Discover all you need to know to experience an outback adventure holiday -
four wheel driving, camping, accommodation, facilities, services, touring, places to visit, and much, much more.
Backed by over 40 years of travelling and research.
Also learn to cook easily while on the road and camping with Viv's Cookbooks.
TRAVELLERS UPDATE - TOURING AUSTRALIA - QUEENSLAND
Return to Main Updates Page
Keep a check on road and track closures and conditions by looking at the following website:
RACQ Queensland - Road Information & Conditons (go into Road Conditions: then select the region you want)
Queensland Government - Traffic and Travel Informaiton -for up to date information on road conditions and closures, ph: 13 19 40, or check out their web site at: http://131940.qld.gov.au/Home.aspx
Queensland National Parks has a new name, Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing, web: http://www.nprsr.qld.gov.au.
Barra Season Opens 1st February
The Gulf of Carpentaria opens its fishing season for barramundi on midday, the 1st February, having been closed since early last October. For more details, regulations, etc, go to: https://www.daf.qld.gov.au/fisheries/recreational/rules-regulations/closed-seasons-fresh-waters.
The new "Qld Fishing App", which features fishing rules in Queensland, including size and possession limits, is now available for download from Google play and the App Store.
Queensland General below - click here
CAPE YORK & SURROUNDS
Camping within Cape York National Parks - e-permits needed to camp
We aren't great lovers of this camp booking system on Cape York, but this is the way it is supposed to work.
All Cape York parks are now live on the NPs web site for campers to book their camp sites before travelling. Head to the 'Camp Bookings' page at: http://www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/experiences/camping/camping_bookings.html to book online or call 13 74 68.
However you may need to make a booking along the way (or alter or cancel an existing one) after you reach the Cape. To do this you can visit an authorised booking agent, (found at the Lure Shop, Cooktown; Mulley’s Market and Fuel, Coen and at Oz Tours Safaris, at the Moreton Telegraph Station). Or make use of the touch screen facilities provided at the ranger bases at Lakefield NP, Iron Range NP and Heathlands and at the QPWS offices in Coen, Cooktown and Weipa. You MUST have a permit before arriving at a national park campsite!
You MUST have a permit before arriving at a national park campsite!
Note: Lakefield NP is now know as Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park.
Cooktown & Cape York Tourist Information
The informative Visitor Information Centre in Cooktown is now located at the very good James Cook Museum, 50 Helen Street, and is open 9am till 4pm, 7 days a week. Or, check out the Croc Shop for local and Cape York information - you'll find the friendly staff in the shop in the main street.
You can check out the James Cook Historical Museum Facebook Page at: https://www.facebook.com/jamescookmuseum/
And their website at: https://www.nationaltrust.org.au/places/james-cook-museum/
Peninsula Developmental Road (PDR) - Sealing Project
Travelling to Cape York is about to become a whole lot easier. Check out the Peninsula Developmental Road (PDR) being transformed from a dirt track to more than 274km of sealed road. By the end of 2016 about 60 per cent of the PDR was to be sealed, improving access for locals, freight transport operators and tourists travelling to Cape York. This is part of the $260.5 million Cape York Region Package, already benefiting the community. For all the details on the Cape York Region Package check out the web site: http://www.tmr.qld.gov.au/Projects/Name/C/Cape-York-Region-Package-Peninsula-Developmental-Road
You can also check out their Fecbook Page at: https://www.facebook.com/TMRQld/
Vrilya Point Road Closed
Vrilya Point was returned to Traditional Owners in late 2014 and therefore closed in May 2015.They are managing their land and have no obligation to open it to the public, but they are working on issues like littering, camping areas, and the bridge. When Vrilya Point will be open again is not known.
There are barriers and signs in place, but it would seem a few travellers are ignoring the signs and risking themselves and their cars to using the bridge. Rangers are going to Vrilya Point via boat each day and checking up on campers and being told to pack up and leave. Also worth noting that your insurance is also not valid.
Cape York Dreaming Track
Traditional Owners of Cape York have developed the first stage of the greatest tourism trail in Cape York Peninsula – the Cape York Dreaming Track – traversing the beautiful unspoilt areas of eastern Cape York Peninsula from the Daintree rainforests in the south, through mountains, savannah plains, wetlands and stunning coastline, to the most northern tip of Australia.
The fist section of the track – a 22km grade-5 walking trail built by members of the Gaamay Clan on their homelands stretches along the north shore of Cooktown through to Nob Point and will be open from the middle of the year.
For more info visit: www.balkanu.com.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=16&Itemid=41.
