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The Bloomfield Track

creek crossing on the bloomfield track in the daintree
Mason's Tours crossing a creek on the Bloomfield Track

 

the new causeway on the bloomfield track4wd crossing the bloomfield river
The temporary causeway on the Bloomfield River, photos by Mason's Tours

The Bloomfield Track is not suitable for normal cars so you either need to book on a fourwheel drive tour,
hire a fourwheel drive, or bring your own fourwheel drive vehicle.

The Bloomfield Track became famous in 1984 when hippies and greenies tried to stop council bulldozers from pushing this road through the rainforest. Hundreds of police were sent up and the protest failed as the bulldozers did complete the road, but the news headlines around the country put the Daintree in the spotlight.

From Melbourne you can drive about 4000 km. north but the sealed road stops at Cape Tribulation, and that is where the Bloomfield Track starts. Now you either need to drive a good 4WD vehicle, or book on a 4WD tour.
The gravel road can be rough in places, there are some incredibly steep sections, and there are numerous creek crossings. After heavy rains and storms the road is often impassible and can be closed for some time.

Drivers should be caerful with the creek crossings and know the capabilities of their vehicle, remember that even if your vehicle is capable of handling water up to the headlights that the fastflowing current can swipe you off the causeway, and you would certainly not be the first one to go down a creek! Walking through the water is normally the best way to check water depth, although further north up the peninsula you have to weigh off the risk of being eaten by a crocodile if you stick with this technique.

The Bloomfield Track is not suitable for caravans or normal cars without enough clearance and four wheel drive.
On the two steep sections, Donovan's Range at 20% (1:5), and Cowie Range at 33% (1:3) you should be in the right (low) gear before you start your climb or descent as it is dangerous to do this halfway, and in wet weather is it advisable to also have 4WD engaged. When coming down the steep hill never allow your speed to build up, and use a low gear to slow you down, don't just rely on your brakes here, or you might end up like this one.....

mayhem on the bloomfield track
Another one bites the dust...

After wet weather the road surface can breaks up and form boggy patches, try to avoid these and drive on the hardest surface or follow the existing ruts. Make sure that you know how to engage 4WD - in some (especially older) vehicles hubs on the wheels need to be locked beforehand so you have to get out of the car. Full time 4WD vehicles usually need to have the center diff locked.
Even when dry the road surface can be loose and slippery with the gravel not giving you much contact with a solid surface and slides can develop easily. It is recommended to drive slowly and avoid hard braking or rapid acceleration.
Dust is another hazard, and the decreased visibility can cause accidents so don't stop suddenly in a dust cloud and don't follow other vehicles too close. Drive with your headlights on in dusty situations as it will help others to see you.

The unsealed road of the Bloomfield Track starts just past the Cape Tribulation Beach car park.
The first point of interest along the way is Emmagen Beach, there is no sign but after about 5km. keep your eye out for a place where the road bends to the left and there is a huge strangler fig tree on the right. Park here and follow the track that starts from the big tree and you will end up on remote and unspoilt Emmagen Beach.
Only just up the road from here is Emmagen Creek, the first creek crossing along the track. This can get a little busy in the middle of the day with tours stopping here. You can get away from the crowds by walking upstream, beautiful swimmingholes all the way up.
The track continues from here with a few more creek crossings through creeks like Woobadda, remote Cowie Beach, and the steep Donovan's and Cowie Ranges.
After about 33 km. you cross the Bloomfield River and arrive in the Aboriginal settlement of Wujul Wujul.
If you hang on to your left here you will find the Bloomfield Falls, pictured on the right.

A detailed Cape Trib to Cooktown Map is available from Mason's Information Centre and Store in Cape Tribulation.

The map focusses on points of interest along the way, has trip distances both ways, a map of Cooktown, two pages of four wheel driving advice dealing with different sorts of road conditions and where to be wary along the way.

bloomfield falls
Bloomfield Falls

Travelling further north of Wujul Wujul you will pass places such as Rossville, Ayton, and there is another beautiful waterfall at Home Rule.
Just before the track meets the sealed inland road up to Cooktown there is a local wateringhole named the
Lion's Den Hotel, this historic pub is worth a stop but be careful, don't get stuck here, the beers are cold and the locals are friendly.

lions den hotel on bloomfield track in the bar at the lions den lions den hotel on the bloomfield track on the way to cooktown

After a refreshing ale or two at this pub it is now an easy drive to mysterious Black Mountain and Cooktown along the sealed road, here you can explore the town, the James Cook Museum, the Botanical Gardens, have some lunch at the wharf, or watch the sunset from the lighthouse at Grassy Hill.

cooktown
View from the Cooktown wharf over the Endeavour River

cooktown light house black mountain cooktown hotel

Lighthouse on Grassy Hill

Mysterious Black Mountain

Cooktown Hotel

Four Wheel Drive Safaris

If you don't have your own fourwheel drive vehicle but still want to experience all this awesome wilderness then you can book a fourwheel drive safari departing from Cow Bay or Cape Tribulation, this way you can see it all in safety with an experienced driver, find all the best spots, and have someone explaning local history and the ecology of the rainforest to you.

bloomfield track 4wd tour to cooktown
The tour crossing a creek on the Bloomfield Track

four wheel drive safari to cooktown on the bloomfield track
The tour guide explaining your surroundings

Mason's Tours is based in Cape Tribulation but no longer runs regular tours and are only available for private charters.

D'Arcy of the Daintree has a range of tours available, full day Cooktown tours, as well as morning and afternoon tours to the Bloomfield Falls and Wujul Wujul.

If you are staying in Cairns or Port Douglas there are other tour operators that can take you up the Bloomfield Track, such as Tony's Tropical Tours, Billy Tea Safaris, Adventure North Australia, and Back Country Bliss

 

Four Wheel Drive Hire

Not many car hire places in Cairns and Port Douglas like their vehicles to go off the sealed road, but these are some companies where you will find a hire 4WD to get up the Bloomfield Track;

RentNewCars.com.au is an Australian company that exclusively distributes Europcar & Thrifty's Australian fleet of 16,000 new hire cars and four wheel drives from over 200 locations around Australia via the RentNewCars web site.
Cheap Car Hire Australia
Thrifty Car Rental is another international car hire business with a reputation for cheap rental cars and fourwheel drives.
click here for budget rental cars

When you book through the above websites you are sure you deal with reputable car rental companies, without wanting to discredit the local businesses, we have received some not too happy customer reviews on Cairns Older Car And Ute Hire.

 

View the Bloomfield Track from the air

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