Taking the coastal road to Cooktown is something that I have wanted to do for a long time and the opportunity presented itself in hitching a ride with two equally eager travellers.
First however we travelled the inland route to Cooktown and decided to take the coastal route back to Port Douglas and then on to Cairns.
This is the account of that journey.
I had some preconceived ideas…
The Bloomfield Track
After reading a number of accounts about this stretch of coastal road between Cooktown and Cape Tribulation known as the Bloomfield Track it’s not surprising I had some preconceived ideas of the journey.
These descriptions had conjured up the following images;
- 4 Wheel drive only
- Comments like – the road is off the planet
- Narrow dirt track barely wide enough for one vehicle
- Flooded creeks and causeways
- Steep hill sides
- Dense rainforest
- Spectacular vistas of sweeping coastline
- Crocodile infested rivers
- Mangroves lining wide rivers systems
These comments clouded my perception of the journey between Cooktown and Cape Tribulation and fabricated romantic images from many movies I had seen about adventures along treacherous coastlines.
Should I clarify it by saying the rainforest was so dense you could barely see any water.
In addition there probably are tracks to remote bays and beaches, but we didn’t investigate them we stayed on the Bloomfield Track.
Sweeping Coastline Cape Tribulation
These sweeping coastline views were to be revealed later between Cape Tribulation and the Daintree River.
A section of the road I had travelled on a number of occasions.
In reality the approximate 80km dirt track from the Wujal Wujal turn off on Developmental Road to Cape Tribulation was all the above and more, we travelled in the dry season so the creeks and water causes were not a problem.
However the dips they produced in the roads would be another matter during the wet season when raging torrents of water were rushing across them.
Before you plan on North Queensland travel Checking the road condition is a must before travelling on this coastal route.
This is wild country and you don’t want to put yourself in physical danger…
Crocodiles basking on the foreshore
We had the privilege of seeing large crocodiles in the wild, basking on the foreshore of mangrove lined estuary a timely warning of the dangers of wandering off the beaten track and taking note of all the warning signs about not getting close to the water’s edge and that included the beach.
Just because you don’t see them doesn’t mean they are not there!
Condition of the Road during the dry season
The dirt track was in pretty good condition it was wider than we had thought, a couple of section were narrow but most of the track was ample enough for two vehicles and well graded. However in a couple of sectors exposed rocks were visible which added to a bumpy ride.
There were a number of creek crossings but fortunate for us this was the dry season so there was little water except for the crossing just before Cape Tribulation which came up to the wheel axial.
In addition the dirt track had a couple of very steep ascents that kept us on our toes, we could only imagine how slippery it would be if the weather was wet.
Cape Tribulation, Daintree National Park
Secluded bays and deserted beaches, along with sweeping coastline best describes this section of the coastal road from Cooktown to the Cape, not quite in civilisation so to speak but yet luxury rainforest accommodation along with backpacker style lodgings are hidden behind the rainforest canopy lining the road, giving the location a feeling of mystery and isolation.
By this stage we were ready to take a break have a spot of lunch but not before we checked out the beach but again be careful… warning signs of crocs are ever present in the area so please heed them.
The last leg of this coastal route is at the Daintree River Crossing, here is where you pay your fee and travel on the ferry for a couple of minutes till you reach the other side and back on the road to Port Douglas and Cairns.
Before you plan on North Queensland travel – ‘the coastal Road’ check the conditions with the authorities and take note of the advice given.