5 Things on the Cape You Can't Miss

Glenn Marshall — 20 May 2021
Heading to the Cape is on the bucket list of anyone who owns a 4WD. Here are some tips from us on what not to miss.


With so many water crossings on the way to The Tip, waterfalls are plentiful. You will need to be tackling the Old Telegraph Track to see most of them though, but isn’t that the only way to experience the Cape anyway? 

Here are five of the best waterfalls to check out, not only for a refreshing swim but also to capture an epic long exposure image. To do that you’ll need a camera or smartphone, tripod and some form of a polarising filter (a pair of sunnies will do it) and a ND filter. The ND filter allows you to keep the shutter open for a longer period on your camera and so capture that epic milky water shot the pros take. On an iPhone 11 and up, turn on the Live feature and take the shot. Then, open your shot in the Picture app and swipe up, selecting Long Exposure from the four choices and watch what happens. The best waterfalls to check out are:

  • Isabella Falls
  • Dulhunty River
  • Fruit Bat Falls
  • Elliot Falls
  • Twin Falls


The OTL is not only an Australian iconic track, it also ranks highly on Hema’s list of Cape York’s toughest tracks. 

It follows the original line of the electric telegraph line that was constructed in the late 1880s and continued operation until 1987. What makes the OTL so challenging — besides the bone-rattling corrugations — are its variety of water crossings, each with its challenges especially Palm Creek, Gunshot Creek and Nolan’s Brook. The OTL also offers spectacular scenery, fantastic swimming holes and of course, cheering spectators at several of the crossings. 

When it comes to the river crossings, it’s best to watch others going through first to learn the best line. This also allows your diffs and brakes to cool down a bit and gives you time to fit a water bra on the front of your 4WD and get the recovery gear ready, just in case. 


After a big day on the tracks full of water crossings, dust and corrugations, there’s nothing better than pulling into a pub to cleanse the palate. Thankfully, there are enough establishments along the trail to help in this regard. Most of these are roadhouses so you’ll be able to top up on fuel, set up and grab a shower in the campground and enjoy some amazing Cape York tucker. The most well-known watering holes are:

  • Lions Den Hotel
  • Palmer River Roadhouse
  • Hann River Roadhouse
  • Musgrave Roadhouse
  • Archer River Roadhouse
  • Bramwell Junction Roadhouse


With the oceanfront running both sides of the Cape, there are plenty of beaches to find a place to camp — just remember going for a swim is off the agenda. You'll be able to enjoy some spectacular sunrises and sunsets, plus take leisurely strolls along the beach. Sometimes you might be the only ones there. If you’re carrying a tinnie, the offshore fishing for mackerel, queenies, trevally and flathead is spectacular, or try your luck for barramundi or mangrove jack from the shoreline. Be very croc aware though, as there are some big buggers about who are more than happy to steal your catch or have a go at turning you into Captain Hook. Here are just some of the great beach camps to check out:

  • Punsand Bay
  • Chilli Beach 
  • Captain Billy Landing
  • Loyalty Beach 
  • Somerset Beach
  • Nanthau Beach
  • Usher Point


The Tip is an iconic destination given that it's the northernmost point on the Australian mainland and most challenging to get to, but did you know it doesn’t appear in any of the ‘Top 10 Australian Instagram destinations’? Maybe that’s a good thing because it means those so-called influencers won’t accept the challenge of getting there, but they don’t know what they’re missing. Not only is standing next to the sign at the tip a great photo opportunity to share with your friends and family on social media, but the journey to get there is extremely rewarding. Oh, and you’ve got the drive home to look forward to as well — enjoy!


Travel Destinations Cape York 5 things to do Exploration 4WD Offroading