Driving to Cooktown open year round to enjoy
Getting here is very easy year round. A superb drive from Cairns Airport on the Mulligan Highway is a nice way to travel and suitable for conventional vehicles. Do forget the road to Laura is totally sealed to Laura so why not slip up to the Split Rock Art or visit the Quinkan galleries with a Aboriginal guide (Queensland’s most famous Aboriginal Rock Art) from Lakeland Downs on your way here or on your return. Flights to the village of Cooktown are offered x 2 per day Monday-Friday and 1 on Saturday and car rentals are available from the airport when booked in advance. There is a private airstrip available near the lodge for private charters. Helicopter transfers along the reef & rainforest coast are awesome and can land at the lodge.
Travelling to Cooktown, S.E Cape York
& Mungumby Lodge
Mulligan Highway (Inland Route)
The drive to our lodge from the village of Cooktown is only 25 minutes south, on the Mulligan Highway then turn into the famous Rainforest & Reef Coastal drive, the road is sealed all the way to Mungumby Road the lodge driveway which is then unsealed (4kms) to the lodge. Coming from Cairns, Helenvale is located 3 kilometres north of the Little Annan River crossing on the inland Mulligan Highway. This road is sealed all the way from Mareeba to Mungumby Road.
The inland route to the village of Cooktown is sealed all the way – 330km and less than 4 hours from Cairns. The route from Cairns takes you over the Kuranda Range and away from the coast via Highway 1, the Kennedy Highway, to Mareeba where you head north on Highway 81, the Mulligan Highway. Alternatively, along the coast to Port Douglas/Mossman to take Highway 44 via Julatten to join the Mulligan Highway at Mt Molloy.
Once over the ranges, the lush tropical rainforest is replaced by more open tropical savannah as you travel through the tiny settlements common to Cooktown. Mt Molloy was named after a teamster who discovered copper here in the 1880’s. The Post Office, in its pretty setting, provides local information. The Mt Molloy National Hotel, built in 1903, illustrates the township’s historic past. Mt Carbine was founded after the discovery of extensive wolfram deposits in 1890. The small community has a roadhouse (best pies in the north) and pub. Bob’s Lookout at the top of the Desailly Range offers spectacular views over remote and panoramic savannah stretching as far as the eye can see.
The Palmer River Goldfield, once Australia’s richest alluvial field. The discovery of alluvial gold in the Palmer River in 1872 led to Queensland’s largest gold rush. It became legendary for its hardships and the large numbers of Chinese miners, which peaked at 17,000 in 1877. Lakeland lies in a natural basin formed by volcanic activity millions of years ago. This is a great base to get fantastic coffee, meals, fuel, groceries and fresh snacks from the Lakeland Coffee House. There are public toilets on the highway at the vehicle wash down or at the Lakeland Coffee House. Here the Peninsula Development Road heads north and is now sealed all the way to Laura, or continue North East on the Mulligan Highway, passing the Annan Gorge and Black Mountain
Travelling the Great Barrier Reef & Rainforest coast road, which is a very scenic the road is sealed till Cape Tribulation. From this point on, the track is unsealed and very much 4×4 country. It is known as the notorious Bloomfield Track and spans 32kms from Cape Tribulation to the Bloomfield River where it then becomes the Bloomfield Road up to Helenvale. From Wujal Wujal to Helenvale the road is fully sealed.
(4WD between Cape Tribulation & Wujal Wujal)
Picturesque waterways, world heritage rainforest, magnificent beaches and rugged mountains make for a magical drive along the coast road to the village of Cooktown. Allow 5 hours from Cairns to enjoy the scenery. Distance approximately 234km (32kms gravel between Cape Tribulation & Wujal Wujal). From Cairns follow the Captain Cook Highway past Port Douglas, Mossman and on to the Daintree River – a stunning coastal drive. It is 105km from Cairns to the Daintree Ferry and 51km from Port Douglas. The road is sealed from the Daintree Ferry, which operates 6am to midnight, 7 days per week, to Cape Tribulation (38kms). This is a spectacular drive along the Great Barrier Reef Coast and through the World Heritage listed rainforests, one of the largest rainforest wilderness areas in Australia with many beautiful rest stops, walking tracks, swimming holes and wilderness beaches.
