12 Day Cape York 4wd Tagalong Tour

12 Day Cape York Tours

12 Day Cape York Tours - Departing every few weeks April to October

This is your opportunity to experience arguable the most iconic areas on the Australian continent. We will assist you to drive safely and confidently through one of the last great wilderness areas of Australia. You will stand at the most northerly point of Australia and take the obligatory snapshot but the memories will last a life time.

Day 0: Check-in, Vehicle Check, Welcome Dinner
Day 1: Mareeba to Lakeland 173km
Day 2: Lakeland to Coen 293km
Day 3: Coen to Weipa 243km
Day 4: Rest day, Mine Tours, Fishing Tours, Flight Tours
Day 5: Weipa to Fruit Bat Falls 250km
Day 6: Fruit Bat Falls to Punsand Bay Camping 223km
Day 7: The TIP, Island/Ferry tours, Fishing Tours, Flight Tours
Day 8: Island/Ferry tours, Fishing Tours, Flight Tours
Day 9: Punsand Bay to Charlie’s Gold Mine 423km
Day 10: Charlie’s Gold Mine to Cooktown 369km
Day 11: Cooktown to Cape Tribulation Camping 100km
Day 12: Island/Reef tours, Fishing Tours, Flight Tours, River Cruses, Crock Tours, Farewell Dinner

Day 0: Check-in, Vehicle Check, Welcome Dinner

cape york tourThis is tour check-in, workplace health and safety, (WHS) and administration day. We gather this morning at the Granite Gorge Nature Park, located just 12 km west of Mareeba on Chewko Road. Mareeba is on record as enjoys over 300 days of sunshine each year and just wait until you see Granite Gorge Nature Park.

Today we will cover the WHS requirements, check vehicles, communications and equipment. Traction 4X4, (07) 40923493, have been engaged to provide a complementary pre tour check of your vehicle. Any item requiring attention will need to be attended to before joining the tour.

When you are happy that all is well with your vehicle and gear there is plenty to occupy yourself with in and around Mareeba.

Our Welcome Dinner, will kick-off around 6:30pm which is being held on the deck of the Granite Gorge Nature Park main building shown above.

This view from the rear deck has to be seen to be believed.

granite gorge

Day 1:Mareeba to Lakeland 173km

mount molloyThis morning we pack up our camp site and get underway heading for Mount Molloy; Mount Molloy's fame is with its bird life. Almost 300 species have been recorded within a 15 kilometre radius of the town. It is also the home of the Great Bowerbird. There is also a great little coffee shop.

Next stop is Mount Carbine It has been said that Carroll Walsh, a miner, named Mt. Carbine after the 1890 Melbourne Cup Winner which was a horse named “Carbine”. We will visit the Mt Carbine Pub and see one of the world's biggest didgeridoo see on the wall in the photo above.

The story of Mt. Carbine dates back to the 1890′s when wolframite was first discovered on the slopes of Carbine Hill. Mount Carbine through Carbine Tungsten Limited plans to be a pre-eminent Australian tungsten producer, with production at the historic Mt Carbine tungsten mine set to re-commence.

Then onto the Palmer River Roadhouse. The Roadhouse is situated on the historical Palmer River right on the site of the original gold rush. The roadhouse also provides meals and refreshments and a walk down by the river is a must. Remember where you are and be careful you don't got to close to the bank, there are some very big Lizards around here.

Once refreshed, it’s back on the Peninsula Development Road, PDR, where we soon arrive at Lakeland Caravan Park and set up camp. Remember “HAPPY HOUR” starts at 4:00pm daily. You can cook in the park, a cooking area will be available for our use or you can get a feed at the Lakeland Coffee House & Store, Lakeland Roadhouse or the Lakeland Hotel.

A relaxing HAPPY HOUR and evening meal is a fitting end to the first and interesting day.

Day 2: Lakeland to Coen 293km

Cape-york- day 3Today we strike camp and leave Lakeland; don't forget to refuel your vehicles. It's always advisable to keep your fuel tank topped up just in case. We head towards Laura but 12km short of Laura we stop and visit the Split Rock Aboriginal Rock Painting site before moving on into Laura where we visit the Quinkan & Regional Cultural Centre. Laura is the centre for the largest collection of prehistoric rock art in the world.

After lunch we head off up the PDR to the Hann River Roadhouse where we will stop to catch a glimpse of Emu, peacock and a variety of ducks, geese and chocks. On a good day the Emu will eat from your hand. That is my wife feeding the birds in the photo above.

