Peninsula Development Road PDR

When driving on the Peninsula Development Road PDR there are a few things you need to do to be safe.

  • Turn your lights on. When you’re surrounded in dust it makes it easier for others to see you.
  • Let your tyres down. It reduces the bounce when on the corrugations.
  • Tune your UHF radio to channel 40. So you can hear what’s happening around you. And let the car in front know when you want to pass.

Be considerate of other drivers and remember everyone has different level of driving experience. So while you might be a 4WD expert others are not. And we want everyone to enjoy the experience.

Fuel on the Peninsula Development Road PDR

  • Cairns to Lakeland 248km – about 3.5hrs
  • Lakeland to Laura  61km – about 1hr
  • Laura to Hann River Roadhouse  76km – about 1hr
  • Hann River Road House to Musgrave  62km – about 1hr
  • Musgrave to Coen  108km  – about 1.5hrs
  • Coen to Archer River Roadhouse  65km – about 1 hr
  • Archer River Roadhouse to Bramwell Roadhouse  165km – about 2 – 2.5hrs
  • Bramwell Roadhouse to Jardine Ferry  171km – about 2 – 2.5 hrs
  • Jardine Ferry to Bamaga  41km – about 45 minutes

Note: Distances as per Hema Map Cape York 14th Edition

Peninsula Development Road PDR - Explore Cape York

Are We There Yet?

No matter what direction you are coming from it is a long way to Pajinka, The Tip.

All the information on this page gets you to the Jardine River Ferry.

When you reach the northern banks of the Jardine River you are on land that belong to Traditional Owners.

And there is so much to explore.

Yes taking your photos at The Tip of Australia sign is a must. But so is respecting the local culture. There are some activities that are not allowed and could cause areas to be shut down.

Are We There Yet?

No matter what direction you are coming from it is a long way to Pajinka, The Tip.

All the information on this page gets you to the Jardine River Ferry.

When you reach the northern banks of the Jardine River you are on land that belong to Traditional Owners.

And there is so much to explore.

Yes taking your photos at The Tip sign is a must. But so is respecting the local culture. There are some activities that are not allowed and could cause areas to be shut down.

Lakeland to

Weipa Turn Off

Lakeland to Weipa Turn Off


Lakeland is at the junction of the Mulligan Highway and the PDR. It is the start of your Journey to The Tip of Australia.

Keep a look out for the road side stalls selling watermelons, pineapples and more.

You will find…


Laura is a small town definitely worth checking out. It has a wealth of history dating back to the late 1800’s. It has….

Quinkan & Split Rock

Quinkan have rock art tours, accommodation and storage of caravans.

Split Rock art, 12 km south of Laura, has some of the oldest and largest galleries in the world. It’s a self-guided tour with an honesty system in place – it is well worth checking out

Old Laura Homestead

While your are here take the short trek (27kms) to Old Laura Homestead. It’s located in the Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park. You can camp overnight but  booking is essential through Queesnland National Parks.

Three Stations

Fairview Station

Fairview Station is 20km north west of Laura on the PDR. It has cabin accommodation and is a true Cape York experience.

Olive Vale

Olive Vale is on the Laura River 200km northwest of Cairns and 90km west of Cooktown. It has both cabin and tent accommodation.


Koolburra (meaning big waters) is 65km north of Laura on the PDR. It has camping. Four rivers run through this property. The Hann, St George, North Kennedy and Kennedy

All Three Farmstays

They all provide BBQs for guests to use, laundry facilities and parking. Activities include hunting, fishing and bush walking. Bookings can be made online.

Hann River Roadhouse

This is a must stop if you have kids.  There’s a playgound to rival anything you’ll find down south. There’s  horses, a myriad of birds and their babies and a wallaby or two.

And let’s not forget the donkey (donkey shower that is). Gather some firewood and crank her up. Check out their Facebook Page for more details.

  • Convenience items
  • Fuel
  • Water
  • Towing and limited mechanical services
  • Takeaway
  • Licensed Bar
  • Single, Double & Family Rooms
  • Showers
  • Toilets
  • Camping & kids stay free
  • Group Camping Spots – you must book these
  • Dogs allowed
  • Campfires allowed
  • Caravan sites – powered and unpowered
  • Caravans/Campers can be stored
  • Fishing in the river

Artemis Station

Artemis is still a working cattle station run by the descendants of the original owner Frederick Shephard.

It is also home to the threatened Golden-shouldered Parrot. The owners do amazing work on their station to save this special bird.

Travellers are welcome to spend a night or two on the property.