After Cape Tribulation take a walk along the many unique tropical beaches, ‘where
rainforest meets the reef’ at many places along the coast. “I named the north point Cape Tribulation because here began all our troubles” wrote Lt. James Cook in 1770 after his ship, the HM Bark Endeavour, foundered on a reef north of Bloomfield River. Emmagen Creek is a popular picnic spot and a great photo stop. After South Cowie Beach you will come to a unique bridge at Woobadda Creek. Take care in crossing the Cowie and Donovan Ranges as there are steep descents. 4WD is preferred beyond Emmagen Creek and the route often closes during the wet season.
Best information on current road conditions is available from operators north of the Bloomfield River. This very scenic road takes travellers on an amazing journey to the Aboriginal community of Wujal Wujal and villages of Ayton, Rossville and Helenvale. Stop and take time to visit the wonderful Bana Yirriji Art & Cultural Centre open Monday-Friday. This trip makes a great day out from Cooktown down Shiptons Flat Road and the Bloomfield Development Road, sealed from Helenvale all the way to Wujal Wujal.
At Wujal Wujal turn left after the bridge and drive to the Bloomfield Falls car park, then a 500m walk to the falls. The falls are especially spectacular after the wet season.
Swimming is not advised due to the possibility of crocodiles in the Bloomfield River below the falls and Aboriginal cultural concerns.
|Travel times Cairns to the village of Cooktown to Mungumby Lodge:|
|Mulligan Highway from Cairns to Helenvale (self drive)|
Mossman via Mulligan Highway to Helenvale (self drive)
|Flight from Cairns to Helenvale airstrip||45 min|
|Private transfer Cooktown airport to Mungumby||35 min|
|Coastal Bloomfield Track via Cape Tribulation (self drive)||5 hrs|
Google or Bing maps and some navigators are 100% guaranteed to get you lost or head you in the wrong location on Cape York, especially when trying to find Mungumby Lodge. Mungumby Lodge has been in the same location long before Google arrived or stopped listening. RACQ road updates over the wet season cannot be trusted to be up to date. A good HEMA Map is available at most roadside stores or download them online. Even better get the Explore Cooktown tourism guide.
Our GPS = 15 deg 42’24.24″min S – 145 deg 15’16.14″ min E.
Reef & Rainforest Flights
Air safaris across the reef and rainforest are a spectacular way to visit, even if it is only one way! Self-drive or safari options from Cairns & its Northern Beaches also offer spectacular sights from the ground. Inland offers the true outback, unlike the rainforest clad coast road it is sealed almost all the way!
A local Cairns based airline that services the village of Cooktown 2 times daily Monday to Friday among other destinations, departing from Hinterland Aviation terminal at Cairns General Aviation section of Cairns airport. Check in is required at least 45 mins prior to flight departure. As the luggage restriction is 20kg per person including hand we recommend that customers leave some luggage at their hotel in Cairns for pick up on their return. These very scenic coastal flights are a very personal way of getting to Cooktown quickly.
Historically Daintree Air Services have offered their popular air-tours, scenic flights and air charter services from their Cairns Base. 2018 marks a big change in the company’s history as their new Cooktown base is expected to open in May 2018. The Cooktown base represents a huge financial commitment and a big vote of confidence in the future of Cooktown and surrounds. Clients can now book to depart on charter flights anywhere in Australia directly out of and returning directly to Cooktown rather than having to travel to Cooktown via Cairns as they have had to do previously. The very
popular reef flights, Lizard Island day tour and Cape York day tour will also be available from Cooktown airport.
You can add these to your booking with Mungumby Lodge!
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