The Road to Bamaga

 

The Top of Cape York, north of the Jardine River, has some of Australia's most beautiful coastal scenery.  There are so many exceptional places to see and explore that it would be easy to spend a couple of weeks enjoying Australia's mainland tip. 

Once the Jardine River is crossed there are some minor tracks to the right which will take you to the banks of this mighty waterway.  Beware of salt-water crocodiles while exploring the river's edge. 

Beautiful Bloom near the Jardine River

The Old Jardine River Crossing

The old crossing exit can be found with a bit of exploring and it would seem to me that it would have been a frightening experience.  The river is wide, deep and is home to some large crocodiles. 

The Jardine River

The Coast at Injinoo

The community of Injinoo is situated on the western side of the tip.  This was our first look at the beauty of the coast on the top of Cape York.  The colours of the sands, water and rocks are breathtaking at Injinoo.  From here you can also appreciate the enormous number of small islands which are dotted throughout the region.  A lunch stop at Injinoo is highly recommended.  There is a campground at Mutee Head to the south-west of Injinoo.

 

The Coast at Injinoo

WW2 Plane Wreck

 

Bamaga Islander community is the main township at the top of the Cape.  Services include major vehicle repairs, a supermarket and post office, fuel and hardware.  In Bamaga you will also find alternate accommodation in a small resort, for those who would like a change from camping. 

Take the airport road out of Bamaga to see a number of plane wrecks which are hidden amongst the scrub.  They are not signposted, but a good map will give you directions.

 

DC 3 Wreck

Seisia Cargo Jetty

From Bamaga you can choose to head to Umagico, Seisia, Loyalty Beach or Punsand Bay, all of which offer well serviced camping areas.  Each of these are situated right on the beach and offer excellent views of the superb coast and its myriad islands. 

Loyalty Beach

Loyalty Beach

Seisia also offers a supermarket and vehicle repairs.  The small jetty is the main source of supply for the top of the Cape.  Much of the region's produce arrives by cargo ship from Cairns, so it is best to shop soon after the ship has arrived if you wish to get the best fresh food.

Loyalty Beach

Punsand Bay

Punsand Bay Safari and Fishing Lodge offers a little more than the other camping areas.  Here you will find a small swimming pool, permanent tent accommodation and a bar and restaurant.  Visitors are welcome at any time and scenic helicopter flights can be taken right off of the beach.  Obviously Punsand Bay Lodge is also well-known for its fishing trips.  Fishing charters can be booked at any of the camp grounds.

The Track to the Cape

One of the first expeditions in the region is obviously to go out the to tip of Cape York.  There is a large shady car park which is a great spot for morning tea or lunch.  The walking track is a short, easy stroll through some rainforest and out onto the beach.  For the best view follow the trail up onto the headland and along the top.  There is a sign down on the rocks near the water's edge which indicates that you are on the northern-most point on the mainland. 

Views at the Tip - West

Views at the Tip - East

The 360 view from the headland is breath-taking.  The sea shimmers bright blue and the water is so clear and pure you will want to jump in for a swim.  (Not recommended) 

Views at the Tip - West

The Tip of Mainland Australia

Islands are dotted all around the Cape, including Wamilug Island which is only short distance north from the tip.  The cairn which has been erected seems to spoil the natural splendour of the headland.

Cairn at the Tip

Somerset

A popular scenic route near the tip, is out to Somerset Homestead, on the eastern side of the Cape.  There are ruins of the old homestead which became a haven for stranded sailors. 

Narau Beach

Pandanus-lined Coast

From Somerset, it is possible to follow the coast down to Narau Beach.  The track occasionally becomes soft and sandy, and some beach driving is necessary.  It would be advisable to lower tyre pressure in order to travel this route safely.  There are a couple of possible camping sites, particularly near Nanthau Beach.

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