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4WDriving in the Cape Anything about 4x4 tracks, set-up, tips, etc for a Cape York adventure.

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Old 22-08-2013   #1
Croc Hatchling
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 7
Default What month do you prefer traveling the Cape?

Hi everyone, new member here planing a trip for 2014... i had a good look but there doesn't appear to be a similar thread to this...

I was going to name this thread 'what's the best month to travel...' but that appears to be a very open-ended question, each month appears to have there own set of pros/cons depending on what you want to get out of the trip.

From what i have read here and on other 4wd forums i gather the following...


Pros: Less people, more lush, more water, camping spots cleaner.

Cons: Possibly too much water... late wet season risk, some tracks not open such as CREB etc

June - July

Pros: Seems to be the default choice for a lot if travelers, pretty safe with water levels etc BUT...

Cons: The busiest time of year! Plus tracks like CREB may still not be open

August - September

Pros: Less people, very little rain if any (average 6mm in September), less likely to be windy on the east coast? All the tracks should be open, better fishing.

Cons: Less water around, roads more corrugated, dusty etc. Camp sites used and abused.

I was originally thinking of going the last 2 weeks of May and first 2 weeks of June... but i really would like to drive the CREB track, Frenchmans and others ... so now i'm thinking September will be a safer bet.... i would really like to hear what everyone else thinks!
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Old 23-08-2013   #2
Croc Hatchling
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 26

Late May june or july. Perfect weather conditions heat wise and still water around but not crazy. Let a few people get thru first and do the hard work of clearing the tracks. Id personally go for late may-june before tge school holidays
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Old 24-08-2013   #3
Rogue Croc
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 160

Hi, I've only been to Cape York the once during June/July 2012, and I enjoyed having a decent amount of water in the crossings. After seeing photos of how much drier the creeks were later in the season, and even this year after the small wet season, I'd prefer it in June with more water around.

I also like that it's more challenging then than when the track is bone dry, so it all depends on how you like to travel.

Even with school holidays, we managed to find the odd place where we were the only people, amazingly at Fruit Bat Falls and even at Twin Falls(the falls not the campsite). We just drove off the main roads and found magic little spots like Mutee Head and the Jardine River mouth, Jackey Jackey Creek, Laradinya Creek, the northern bank of the Jardine River, and even the 5 beaches run up at the Tip to name a few.

We asked the ranger at Eliot Falls which time he preferred, and he mentioned that he liked earlier as later in the season, there are often fires around and the smoke tends to leave a haze in the air. The upside is you get that great campfire smell

I'm sure you'd have a great time whenever you went, and there is always some water around. The only problem I see in regards to timing is that damn CREB Track. It opens and closes so often you can never really plan for it, you just hope it's open when you get there.

If the CREB is still closed when you head up, you could always do the Old Coach Road instead. As much as I loved the CREB, the Old Coach Rd was my favourite track on the Cape.

Good luck with your decision and planning. Any time is better than no time

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Old 24-08-2013   #4
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Sydney
Posts: 663

Hmmm....interesting question !

I've been to the Cape a dozen times....initially very early in the season (April/May trips in the late 80's & 90's) - fishing slowing down, plenty of water, few people. In the past decade +, we have moved to June/July, to fit in with school hols (dumb idea !), and last year did Aug/Sept (great fishing, few people, and very smokey

Preference?? Not sure, but I am keen to do another late season trip next time.


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Old 26-08-2013   #5
Croc Hatchling
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 7

Thanks guys! Good points there... i think i'll stick with the May/June trip for now... i would feel a bit silly if i put the trip off until September just to drive the CREB track.. then find out that it's closed anyways!

I definitely plan on doing the old coach road as well... most likely on the way up and then try the CREB on the way back if we are lucky.

Anyway this will be my first trip, not that last so there will always be another time right
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Old 26-08-2013   #6
Croc Hatchling
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 26

The old coach rd is amazing. Nothing to hard but is rough so allow a bit of time. Some amazing views. We went from musgrave station to laura and then old coach rd to maytown then palmer river rd house in a day. That was from 8 am - 6 pm for a guide.
Not a whole lot left in maytown now but a few mining relics cool to see tho.
and some old shafts. Camping around there was nothing special tho that we could find. Might be some good spots others know of.
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Old 17-04-2015   #7
Croc Hatchling
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 7

I thought i would update this incase anyone comes across this in the future, going to the Cape mid-May was perfect for us, even considering the wet hung around later last year.

Yes, the river crossings were higher, the Pascoe River on Frenchmans was the highest but all do-able.

The best part was there was hardly anyone around, we only came across two other small groups on the OTL so we could camp pretty much whereever we liked.

We also stayed at Punsand Bay, no bookings and still managed to find a spot on the beachfront.

Heading back south in mid June there were hundreds of people heading north, i was sure glad we went up in May!
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Old 17-04-2015   #8
Creative Croc
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Maningrida, Arnhemland, NT
Posts: 1,162

Thanks for the update.
Any time is a good time to be in Cape York, however, I have to admit, my ideal times to travel (depending on the 'wet') are in May and then again from October through to early December as, at those times, there are far less people on the roads.

Unfortunately, for most people, they are locked into travelling in the school holidays and the roads can be extremely busy.
Life isn't like a bowl of cherries or peaches, it's more like a jar of Jalapenos--what you do today, might burn your *** tomorrow......
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