Outback MagazineOutback Magazine


Captivating Cape York
The 1200 kilometres from Cairns to the top of Australia are filled with immensely rewarding and totally unique sights and experiences

Story and photos: Barbara and Bruce Duncan

ImageIt began with a companionable evening at a restaurant in Yorkeys Knob north of Cairns. Four wees later we were clad in our formal best, sipping French champagne on the northern tip of Australia.

We left Cairns in the first week of July - four vehicles, eight people and a wisecracking cockatoo - up the Captain Cook Highway, winding, climbing and falling its way north, past magnificent views of a rugged and beautiful tropical coastline.

Our companions were Robert and Robyn Davis of Corowa, NSW, Barry and Elaine Fox of Brisbane, Stan and Sue Kuziemko of Yorkeys Knob, and Annie Duncan a worldly wise sulphur-crested cockatoo.

As we climbed up Battle Camp Range, the tranquillity of the Daintree estuary and the jewelled sea near Mossman provided the first glimpsed of superb scenery that would highlight the journey.

Passing through Mt Molloy, an old mining town where copper was discovered in 1885, we turned onto the Peninsula Development Road, our route to the Cape.

At the Mt Carbine roadside hotel we meet Nasal, a large Brahman bull, hand-reared after he broke his leg in a cattle grid.

ImageIn the dry season Nasal is a frequent visitor to the pub, sometimes sharing a meal or drink with startled visitors.

Diverting to Maytown and the Palmer River goldfields we tackled the first dirt track of the trip, through rough open savannah country and down steep creek crossings, passing lily-filled lagoons teeming with bird life.

A horseshoe bend on the Palmer River offered a flat and beautiful campsite.

This tranquil river and its tributaries were once Australia's richest alluvial goldfields, producing over three million ounces. Story end

Full story: Issue 12 August-September, 2000

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