So if you rather watch the video than read about it. Here it is!
So we finally made it to the northern tip of Australia! But it’s much more than a destination.
Once you are here there is a lot to explore and it’s great to just chill out after such a long drive. We initially planned 5 nights here but extended it to 6 nights because we were enjoying our time up here so much.
Driving around up here is freaky when Port Moresby in Papau New Guinea starts to appear on your map!
There are 3 main places to stay up here. Seisia, Loyalty Beach and Punsand Bay all of which have their pros and cons. Bamaga is the main township up here but it’s not tourist orientated.
We chose Seisia to stay at and we decided to get a cabin for all 6 of us which I would do again rather than camp. It enabled us to wash out stinky carpets from Scrubby Creek and it also enabled us to avoid the little bit of rain that also happened. A tight 7 Person cabin was $340 per night but so worth it over camping.
This part of our blog explains how we divided out time up when up here.
Day 12 – 12/9/2017 Seisia and Loyalty Beach
8.9km 20min driving time
Wow… so now that we are here, we took a day to chill out. We had a nice day for the kids to just count shells and check out the frogs in the camp toilets after cleaning out carpets.
Seisia is the port where the large cargo ship docks from Cairns bringing supplies to the area. It is also the pier where the ferry leaves to go to the Torres Strait including Thursday Island.
The pier is the centre of life up here where at dusk the local kids are jumping and swimming around even though there are sharks and massive crocs up here.
At dusk heaps of locals and visitors are all fishing off the pier and there is a mass of sardines that live under the dock that I dropped a GoPro into the middle of.
Life works at such a chilled pace up here that it feels really tranquil. We really enjoyed our stay here since Seisia just seems to have more life to it than the other places that you can stay at. There are more locals here than the other 2 places which are really just camping parks, so you interact a lot more with people and watch life go on up here.
We did head out for dinner though at Loyalty Beach which is well known for having a rocking beer garden with a fantastic restaurant and it is only a 10 minute drive from Seisia. It is a lot quieter and has a rocky beach but it is probably the best place to enjoy a drink at sunset. There’s not much out here otherwise.
Day 13 – 13 Sept 2017 Thursday Island day trip
So instead of simply booking the ferry to Thursday Island, we decided to do a tour on a smaller boat with Cape York Adventures. We did the 3 island tour and I personally wouldn’t do it again.
There seems to be a zillion little islands in the Torres Strait between Cape York and Papau New Guinea and many of these are inhabited but remote. The ones closest to the mainland are all accessed by ferry and are the ones that attract the tourists. The tour that we did starts off going to Friday Island also known as Pearl Island. It is run by a Japanese guy and he has Japanese backpackers running the place. However the they only allow you into the shop and do not give you a tour of the pearl farms so it is really a disappointing place to visit.
From there we went to Thursday Island. We got put in a local taxi with a local guide which was interesting as he gave us a great oral tour of the island and then took us to Green Fort Lookout. The only thing is that then you just get dumped at a pub for lunch and there isn’t much time for anything else.
Luckily there was a multicultural festival that the school was running and this was cool.
After that we went to Horn Island and it was like a ghost town. We let ourselves into a local museum and it was quite boring.
All up I wouldn’t do the tour or recommend it. It was too rushed and we ended up wanting more time on Thursday Island so we actually went back there later in the week.
Day 14 – 14 Sept 2017 Driving the 5 beaches run to the Tip of Australia
151.2km 4hr38min driving time
So today was a big day. We got up and headed out to the 5 beaches run on the eastern side of the Cape. Most people drop into the iconic Croc Tent to get some info before heading off. The ladies here are great!
We started at Somerset where we wanted to see aboriginal rock art but couldn’t find it. Later we found out that you need to rock scramble a fair way around the headland to see the cave.
From there we drove in and out of the 5 beaches track here. It’s a track on the east coast of the Cape that drops into 5 beaches.
These beaches are quite beautiful and known for Nautilus shells that wash up on the beaches here. The kids treated this like a treasure hunt and had a great time. However other than the drive there isn’t that much more to do.
Once we hit the last beach, my 4wd gave out again and almost got me stuck as it is the steepest ascent and descent.
From there we went to Pajinka which is the aboriginal name for the tip of Australia. Now the reason I packed the mankini was simply to get that one photo at the tip. Ta da… and here it is!
The tip is a short walk over a headland from the car park and so late in the arvo, we almost had the place to ourselves.
From there we caught the sunset at Punsand Bay which is the camp ground with amazing woodfire pizzas on the Cape and the flashy place to stay because it is the only place with a pool!
Day 15 – 15 Sept 2017 Helicopter to the Cape and Roma Flats Track
100.3km 3hrs 27mins driving time
So we got up today with no firm plans, so when in doubt why not take a helicopter trip to the Cape. $870 for 3 of us and although it can handle 4 people, it would be completely cramped. The trade winds made the flight quite choppy and I regretted not taking an anti motion sickness tablet. The view and flight were fantastic though so thoroughly enjoyed it.
After this we drove the Roma Flats track to Pajinka and onto the no-name beach just west of the Tip. This beach has a massive tidal change and on low tide the water is almost 1km out to where it is at high tide. It was ruggedly beautiful though.
Day 16 – 16 Sept 2017 Back to Thursday Island
So our trip to Thursday Island was so disappointingly short that we decided to go back on the ferry for a day trip. Just being able to walk around and see how island life runs was really nice. It reminded us of Christmas Island but smaller. On Saturday everything shuts at 1pm so after that time it was simply just hanging around.
Up next: The trip home via 30,000 year old aboriginal rock art