The Old Telegraph Track (South End)
The anticipation of what was to come was almost palpable in the air when we pulled into Bramwell Junction Roadhouse. Our Day started early in Coen, one of the larger settlements along the PDR. We refueled the convoy at the general store, and grabbed a few basic supplies before heading north to the PDR for the 250km journey north to Bramwell Junction. Although the distance doesn’t seem like much on paper, over corrugations, it’s a considerable distance. We stopped off at the Archer River Roadhouse for a bite to eat, and then again at Moreton Telegraph Station for a well deserved swim in the Wenlock River. The knee-deep fresh water was a welcome relief from the relentless corrugations. It was certainly a lot harder to get out and press on than it was to get in!
Swimming at Wenlock River Moreton Telegraph
We arrived at Bramwell in the mid afternoon, and got set up for the evening. We couldn’t help but have a look at the first few km of the Old Telegraph Track to see what was in store for the morning. So, under the guise of ‘collecting firewood’ we went for a quick look.
Ducie Creek Exit
The ruts left behind by the receding waters of the wet season certainly meant that picking the right line for stability was going to be the key consideration. But, before we spoiled the surprise too much, we made our way back to camp (without forgetting the firewood!)
Camp Set-up at Bramwell Junction
The Burgers at the Roadhouse are fantastic, one of those old style home made burgers that requires a python-like lower jaw dislocation to take a bite from. We came into the trip expecting to cook for ourselves just about every meal, and while that is certainly an option, when you’re staying in one of the Pubs or roadhouse camp grounds, it would be a sin not to try out some of the hearty offerings they have, and it certainly beats washing up!
Come morning the crew was chaffing at the bit to get out and experience the fabled Old Tele Track, one of the 4WD highlights of the trip that everyone had been looking forward to from the outset. It’s a well documented track, covered countless times by all 4WD publications, but none of the people in our convoy had ever set foot here before. Not really knowing what to expect at this late stage in the season, the MTZ’s on the GU received a pressure adjustment down to 24PSI, while it might not have been absolutely necessary, it ensures that the tyres didn’t spin unnecessarily and both the track and the rubber weren’t too worse for wear after our passing. The first obstacle when heading from south to North is Palm Creek, which we found to be almost completely dry, which made it a relatively easy drive, with plenty of traction on the dry & dusty drop in. We had to position the vehicles hard over to the passenger side of the track to avoid panel contact on the way into the creek. This would certainly be a far harder challenge earlier in the season.
Palm Creek on the Old Tele Track
Ducie Creek (just north of Palm Creek) had a couple of offset wombat holes in the exit track that had the Patrol rocking back and forth on diagonally opposite wheels. The Harrop E-Lockers helped to control the ascent though, and allowed us to gently crawl up as the rest of the crew were entertained by the slow transition from leaning back to leaning forward. If you’ve ever had a big wheel lift happens suddenly but slowly, you’ll know the adrenaline charged feeling that comes with balancing the vehicle out as you make progress forward.
Both North and South Alice Creeks offered very little in the way of challenging 4WDing when dry, and we pushed on to The Dulhunty River. The tales of knee deep crystal clear waters we had heard back at the Roadhouse turned out to be very true, and the rocky ledge on the left hand side of the creek was covered in just 6 inches of water. We couldn’t resist parking up and sitting just feet from the vehicles in a small waterfall to cool off.
Dulhunty River Swim
Our Adventures on the Old Telegraph Track continue soon. For more on David Cook’s Cape York adventure visit our Facebook page.