On to Musgrave Roadhouse which was originally built as a telegraph station in 1887. It was one of the repeater stations on the Overland Telegraph line. The line ran through stations at Palmerville, Fairview, Coen, Mein, Moreton, McDonnell and Paterson. Musgrave was named after the then Queensland Governor. One of the last original poles that supported the Telegraph line still stands near the phone box out front. it’s been welcoming travellers for over 100 years. They come by wagon and on horse-back but these days we come in air-conditioned comfort. There is great food here so we can enjoy a break to refuel or have a cuppa before we set off for Coen.

Gold was discovered on the Coen River in 1876. Coen came into being first as a small fort built by gold miners and prospectors in May 1877 and the Post Office opened in 1893. In 2014, Barry Port Australia's last Aboriginal police tracker retired in Coen. You can also visit Coen Heritage House with displays about local history, including information on the Gold Rush, local families, and the building of the Telegraph Line.

Our Camp tonight is in Coen behind the Coen Hotel with hot showers, toilets and great food and cold beer.

Day 3: Coen to Weipa 243km
We leave Coen heading for the Archer River Roadhouse where we enjoy a pleasant stop at the café or down on the banks of the river. The Archer River Crossing is the most infamous spot on the whole PDR. This spot also boast prolific birdlife along with frill necked lizards and the biggest lizard of them all the elusive saltwater crocodile.

Then it's off to Weipa with little in-between so it will be a long haul of around two hours. We should get into Weipa Caravan Park mid afternoon. This will give us time to set up camp in the best waterfront sites you will ever see and make the Western Cape ECO sunset tour.

Day 4: Rest day, Mine Tours, Fishing Tours, Flight Tours

mine tour Today is what you want it to be it can be a rest day or a mine tour or a day fishing tour or you could just sit back and enjoy the spectacular sunset over the tranquil waters of Albatross Bay.

This is also an opportunity to repair any damages, replenish the food and drink stocks and don't forget to refuel.

Day 5: Weipa to Fruit Bat Falls 250km

Well refreshed after our stay in Weipa we head off to the Batavia Downs cattle station short cut that takes us onto Bamaga Road but commonly refereed as the PDR and we head for the Wenlock River and the Moreton Telegraph Station. We can stop for a cuppa on the northern bank of the Wenlock left hand side when travelling north and there are some old majestic river gums that need to be enjoyed.

We need to push on to get to Bramwell Junction Roadhouse before lunch because we all know what starts here, yes the all famous Old Telegraph Track, (OTT). We need to get to Bramwell Junction Roadhouse before 11:00am to have enough time to attempt the Track.

It is at this stage we need to make a decision; do we or don't we attempt the OTT? The decision will be based on the time we arrived at Bramwell Junction Roadhouse, the temperature, the weather and the number of vehicles on the track at that time. Also this is a personal judgement do you feel confident? There is an alternative route so there is no pressure. With all those factors considered we will decide weather or not to proceed. If we attempt the Track we will camp at Canal Creek but if we decide not to attempt the Track we will camp at Bramwell Junction Roadhouse which has a licensed bar and a hearty meal for the hungry traveller.

(Please note there is a Bramwell Junction Roadhouse and Bramwell Station two different establishments.)

Day 6: Fruit Bat Falls to Punsand Bay Camping 223km

cape-york- day 6Depending on the decision on Day 5 we will either start from Canal Creek or Bramwell Junction Roadhouse. Regardless of where we start Day 5 and 6 will always be about exploring the OTT.

The OTT branches off the Bamaga Road at the Bramwell Junction Roadhouse where the real 4WD adventure of Cape York begins. There are a number of water crossings through creeks and rivers. The difficulty varies from year to year depending on the weather, however, the approach and departure angles range from easy to almost impossible regardless. Don't worry there is always a choice of crossing points.

We will visit and stop at all those iconic places such as Fruit Bat Falls, Twin Falls, Eliot Falls and Canal Creek. We will stop for lunch and breaks along the OTT and experience the diversity of the flora, fauna and the landscape of this wonderful place. A mid day swim can also be on the cards but only under strict supervision.


My two grandsons Zach and Coby MartinOur destination today is Punsand Bay Camping area. This is one of the most beautiful places on the Cape York Peninsula. Here we can enjoy a refreshing swim, shower, toilets, wood fired pizzas and a first class bar.

Our camp site here will be the Crocodile site front and centre of the park 20m from the beach but 50m from the water, I’m not silly. Remember to collect some firewood along the way.

My two grandsons Zach and Coby Martin (pictured left).

