The iconic trek to the tip is a big bucket list item for many around Australia, but it’s also a trip planned with much trepidation! It’s remote, there are crocs, it’s rough going, will it’s be ok to take the kids? Can we take our van? Will it’s be too hot? The list goes on.
Having done the trip ourselves last year we find ourselves being asked these questions but other families and travellers so we thought we’d share what we did with our 2 boys who were 4 and 6 at the time and what we might do differently if we did it again.
Firstly, we were lucky enough to join another 2 families for the trip who were as keen as us to take the old Tele track. We often say we wouldn’t have Been quite as brave and adventurous on the old Tele if we had done it alone.
Info about Tele track
We opted to travel with just the swags and our humble Toyota Ute and left our van with Adam’s brother in Mackay. We met our convoy companions at Mount Carbine (caravan park) where it was free to leave caravans. We would definitely use this option next time as we took another 5 weeks to get back to Mackay after completing the cape which is rather more time than we planned to camp in just swags! 🤣
We left mountain carbine for coen on ?? September. The distance, 423kms, 6hrs of driving mostly bitumen to get there and we arrived early afternoon. The camp we picked was a free camp called The Bend South Campground (wiki) by the river. We weren’t sure what to expect at first but once we set up and taken a look around it was a quite idyllic and fascinating to explore. The camping area was part of the river bed in the wet season but with only a shallow river remaining in the dry. The kids lovers forage for quartz in the river bed and we spent hours floating in the stream with pool noodles during the hottest time of the day. We enjoyed this spot so much we stayed 2 nights instead of the originally intended 1!
Town and fuel info
From Coen we headed to Bramwell Station stopping only at Archer River Roadhouse and Moreton Telegraph Station for a look around! We left Coen as early as we could and the 231 kms took between 3 and 4 hours.
Bramwell Station had plenty of space. There was a huge grassy paddock with a few trees for shade and even some shelters. We quickly grabbed a shelter and set up out tents around. It’s was pretty hot but thankfully there were plenty of showers and even washing facilities if needed. The kids had plenty of room to run around and there is Bar and restaurant but bookings are essential. We spent the evening with a few wines, sat under a huge mango tree and watched the sun go down. There were plenty of roos to be spotted and it turned out to be the perfect place chill before tackling the Old Telegraph Track.
*Unpowered $25 pn
The Telegraph Track
The start of the Old Telegraph Track is just beside Bramwell Road House, a quirky last stop for Petrol and lunch before hitting the road! Adam would recommend the burgers!
Make sure you have WikiCamps loaded and it’s a pretty good little tool to use so that you know what to expect. The OTT is basically a straight line with obstacles! As soon as you enter it get bumpy and rock so make sure you start early as it to us 5 or 6 hours to drive 50km on that first day!!!
Palm Creek was the first big crossing we hit and one of the most memorable of the whole trip. There wasn’t a drop of water but the descent into the creek was pretty steep. To say we were a little nervous about tackling these creek crossing would be an understatement but there is always and easier Track nicknamed the “chicken Track” for those not confident. Make sure you get out and take a look before you charge in. It’s always good to know exactly what your up against and have a plan to tackle it. Being the first crossing we pondered here for quite a while but eventually we all passed with no issues and had a lot of fun! Palm creek set the bar for the rest of the trip.
From there we crossed Juicy Creek, Alice Creek, Dulhunty River and Bertie Creek until we came upon the infamous GUNSHOT!
Now, if you have never heard of gunshot creek I would give it a quick google! We had absolutely no intention of doing gunshot, but our buddy took his Navara down! It was definitely a high of the trip. There was so much adrenaline flowing just watching and we drew quite a crowd! lived to tell the tale! Thanks for the memories guys! 50% crazy and 50% awesome, quite something to watch! Everywhere we stopped after that people were talking about the guy who took his Navara down gunshot! 😂
We finally pulled up at cockatoo creek campground after 6 hours on the OTT but having barely traveled more than 50km! We set up around a undercover picnic area and relaxed down in the river to cool down after the days adventures! Cockatoo creek even has toilets but I’m not sure they are regularly cleaned.
Our first stop the next days was Fruit Bat Falls.
Canal Creek. Water level was very low, up to top of tyres at deepest point when we crossed. This is also a popular campground and swimming spot. Max tracks for us??
to twin and Elliot falls