Bookings can be made by phoning 07 4060 3264. 

  • Caravan sites – no power
  • Camping
  • Rooms & dongas
  • Water
  • Showers
  • Toilets
  • Campfires allowed
  • Dogs allowed
  • Bird watching

Musgrave Roadhouse

You are how at the half way point between Cairns and the ‘The Tip’ of Australia. It’s the original Musgrave Telegraph Station which housed both the staff and the telegraph office.

You’ll need to be there by 5.00 pm if you want to see the fresh water crocs being fed.

The Roadhouse is also still run by descendants of Frederick Shephard.

South of Musgrave is a road heading west to Pormpuraaw. And to the east is the northern access to Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park (Cape York Peninsula Aboriginal land) (CYPAL) .

  • Basic groceries
  • Fuel
  • Water
  • Meals & Takeaway
  • Licensed Bar
  • Motel with Single & Twin Rooms
  • Caravan spots – no power
  • Camping
  • Showers
  • Toilets
  • Campfires allowed
  • Dogs allowed
  • Souvenirs
  • Free pay phone
  • Wi-Fi available

Port Stewart

Port Stewart is almost on the coast. But if you’re planning on fishing you will definitely need a boat.

The turn off is south of Coen and it’s 63km drive to the mouth of Stewart River.

Being on the east coast you will have strong trade winds from February to November.

  • Camping
  • Campfires allowed
  • Boat Ramp


Coen was settled in the late 1800’s when gold was discovered. You will find…

There is no phone coverage after Coen until you reach Weipa or the Jardine Ferry.

Oyala Thumotang National Park (CYPAL)

25km north of Coen Quarantine Station is the turnoff to Oyala Thumotang National Park. Coming from the south it is on the left. It is called Rokeby Road.

The Park is closed for the wet season from 1 December to 19 June. These dates may change due to the weather.

Fishing is permitted in all waterholes except for Peach Creek.

You might land yourself a huge saratoga found in these waters. Vardons Lagoon is a top spot for bird watching.  The Palm cockatoo is often here.

There are a number of good camping spots. Being a National Park camping permits are required.

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Archer River Roadhouse

It sits on the banks of the Archer River and is a great place to pull over for a break or a night. It has….

  • Convenience items
  • Fuel
  • Takeaway – Try the famous ‘Archer Burger’
  • Licensed Bar
  • Rooms
  • Showers
  • Toilets
  • Caravan sites unpowered
  • Camping
  • Free camping on the river banks 150m up the road
  • Campfires allowed
  • Dogs allowed
  • Free pay phone
  • Wi-Fi available

Turn Off, Track & Shortcut

Weipa Turnoff

51 km north of Archer River is the Weipa and Bamaga Road Junction. It is known locally as the ‘Y’.

It’s 163km to Weipa and a further 81km to (Old) Mapoon

Batavia Downs Road Shortcut

It’s 40km long and takes at least 1 hour off your travel time. It’s a short cut from Weipa to Bamaga Road on your way to ‘The Tip’.

Frenchmans Track West to East

About 2km North of the Batavia Downs bypass is the turn off to the western entrance to Frenchmans Track.

Weipa Turn Off To

Jardine Ferry

Weipa Turn Off to

Jardine Ferry

Merluna Station

On the way to Weipa and 33km from the ‘Y’ you’ll find Merluna Station

You head through the working cattle station for 8km until you reach the homestead.

The owners Michelle and Cameron are working hard to make it environmentally friendly and sustainable.

  • Drinking Water
  • Cabins & Donga Rooms
  • Caravan accessible
  • Camping
  • Camp kitchen
  • Toilets
  • Showers
  • WiFi

Moreton Telegraph Station

It sits on the bank of the Wenlock River which flows all year round.

For more information check out their website.

  • Limited grocery items
  • Caravan sites – powered (7.00am to 8.30pm) and unpowered.
  • Camping amongst bushland
  • Showers – hot water 24 hours
  • Toilets
  • Campfires allowed in firepits
  • Dogs allowed
  • Wi-Fi available
  • Walking tracks
  • Fishing in the river
  • Bird watching
  • Small museum

Bramwell Tourist Park

Look for the big white tyres on the right hand as you head north. It’s 6km south of Bramwell Junction. Turn right at the tyres and it’s another 6km to the Park.

Bramwell Tourist Park is on Bramwell Station which a 1330 square kilometre working cattle station.

It’s open from May to October with meals and live entertainment each night.

