Exploring the Bloomfield Track in Queensland
Looking for a cruisy off-road day-trip? Maybe planning a route to Cape York? Whatever you're after, the Bloomfield Track is worth a look.
The Bloomfield Track has to be one of the most popular 4WD tracks in Australia, owing to its accessibility and stunning rainforest setting. It runs north along the coast from Cape Tribulation for 30-or-so kilometres to the town of Wujul Wujul. It's a popular thoroughfare for those heading up to The Tip, an easy day trip for folks holidaying at Cape Trib and a reasonably safe drive for novice 4WDers.
When the track was built in the early-80s there was a lot of controversy surrounding the decision to chop through so much of the Daintree Rainforest. Due to these concerns, the track was built without switchbacks to reduce the amount of forest that needed to be chopped down, and as a result there are some sustained steep sections with gradients in the mid-30s. In recent years the steep sections up the Cowie and Donovan Ranges have been paved, making it a much easier drive that's perfect for those with less off-road experience. Of course, if you're after something a little more challenging, the CREB Track is only a short distance to the west.
Depending on conditions and grader activity, the first section of the track can be a little bumpy due to washouts, or it can be smooth sailing. A number of gentle river crossings (again, depending on the time of year) give way to a few rocky patches before the steep gradients kick in. You'll get some great views from the top of the Cowie Range before dipping back down for a bit more dirt and a few more river crossings. We've heard anecdotes of folk doing the Bloomfield in AWD rental cars, and on our most recent visit we were accompanied by a 22-foot caravan towed by a VW Touareg, which made it without a hitch. We even came upon a slow-going Ford Ranger who gave us the go-ahead to pass over the radio, saying he had a sleeping baby in the back! However, while it may not be the most challenging of off-road adventures, be wary of track conditions and don't try to push yourself outside of your comfort zone.
Once you've traversed the lush rainforest track, you'll pass through the town of Wujul Wujul. While you're there you'll want to take the detour to see the waterfalls and stop off at the Art and Culture Centre, where you'll find work from Indigenous artists that communicates the traditions of the local Kuku Yalanji people. If you've got some time an easy hour's drive north takes you past some picturesque scenery before reaching the Lion's Den Hotel, a top spot for lunch or an afternoon beer.
If this marks the northern-most point if your trip, then you can easily spin around and make it back to Cape Tribulation Camping for the night (one of our favourite campsites, wedged between the rainforest and the beach). Otherwise, the pointy end of Cape York might be calling your name, in which case this is just the beginning of your journey.