York peninsula.

This comprehensive guide can assist you in organising the unexpectedly involved process of visiting Cape York. It covers everything you need to know to organise a successful vacation to Cape York, not just the highlights.

We have provided information and various resources on planning a route, what to bring, where to stay, how to maintain your vehicle, and much more. If you follow the steps in this guide, your drive to Pajinka, Australia’s northernmost tip, will go off without a hitch.

Step 1: Find a Reliable Map for Cape York

Finding a reliable Cape York map is essential to organising your Cape vacation.

Maps from Google have entirely abandoned the Cape. Instead of occasionally sending you towards the ocean or mislabeling cow trails as  “roads,” Google often fails to load the map and spins endlessly into infinity.

Fortunately, various navigational aids exist to help you plot your course.

If you need a map of Cape York for off-road driving, go no further than this app. If you’re planning a crazy 4WD excursion on the tip of the Cape and want to avoid the tourist traps, this is the nautical gear you need. 

Included are detailed maps of all of the area’s off-road paths. It’s GPS-based and functional even when you’re not online.

Paper Maps

Get a paper map of the Cape York Peninsula from nearby tourist centres, such as the one in Cooktown. One of the best elements of preparing for a voyage to Cape York is sitting around using a paper map, including your crew, and mapping your course.


MapsMe provides the greatest free digital alternative when you cannot afford to spend $100 on the Cape York HEMA maps or if you find paper maps unsuitable. 

While the estimated travel times did not match, downloading and using the maps without an internet connection was invaluable on the Cape’s remote interior.

Step 2: Acquire a Sense of Cape York’s Distances

You’ll spend most of your time on the trip to Cape York in the car, driving down the red gravel roads. The long, sandy journey to Cape York demands careful preparation.

Knowing the distances between stops is crucial if driving from Cairns to Cape York. Google may say that travelling 1,000 kilometres takes thirteen and a half hours, but it will take much longer. 

The time it takes to complete a trip is highly variable, depending on several factors like the season, the weather, and the number of other vehicles on the road.

The times are only estimates, and the actual travel time could be significantly longer or shorter depending on the state of the roads. Allow extra time in case you hit bad weather or experience car issues on the road.

Step 3: Determine What to Do While in Cape York

Knowing how far places are and how long it will take to get there will help you plan for your time in Cape York. Cape York is a large natural playground full of exciting and unique destinations. Waterfalls, secluded beach camping, and difficult 4×4 trails are only the beginning.

Planning what to do while visiting Cape York is crucial because of the considerable distances between the numerous points of interest.

To help you start, we have compiled a list of some of the most common activities. This is not a complete guide to Cape Cod but a selection of our favourite activities.

1. Follow the Route of the Old Telegraph Track

When preparing for a trip to Cape York, it’s important to pack the right recovery gear in case you get stuck while crossing a creek on the Old Telegraph Track. 

Remember to include time to go off-roading when planning a trip to Cape York. The Cape York Track, also known as the Old Telegraph Track, was constructed at the beginning of the nineteenth century to provide access to telegraph lines between the Cape and Cooktown. 

Many visitors bring their four-wheel drives because of this track. Many visitors to Australia add this historic and well-known 4WD circuit to their itinerary.

2. Travel to Australia’s Most Northern Location

The northernmost point of Australia is a must-see on every journey to Cape York. About 45 minutes drive from Bamaga will bring you to Australia’s northernmost tip. It shouldn’t take over an hour to stroll back to the sign, including stopping for the customary group shot.

3. Trip Charter a Vessel for Cape York Fishing 

Renting a boat and going fishing is among the best activities you can do in Cape York. Bully’s in New Mapoon is where we rented the boat. 

When we showed up at the Seisa Pier using our one reel and small rod, Bully’s reaction was priceless. However, the fish in the Cape’s pristine waters aren’t exactly minnows.

We didn’t need to venture too far to see schools of jumping tuna and bait balls full of diving seabirds. Monster trevally swam just below the surface near the entrance of Jardine River, and massive turtles drifted lazily above. 

Huge sharks swarmed the boat, preparing to pounce on our catch. The fishing was the craziest we’ve ever seen, especially for being so close to shore.

Sailing around Cape York is an unforgettable experience. A visit to the source of the Jardine River constitutes the highlight of any vacation to Cape York.

4. Soak in the Waters of Cape York

Since diving into the ocean is not an option on Cape York, visitors should visit the area’s refreshing waterfalls instead. Eliot Falls, Fruit Bat Falls, and the secluded Sam Falls are must-sees on any Cape York itinerary, providing welcome relief from the scorching temperatures and a chance to shake off some of that red dust.

Taking a refreshing swim in one of Cape York’s waterfalls is a trip highlight that may easily stand in for the day’s shower.

5. Take on the Archer Burger

The Archer Burger has become almost as well-known as the historic Old Telegraph Track. Archer Roadhouse serves a massive burger with all the fixings. In addition to the standard fixings, your burger will come with bacon, fried eggs, pineapple, beetroot and grilled onions.

