Cape York 4WD
The roads are unsealed and get very soft and muddy when it rains. They can also be steep and slippery so you need to have a 4WD to keep traction. And they are corrugated - 2WD vehicles are much weaker and get easier damaged on corrugations.
Some people have started venturing into Cape York, and even made it to the Tip in their 2WDs. It is not worth it. You'd damage your vehicle and pay for expensive fuel (the price just about doubles towards the Tip compared to Cairns), and you'd end up seeing and experiencing nothing because you miss out the best fun in Cape York - challenging four wheel driving.
Cape York 4WD. ©cape-york-australia.com
You'd only be able to do it in the middle of the Dry season, and you'd not be able to do the fun bits such as the Old Telegraph Track or Frenchmans Road. For those roads (and many others) you need a proper 4WD vehicle with high clearance and low range gears. No city "4WD"s.
Even with a 4WD, it's amazing how much a Cape York trip wears down your vehicle. It is very important to prepare it properly to make your best to ensure that your trip is not stopped by a breakdown.
Cape York 4WD. ©cape-york-australia.com
Cape York 4WD - Vehicle PreparationA pre-trip service is necessary by a 4WD specialist, and even better if he has been to the Cape York and knows what exactly you are in for.
If you have any leaks get them fixed and if your battery is getting old replace it. If anything else is wrong fix it - it is only more expensive and annoying to have to do on your trip. I got first hand experience ;-)
Cape York 4WD vehicle preparation. ©cape-york-australia.com
Cape York 4WD - Accessories
* Heavy duty suspension
* Snorkel and breathers to tackle river crossings
* Spare tyres, of course. Take two instead of one. Punctures are very common on these roads.
* Bullbar, if you already haven't got one. While large kangaroos are absent in Cape York, wallabies and feral pigs are present. And so is cattle that often roam freely on the roads as the farms are too large to fence in this part of Australia.
* Dual battery system if you run a fridge from your battery. I've tried it without it, and ended up travelling without a working fridge.
* A hand operated winch, if you travel alone and want to venture into small back roads with little traffic.
Heavy duty suspension. ©cape-york-australia.com
Cape York 4WD - Other
Things to Bring
* A basic tool kit and a puncture repair kit.
* Jumper leads
* Oil and fuel filters
* Tow rope and shackle
* Duct tape
* Extra water (10 litres, for drinking, in case you get stuck)
This list can be made much longer but personally this is all I carry.
If you overdo it your vehicle gets heavy and after all you have to have room for it all.
There are mechanic shops in all townships in Cape York and if I have to get a lift to get there I take it as part of the adventure ;-)
A small air compressor is handy when filling up your tyres again.
Learn Bush Mechanicing!!!
I could not help but mention - there is a hilarious but actually also very creative and right out practical way to get out of trouble when in the bush!
Our Aboriginal People are the cleverest bush mechanics you can ever imagine!!!
Cape York 4WD - RACQ Road AssistanceIf you are an Australian permanent resident, you can be with RACQ. It's worth every cent.
It would cost you thousands of dollars if you had to tow your vehicle down south from here.
With RACQ, I pay about $200 a year, get 24/7 road assistance anywhere in Australia in any vehicle I happen to drive, and the towing is free.
If I am more than 100km from home they pay my accommodation costs and a rental vehicle while I am waiting for my one to be done (parts often have to be ordered in from Cairns and it often takes a few days before you get it done).
I still have to pay for the parts and labour costs, but I know they come and pick me up from anywhere, tow me for free, and while waiting I can use another car and have somewhere to stay.
They have different packages (such as flight tickets home if you want to interrupt the trip etc.. for all the details, check with RACQ) but that's the one I have.
And I have used it.
I once broke down in Seisia and got a great three-day break from about a month-long bush camping -- in air conditioning in the luxury Resort Bamaga. All paid by RACQ ;-)
RACQ Road assistance. ©cape-york-australia.com
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