“The TIP tomorrow”
“please don't head off today to the Tip let's all arrive together as a group”

Day 7: The TIP, Island/Ferry tours, Fishing Tours, Flight Tours

Cape-york day 7Today we get the privilege to stand on the most northern ‘Tip’ of mainland Australia. With an early start we get to walk the last 3 or 4 hundred metres to the very tip of the Australian continent. It is advisable to have covered footwear with good grip.

It is at this point that everyone is free to pursue any activity they wish to.
This link, (, will take to a websites that provides detail for activities in the area.

For those that do not wish to take other tours we will head over to historic ruins of the Somerset Homestead. The Jardine family lived there in the 1860s and the graves of Frank Jardine and his wife Sana Solia are down by the beach.

On the way back to Punsand Bay we can stop at the Crock Tent for some souvenirs hunting and shopping therapy for those inclined. We can then take the short drive over to Loyalty Beach then down to the WWII wreck of an old DC3 aircraft which crashed in May 1945, with tragic results.

Day 8: Island/Ferry tours, Fishing Tours, Flight Tours

cape-york-07Another free day we suggest a fishing trip or ferry trip over to Thursday Island and Horn Island which can also include guided tours which include lunch. The historic significance of the Torres Strait should not be understated with All Souls Quetta Memorial Church, Green Hill Fort and the WW2 Museum on Horn Island.

The view from Loyalty Beach Campground (pictured left).

The Seisia Holiday Park office coordinates ours but book early to avoid disappointment. Aussie Tagalong Tours can provide contact details for a number of fishing charter operators who can take you to the best fishing spots in Australia.

Happy Hour usually suffers today with everyone all over the place but Terry will be there waiting.

Day 9: Punsand Bay to Charlie’s Gold Mine 423km

This is the longest day just over 423km from Punsand Bay to the Charlie's Gold Mine. This day is planned to demonstrate the tyranny of distance and the importance of planning your journey.

At an average speed of 70km/p/h it should take us 6 hours driving time. Factor in one hour for lunch, one hour for smoko and afternoon tea and one hour for a 10 minute stop every two hours and the total travel time should be 9 hours. If we leave at 8am we should arrive at 5pm. I believe this is an important exercise as it will give you fatigue management skills under moderately control conditions.

The Charlie's Gold Mine is another one of those special places on the Cape that is a must see.

This is a great place to camp so don't forget to pick up some firewood before coming into the park.

Day 10: Charlie’s Gold Mine to Cooktown 369km

cape-york- day 9Today is a good drive to Cooktown through the Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park it is Queensland’s second largest park. Stretching from the small outback town of Laura in the south to Princess Charlotte Bay in the north, it is renowned for its vast river systems and spectacular wetlands. Gallery rainforest grows along parts of the Normanby and Kennedy rivers, and monsoonal scrub is found on sections of the park’s sandstone escarpments. Rinyirru is a favourite fishing destination of the Cape York Peninsula: anglers can target barramundi, tarpon, catfish and archerfish in the freshwater regions; and mangrove jack, fingermark, cod, trevally, queenfish and salmon in the saltwater areas. One of the places we will stop at today is the Hann River Crossing. I have caught 1.3m Burra here and seen 900cm and 1m carcass hanging in the trees beside the causeway.

Our camp tonight is at the Cooktown Holiday Park very nice walking distance to town. The Bowls Club is highly recommended for dinner. I would suggest a group booking as it is very popular in mid season.

Day 11: Cooktown to Cape Tribulation Camping 100km

Today we are in the birth place of our nation, historic Cooktown. This morning we will visit the Cemetery, James Cook Museum with items of historical significance, including the original anchor and cannon from the Endeavour. A short drive is down the Mulligan Highway to Archer Point where from the lookout, we can see the Great Barrier Reef.

Black Mountain is our next destination, which is over 300 metres high, with its fascinating rock formations is the place of Aboriginal legends. The Lions Den Hotel at Helenvale is our next stop for lunch.

Then we head for the spectacular Bloomfield Track, with a challenging drive through the World Heritage listed rainforest. The track is interesting travelling through several creeks and river crossings including some steep climbs and descents. We will stop at Wujal Wujal and visit the Bana Yirriji Art Centres and Bloomfield waterfall.

Then its on to Cape Tribulation Camping where the rainforest meets the sea.

Day 12: Island/Reef tours, Fishing Tours, Flight Tours, River Cruises, Crock Tours, Farewell Dinner

This is a day for the individual as there is so much to see and do. Aussie Tagalong Tours suggest that you get onto the Cape Tribulation websites and have a real good look at what is available and that you think seriously of booking another night as you can not see this place in one day.

This is our last night together and we celebrate our achievement of reaching the Tip, the new friendships we have formed and a holiday to remember with our farewell dinner. And this is a very special place to have our dinner.


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