Whether heading to Cape York for lunch, towards the end of the day, or in the early morning, you must stop at Archer Roadhouse for breakfast or dinner.

6. Chill Out at the Chili Beach

With its constant, strong offshore winds, the beach brought back memories of our stay at El Cuyo, Mexico. To make the stay at Chili Beach memorable, reserve a campsite in the national park, which is out of the way of the constant winds.

The rare and stunning Palm Cockatoo, commonly called ‘palmiers’, with its jet-black plumage and bright red crest, can be spotted in this area if you’re an avid birdwatcher.

7. Barramundi Fishing at Weipa

Many visitors to Cape York need to consider the western end of the cape. However, those with more time on their hands could travel to Weipa to enjoy some of the best fishing at Cape York. One of the best places to catch a barramundi on land is Weipa.

8 Go to Bramwell Junction and Have a Chicken Burger.

Bramwell Junction, known for its enormous chicken burger, competes for the title of Cape Cod’s best roadhouse burger. You will not regret this classic on the road to Cape York: fried chicken with lettuces, pineapple, tomato and delightful, sour, spicy mayo.

9. Drink a Beer in the Northernmost Pub in Queensland

In Australia, visiting the pub is a must on any vacation. The Bamaga bar is the northernmost drinking establishment in Australia, and it’s the only spot on the Tip of the Cape where one can get a drink to go. Be wary; the prices at this out-of-the-way bar are high.

10. See Some Old War Stuff

Don’t miss the military relics scattered over the Cape if you’re interested in WWII history. When the Japanese might have invaded Australia, they used nearly the entire Cape. 

The Cape was important to Australia’s participation in World War II since it housed multiple air facilities and large bases. Explore the remnants of World War Two, such as airfields, fuel fields, and aircraft wrecks. 

Among the most interesting activities around Cape York is checking out these artifacts.

11  Explore Nature

The enormous variety and quantity of wildlife are among the first things visitors to Cape York will observe. Nature has become dominant as the Cape has been relatively untouched by humans. And if you can spare some time to relax and watch the wildlife, you will be amazed.

On our way towards the Cape, we saw a lot of interesting animals. Hawks were roaming the creek adjacent to our campsite, bringing fish to their young, and bowerbirds were constructing elaborate nests to attract mates. 

It’s possible to spot a shark breaching, a crocodile taking a dip, a scorpion slithering, or a snake basking in the sun. The Cape’s natural beauty never ceases to astound.

At Cape York, among the best things to do is to tune into your environment and learn about the abundant wildlife. We think you’ll find it a memorable part of your Cairns to Cape York trip.

12. Be Alert for Crocodiles

Saltwater crocodiles are an essential part of any vacation to Cape York. There is a morbid fascination with hazardous animals like saltwater crocodiles because they are known as the kind of creature most likely to devour a human. 

The sight of a crocodile, which can reach lengths of up to 6 meters, will undoubtedly be one of the highlights of your tour from Cairns towards Cape York.

Loyalty Beach, up at Cape York’s Point, and Captain Billy’s Landing, across the east coast, are popular crocodile-spotting locations.

Don’t ever try to pet or feed the crocodiles. It could be entertaining for you. However, it won’t be for the kid who succumbs to an attack because the Croc got used to seeing people.

Step 4: Plot out Your Route to Cape York.

The next stage in organising your road trip to Cape York is to draw up a route using your map, knowledge of distances, and list of potential stops.

Fuel stations and camping spots are scarce, and the distances between locations are enormous. It is essential to plan your route to Cape York, including how much time it takes to reach there and how much gas one needs.

WikiCamps is an excellent tool for route planning you may use while on the road. The app displays the locations of campgrounds, attractions, water amenities, day-use areas and even dump stations. Free camping spaces abound in Cape York, and WikiCamps is an excellent tool for finding them.

It’s smart to have a backup strategy ready if your original one doesn’t work. Learn the layout of the area, including the whereabouts of key persons and sources of fuel. 

In a dire situation, it could be helpful. Include a couple of extra days in your itinerary if something goes wrong or you fall in love with a place and don’t want to leave!

Step5: Meal Preparation for Your Cape York Vacation

We had burgers made from black beans in week three. Planning for the trip to Cape York made it possible.

Meal planning is a crucial component of getting ready for any camping trip. Meal preparation is always vital, but it becomes even more crucial when travelling to Cape York owing to the scarcity of food and other goods.

Bamaga/Umagico, Cooktown and Weipa, close to Cape York, are the only places to stock up on groceries. While a bit more expensive than at home, the supermarkets have a good selection and reasonable prices. 

There are a few gas stations and convenience stores between the convenience stores, but they have a very limited selection and charge exorbitant prices. The secret to having a wonderful eating experience in Cape York without going broke is to plan your meals and ensure you have all you need. 

