The Tip West
The journey to the northernmost point of the Australian mainland is a rite of passage for many travellers, particularly those coming from the Old Telegraph Track who are on a pilgrimage to the Tip.
|Grading||Difficult – low range gearing and high ground clearance..|
|Time||Two days minimum|
|Distance||80km, Seisia return|
|80km, Seisia return; 74km Seisia to Bamaga|
|Best time of year||Dry Season (May – October).|
|Warnings||Crocodile infested estuaries and beaches. Alcohol restrictions apply.|
|Permits and fees||Fees apply for camping|
|Camping||Seisia Holiday Park; Loyalty Beach Campground & Fishing Lodge, Punsand Bay Camping Resort, Bush camping at Punsand Bay|
|Important contacts||Bamaga Information Centre Ph (07) 4069 3211; Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council, Seisia office Ph (07) 4048 6700; Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council, Bamaga office Ph (07) 4090 4100; Jardine River Ferry Ph (07) 4069 1369|
The road between Seisia, or Loyalty Beach, to The Tip is generally in good condition. Where it veers north to The Tip it narrows a bit and the rainforest closes in, with a few small creek crossings.
Most travellers come this way to walk out to the northernmost point of mainland Australia. The parking lot at the end of the road provides access to the beach north of the derelict Pajinka Resort.
On the way back south there are two tracks leading to Punsand Bay. The northern route is rough and washed out, and impassable when wet. The southern route is relatively well-graded: the turnoff just north of the Croc Tent.
In addition to the resort at Punsand Bay, several bush camps can be accessed via this track at Wroonga Point and Peak Point, both managed by Punsand Bay Camping Resort.
Things to do
There is a great ‘secret fishing spot’ just north of Loyalty Beach, at the mouth of Paterson Creek. Just follow the dirt tracks that veer off the road that runs past Loyalty Beach until you come out at the mouth. This is an excellent spot for barra if you catch the tide right.
The Croc Tent is the unofficial place to get souvenirs on the Cape, and is worth a look on the way to The Tip.
The walk out to The Tip is a ‘must-do’. It traverses some fairly steep rocks, and along the way there are cairns aplenty that grow each season. The fishing from the rocks around The Tip can be exceptional.
At Punsand Bay the fishing is good in the creeks, off the beach or offshore. Numerous camping and accommodation options are available, and there is a bar and restaurant here too.
The history of this part of Australia is a tangled web of early exploration by the Dutch and English, and before that the interaction of the Australian Aborigines with Torres Strait Islanders and the Papuans of Papua New Guinea.
These rich waters have beckoned humans for as long as there have been people here, and this outpost – thousands of kilometres from civilization – has been a melting pot of cultures for as long.
The ruins of the Pajinka Resort, swiftly being incorporated back into the rainforest, are evidence of the recent history of The Tip and its reacquisition by the local Aboriginal community.