Tackling the Tele – Old Telegraph Track (Day 1, part 2)

After our adventures at Palm Creek it was time to continue on with the rest of the tele track ……. almost immediately after Palm Creek we reached Ducie Creek, followed by South and North Alice Creek. The next crossing, and the largest water crossing so far, was the Dulhunty River.  It’s a pretty area here with plenty of camping spots and a small waterfall, a great place to grab some photos.  It was here that we all decided this would be the perfect spot to stop for lunch and chat about the mornings adventures and wonder what was ahead of us.  After lunch, Lauren and Shelly decided it was their turn to show the boys how to do it and they took the wheel for the next few crossings!

The Dulhunty, although being the largest river crossing so far, was easy. It’s hard rocky bottom made for a very easy crossing.

Soon after Dulhunty you come to Bertie Creek, again a relatively easy crossing with a rocky bottom, but plenty of large holes to navigate around, so this one took a walk-through first to check it out.

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A little further to the north you come to the famous Gunshot (there is a bypass, but we were all keen to do it – or at least check it out, so we continued on).  Now everyone who knows anything about Cape York or the Old Tele Track would have seen or heard about the famous Gunshot.  YouTube is filled with videos of people attempting/accomplishing Gunshot and/or rolling or severely damaging their 4WD at Gunshot!

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The original entry into Gunshot Creek is a near vertical drop and when you see it on the videos, that’s nothing to what it’s like when you are standing there! Now this original entry is pretty much a no go nowadays, but in saying by that, every year people like to try it out to say they’ve done the ‘original Gunshot’.  We all really love our 4WDs and kinda wanted to keep them for the rest of the trip, so we decided against attempting this entry!

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There are now numerous entries going into Gunshot so it’s just a matter of picking the one you want (none are overly easy, but at least you have a choice!). Shelly was really excited to be driving Gunshot, as George had driven it on our last trip. It’s one of those things you get to mark off ‘the list’!

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This year there had been numerous rollovers coming out of the exit of Gunshot so we were all a little nervous about that, but luckily it wasn’t as bad as what it was made out to be. Of course accidents can happen so easily when you are off-road, but a little common sense, walking the tracks beforehand a not being a dickhead really does go a long way!

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Just north of Gunshot is the grave of W.J. Brown, a linesman who died on the Old Telegraph Track in 1945.

Cockatoo Creek required another walk through before proceeding, to point out the large holes hidden under the water. Sailor Creek has a bridge so that wasn’t an issue at all (and this one you really can call a bridge, not like the so-called ‘bridge’ at Cypress Creek!).  After here it’s back onto the corrugated bypass road for a few km before turning back in to head down to Fruit Bat Falls.  We will do a separate post on the falls as they are so beautiful they deserve to be showcased on their own!

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From Fruit Bat Falls it was a short drive to our camp for the night at the Eliot Falls campground …. more on that later.

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Tackling the Tele – Old Telegraph Track

The morning we left to start the track everyone was up and ready bright and early …. there was just a little bit of excitement in the air ….. and maybe a bit of nervousness and anticipation of what was to follow.

We arrived at the Bramwell Junction Roadhouse to fill up and do some last-minute vehicle checks, check pressures etc as this was the last fuel for a few days.  Bramwell Junction Roadhouse is also the start of the Old Telegraph Track …… a small wooden sign marks the start of the track.

 

This is one of those iconic 4WD tracks that is on everyone’s bucket list.  A visit to the cape isn’t complete without being able to say you completed the Old Telegraph Track.  Although not an overly long track, there are many challenging parts, with lots of water crossings and deep, steep, slippery river banks to deal with.

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Although this track is a 4WD’ers dream, it’s also an important part of our history.  In the early 1880’s the Queensland Government enlisted JR Bradford to survey a route along the Cape York Peninsula to Thursday Island for the construction of an electric telegraph line.  The line consisted of galvanized cast iron ‘Oppenheimer’ poles which were manufactured in Germany.  Some of these poles are still standing today.  After more than 100 years of service the line was closed in the late 1980’s.

The Old Telegraph Track is basically split into two sections, the southern section and the northern section.  The southern section runs from Bramwell Junction to Bamaga Road, while the northern section runs from Bamaga Road to the Jardine River ferry.

You could drive the whole track in a day, but most people take at least 2 days to do it.  It’s such a beautiful area and an amazing experience that we didn’t want to rush it, so we took 2 full days to drive the track, which gave us plenty of time to explore.

As with most of the tracks in the area, track conditions change significantly every year.  The wet season comes through, fires sweep through the area and even from the beginning to the end of the tourist season, the tracks change.

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We were interested to see how much had changed since our visit 5 years ago and wow, this track had definitely changed!

The first major obstacle you come to is Palm Creek.   Now last time we went we were told we wouldn’t get up this without a winch, but we did!  This time …… we didn’t!

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We all stood at the top of Palm Creek and looked down the huge rutted drop and wondered if we really should attempt it or not.  Finally George decided he’d give it a crack and the rest said they’d follow if we made it through!  Everyone lined the banks of the crossing and waited in anticipation to see if the mighty Prado would make it.  We made it down the first side and into the creek crossing without an issue.  The Patrol, BT50 and Triton all followed.  Our other two vehicles decided to give it a miss and met up with us later that day at camp.

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After all making our way safely down the first side it was time to tackle the next hurdle and get UP the exit.  We nearly made it all the way up , but couldn’t quite get there so our winch was used for the first time, and boy did the winch get a workout here!  After only about 15 minutes on the track we then spent over 1 1/2 hours winching every single vehicle up Palm Creek!  Our 4WD Supacentre Domin8r winch certainly got a work out that morning (Shelly really does buy the best presents!).

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So at this point we are still only about 15 minutes into the tele track and have a long way to go and there is so much more action still to come, so stay tuned! ……..


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Tackling the Tele – Cape York 2018

So we’ve returned from Cape York and we had the most amazing time, but as you would have realised we didn’t do too well on the blog writing while we were away!

Anyone who follows us on Facebook & Instagram would have been kept up to date with plenty of photos, but unfortunately our blog community was a little neglected!

You see, it was just too hard this time travelling in a big group, too much time socializing and drinking! 🍻, we just didn’t find the time to write and post the blogs.

But don’t fret, we didn’t forget you all, there are plenty of photos, videos and stories coming your way …. so sit back and enjoy!

⬇️Check out the short video below of some of the 4WDing we did up the cape!

 

We will also take this opportunity to thank all our wonderful friends for an awesome trip filled with amazing memories. Also thank you to mum and dad who looked after the house and animals while we were away (and everything else you did!). Thank you both so much xx …… Gelly & Charli loved having nonna and Gedo here to stay!🐾

And lastly thank you again to our mechanic, Adam from A1 Autohaus, for getting the Prado ready for the trip, we nearly got by without an issue this time, but more on that later!