Meal preparation should be included in your overall Cape York travel itinerary. Where and when you may restock groceries en route from Cape York to Cairns, and what you’ll need to bring.

We stocked up on dry and canned goods in Cairns for three weeks at the Cape. We brought our fresh produce, dairy products, and meat for our first week, then restocked at gas stations and grocery stores.

Step 6: Plan for Your Stay in a National Park

Understanding the alcohol policies in place in Cape York is crucial. There are places in the world where drinking alcohol is completely forbidden or strictly regulated, known as “dry communities.”

It’s important to know which states have per-vehicle alcohol limits and which offer waivers for legitimate tourists like yourself. On your way to Cape York’s point, you will undoubtedly travel through at least one of the dry villages.

Visit the alcohol restrictions section of our comprehensive Cape York travel guide for more details.

Step 7: Plan to Stop by Captain Billy’s Landing on Your Way to or From Cape York.

While free camping is available throughout Cape York, visiting one of the many national parks is the best way to take advantage of the area. 

However, national parks have limited spots, filling up quickly, particularly during the school year. While preparing for a trip to Cape York, reserve a room in advance.

Captain Billy’s Landing and Chili Beach are two of the most sought-after camping spots in the national parks.

Step 8: Deciding What to Bring to Cape York

Choosing what to bring to Cape York is an essential first step. It can be challenging to know what to bring to Cape York. Due to the location’s isolation, you should pack more provisions than necessary for a typical camping excursion. 

Ensuring you’ve got everything from spare components to recovery gear to additional supplies might be daunting.

For your convenience, we have compiled a list of all the things we brought to Cape York and some items we should have brought but didn’t. Items like recovery, medical, and camping gear are on the Cape York trip’s packing list. 

You shouldn’t expect to be able to quickly run to a neighbouring Woolies or Big W if you forget something around the Cape.

9. Review Safety Advice Before Making the Trip to Cape York

The route to Cape York passes through some of Australia’s most inaccessible and mountainous terrain.

Reviewing some basic safety procedures before embarking on any road trip is excellent, but doing so in Australia is crucial. Do not forget to check your Cape York trip safety plan before you go.

We’ve compiled some of our best safety advice to help you prepare for your vacation to Cape York.

Keep the headlights on when driving.

Turning on your headlights in the daylight is a good idea in Cape York.

On a clear day, they may seem unnecessary, but if you drive into a cloud of dust churned up by cars travelling in the opposite direction, they’ll be all that other drivers can see.

Reduce Air Pressure in Off-Road Tires When Traveling on Roads with Severe Corrugation. 

It smooths out the ride (to some extent).

If your vehicle has off-road tires, reducing pressure will help it ride more comfortably over the PDR’s harsh corrugation.

Do not let your tyre pressure drop below the recommended level if you use road tires without traction on the sidewalls. Doing so exposes the vulnerable tyre wall to damage from a stick or stone. The trip may be rough, but it beats driving home with flat tires!

Pace Yourself

Most of the route to Cape York’s tip is unpaved, with quality varying widely from kilometre to kilometre. You should not drive flatly strapped since you never know when gaping potholes, violent corrugation or sudden curves will appear.

Know Your Crocs

It’s crocodile country out here, so brush up on your croc knowledge in addition to the usual scorpions, sea stingers, snakes, and spiders. If you’re going to Cape York, it’s a good idea to review the offered advice to understand what you should do if you see a crocodile.

Step 10: Get Your Car Serviced

Avoid disaster by having your car serviced before heading to Cape York.

In preparing for a trip to Cape York, many people forget how crucial it is to check that their vehicle is in good working order. Nothing like breaking down on the highway could ruin the start of this 44 journey.

Visit your trusted mechanic to check the condition of your vehicle and its components before embarking on this journey.

However, even if you get a thorough checkup before you leave, there is still a chance that something will go wrong. Since these roadways are among the most hazardous in the Australi, it’s prudent to prepare for and anticipate some difficulty.

Our trip checklist provides a comprehensive list of the tools and spare components we recommend bringing on your Cape York excursion.

Preparing your car for the long drive to Cape York should be on everyone’s must-do list before heading there.

Step11: Carry Something for Your Entertainment

The final step may seem counterintuitive if you consider that the whole goal of a trip to Cape York was to escape from civilisation. 

While true, getting to Cape York will require significant travel time. Also, if you have a weak cell signal, Spotify won’t be as accessible as usual.

The final piece of advice for the Cape York vacation we took was a planning guide to prepare for the long drive there by downloading road trip songs, podcasts, or some movies for our kids.

Believe us when we say that only some of the journey is as interesting as the well-known Old Telegraph Track, so these will come in handy.

In conclusion

We hope this post has given you the confidence to plan and organise your trip to Cape York. Leave a comment telling us how helpful you found this Cape York travel guide and if we forgot anything important.