Getting there & away
May to November is the best time to access the cape, but conditions fluctuate according to when the Wet arrives, which is when rivers become impassable. If you’re planning to head up outside these months, check road conditions with the RACQ. If you run into difficulty, contact the local police:
Bamaga (07-4069 3156)
Coen (07-4060 1150)
Cooktown (07-4069 5320)
Laura (07-4060 3244)
Lockhart River Community (07-4060 7120)
Weipa (07-4069 9119)
Local police can also advise about alcohol restrictions that apply throughout Cape York but vary from place to place.
Even as late as June and July the rivers are fast flowing, have steep banks and frequently alter course. The Great Dividing Range runs up the spine of the peninsula, and rivers run east and west from it. Although the rivers in the south of the peninsula flow only in the Wet, those further north flow year-round.
MV Trinity Bay (1800 424 422, 07-4035 1234; www.seaswift.com.au) is a weekly cargo ferry that departs Cairns every Friday and reaches Thursday Island on Sunday and Bamaga on Monday morning. The five-day return trip costs from $970 per person (twin share) including meals.
QantasLink (13 13 13) flies twice daily from Cairns to Horn Island and Weipa.
Regional Pacific Airlines (1300 797 667, 07-4040 1400) flies from Cairns to Bamaga on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.