Cape York Peninsula


Cape York peninsula is full of things to see and do.

It is mostly known for its fun four wheel drives and the northernmost point of the mainland Australia, but there is more.

There are some great national parks, interesting towns, cooling swimming holes and waterfalls, famous Aboriginal art, the multicultural Torres Strait Islands, and some birds and animals found nowhere else than here and Papua New Guinea.


In the end of the page are the most popular activities, and things that can be dangerous.
cape york towns

Cape York Towns
The only real Cape York towns are Weipa and Cooktown. Others are just small townships such as Bamaga, Seisia, Coen, Laura and Lakeland. Just south of the peninsula are Cairns, Mareeba, Mossman and Port Douglas.



cape york attractions

Cape York Attractions
The best attractions are its waterfalls, the Old Telegraph Track and the northernmost point of Australia. But there are also some unique animals and some excellent Aboriginal Art; and off the Tip are Torres Strait Islands.



cape york national parks

National Parks
There are also some great national parks. Daintree and Iron Range have tropical rainforest; Mungkan Kaanju and Lakefield protect dry open woodlands, Cape Melville is coastal and great for fishing, Mt Cook and Cedar Bay for serious bushwalking.



cape york activities

Activities
There is so much to do if you like spending time outdoors and in the nature. There is some great camping, fishing, bushwalking, four wheel driving. Off the coast is the Great Barrier Reef with some excellent snorkelling and diving.


   

dangerous things

Dangerous Things
There are also some dangerous animals on the peninsula, some snakes and spiders; and there are crocodiles in the rivers and jellyfish on the ocean beaches. 

Other things that can be dangerous include tropical cyclones, bushfires, and remoteness.

Cape York Attractions

So what are the top Cape York attractions?

For most people, the single best one probably is to stand on the northernmost point of mainland Australia.

For many other people, it is the fun four wheel drive along the Old Telegraph Track.

But there are also the magnificent waterfalls, some great history, and some of the best Aboriginal rock art in Australia.


And there are two more attractions. Nowhere else in Australia can you experience the Torres Strait Islander culture, or discover Cape York's unique mix of Australian and Papua New Guinean animals.

cooktown australia

Cooktown does not only have some of the greatest history in Cape York, but in the whole Australia. This is where James Cook and his crew had their longest stop in Australia, collecting the first plants and spotting the first kangaroo.

 
laura aboriginal art

Laura Aboriginal Art
The Quinkan Aboriginal Art around Laura is some of the best Aboriginal art in Australia and easily rivals the more famous sites like Kakadu and Carnarvon Gorge National Park.
 


the old telegraph track

The Old Telegraph Track
The Old Telegraph Track is supposedly the only one of its kind left in the world. It's rough, has many creek crossings, and is definitely one of the absolutely best of all Cape York attractions


cape york waterfalls

Waterfalls
In the middle of the Old Telegraph Track - about half way up - are Fruit Bat Falls, Eliot Falls and Twin Falls - so beautiful and such a great cool break from hot dusty roads.


northernmost point of australia

The Northernmost Point of Cape York
The tip of Australia is the main goal of most Cape York travellers. It is a beautiful place surrounded by emerald blue waters, but what most people want is of course a photo with the famous sign :-)



torres strait islanders culture

Torres Strait Islands
Just off the coast of the northernmost point of mainland Australia are Torres Strait Islands -
not only naturally beautiful, but also a great place to experience Torres Strait Islanders culture.

 

unique birds and animals

Unique Wildlife
And finally - thanks to the past land bridges between Cape York and Papua New Guinea, we have some species of birds and animals that are found nowhere else but in Papua New Guinea and Cape York.


Queensland Beaches

Many Queensland beaches are known for their "uselessness".

