Old Coach Road


The Old Coach Road is the hardest track in Cape York.

On some maps it may look like any gravel road, and many people do get caught thinking this is like any Sunday afternoon drive between Maytown and Laura.

I've seen them pulling trailers, driving kids and grandmothers along what they thought was like any other drive in the area.


The other drives are alright - just small gravel roads, but this stretch is different.


And you don't even want to start working out how the 'old coach' would have done this track as an extention to the old Cooktown - Laura Railway! (the truth is - it's since deteriorated, and if we weren't just using the old name, it would definitely be called a Track and not a road!).

   old coach road to maytown

This track is as hard as any four wheel drive track gets anywhere in Australia, and if challenge is what you want, and if the Old Telegraph Track was not hard enough for you, make sure you do not miss the Old Coach Road (it is more extreme, and constantly so, than the pics on this page make it look like until we make another trip for better pics).

   old coach road to laura

It goes from Laura to Maytown, which is the old centre of Palmer River Goldfields.

   old coach road queensland  old coach road queensland

It is alright first but right after Jowalbinna in the northern end of the track, it gets hilly and it gets challenging.

   old coach road cape york 
old coach road cape york

In the first part of the Old Coach Road you are climbing up the hill, 

   old coach road

... along some fairly rugged ground.

   old coach road 4wd  old coach road four wheel drive

Then you get up the hill and expect to descend,

   old coach road laura maytown

... but it takes longer than you think as the track keeps going up and down but you are still high up on the mountain range.

   palmer goldfields reserve

There are some great views,
 historical sites, ... and the constant thinking of where to put your wheels along this 40+ km stretch that does take you longer than half a day, and more if you want to enjoy it and have a good look around. 

   old coach road historical site

The Old Coach Road is tricky and definitely not recommended for people with no four wheel drive experience (but yes - apparently with a good enough driver can be done in a Pajero - we just tested ;-)

   old coach road australia

Full detail of this track (and all the others on the Peninsula) are in the 
Destination Guide.





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

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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

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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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