Cape York Peninsula, the Savannah Way and the Torres Strait Islands of Australia, are wilderness frontier regions waiting to be discovered by today’s adventure travellers, 4WD enthusiasts and those who love fishing, camping, boating, bird watching or just relaxing in the great Aussie outback.
Surrounded on three sides by water, the Coral Sea to the east, Torres Strait at the tip and the Gulf of Carpentaria on the west, the overall land mass of the peninsula is approx. 150,000 square kilometres.
The Great Dividing Range rises at the Tip and follows the east coast all the way south. Warm, moist air is trapped by the range and provides good rainfall, creating tropical rainforests along the coast. The east coast has many palm fringed beaches with thick mangrove swamps at all the river mouths. Coral outcrops and small islands follow the coast. The southeast trade winds blow relentlessly along the coast throughout the dry season, then swing to the east-north-east creating calm conditions and plentiful rain during the monsoon season, November to April. North of the Jardine River is mainly thick eucalypt forests with wet tropical coastal rainforests surrounding the Northern Peninsula Area.
The rugged east coast changes dramatically when you round the tip into the Torres Strait. Fast ocean currents race through the Torres Strait, creating spectacular coral formations among the many tropical islands. The coast of the mainland has beautiful sheltered sandy beaches and generally calm water.
The interior of the Cape consists of dry savannah, eucalypt forests with pockets of ancient rainforests along the river systems, generally flat to undulating terrain. Towards the west coast are large stands of eucalypt forests, savannah and fringing mangrove swamps on the coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria.
The river system of the Cape is quite fascinating with all rivers rising in the Great Dividing Range. Those on the west flow across the great land mass to empty their waters into the Gulf of Carpentaria, while those on the east rush a short distance to the Coral Sea.
The region is home to some fascinating birds and animals and time should be taken to appreciate the wildlife of this last frontier. The eastern coastal rainforests and sand dunes are a mix of contrasting environments, remnants of ancient times still surviving today.
Many people have visited the area only to return for a more extensive exploration of Cape York the Torres Strait Islands and the Savannah Way.