Cairns to Cape York in a Caravan
Updated: Sep 9, 2019
We travelled in our 2019 22ft Jayco Journey Outback with 3 kids and dog from Cairns to Cape York.
Would we recommend taking a caravan to the Tip? No
Would we take our caravan again? Yes.
We left Cairns and our first stop was Lakeland Roadhouse for morning tea. It's a good pit stop with fuel and food and your last chance to make a call for a while.
First overnighter was Musgrave Roadhouse, which is 450km NW from Cairns and around half way to Weipa. It was a nice break after a dusty 5 hour drive up the corrugated Peninsula Development Road.
Freshwater crocs and turtles live in the dam and they feed them daily at 5pm. Plus there’s horses, cows, wallaby's, birds.
Unpowered flat sites are $24 a night, toilets, hot showers plus pub style meals and cold beer.
The next day we set off on-route to Weipa. It was a big driving day; kids count drives in how many movies they have (tough life these kids have) to watch in the car and this trip was a 4 movie trip, approx 5 hours.
We were warned that the roughest section of the road at the time was between Musgrave and Coen and this was fact! However between the dirt corrugation there is a bitumen reprieve every so often, such a relief.
After so many hours on corrugated road you see a mirage ahead of bitumen road, you question yourself as to whether you see it or not. Then when it appears and you hit bitumen from gravel, it's like a plane landing on the run-way. You feel a sense of relief and it's such a nice break and a chance to turn from inside to outside fresh air on the A/C. But don't get too comfortable the red dirt is not far away again....
On the way we stopped at Archer River Roadhouse for a their famous Archer Burger.
The plan is for the road between Cairns and Weipa to be all bitumen which isn't too far away. To this date there remains 200kms unsealed between Laura and Weipa, with advised funding to seal 17kms per year.
In Weipa we have been busy catching up with family who live here, we’ve had a lot of lunches out, we’ve been to the Bowls Club, Golf Club, the Albatross. We checked out the Western Cape Cultural Centre and even had a shoot at the Weipa Rifle Range.
If you don't know much about Weipa it has the largest bauxite mine in the world and is the largest town in the Cape York Peninsula. The port of Weipa is mainly involved in the export of Bauxite which is used to make aluminum.
Weipa has everything you need and is a great place to stop to rest and stock up before venturing further. There’s a full size Woolworths supermarket, large pharmacy, hospital, hardware store, mechanics etc.
From Weipa we took the Batavia Downs shortcut to then head North, a few hours later we arrived at Bramwell Station. It was a good overnighter, great place to mingle with other travellers as they have a BBQ dinner with live entertainment, unfortunately we missed this as dinner wasn't served until 7pm which is way too late to start dinner with little people. Kids enjoyed seeing the cows. Small museum onsite with history of the station.
Next day we drove the rest of the way North, another bad section of the road was just north of Fruitbat Falls, this was heavily corrugated and we think we may have done a shockie on the car and one on the caravan.
Jardine River Ferry is $130 return. We didn't have to wait long to get over, however the line up to get back across (Southbound) was about 1 hour wait time. This was midday on a Sunday.
We arrived at Seisia Beach a few hours after leaving Bramwell. The caravan was dusty as hell, red dust in all cupboards above the wheel arches, draws came out of their tracks, our fridge and microwave had come loose which we didn't know at the time, until it was identified by Jayco later. The tyres flicking up road debris had disintegrated 3 x electronic brake lines. Nothing that a crimping set and a bit of duct tape couldn't fix until a permanent repair was sourced.
We stayed at Seisia Beach, this was not our first choice, everyone we spoke to about Cape York highly rated Punsand Bay, unfortunately they didn’t have space at the time for a van our size.
Seisia Holiday Park didn’t have amazing reviews on WikiCamps, but you can’t believe everything you read and unlike Punsand they did have powered sites which was a bonus as we are always much happier in the mornings with a real coffee from our Jura.
Wherever you are in the area you encounter stray dogs and wild horses roam freely, we had some wander through the camp, which was exciting but we had to keep a close eye on the kids and our dog Ted.
But you know what we had a brilliant time and are happy we stayed there. Sites were large and easily accessible and amenities clean. The highlight was sunsets and our happy hour each evening on the beach. We also met some lovely fellow travellers.
The Tip is the Northernmost point of the Australian continent where the South Pacific Ocean and the Arafura Sea mix currents.
We loved our time visiting the top of Australia. Had no expectations as all I’d ever seen was photos of people in front of the sign and not about the journey to get there.
The drive in (an hour from Bamaga) is surprisingly lush and green which contrasts against the red earth.
When you arrive, you squeeze your 4x4 in wherever you can and then it’s a 20 minute scramble over rocky headland to reach the sign for that all important photo.
Beyond is the Torres Strait which is made up of 274 islands including Thursday and Horn Islands.
On the way home we drove straight through to Musgrave Station for an overnighter. Woke up early and drove an hour South to Hann River Roadhouse for breakfast.
We’re rating this a must stop location if you’re on route to the Cape. This place is outstanding for many reasons!
We stopped in for an awesome breakfast and hands down had the best homemade sausage rolls in NQ! But we wished we had of stayed overnight.
They have sites available at $10pp and only $5 extra for power! Compared with Musgrave Roadhouse which is $24 unpowered.
The kids loved meeting Aussie the Emu and Mish the not so mini pig! And Sue the Owner rescues baby Wallabies, which are so very cute!
It has a lovely homely feel and the Owners and staff make you feel very welcome.
As the dust settled and upon reflection it was an amazing experience with lasting memories. We are more confident in both our car and caravan with it ability to navigate the roads with ease.
The dusty roads add to the adventure and for anyone considering it, I would do it sooner rather than later before all the roads become bitumen.