Palmer River Goldfield
There's easy access now from the west to Maytown in the Palmer River Goldfields Reserve. From the Chillagoe-Laura Road, around 170km north of Chillagoe and 4.3km north of Palmerville Station (where you cross the Palmer River - GPS 144°5’10.5”E 15°58’22.9”S) the public road heads east to Maytown. This public road swings south and crosses the Palmer River once again to join the original route between Palmerville and Maytown. It’s an easy and enjoyable drive.
Palmerville Track open
Cook Shire has let us know that the track to the Maytown historic townsite and the Palmer River goldfields from the west, via Palmerville, has been re-opened. This route was closed by a disgruntled property owner but has now been taken over by the state government and is a public thoroughfare.
Fishing out of Weipa
There are few places that can equal Weipa and the surrounding area for exciting action packed fishing. To get into the fish why not hire a houseboat - Weipa Houseboats, ph: (07) 4069 7469 Web: www.weipahouseboats.com.
Or if you really want to get away from it all why not Aurukun Fishing Charters who fish the mouth of the pristine Archer River – ph: (0407) 575 618, web: www.aurukunfishingcharters.com.
Return to top of page
Cape York Alcohol Restrictions (see Updates to our Cape York Guidebook)
Skardon River Coast Open (see Updates to our Cape York Guidebook)
Cooktown now a RV Friendly Town
Cooktown is now an RV Friendly Town, supported by the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia!
The site has been chosen, the Dump Ezy point installed and now all we have to do is welcome the tourists into town! The 48 hour Adelaide Street Rest Area has 40 spaces available for the big RV’s and self contained motorhomes and caravans. Facilities on site include a dump point, potable water, rubbish and recycling bins and plenty of shade.
This rest area will be trialed for 12 months to assess the economic impact for local businesses. The CMCA has over 63,000 members and we look forward to welcoming this expanding market to Cooktown. The permit for the 48 hour camping is only $5 per vehicle per night and can be paid for at the Cooktown and Cape York Visitor Information Centre @ Nature’s Powerhouse, prior to setting up.
Captain Cook Self-Guided Audio Tour
Cooktown enthusiast and part time resident John MacDonald had a vision to create a self guided audio tour recreating historical journeys of Captain Cook’s 48 day stay here on the bank of the Endeavour River. John and his wife Clare have worked alongside British actors such as Jonathon Hyde and his wife Isobel Buchanan, Simon Shepherd, Derek Smith and Robin Tetley to provide audio for this attraction.
This exciting new project will be ready for tourists visiting Cooktown mid 2013 and available for hire locally, as well as being available to purchase as an App.
For more information contact Cooktown Reenactment Association President Loretta Sullivan, email: email@example.com.
For more details on what's happening in Cooktown, check out the web site: http://www.cooktownandcapeyork.com/
Better Road to Cape York
The road to Laura is now fully sealed and a new bridge is open across the Laura River improving access to the small community and to the whole of Cape York.
New Park on Cape York
A new 42,500h, the Alwal National Park has been created out of the once 80,000ha Kalinga station that adjoined the SW corner of Lakefield NP. The rest of the property is a declared traditional Aboriginal Reserve, which also includes another 2,700ha nature reserve. It is located west of the Hann River Roadhouse on the Peninsula Development Road, about 100 km north-west of Laura.
Cape York is now one of the most heavily protected regions of Australia, with 20 per cent of its area now listed as national park, traditional reserve, or designated under Queensland's controversial Wild Rivers law. Alwal joins Lama Lama, Kulla, Errk Oykangand and Marpa national parks, all listed since 2008.
Return to top of page
Roko Island Pearl Farm - tented accommodation
The team at Roko are currently busy with setting up tents for accommodation with an ocean view for the coming year. Accommodation packages on Roko Island will hopefully be available in a few months time. For more information, contact Roko Island or see their web site: http://www.rokopearls.com.au. Or email them on: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also see more on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/RokoPearls
Weipa's newest campground: Alngith Camp Grounds at Evans Landing
Weipa’s newest camp ground, Alngith Camp Ground, is located on the banks of the Embley River, just near Evans Landing boat ramp.evans landing campground
All camp sites have water front views. However, according to the Tourism Cape York web site it is temporarily closed, while stage one of caravan park/campgrounds is being progressed. Cost: $25/vehicle/night.
