Romancing the Cape

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Updated: June 7, 2011

Cape York was once one of the most grueling 4wd journey’s in the country however recent developments means it is no longer the last frontier.

While it is still a challenging and remote destination, a dirt highway called the Peninsula Developmental Road has made it possible for visitors to explore the area without planning for months on end and taking everything including the kitchen sink. If you have plenty of cash for fuel and food, a compressor, a second spare tyre, a map and a reliable 4WD, then Cape York calls.

It was with this in mind Australia that I found myself in an Isuzu D-MAX driving to Cooktown where my wife Robyne and I spent a day soaking up the sunshine before the real journey kicked off.

We chose to drive north from Cooktown along the Endeavour-Battlecamp Road, stopping at Endeavour Falls for coffee. You can actually do this leg of the trip – and the next to Weipa – in any old car, but even in a 4WD you are not guaranteed to make it after a big downpour in the wet season.

Past Isabella Falls, the landscape becomes more mountainous, covered in sandstone boulders the size of houses. It changes again when we merge onto the

Peninsular Developmental Road, with giant termite hills as far as the eye can see.

We stop for lunch at the Old Laura Homestead at the southern end of Lakefield National Park. Restored between 1986 and 1988 it shows what life was like when it was a working cattle station more than a century ago and is well worth a look.

The Peninsular Development Road to Coen is easy going, as are the folk who call it home. It is one of those places that seems frozen in time and everyone heading to the Cape stops by with most taking advantage of the free camping along the banks of the Coen River………….

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