What an amazing way to begin our travels properly! This place has it all; great weather, amazing picturesque fresh water creeks to swim in with some unreal water falls as well as arguably some of the best 4wding in the country!!
Most people complete the track over two days but we spent 6 nights camping along the track soaking up as much of it as we could. It was so good to finally slow down, spend less time in the car and more time making the most of this incredible country of ours. We’re loving all of Cape York but the Telegraph Track is something special.
The first creek crossing you come to heading north on the Old Tele Track is arguably one of the toughest to begin the trip with. As fate would have it, this time around it also claimed the rear half of our exhaust. After a couple of attempts at the original straight through line, the engine stopped suddenly and smoke started coming out of the bonnet. Thinking the worst originally, we were relieved to discover the exhaust had dug into the mud and been bent up underneath the diff. After a quick bit of modification with the grinder, the exhaust is now a little shorter and the engine running like a charm once again. We continued on and had to winch up out of the exit.
The chicken track here is becoming worse as time goes on and some people have had to winch out of this track. So we definitely recommend you to lower your pressures, pick your line and be ready to winch out if you need to.
Ducie Creek, South Alice Creek & North Alice Creek
Ducie is a nice long crossing after Palm Creek but the Alice’s are practically dry and only a small puddle of mud and simple crossing, have no fear with these ones. We stopped at North Alice for lunch and checked the exhaust. After hacking the last half of the exhaust off, Steve was worried that there might be too much heat for the poly water tank or the spare tyre underneath to handle. The water tank was fine however the spare tyre was getting really hot where the exhaust was blowing straight onto it! Problem solved after Steve managed to fashion a new custom tip out of part of an elbow from the section he’d chopped off earlier and hose clamped to the exhaust.
We stopped here soon after lunch for an easy crossing which is shallow with a firm sheet rock base. It is a great spot to camp for a night or two with your own private waterfall and swimming hole included! We even ducked back in here via the gunshot bypass road on the way back down south for a nice campground and swim along the way.
Like Dulhunty this has a firm rock base for a creek crossing but does require you to do a dog leg to cross. With plenty of spots to camp its another gorgeous place, and if you want to be a bit more secluded there is a track heading West on the South side of the creek you can head down for a couple kilometres and camp where Bertie and the Dulhunty meet.
Be careful of the bog holes between here and gunshot, we found ourselves getting stuck unexpectedly and having to winch out. Thankfully with the help of another car we managed to keep our awning from being seriously damaged.
This is certainly the most iconic crossing on the track with an almost vertical drop down into the creek. The original track looked almost untouched this year when we went through however there were many just as challenging drops around as well. Don’t be fooled though as it is the exit that seems to be causing the majority of issues for people. The original exit is rutted out and a complex drive that is likely to require winching. The chicken track exit is right next to this and requires a bit of momentum to get up the steep track with a sharp right turn at the top! We have heard of several vehicles this year over gunning the exit and being unable to make the turn at the top; resulting in a roll over down into the rutted out original exit.
After winching twice that day we decided to stick to the easiest track and then set up camp for the evening.
Cockatoo Creek & Sailor Creek
Don’t let the sign for crocodiles at Cockatoo Creek freak you out too much, you will still want to walk this crossing as there are some holes in the rocky bottom and deeper parts you will want to drive around. It looked like a nice spot but I definitely wouldn’t be swimming here after dark!
Fruit Bat Falls
Do not miss this place! It doesn’t matter if you drive the Telegraph Track or the PDR you can visit this amazing place to go for a swim or simply admire these gorgeous waterfalls.
Eliot and Twin Falls
We did a nice 2km (20 minute) hike from Canal Creek to the falls, however you can drive to them and do the board walk in. Both of the waterfalls are flowing from different creeks, Twin Falls are part of Canal Creek and are much warmer to swim in,. They have a great pool for relaxing, especially with children, however due to the Canal Creek crossing on the Tele Track further up river the water isn’t as clear as Eloit Falls. We would recommend having a swim in both!
We camped here for 2 nights and it was so great to have our own personal swimming hole as well as only being a couple of kilometres away from Eliot and Twin Falls. We did a short 2km/20 minute walk to the falls one day for a nice swim before lunch and then spent the rest of the afternoon lazing around and swimming in Canal Creek as we pleased. It is a simple crossing with a hard rocky base, there is one hole in the main crossing but not much of an issue. The exit on the north side is fairly steep, however the puddle soon after caused most of the issues with cars simply driving too fast through it and scraping their rear end.
Sam Creek & Mistake Creek
What a magic little spot to camp for a night or several days. You can even have your own private waterfall here! We didn’t stay the night but we definitely would next time. Mistake creek is a crossing without much note, we could hardly remember what it even looked like!
This crossing is a bit like a U-Turn with a fairly tight turning circle in the middle of the shallow water. The exit is a nice knarly rutted out climb but we had no worries crawling up this one.
Cypress Creek (with a log bridge)
A log bridge or a dam we aren’t quite sure! You may want a spotter on this one just to pick the right logs to place your wheels and to miss the little bit of star dropper that is poking out of the track on the other side.
One of the deepest and longest creek crossings on the Tele Track and so many people don’t know it’s name! It looked like a nice and calm bit of lagoon-like water which appears as if it would make a perfect home for a crocodile, that maybe just our imaginations working though. Steve walked the crossing and found a number plate that had been lost in the waters by another car. There didn’t appear to be any issues as it had a nice firm base and no holes, it was just deep. We drove through with no issues, the water only just reached the bottom of the canopy but due to the length of the crossing we had a little bit of water seep in through the door seals.
Nolan’s Brook (Bridge Creek)
After crossing Nolans late in the morning we secured a prime camp spot and set up for a couple of days hoping for some good entertainment. We certainly got it! Nolans Brook is a deep crossing with a soft sandy bottom that claims many vehicles on the Tele Track each year.
The crossing was approximately ‘nipple deep’ (Steve’s only 172cm tall) with a reasonably firm base when we walked it. After unspooling some winch cable and putting a tree trunk protector in place as a precaution, we made it across in first low without any problem. There would have been close to another 50 or more cars go through in the 2 days we spent there, and many of them didn’t make it across unassisted and quite a few came out very wet, a couple with more terminal issues! If you need help on driving water crossings check out ‘How to Drive a Water Crossing’ post.
Jardine River Crossing
You can find where the old Jardine crossing is inside the National Park, near the end of camping areas. This crossing is not open to use, however in recent years there has been cars that have crossed it. We checked this crossing out from both the North and South side, to see what it was like. Steve could see how it could be crossed as the river appeared to be quite shallow and sandy across the length of it. However there is NO WAY we would be doing this crossing, as there is plenty of crocodiles around and we wouldn’t want to have to get out of the car to run the winch.