Coming very soon … an all-bitumen trip to the Tip?

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The tip of cape york could be a bitumen trip away
The Tip could soon be accessible to all!

The slow and steady bitumenisation of Australia’s most fabled Outback tracks is continuing and, whether you are happy about it or not, the Big Lap experience is most certainly changing.

Queensland’s remote Cape York has long been seen as one of the more hard-core grey nomads adventures. However, the Australian newspaper reports that the normally red and battered Peninsula Developmental Road which runs 571kilometres from Lakeland, near Cooktown, to the outskirts of Weipa on the Gulf of Carpentaria is changing apace.

The paper says that soon, all but 200 kilometres of the road will be sealed, under a five-year, $276 million upgrade project. Federal and state governments have set aside another $237.5m for further upgrades, including the unsealed and often trickier sections of the road.

They will also consider the future of the Jardine River crossing — and the possibility of one day laying bitumen all the way to the tip of Australia.

Apparently, the smooth stretches have drawn more travellers to the Cape, with about 240 vehicles a day on the road between Lakeland and Laura, including 60 or so trucks.

Cook Shire Mayor Peter Scott, also a board member with the Torres Cape Indigenous Council Alliance, told the Australian that ‘tourist numbers are going up and up’ as people head to the Cape.

“It’s not the real bush-bashing exercise it used to be in the old days,” Mr Scott said.

He indicated that in the long-term, there may be a toll bridge over the Jardine, and a sealed road all the way to the tip.

“That’s the end goal,” he said. “And every federal politician I speak to says, ‘yes, that will happen in due course’.”

Tourism and Events Queensland chief executive Leanne Coddington said the road upgrades provided an opportunity to showcase the region’s nature and culture. “Indigenous tourism is a key driver of visitation to Queensland and an area we are focused on developing,” Ms Coddington said.

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7 Responses to Coming very soon … an all-bitumen trip to the Tip?

  1. Yes, but there’s very little infrastructure for the huge influx of tourists. One van park in Weipa and maybe 3 small ones at Bamaga/Umagico and Seisia. There are a couple of very small national park camps on the way which will soon be overflowing and filthy because they are not serviced. Unless something is done very soon, this area will become a disaster zone with campers emptying their cassettes on the roadside as there are very few dump points. This all needs to be addressed before the tourists go in droves. Lots more national parks rangers will be needed to police the camps. I’m so glad we went a couple of years ago and don’t have to witness the degradation that will come.

    • It is a pity it’s coming to this!
      We towed our off-road van all the way to the top in 2015. Dump points were non-existent. We managed because our van has a black-water tank.
      Infrastructure will require a major facelift. Even so, the adventure experience will be lost forever when all the multitudes arrive.
      So glad we did it the ‘hard way’ when we could!

  2. Years ago as a young bloke, I drove to the top of the cape with my mates roughing it along the way. Now days being a bit older 🙂 my wife and I like our creature comforts, so I would welcome a sealed road all the way to the tip. Good for tourism, and guessing most people wouldn’t realise it would be good for the country’s defence.

  3. I would love to take my little van to the top but it is not off road.
    I can do the final bit in just my X Trail but need bitumen for the areas I visit with my van.

  4. Great to see an initiative like this, rather than $$$$ being spent along the eastern seaboard roads.But!!!! it would also be nice to see a dual highway from Cairns to Brisbane. I think we must be close to have dual highway from Brisbane to Melbourne.
    Just imagine what could have been done for our road infrastructure with all the TAX break $$$$.
    But, hey!!! why not give more $$$$ to the rich who really don’t need it.

  5. ” Tell em there dreaming ” even the goat track from Bris to Cairns with its very limited upgrades will need to be re done soon, as it doesn’t support the 50+ tonne B-double trucks weight on it.

  6. And when it’s done the road will become clogged with rent-a-RVs driven by foreign tourists. Which will need hundreds of “We drive on the left hand side of the road in Australis” signs.
    I’m 3 1/2 weeks out from Mornington heading for the cape, stuck in Cairns waiting for a faulty wheel turning sensor to be replaced.
    If it gets replaced today I’ll be on my way north tomorrow.

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