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Posted: 08 Oct 2016
Looking for a fully inclusive package, then look no further, including airport shuttle, tours and accommodation
Save precious time... save money, talk first with ‘the air charter professionals’ ... and have our experts find the right aircraft for you. Since 1989 Independent Aviation has provided aircraft charter solutions throughout Australasia, the Asia Pacific and the World. With our team of aviation pro...
The Vera Scarth-Johnson Gallery displays the only collection of original botanical illustrations of flora from the region. Many plants can be found in the adjoining Botanic Gardens. Nature’s Powerhouse also hosts a wide range of community events and activities including concerts, corporate functions...
Having Kindred Café open, offering the same wonderful café atmosphere we all love, catering, a retail outlet selling a range of goods, and holding events is part of an overall strategy to build local skills, promote our magnificent gardens precinct, and sustain NPH’s vitality.
From Cooktown to the tip of Australia is some of the most spectacular and rugged scenery in the country and one of the world's last wilderness areas. The area is an under-explored paradise with thousands of species of tropical birds, beautiful waterfalls and basking crocodiles.
It’s also culturally significant to the continent’s settlement. For much of the past two million years, a land bridge connected Cape York Peninsula and Papua New Guinea. As a result, the forests and woodlands of Cape York contain strong genetic links to those of Papua New Guinea. This close connection has been manifested through the sharing of species such as riflebirds and the tree kangaroos. It has also created the peoples known as Torres Strait Islanders who, with the Injinoo Aboriginal people, populate most of the northern coastal reaches of the continent.
Unlike any comparable region in Australia, Cape York still retains a full complement of functioning ecosystems ranging from undisturbed coastal environments, through to wetlands, riverine forests, tropical woodlands, tropical rainforests, dry rainforests, heathlands and dunefields. It is a priceless mosaic of life and diversity. It's numerous rivers run free and wild, unregulated by dams and weirs. During the 'wet' these rivers become enormous, creating seemingly endless floodplains that fertilise and revitalise the country.
The Cape York Peninsula begins north of Cairns, extending almost 1000 kms to the geographical tip of Australia in the north. It covers about 137,000 square kilometres -the Coral Sea is to the east of the Peninsula, the Torres Strait to the north, and the Gulf of Carpentaria to the west.
The long history of Aboriginal occupation has left a legacy of some of the world's great archaeological treasures, with some sites dating back at least 30,000 years. The sandstone escarpments of Quinkan country contain thousands of rock art sites in what is probably the largest and oldest collection of rock art in the world.
Cape York Peninsula was the first part of Australia to be mentioned in written history. After recorded visits in the 1600s by Dutch and Spanish explorers, in 1770 Captain James Cook proclaimed British sovereignty by raising the flag on Possession Island. These days, exploration takes many forms.
Cape York’s accessibility has meant limited facilities and relatively few inhabitants. From around Cooktown north, access is by dirt road suitable for 4WD, air via commercial flights into Cooktown, Weipa, Bamaga or Horn Island in the Torres Straits or by private charter or airstrip, or along the coast by sea. The eastern edge is rainforest, but west of the Great Dividing Range the land is mainly eucalypt woodland, scrubland and grasslands. The numerous rivers vary from almost dry in the dry season (May-November) to overflowing in the wet season (December-April), when the road to the Cape becomes impassable.
Safari tour companies offer various Cape trips, starting from Cairns or Cooktown. Vehicles range from Toyota Landcruisers to 14 seat Australian made 4WD OKAs; and guests have the option of a full camping safari or an accommodated safari with overnights at motels, resorts or cabins. Some of the vehicles (catering for backpackers) will drop passengers off along the way and collect again a few days later, if desired. A motorcycle safari company based in Cairns also offers guided tours to and from the Tip, as it’s called. Tag along tours where people drive their own 4WDs with a group leader are a popular option.
For anyone planning to travel on their own outside a guided safari, they’ll need to be fully prepared with maps, a suitable 4WD vehicle, emergency supplies, and a couple of good guide books.