Frenchmans Track


Frenchmans Track is one of the most famous 4WD tracks in Cape York.

Properly called Frenchman's Road, it is one of them "roads", that really should be called a track - not only because it's narrow as a track, but also because it does have its challenges.


And it surprises one then when a lot of the time this track is actually not too challenging - except its two river crossings, and one of them is likely your deepest one on the peninsula.

   frenchmans track start 

The start of the Frenchmans Track has some patches of bog holes until you get to Wenlock River crossing.

   frenchmans track road

The western river bank is steep, (UPDATE 2014 - less than I have previously said, since each Wet season washes them out and new ones are created every couple of years, the steep one I've been talking about is behind the girl in the photo below, and is now only a washout. The new track is on the left as you see).

   frenchmans track wenlock river bank

... but once down, the river crossing itself is easy if you are doing it well enough into the Dry season.

   frenchmans road wenlock river

Continuing east the Frenchmans Track has a sandy climb,

   frenchmans road wenlock river bank

... a few wet patches,

   frenchmans road track 

.. as well as level but sometimes even a little corrugated parts...

   frenchmans track conditions

.. and some more uneven parts..

   frenchmans road condition

The main excitement of the Frenchmans Track is Pascoe River, which often is one of the deepest river crossings on the peninsula (how deep really depends on recent, local rains).

   frenchmans road pascoe river bank

Once you get to Pascoe, it is a steep track down along the western river bank.

   frenchmans road pascoe river
 
The river itself is reasonably deep and that in the combination with quite a strong current makes this crossing challenging.



And that said how challenging is the Pascoe River Crossing depends on a lot of things including the time of the year and recent weather.

   frenchmans road pascoe river crossing

The eastern bank is not as steep as the western one, but is still a fair climb up.

   frenchmans road views

The rest of the road is cruisy with no big dramas...

   frenchmans road gorge

.. and some great views over some rocky country...

   frenchmans road landscape

.
.. and the surrounding landscape

   frenchmans road end

.. until the track comes to its eastern end at the main road into Iron Range National Park, Lockhart River and Portland Roads.

Pascoe River Crossing

Pascoe River crossing is great fun!

Like most other rivers, Pascoe has of course different crossings on the peninsula.


Not quite as many as some other rivers do, since Pascoe is one of the shorter ones.

Unlike Wenlock, Archer and some other rivers it does not cross the peninsula, both starting (near Mount Tozer south of Lockhart River) and ending (in Weymouth Bay north of Portland Roads and Iron Range National Park) on the eastern side.


Its most used crossings are those on Frenchmans Track, and the so called Pascoe Track south of it.

   pascoe river

And the most serious of the two is the one of the Frenschmans Track.

   pascoe river crossing

Sometimes this Pascoe River crossing is not hugely deep, other times it is.

   pascoe river crossing cape york

Being a river it also has a fair current,
and consequently, according to a lot of people, including experienced four wheel drivers, I often hear that it is the most serious crossing they encountered on their Cape York trip.

   pascoe river crossing frenchmans track

It sure is on every traveller's photos and videos, who have done the Frenchmans Track

   pascoe river crossing frenchmans track cape york

Its entry and exit are rocky and slow,




... and the crossing itself is everyone's favourite!



 





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This complete 300 pages travel guide is all you need before and during your trip. Besides the background chapters on the peninsula's history and wildlife; and the comprehensive detail about all the places (down to prices, opening hours and full contact detail), it has invaluable information on at least 10 four wheel drive tracks, at least 30 guaranteed FREE camping spots on the Cape (and at least 150 on your way to the Cape), at least 40 best swimming holes, all mapped; as well as practical things - from fuel, roads, wireless internet and mobile phone reception, how to deal with the national parks booking rules; and Aboriginal land entrance and camping permits and alcohol restrictions - to vehicle preparation and accessories and necessary recovery gear by my partner Mark who is the recovery guy on northern Cape York and the Old Telegraph Track). Not to mention locals' tips on how to spot that croc and palm cockatoo ;-)



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