Daintree river crossing CREB track

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Must Do 4WD tracks in Tropical North Queensland

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TNQ Writer

Hop on board with True North Adventures as they spill the beans on the top-notch 4WD tracks in Tropical North Queensland. Grab some savvy tips and winks of wisdom about the grandest landscapes in the region!

Everyone loves a road trip, and there’s no doubt that Tropical North Queensland has some of the most scenic sealed roads in the world, but what if you would rather turn off the blacktop and venture where corrugations are king, water crossings are the norm and low range 4WD is constantly engaged? If that sounds like your idea of the perfect road trip, you’ve come to the right place!

The CREB Track

Head 120km north of Cairns, and you’ll find the CREB Track. It’s the perfect start to your TNQ adventure.

Originally built by the Cairns Regional Electricity Board (CREB) as the service track for the power line to Cooktown, it has now become one of TNQ’s most notorious 4WD tracks.
At 71km long The CREB track meanders its way through the world heritage Daintree Rainforest and offers crystal clear water crossings and spectacular views.

If dry, the track will only take you a few hours to complete, but keep an eye on the weather forecast as if rain is on the way your short journey could become a multi-day mission. For this reason, the track is closed for the wet season and reopens as the weather and track dries up.

If you’re after a meal, cold refreshment or somewhere to stay after your CREB adventure, the historic Lions Den Hotel is a popular option.

In dry weather, the CREB is suitable for any stock 4WD, although if you expect it to be wet then mud terrain tyres and a winch would be recommended.


Be sure to check the Douglas Shire Council website before your trip for current conditions.

The Old Coach Road

If rocky, technical tracks with a huge splash of pioneer history thrown in are more your style then the Old Coach Road is the track for you.

Traversing the Palmer River National Park, the Old Coach Road follows 81km of rough, steep tracks forged by prospectors to reach Maytown on the banks of the once gold-rich Palmer River. This track is not for the faint of heart with incredibly steep climbs and loose rocky terrain its unrelenting low-range driving will keep you constantly on your toes.

Allocate a minimum of a day for driving to conquer the track, and if historical exploration tickles your fancy, consider dedicating a day or two to uncover the numerous abandoned ruins in the Maytown region, remnants of a bygone era when the gold rush lost its glitter. All camp spots in the Palmer River National Park must be booked in advance so be sure to make your bookings before your arrival.

A high clearance 4WD, good quality offroad tyres and some low range experiences are recommended to tackle the track.

Old Telegraph Track

Undoubtedly the pinnacle of Australian 4WD tracks is the Old Telegraph Track (OTT). It is a bucket list item for many 4WD enthusiasts.

Completed in 1886 the Overland Telegraph Track formed a communication link between Brisbane and Australia’s northernmost point. Although it was once cleared to 40m wide, the bush has reclaimed most of the cleared land.  You will find yourself following a single-lane bush track that winds its way through 200km of spectacular Cape York wilderness from Bramwell station to the Jardine River.

As you traverse its many challenges and countless river crossings you will catch glimpses of the old poles that once supported the telegraph wire. The highlight of the OTT for many travellers is its crystal-clear swimming holes. The standouts are Elliot and Fruitbat Falls. Be sure you allow a few hours to stop, swim and take in the serenity of these spots along the way.

Because of the OTTs’ many water crossings getting a snorkel fitted to your car is a must-fit accessory. For a track this remote and wet there is always safety in numbers so if you are travelling solo a stay at Bramwell Junction the night before to meet fellow travellers and join a convoy is a good idea.

Keep the engine running

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