Cape York is a vast region, extending for more than 1000km north from Cairns. It’s a rugged, isolated part of the country, with dense tropical rainforest and untouched bays and beaches, often only accessible by 4WD (and then only during the dry season). But as you travel between all these stunning natural wonders, you’ll also come across small townships – with a spirit that more than makes up for their size.
Here are some of the top stops on any trip to Cape York.
This rocky outcrop is perhaps the most visited spot in far north Queensland. From the carpark, it’s just a 20-minute walk through rainforest and up and over the rocky plateau to reach Australia’s most northerly point. You’ll enjoy stunning views over the bay during the walk, so many visitors take the opportunity to enjoy a picnic lunch atop the rocky plateau.
This town is the largest community north of the Jardine River and one of the northernmost settlements in Australia. Bamaga has a different vibe to many other towns in the region, perhaps because most of the residents hail from the nearby Torres Strait islands. After spending a few hours meeting the laid-back locals, most tourists jump in a 4WD to explore the remote, rugged landscape, which is dotted with wrecked aircraft from World War II.
This is a small town, but it’s packed full of history. It was one of the first European settlements on the cape, established to deter the indigenous people from interfering with the passing supply ships. Wander around the town to find ruins from this early settlement, including the original homestead built by John Jardine, the town’s founder. For a look further back in time, head to the cave at the western end of the beach to see the traditional indigenous rock paintings that adorn the walls. This secluded spot can only be reached during low tide.
If you’re after unspoiled natural settings, then base yourself at the little town of Punsand. The town is on a wide bay that stretches all the way to the tip of Australia, but you can also explore a number of other secluded spots nearby. The mangroves at Crocodile Creek, the banks of Larradinya Creek, and the beaches at Cable Bay, are all calm spots to relax in the shade. As always in the top end, keep your eyes out for crocodiles.
Journey to the very tip of Australia on a 13-day Cape York and Torres Strait Tour from $6794pp twin share. Visit RACQ Travel or contact one of our friendly travel consultants on 1300 096 166.
Image credit: NeilsPhotography.