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Cape York News, Issue #007 -- Late Cyclone - Expect Rain and Road Closures in Cape York
April 26, 2013

Hi everyone,

So here we go. I though we would not have this bad luck, but it is a good reminder of what I always say - our weather is incredibly unpredictable, which makes any early season trip incredibly risky to plan.


In This Issue

• A Typical Question from an Early Season Traveller

• A Cyclone to Form over this Weekend



About five days ago, Zoe sent me this message:

Hi Katrin

Thanks for a great website and even better guide.

My husband and I were hoping to leave for the tip next Thursday. It will take us about 3 days to get to Laura before we wanted to travel into Lakefield National Park first up.

We are getting mixed reports from the national parks and Cooktown Shire that the PDR is currently closed and that Lakefield might be too wet.

Are you able to shed some light on what the road conditions are doing up north?

We don't want to get up there and not enjoy ourselves because roads further north are closed or we can't get into certain parks

Really looking forward to your advice.

Zoe and Danny

I replied:

Hi Zoe, thanks :-)

The main road up (Peninsula Developmental) is open right now, but the road through Lakefield National Park is not (as of 22nd of April 2013).

It is very early in the season with possible more rains (which MAY close the main road yet with bad luck), and most smaller tracks, including many national parks, are still closed.

The main road, being the largest one, always opens first, then the smaller ones start opening later, one by one, as they become driveable (if a road is closed it's impassable, not just that they decided to close it).

Some smaller tracks, for example Cape Melville, don't open before August most years. So the later in the season you travel the more tracks are open for you, and unfortunately in April, smaller roads are closed and you cannot get all the way into all national parks.

All i can say, if you still want to go now, leave the Lakefield NP for your way back, when chances are it may be open, and my fingers cross the main road stays open for you, as you do take a risk in April.

You may well be perfectly fine, it's dry now, but there is no 100% guarantee this time of the year.

On the other hand, it is more adventurous, the nature is greener and the wildlife is more visible, so there are advantages to make up for the limited access that you do have this time of the year.

Your call whether to postpone or not. Even postponing a week or two is likely to make a difference as the Wet season is really finishing now.

I did think to mention that there is a possibility for a late cyclone, but then I thought, nah, that's pretty unlikely even though it does happen (we have had some late ones, including Larry - end of March 2006, and Monica - end of April 2006, only to mention two stronger ones).

(a cyclone can obviously cause wind damage, but even the weaker ones always bring heaps of rain, which is the main reason for road closures - they simply get flooded).


So watching the local news tonight I was, again, reminded, that the small likelihood for a late April cyclone means nothing, the possibility is well and truly there, and it's all cruisy until it happens.

So during this weekend or latest Monday, there will be a tropical cyclone forming on Coral Sea, and it will be moving towards Cape York, bringing a lot of wind and rain mainly to south eastern parts of the peninsula and also the Daintree - Cairns area, likely closing many roads on the peninsula, which can easily include the main road north.

It is predicted to cross the coast of Cape York about Wednesday 1st of May - indeed a very late cyclone!

It is so far only a prediction but these are seldom wrong, and even in the unlikely case that it didn't form, this newsletter is a very good reminder to all early season travellers, about how quickly this can happen.

There is no warning longer than a few days, and the only road up north can get closed and you are NOT getting up along the Peninsula Developmental Road.

If you do plan a trip in April, which I never recommend, please do have a plan B as this is how quickly all you plans can go out the window, and it would be a real pity if it was your only annual leave.

So Zoe, next week is NOT a good time to travel to Cape York, unless you are prepared to get stuck (and when I say that I am only expecting a lot of rain, we do not know anything about the wind strength of the cyclone as yet).

Have a great weekend everyone, and I will update you about the cyclone news!

P.S. I have a whole chapter on the subject "Climate and When to Go" in the FREE pocket guide, where I outline the pros and cons of every month.

Do read it, particularly if you are thinking of planning an early season trip.


I really appreciate any kind of feedback on the guide book.

Please let me know if you enjoyed it while planning before the trip, and while using the information once on the trip.

If you get any questions about anything, please feel welcome to contact me.

That's all for this time - happy planning, and, till the next newsletter if I don't hear from you.

Have a great day :-)


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