For more information and booking contact Anna, ph: (07) 4069 9470, and check out the web site: http://www.tourismcapeyork.com/explore/western-cape/accommodation/evans-landing-camp-grounds/
Weipa Auto - RACQ
Weipa Auto in Iraci Ave, Weipa, now takes care of the RACQ in both Weipa and COEN, running two trucks. They cover from Bramwell Roadhouse right down to Laura and have been operating on Cape York for 5 years now. In Weipa they have a fully equipped workshop and cover all aspects of automotive and diesel servicing, mechanical repairs and engineering, diesel fitting and auto electrics. If you want more details on them and the services they provide check out their web site at:
Visitors to the top of Cape York and the very pleasant bush camp at Somerset will now find toilets and a shelter shed here situated just back from the beach.
Top Tropic Stay
Located about 5km NE of Mt Molloy, Wetherby Station provides cabin accommodation and a selection of camping sites along the Little Mitchell River, Rifle Creek or in nearby bushland. There’s plenty on offer here including bird watching, bush walking, mountain biking, cycling, horse riding and 4wdriving on the station roads and fire tracks. For more info, Ph: (07) 4094 1125; www.wetherbystation.com
Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve
This private wildlife reserve near the top of Cape York is owned by Australia Zoo and was once the historic Bertiehaugh property established by Frank Jardine. Public access is now 'prohibited for any purpose'. You can learn more about the reserve by checking out the website at: http://www.savestevesplace.com/
Return to top of page
Track Classification Australia Wide
4WD Qld, the peak state body, has adopted the track classification scheme first adopted by FWDVictoria. This is also the standard and model that is recommended by Four Wheel Drive Australia. Other state 4WD associations are working with their local public land managers in rolling this standard out, nationwide. This is great news for the travelling public. For more details check out, www.4wdqld.com.au, and follow the link to Track Classification.
Fraser Island Camping
Camping and 4WDriving on Fraser Island is hard to beat but Fraser Island’s beaches and sand tracks are rough and only suitable for high clearance 4WD vehicles with low range capacity. All-wheel drive vehicles are not recommended. There are 35 different camping areas on Fraser and not all are open at any one time. For the latest on camping and which areas are available, check out:
Don't forget your permits and remember, campfires are not allowed.
Fabulous North Stradbroke Island Camping
Straddie Camping offers easy access island camping on idyllic North Stradbroke Island which is within easy driving distance of Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Popular with 4WDrivers, surfers and fishermen, the island also offers scuba diving, swimming, kayaking, sand boarding and bush walking, and is renowned for dolphins, turtles, manta-rays, kangaroos and koalas, as well as superb views of the annual humpback whale migration. You'll also find a couple of 'dog friendly' camping areas.For more info go to: www.straddiecamping.com.au. They also have a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/straddiecamping.
Balgal Beach Camping Area - Townsville Area
Located about 50km north of Townsville there's over a dozen small campsites here. Maximum stay is 48hrs, but camping is free. Also available is a cold outside shower, toilets, BBQ and drinking water. And you can't get much closer to the sea!
Lake Bindegolly National Park
Located between Cunnamulla and Thargomindah in south western Queensland and on the edge of the fabled 'Channel Country' is the 14,000ha national park surrounding the wetlands of Lake Bindegolly. Camping is not allowed in the national park but there's a reserve nearby where camping is possible. The park has walking tracks and the bird watching is very good, while a rare tree, Acacia ammophila, a large gidgee-like tree with golden flowers clustered in balls, grows along the sand dunes fringing the eastern side of the lakes. For a visitors guide go to: www.nprsr.qld.gov.au.
Kilcowera Station Stay
Kilcowera Station is a cattle property 1000km west of Brisbane on the Dowling Track. There’s accommodation in the modern shearers quarters or you can camp by Cardenyabba Lagoon. Guided or self guided tours of the property are available, while you can also visit nearby Currawinya National Park. Kilcowera is open to visitors from 1st March through to 31st October. Please ask if you are wanting to visit outside these times as bush camping may be available.Check out: www.kilcowera.com.au
The oldest continually licensed hotel in Queensland, the Nindigully pub is located 160km west of Goondiwindi, 45km east of St George and 70km north of the Qld/NSW border. It is situated on the banks of the Moonie River and amongst other things offers free camping and caravan spots along the tree-lined watercourse. Between the cold beers you can always enjoy a swim, a spot of fishing or some yabbying. For more details phone: (07) 46259637 or visit: http://nindigully.com.
