Having first visited Queensland’s Cape York in the early 1990s, there’s little doubt the Old Tele Track run up to the tip of Cape York still provides some challenges today, just as it did on that first trip all those years ago. Taking a trip to the tip of Cape York is far from boring if you’re up to the the Old Tele Track challenge. Here’s a snapshot of what this infamous track is all about.
The iconic Old Telegraph Line (OTL or Old Tele Track) is a Cape York favourite for many die-hard four wheel drivers. You could say it’s one of the true adventure tracks in Queensland’s far north. Being almost 1,000 kilometres from Cairns, the track starts from Bramwell Junction and continues north to the Jardine River. It’s a track that’s not maintained, and has a few near-vertical drop offs into creeks of varying depth. But if these don’t float your boat, there’s chicken tracks to avoid these obstacles for the novice or faint-hearted.
The OTL is generally opened each year in April/May and travelling during these months can see less vehicle traffic up the Cape. However, river heights can still be high depending on the rainfall received in the region. Check track conditions prior to travel for current information.
Good bush camping is available throughout the OTL close to many of the river crossings. If you’re considering staying in one of the National Parks, campsites need to be booked online prior to your visit which can fill up quickly during peak visitor times (July school holidays).
WHAT TO TAKE/PREPARATION:
Travelling the OTL is best suited to a 4WD with high clearance. Ensure you carry adequate recovery gear, especially for river crossings. Consider travelling with a water bra and have a snorkel fitted to your vehicle. Fuel and basic supplies are available at Bramwell Station and further up the Cape at Bamaga.
SUPPLIES AND FACILITIES:
Regular roadhouse stops are available up the Cape where fuel and food are available. Some also stock basic supplies.
Track conditions vary and will be dependent on when you travel. River crossings are higher early in the season and where the landscape is green compared to travelling later in the season when water levels are lower.
CONTACTS AND INFORMATION:
Department National Parks, Sport & Racing
PH: (07) 13 74 68
PH: (07) 4060 3300
Tourism Cape York
PH: (07) 1800 174 895
PERMITS AND MAPS:
No permits are required for travelling the OTL, however a permit is payable for all vehicles once you reach the Jardine River ferry crossing.
THE TYRES FOR THE JOB:
With track conditions consisting of dirt, mud and water crossings, a good all terrain tyre is best suited to the OTL.