  • Meals
  • Licensed bar
  • Showers
  • Toilets
  • Cabins
  • Caravan sites
  • Camping
  • Campfires allowed
  • Caravans/Campers can be stored
  • Water
  • Dogs allowed

Bramwell Junction Roadhouse

Bramwell Junction Roadhouse is located at the beginning of the southern section of the OTT. It’s open from 7.00am to 7.00pm.

From here there are a few places where you can check out the OTT.

And Palm Creek is the first of them, follow the sign at the Junction. You can camp at Palm Creek and spend a day being entertained.

  • Fuel – last chance until Jardine Ferry
  • Water
  • Cafe
  • Showers
  • Toilets
  • Wheelcair accessible
  • Caravan sites – Off road vans only
  • Camping
  • Wi-Fi available
  • Campfires allowed
  • Dogs allowed

Gunshot Creek Bypass

Heathlands Ranger Base is the next stop on the PDR if you want to check out Gunshot Creek Crossing. Taking this bypass means you can see some of the 4WD action and not have to drive the OTT.

  • It’s 13km to the Ranger Base
  • Then 12km on the southern Gunshot bypass before hitting the OTT
  • And another 9km to the legendary Gunshot Creek

The only creek crossing is Cholmondeley which is fairly easy.

At Gunshot there is room to camp so you can hang around and watch the action.

There is usually a chicken (side) track or two if you want to keep going. You will come out on the northern Gunshot bypass.

A word of warning if you decide to keep going past the creek. When travelling just after the wet season, there is a pretty big mud bog you’ll have to travel through. This may involve winching, to get to the northern bypass.

From the northern bypass it’s 15km and you are back at the Ranger Base.

Cockatoo & Sailor Creek Detour

You can duck back in from the exit of the southern OTT to check out Sailor and Cockatoo Creeks, an easy but quite slow track.

The bridge over Sailor Creek is no longer safe to use. So follow the track into the creek.

Then you’ll reach Sheldon Lagoon which has a reasonably hard bottom.

Cockatoo Creek has plenty of room for camping including a large shelter and is a great place to relax and have a swim. It’s known to have crocodiles during the wet season so be sure the water is clear and safe to swim.

Fruit Bat Falls

It’s a must see and do.

It is day access only so no camping allowed.

As it’s in a national park no dogs are allowed. You can leave them in your vehicle.

A beautiful part of the extraordinary Cape with its magical waterfalls and safe swimming holes.

The Queensland Government website has great information about the Falls.

Eliot & Twin Falls

These are another must see along with The Saucepan.

This section is in Jardine National Park.

That means you will need a permit to camp.

And if you’ve got dogs they are will have to stay in the dog crate or car.

The Queensland Government website has great information about the Falls and the Park.

Sam Creek Detour

15km north of the Fruit Bat Falls turnoff you will find the bypass road to Sam Creek.

It’s not signed and appears as an insignificant track. But there is usually a couple of beer cans or large rocks to guide your way. 

A further 7km will bring you onto the OTT . Take a right hand turn to get to Sam Creek.

It has stacks of camping spots and a beautiful waterfall to cool off in.

A top place to spend a day or two.

Nolan’s Brook Detour

Nolan’s Brook is the last of the creek crossings on the OTT.

And it’s probably one of the most notorious with numerous vehicle drowned each year.

28km from the Fruit Bat turnoff or 2.5km from the last section of bitumen you’ll spot a black 44 gallon drum on the right hand side of the road.

Follow this track for 11km. Then take a right at the T intersection to bring you out at Nolan’s.

There are plenty of shaded camping areas, a great swimming hole and a world of entertainment watching others crossing the creek.

Jardine River South Camping

Take the track to the T intersection leading to Nolan’s Brook and turn left.

Follow the track for 7km to the southern bank of the Jardine River.

At this point you may be considering crossing the river, should you? No, the crossing is closed.

Downstream is the pump station providing water for the Northern Peninsula Area (NPA) All of us who live in the NPA would prefer not to have fuel and more in our drinking water.

You are now in Jardine River National Park and so you will need to get a camping permit.

Jardine River Ferry see North of the Jardine .

Jardine River Ferry

NPA Regional Council operates the Jardine River Ferry service.

It operates 7 days a week from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm with the exception of some public/gazetted holidays.

Your ferry ticket may be purchased at the ferry or online prior to arrival.

During the wet season the ferry may be taken out of the water for maintenance.

Be sure to have a yarn with the locals you operate the Ferry. You will learn a lot about Cape York

  • Fuel
  • Water
  • Camping
  • Toilets
  • Internet
  • Dogs allowed