The Old Jardine River Ford


The old river ford used to be the place to cross this mighty river.

Yes, it used to be the only place before the ferry came :-)


Nowadays it's done for fun - and I have seen people getting through, but I have also seen people fail.

river ford
The Old River Ford. ©cape-york-australia.com

The river ford crossing is shallow but quite long, and very soft in the middle. It's the soft sandy bottom of the river that gets people bogged.


The other danger is that in the northern end of the crossing the river is deeper, and it is silly to go and check how deep it is because this river is a habitat of deadly crocodiles - I have seen crocs here myself.

jardine river ford
The whole length of the river ford - a fair drive across! ©cape-york-australia.com

So even if you make it through the soft middle part of the river, you still risk to destroy your engine in the northern, deeper part (by drowning it, so make sure your snorkel doesn't leak!). And this is also the part where the crocs live, and where the water is murky so you cannot see the crocs.

All I can say, even if you really know your own abilities and those of your vehicle, it is still a bit crazy to do it, and that said, some people do.

Here is one of them who failed:

cross jardine river
We spotted this sign the day after it was put up
south of Jardine River Ford. ©cape-york-australia.com

If you still decide to give it a go, as always, remember that having other vehicles to pull you out in case you get stuck, is very important in this spot.

And if you get stuck, don't blame me, I told you you could get stuck :-)

Here is what I saw on one of my trips:

crossing jardine river
Getting ready for the river ford.. ©cape-york-australia.com

I run into these guys half way through the Old Telegraph Track and we did the rest togehter (great people - four Victorians and two Tasmanians - they helped me through the hardest crossings that year, I was on my own).

The two Tasmanians decided to give the Jardine a go, and luckily they had plenty of people to pull them out just in case. A snatch strap was attached before the first vehicle even went in, to make it easier.

jardine ford crossing

In he goes...

jardine crossing

right through the soft part...

jardine ford

and towards the deep part...

vehicle ford

and he made it !!!

jardine old ford

So the second guy goes in without a snatch strap behind him...

old river ford

.. and gets stuck in the soft part.

old ford

pulling him out from the other side didn't work out..

old jardine ford

so he was finally pulled back to the the southern bank by an OKA.

ford crossing jardine

That's how easily it happens and that's how important it is that there is someone to pull you out in case you get stuck.

crossing the jardine

It is actually quite crazy to walk in this river, even in the shallow parts.

It may seem like a safe thing that the water is clear and you can see that there are no 
crocodiles approaching you, but if there was one, and you were 10-20 metres into the water, it would not matter that you could see it - you would not make it out because you will never outrun a crocodile in the water!

Jardine River Ferry

Jardine River Ferry is the only safe way to cross the river.

jardine river ferry
The river is only narrow here. ©cape-york-australia.com


The first thing you think will be how little time it takes and how expensive it is.

jardine river ferry office
Ferry office and fuel station. ©cape-york-australia.com


The ferry is owned and operated by the local Aboriginal people so the money goes to local indigenous communities.

alcohol limits
Alcohol restrictions sign. ©cape-york-australia.com

And still it's rude how they almost double the price when it suits them - I am really looking forward to a bridge in this crossing.


Did YOU Cross Jardine at the Old Ford?

Did You Do the Old Jardine Ford?

Tell us! Send in a photo, send in a video! (The video cannot be attached here - please let me know so i can send you my email address, or put it on You Tube and send me the link - i can embed it from there right into your page).

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Crossing on dusk, walked across 4 times 
1991, ferry was there but we were younger and hadn't seen a croc for the whole trip. Got there late afternoon, about croc teatime, 4 motorbikes, so …

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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

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Frenchmans Track

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CREB Track

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Falls Track

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Starcke Wakooka Track

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Bathurst Head

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Running Creek Track

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Silver Plains

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Old Coen Track

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Pennefather

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Stones Crossing

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Skardon River

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Jardine River Ford

jardine river ford

Ussher Point

ussher point

Sadd Point

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Mutee Head and Jardine Mouth


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Escape River and Newcastle Bay 

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Five Beaches Track


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Roko Island Pearl Farm

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Friday Island Pearl Farm

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