He had the look of a homeless character with his meagre possessions by his side. As if to shield himself from the unseasonal cold snap, he huddled himself in the corner of the roadside tourist information shelter, quietly stirring his breakfast porridge.
On second look and as our conversation grew from a courteous greeting, it soon became obvious this was a guy on huge adventure. He was solo cycling his way up Cape York Peninsular, a thousand kilometres from Cairns to the very northern tip of Australia.
We’ve always tended to plan our journeys as we go by taking the advice of other travellers along the way. But on a four wheel drive adventure, it is a bit unusual to take advice from a passing cyclist. My new cyclist friend however recounted the story of a friend, who had done a similar trip to us but regretted not doing the Cape while being so close. We took his advice.
Australia is a big country, so not to make the same mistake, we turned left off the Savannah Way to continue our adventure towards the most northern part of Australia.
The Cape is describe by many as one of Australia’s last frontiers. A bucket list destination for many a four wheel drive enthusiast. However in some way it’s disappointing to see this sense of adventure being whittled away with half the “track” heading up the Cape, now bitumised.
But the real experiences are beyond the track with an endless range of adventurous experiences, even well beyond the four wheel driver levels we are equipped for.
For most people visiting the Cape, it’s more about the four wheel drive capability giving you the ability to experience and enjoy camping in magnificent remote outback natural settings, as well as meeting many lovely people along the way. And even find a great night’s entertainment at a cattle station.
For now, we’re off on the final leg of this northern most tip of Australia.
There’s a saying up here that for first timers to the Cape, its a beeline to get to the top. For others, it’s the experiences beyond the tip they come here for. ….ok, so we may have to venture a bit more off the track on our way back!