Tony and Nancy Bates stop for a photo at the northernmost point of the Australian continent.
Tony and Nancy Bates stop for a photo at the northernmost point of the Australian continent.

Wet and warm is better weather for barra up north

OPINION: If you want to travel Cape York Peninsula to fish, make sure they have had a decent wet season first.

Then ensure the water is warm. Tropical warm.

Barramundi were not biting up that way in July and August because they had had a cold snap.

The maximum plummeted to below 15 degrees.

Apparently, if wet has been wet and the weather is warm, the barramundi throw themselves at fish hooks like lemmings over a cliff.

Then they fillet themselves and do a final flip into the pan or the freezer. Your choice.

As we had been advised, the road to the northern tip of Australia around the southern and northern bypasses is not too bad - if you don't mind corrugations.

Most of the 1000km from Cairns to the tip is unsealed.

If you take the straight line of the Old Telegraph Track it is slower and a hell of a lot of fun and scenic - if you don't mind the dents and scratches on your vehicle.

We were a bit blessed over the corrugations with Isabel's air-adjustable robo shocks, Stratos seats and LSD rear differential and ATB front diff.

Our travelling companions Ross and Heather found the going a little rougher in the Cruiser towing the star of the north, Ross's converted Troopy camper trailer.

We decided to do the bypasses north and try the Telegraph Track on our return after talking to a few people who had just done it.

The Jardine River ferry prices have shot up this year: a seven minute ride costs $129 for a car, more if you have a trailer.

Over the Jardine all roads seem to lead through central Bamaga, which has a post office, a pub of random hours, a supermarket and crayfish pies at the bakery.

Where the road forks north of Bamaga, the left road goes to Australia's most northern beach camp, glorious Punsand Bay (no fish).

Right takes you to where you park, walk over the rocks or around the beach and pole dance around the sign declaring you are at the most northern spot on the continent.

Another right turn takes you to the old Somerset ruins and a pretty little beach but back at the fork itself is a big white plastic tent trimmed with a red dust ruffle. In there tourists each winter fork out for more than 2000 t-shirts (I Made It To The Tip and I survived the Telegraph Track) and other Cape York memorabilia.

Retired Chronicle editor Nancy Bates, travelling with husband Tony in Isabel the Global Warrior, is reporting from the trail of the Grey Nomads.

Talking to Dale Mears at the iconic Croc Tent, the souvenir tent that sits alone at a fork in the rainforest road north of Bamaga.
Talking to Dale Mears at the iconic Croc Tent, the souvenir tent that sits alone at a fork in the rainforest road north of Bamaga.


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