Cape York on your mind? We don't blame you. But you'll need to prepare your vehicle before attempting this classic destination.
Cape York. It’s the ultimate aspirational touring destination in Australia. But before tackling the Old Telegraph Track or even the Bamaga and Peninsula Development roads, it would be foolish not to adequately prepare your vehicle. Here’s a quick overview of what to consider when kitting out your rig for this challenging trip.
Pack a comprehensive first aid kit, an easily accessible fire extinguisher, and fit your vehicle with a cargo barrier. A good UHF radio with a long-range antenna would be useful, and it would also be worth renting a satphone or looking into a phone cradle that can convert a smartphone to a phone with satellite-call capability.
TYRES AND SUSPENSION
“Where the track meets the vehicle is extremely important,” says Kedron Caravans’ Glen Gall, who has done his fair share of Cape York trips. “So, a great quality tyre can mean the difference between an enjoyable, safe trip, and a frustrating, isolated trip.”
A good set of all-terrain tyres should do the job for most Cape York terrain, but the Kedron guys swear by muddies. “Over the years, we have chosen a mud terrain with kevlar protection in the walls that has proven to be extremely reliable,” Glen says.
It’s also worth looking into a suspension lift. The extra clearance in those Cape York ruts, not to mention water crossings, will come in very handy.
SNORKEL AND SPARES
Depending on the time of year, some Cape York creek crossings range from shallow to impassable. A snorkel, which will raise the vehicle’s air intake out of the water ’s way, is a relatively cheap insurance policy.
Speaking of cheap insurance, be sure to pack vehicle recovery gear, including snatch straps, shackles, a tree protector and gloves. A tyre deflator and portable air-compressor are essential, too.
It would also be wise to pack items like spare engine belts, hoses and fuses, as well as a careful selection of tools.
Now, this is not a comprehensive list. Have you also considered refrigeration and fuel? The fact is, Cape York is likely to test you as much as your equipment. But don’t let that stop you. From Fruitbat Falls to Frangipani Beach, not to mention relics from World War II, there’s a good reason that hundreds, if not thousands, of people visit each year.
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