Cairns - Cape York via the Peninsula Developmental Road.
Total distance 1,012km
All distances measured from Cairns


The first part of the journey is on good bitumen roads - but donít be fooled! This is definately a trip for 4x4s with probably the best bet to go with one of the tour companies operating out of Cairns. These tours can either be as a ëtag-a-longí in your own 4x4 or as a passenger in their vehicles with everything provided.

You will need to be completely self-sufficient if travelling on your own as there is very little in the way of facilities on this journey. If there has been much rain sections of the road become impassible and river crossings can be hazardous in the wet season.

After leaving Cairns and travelling just 13km northwards, you turn inland on Highway 1 for the climb up the Dividing Range to Mareeba (64km) and from there turn right on to the Peninsula Developmental Road (Hwy 81). At Mount Molloy (106km) our route is joined by the road from Mossman and this is an alternative route to get to this point from Cairns.

The bitumen road continues as we travel northwards towards Lakeland Downs (253km) but some km before arriving there we find ourselves on unsealed road and this will be the case for the rest of the trip to the top of Australia.

A right turn here would put us on the road to Cooktown where James Cook and his crew spent some weeks repairing the Endeavour during their voyage up the East Coast.

From here to the top of the peninsula there are only two small townships - Laura (317km) and Coen (560km) A further 110km from Coen would take you to the fork in the road with the left fork being the continuation of the Peninsula Developmental Road leading to Weipa and the right hand road going on almost to the Cape at Barmaga (1,001km) and another 12km taking you right to the top.