Conquering Cape Bedford by 4 wheel drive

Conquering Cape Bedford

From sea, the Cape Bedford headland is an impressive part of the Cooktown to Lizard Island landscape.

And often as we sail past on one of our northern adventures, we could see dirt tracks leading up to the top of the southern headland.

At night, campfires on the beach.

Naturally, it has been a quest of ours to conquer Cape Bedford by vehicle for quite some time!

So on our last trip to Cooktown we found ourselves with half a day spare – and decided to find the track and get to the top.

On the way we travelled through the Hopevale Community, home of the traditional owners of this beautiful part of the country, for 50,000 plus years.

And visited the Coloured Sands of Elim Beach. Another sight we have seen by sea but wanted to traverse on foot.

Before visiting the coloured sands, you must obtain a permit either from the Elim Beach Campground.

The campground was run by traditional owner Eddie Deeral who has since passed away.

However it is still open and a glorious location to camp and explore the area.

Just a short drive to the right (it’s signposted) will get you to Eddie’s camp for the permit.

Since our trip to Cape Bedford was a day trip, we dropped in, grabbed the $10 permit and headed off to explore.

We must say though, that in future we will head back and stay a few days as it was spectacular. A 4×4 is a must – please don’t take your 2WD vehicle on the beach unless it’s a dune buggy!

Watch the video of our day exploring Cape Bedford below.



Trip Highlights

Coloured sands elim beach

The coloured sands at Elim beach are spectacular. Bring a board for the kids to slide down the sandy embankment once you've climbed up the gorge.

Cape Bedford track

If you take the right track, an easy 4x4 trip will get you to the top of Cape Bedford (southern headland). But you wouldn't bring a 2WD as some of the sand is quite soft.

Cape Bedford track

The view from the top is amazing. You can even see the shipwreck we swam on the day before.

Defalting tyres for sand driving

Deflating tyres for sand driving is advisable if it hasn't rained for a while and the sand is powdery.

Cape Bedford beach

Driving the beach was quite easy with the sand hard packed. You'll need low tide to traverse the beach. Drive toward the Cape and when you hit the swampy creek, head bush up the hill.

Cape Bedford distinctive plateau

Seen from sea and from the coloured sands, Cape Bedford has an distinctive plateau top - a real distinguishing feature for navigation. What on earth are we doing? I don't know I can't remember haha. Playing silly buggers I guess.

Car damaged by ocean

Beach driving is best undertaken at low tide - or risk coming to grief like this guy.

Exploring mangroves

At the base of the southern headland are some lovely mangroves to explore. Just watch the water as it's prime crocodile habitat.  

Getting to Cooktown.

The bitumen comes all the way into town these days so it's easy to bring your boat.

If you are going to spend a ton of cash on ,accommodation, boats, tackle and fuel, the best bet to maximize that investment is in knowledge.

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I hope you enjoyed our video on exploring Cape Bedford and the Elim Beach coloured sands.

As we mentioned previously, Cooktown is the gateway to the north.

If you've missed our trip to Princess Charlotte Bay you can watch the whole adventure >> here.

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About The Author

Ryan Moody

Ryan Moody started his fishing career on the reef boats before catching bucket list marlin for the likes of champion heavy tackle angler Johnno Johnson, INXS and the King of Sweden. Branching out in the late 80's to guided barramundi fishing, Ryan has made a name for himself as a Big Barramundi specialist and to date has put clients onto over 2000 metre plus barra. That is over 2 kilometres of metre plus barra! With attitudes changing from 'keep all you can' towards catch and release, Ryan has decided to share his extensive knowledge and hopefully inspire people of all ages to get out from behind the computer screen/TV and into the fishing outdoors lifestyle he has spent his life perfecting.

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