As opposed to the southern beaches, we have "no good waves", we cannot go to the water because of jellyfish and crocodiles, and some of our good cities have muddy mangrove beaches instead of golden sandy ones.

   queensland beaches

And like other Australian beaches, on top of that our sun is dangerously strong, and we have lots of different dangerous marine creatures, including quite frequent shark attacks. 
jellyfish sign

stinger net

surf life savers flags

uv rating sign


For swimming we really prefer to use swimming pools, so what's the use of all those beautiful Queensland beaches... well, we locals mainly use them for fishing or having a picnic with views, or going for a walk or a jog. Many travellers go swimming, but there are a few things to bear in mind.

1. No Good Waves
Well this is probably a good thing unless you are really into surfing. And it's not like we have no waves - but yes they tend to be bigger down south, and the most known reason for it is that our Great Barrier Reef is known to act as a barrier for waves.

2. Muddy Beaches
It's not like all our beaches are muddy. But it so happens that in some places, a good example is Cairns, the main beach is partly muddy. It's just the nature of many beaches here, and that may be why we have so many different species of mangroves.

3. Crocodiles
Northern Australia, including Queensland, is home for two species of Australian crocodiles. Only the larger Australian Saltwater Crocodile is found in marine waters, but it is also the deadly species, and yes it can be found on all northern Queensland beaches.

4. Jellyfish
There are many different species of jellyfish in Australia, but two dangerous jellyfish are found up here, mainly during the Wet Season. During that season, on more popular beaches, there are stinger nets. If you do get stung there are bottles of vinegar on north Queensland beaches to pour on the wounds. And as always, you should try to swim between the flags - these areas are watched by life savers.

5. Sharks and Other Dangerous Creatures
We don't have the great white shark that causes most of the attacks in the southern parts of Australia. So in that way we are lucky when it comes to sharks. But we still have bull and tiger shark - two killer sharks that have taken people.

Australian Beaches - Including Queensland

On top of all of the above, (I have got used to, and stopped pointing out..), but my friends in Europe always comment on how empty are Australian beaches.

   australian beaches

Well, in Australia we don't sunbake ouselves on the beaches. The sun is strong enough that we get the little tan we need just by being out anywhere.

   australian beaches people in shade

On the beaches, we rather keep to the shade, not only because the sun is known to be strong enough to cause a lot of skin cancer, but also because being in the sun is too hot to be comfortable.






Plan Your Trip... the FREE Cape York Travel Pocket Guide

cape york travel

Get this 50 pages guide totally for FREE. It contains information that helps you getting started with planning of your trip. You get to make early-stages desicions such as when to go, how long time you should take, how to get there and get around, where to stay (general info), what will it cost.. and a short insight to what is there to see and do in Cape York.


Bring to the Trip... the full Visit Cape York Destination Guide

visit cape york

This comprehensive 300 pages travel guide is all you need before and during your trip. It has information on the peninsula's history and wildlife, climate, dangerous things and other things you should know ( availability, fuelbanking facilities, quarantine requirements, Aboriginal land entry permits and alcohol restrictions..); detailed information on places to see and things to do as well as accommodation and FREE camping spots that will save you the money you paid for this book at least tenfold ;-).



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A little off the most beaten track, but you can still get some of these into your annual leave length of a trip (you can get most if you have all the details to plan right):

You find them all in the Site Map, along with all the other pages on the site and many more great gems :-)

Old Coach Road

old coach road

Frenchmans Track

frenchmans track

CREB Track

creb track

Falls Track

falls track

Starcke Wakooka Track

starcke wakooka track

Bathurst Head

bathurst head

Running Creek Track

running creek track

Silver Plains

silver plains

Old Coen Track

old coen road

Pennefather

pennefather

Stones Crossing

stones crossing


Skardon River

skardon river

Jardine River Ford

jardine river ford

Ussher Point

ussher point

Sadd Point

sadd point

Mutee Head and Jardine Mouth


mutee head

Escape River and Newcastle Bay 

escape river

Beaches Loop Track


beaches loop road

Roko Island Pearl Farm

roko island

Friday Island Pearl Farm

friday island