Return to top of page
Inglewood RV Stop - QLD
Situated on the Cunningham Highway between Brisbane and Goondiwindi, this is a good spot for an overnight stop. Located at the north end of town, just south of the MacIntyre Brook bridge. Self Contained Vehicles only. GPS is 28°24'42"S / 151°05'09"E. To find out more about Inglewood go to the website on: http://www.inglewood.org.au
Chinchilla Camping Chinchilla
Chinchilla Camping, Chinchilla, located north-west of Toowoomba, offers a bush campground out at their local weir,10km from town on the Tara/Condamine Road. It is a day use area suitable for self-sufficient caravanners and campers. Set in a pleasant bush setting on the banks of the weir, the area offers a limited number of power outlets, a boat ramp, wood BBQs, picnic tables, toilets and bins. Stays are limited to two nights and an honesty system operates for power usage – donations taken at the Chinchilla Visitors Info Centre.
Return to top of page
Flat Creek Station - Qld
Flat Creek Station is a family run beef cattle grazing property of about 14,000ha, situated in the Gulf Savannah region of North Queensland, approximately 50km from Georgetown. The friendly hosts are Peter & Adam and the property offers a bush camping ground with amenities with many guests coming to detect for gold in the nearby historic gold fields area, while Cobold Gorge is just a short drive to the south. There is an impressive array of native birds to be found here including the rare Gouldian finch and a bird list is available on request at the homestead.
For more info, ph: (07) 4062 5304, http://www.flatcreekstation.com.au
Myella Station Accommodation
The 2600 acre cattle property of Myella Station is 125km south-west of Rockhampton, with the town of Baralaba being the closest to it. They offer accommodation in the ‘Homestead’ and you join the family for all meals. There’s a host of activities including horse riding and 4WD tours.
For details, ph: (07) 4998 1290, or check out their website at: www.myella.com.au
Just outside Cooktown on the crest of Mt Dickson is Alkoomie homestead, the working luxurious heart of the 18,000ha cattle property. The property has a range of accommodation as well as station activities and tours.
For more details ph: (07) 4069 5463 or check out their website at: www.alkoomie.com.au.
Experience life in the great outdoors through the eyes of a local indigenous community at the new Echo Adventure and Cultural Camp near Tully, two hours drive from Cairns. There’s a range of indigenous, cultural and adventure experiences including bird watching, swimming, canoeing trips, river walks, abseiling and rafting. Accommodation is available in the Jackaroo Quarters or in the rainforest camp grounds.
For more details ph: (07) 4068 9161 or visit: http://www.echocreek.com.au.
WW2 Underground Hospital - Mt Isa
During the dark days of WW2 the north of Australia was under threat of invasion by Japanese forces. Now a long lost gem of those days has been opened to the public - the Mount Isa Underground Hospital and Museum. The old underground hospital has been made into a museum recreating those times so when you are in the outback city of Mt Isa drop in and check it out.
For more info visit: www.queenslandholidays.com.au/things-to-see-and-do/mount-isa-underground-hospital-and-museum/index.cfm.
Return to top of page
Saddle up for the Harry Redford Cattle Drive which sets off from Aramac around mid-May through June. This three week trip will take you along the Redford Trail; for more details go to: www.harryredford.com.au
Later in the year in early October you can try your hand and see how good a bush cook you are at the Australian Camp Oven Festival in Millmerran. For details go to: www.australiancampovenfestival.com.au.
There's a host of other ideas and events for the happy traveller heading to the Sunshine state; check out website at: http://www.eventsqueensland.com.au/
Bush Heritage Australia owns a 59,000ha block of land adjoining the fantastic Carnarvon National Park. You can camp here between April and November and access is restricted to no more than four 4WD vehicles at any one time and you must be totally self sufficient. Or, why not join one of their field trips or working bees.
For more info go to: www.bushheritage.org.au.
Camping at Murphy's Creek
Murphy's Creek Escape is a picturesque camping ground offering powered, non-powered, group and remote camping on large sites within an amazing natural bush setting. Only 1.5 hours from Brisbane and 30 minutes from Toowoomba, camping doesn't get any better in South East Queensland. Take your time to explore the area, hike into the White Mountain National Park, or take a dip from the sandy beach.
For more details go to: www.murphyscreekhideaway.com
Discovery Guide to Outback Queensland
Queensland's outback has a great new guidebook that covers the area from the border north to Camooweal and Richmond and west from Cunnamulla to the Simpson Desert. Produced by the Queensland Museum the 350-page full colour book is rich in natural and historic detail, which makes interesting reading and every journey an epic in discovering new and exciting things. The Discover Guide to Outback Queensland is available from all good mapshops for about $24.95.
Return to top of page
Return to Main Updates Page