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Driving to the top of Oz
Driving to the top of Oz
Ben has a stack
Flying to PNG
Finishing at the top of Oz

Cape York drive Parts III & IV

18:00 AEST Thu Sep 23 2004

It is nothing but non-stop action as Ben is on the final leg of his ultimate road trip to the top of Australia … beyond!

The last part of Ben's Cape York Drive was certainly the most adventurous. He and the crew drove along red dirt roads that never seemed to end and pulled in to the Old Moreton Telegraph Station for an overnight stay.

Moreton Telegraph Station was part of the famous and historic overland telegraph line. The safari camp complex is set in light forest near the banks of the fast-flowing Wenlock River. It has twin-share, fully-screened safari tents with beds, linen, furniture and 12v lighting. Meals are served in an open but undercover dining area. Shower and toilet facilities are shared.

It was around the campfire at Old Moreton that Ben met Roy Kunda from Cape York Motorcycle Adventures. Roy took Ben on the ride of his life along the Telegraph Track. It shows no mercy for man or bike and even Ben, an experienced rider in rough conditions, found it heavy going.

A swim at Elliott Falls was very welcome. Underground springs keep the falls flowing — they collect over two metres of rain during the wet season and release it over time. Pitcher plants on the edge of the falls are carnivorous, living on insects which get too close.

Ben's passion for fishing led him to Bat of Tropical Boating Adventures. Bat knows the local waters inside out and runs day and half-day fishing trips. He also takes relaxing sunset and scenic tours.

From there it was on to the tip of Cape York, just 10° south of the equator and 180km from Papua New Guinea, with the Torres Strait Islands in between. This place is the closest Australia gets to sharing a land border with another country and it is strictly patrolled by quarantine.

Ben flew to the island of Saibai, only 3.6km from New Guinea. It is as far north as you can go without a passport. When Papua New Guinea became independent in 1975, Saibai islanders were adamant that they would remain Australian. Local villagers from both countries travel and trade freely under an agreement between Australia and Papua New Guinea. Every day dozens of boats travel backwards and forwards.

Bamaga is Australia's northern-most town. It was founded in 1947 when the people of Saibai Island in the Torres Strait were relocated due to a shortage of water and the fear of flooding. The isolated settlement has around 2000 residents and facilities are limited. Supplies are shipped or flown in and the highlight of the year is their show, held each August. It has many forms of entertainment, with traditional dancing, singing, music and food all playing important roles.

The vast interior of the Cape takes most visitors by surprise, with its endless miles of unsealed, corrugated, dusty roads and constantly changing scenery. The main Developmental Road runs right through the middle of the Cape, crossing many rivers and waterways. Branching tracks off the main road lead to large cattle stations, pioneer goldfields and hidden campsites. The locals have a special spirit about them and there are plenty of characters with stories to tell of good and bad times.

It is highly recommended that those planning to do the drive obtain the latest edition of a Cape York Peninsula road map and contact the RACQ before leaving Cairns to check on road conditions. Rangers are stationed at most National Parks and are a good source of information.


To the tip of Australia


Moreton Telegraph Station camping ground costs $8.50 for adults and $4 for children. It is open from May to December, road conditions permitting.
Cape York Motorcycle Adventures day tours start at $385 from Cairns. They run year round.
Tropical Boating Adventures have full day fishing trips for $600 and half day for $400, both with a maximum of four people. Sunset trips are $35 and scenic tours $75 per person.
Aero-Tropics Air Services has flights from Bamaga to Saibai which cost $251 one way.
Please note prices are valid at time of filming.

More information

Moreton Telegraph Station
Cape York Development Road
Ph: (07) 4060 3360

Cape York Motorcycle Adventures
Lot 1 Captain Cook Highway
Clifton Beach 4879
Ph: (07) 4059 0220; 0427 590 220
Fax: (07) 4059 0801

Tropical Boating Adventures
Ph: 0429 388 780

Tom McDonald Drive
Cairns Airport 4870
Ph: 1300 656 110
Fax: (07) 4035 9985

Qantas: 13 13 13

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