Cairns to the Gulf of Carpentaria

Old Jul 27th, 2009, 01:35 AM
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Cairns to the Gulf of Carpentaria

Heading to Cairns late August and have a campervan booked for two weeks. Any suggestions welcomed - we are planning to see Cairns to Cooktown - with stops at Karanda , Port Douglas and Daintree regions. Wondering if the road through to Normanton and Karumba is all weather and suitable for two wheel drive vehicle - and what there is of interest in this area? Have read all the blogs re Undara etc... just after itinery ideas from intrepid travellers who have been in this region?
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Old Jul 27th, 2009, 02:29 AM
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http://www.caravanning-oz.com/Route%...Normanton.html is a reasonable descriptin and depending on time available you could consider making a bit of a loop of it heading down to Cloncurry and back to coast from there.
Might as well do Mount Isa too if you were to do that.
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Old Jul 27th, 2009, 05:27 PM
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Road should be OK at this time of year (it floods in wet season), just speaking two New Zealanders who drove Cairns-Karumba and back in a very small conventional car with no dramas. RACQ is official motor authority in Queensland, it has an excellent website with trip planner, giving current road conditions, distances, etc.

Please, if your rental company allows, do try to include Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill)National Park,its about 200km sw of Burketown, and is well worth the extra kms. www.queenslandholidays.com.au will give you an idea of the natural beauty of the place; local Aboriginal guides will show you rock art and explain their traditions, the area is a natural haven for birdlife.

Camping is available at the gorge or nearby Adel's Grove, it would be very wise to pre-book a campsite at this time of year.

For Cairns-Cooktown you'd need to take the inland sealed all-weather road, the Bloomfield Track is the other route which starts north of Cape Tribulation from where you'll need 4WD.
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Old Jul 27th, 2009, 11:04 PM
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Thanks people - this is great feedback and really helpful.
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Old Jul 28th, 2009, 04:56 AM
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I was going to suggest Lawn Hill - have always wanted to go there. However, looking at a map, I remembered that it is in the far, far west of Queensland, seemingly accessible only by unsealed roads. Unless you rent a 4WD camper, I doubt any rental company will allow you permission to go there. A drive out to Lawn Hill and back from Cairns, including a couple of days in the park would easily use up 6 of your 14 days - doesn't leave you that much time to see all there is to see closer to the coast.

Undara is a great place, not to be missed, also Chilagoe. And consider exploring south of Cairns as well - lots to see. Even if you don't get west of Undara, I doubt you'll find you have too much time on your hands.
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Old Jul 28th, 2009, 06:50 PM
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Lawn Hill is fantastic!!! But probably not practical on this trip unless you can take a bit more time.

Georgetown has a wonderful mineral museum if you are into that sort of thing.
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Old Jul 28th, 2009, 07:43 PM
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Lawn Hill is indeed fantastic, only mentioned it as sanfie's talking of Normanton, which gets a lot of distance from Cairns out of the way. But agree a bit more time is probably needed unless sanfie's prepared to sacrifice something else, perhaps Cooktown.

sanfie, you mention Kuranda and Undara, both of these would be easy to include on trip from Cairns to Normanton/Karumba.
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Old Jul 29th, 2009, 01:59 PM
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I'm not sure and Pat may be able to confirm but I think there'll be a bit of unsealed road involved in getting to Lawn Hill.

If so, most likely you'll need to hire a 4 WD vehicle and you can get 4wd based campers from www.britz.com at least.
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