Random Adventure #1 – Isabella Falls, Cape York, Queensland

Last Updated on June 22, 2017 by Red Nomad OZ

The Cape York Road

The customary morning rain had finally let up. Even the locals had remarked on this dry season’s uncharacteristic wet spell – normally by mid-July they’d have the sprinklers going to kill the dust and save the lawns. But 2010 was an aberration. Of course!

Now the sun turned every drop to sparkles in the Endeavour Falls Tourist Park, almost (but not quite!) dissipating our cabin fever. The only real antidote was to get out and about.

We’d already been to nearby Cooktown.  So … where to go?  Up the road and round the corner into absolute virgin territory*, of course!

Isabella Falls marks the first of countless river crossings en route to Cape York via Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park. This 1000+ km trek** up the Cape where extensive red mud coverage is a vehicle’s badge of honour is the ultimate Aussie 4WD adventure – and a pleasure that still awaits us.

But it’s not all moonlight and magnolias on the Cape York road – in fact it’s more like beer and skittles. 


Isabella Falls

Leaving empties in the fireplace and carving initials on the tree at the Isabella Falls campsite; and driving like you’re in the lead on an imaginary road race is apparently de rigueur! Unfortunate pedestrians – and even other vehicles – under the illusion that they’re sharing the road may find this ‘take no prisoners’ driving technique a little disconcerting!!

The spectacularly beautiful setting makes a perfect vantage point to be amazed by the brutally entertaining anarchy that is a tacit part of the Cape York experience.


Low Loader crossing above Isabella Falls

But the pièce de résistance? This low loader laden with a couple of bulldozers navigating the deep and uneven crossing without a) significantly slowing down; b) toppling over the falls; or c) taking out any pedestrians or parked cars!!
Cabin fever?  What cabin fever??

And as an extra bonus, it’s the closest we’ve yet come to Australia’s northernmost point!
One day we’ll go all the way!!

* absolute virgin territory – where neither of us has ever been before
** depending where you start from!

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  1. @Wendy – I don’t think he needed to – he obviously knew the road (and crossing!) really well! It sure was a sight to see though!!

  2. Wow it’s gorgeous and I can’t even imagine that semi-truck not even slowing down for that crossing, yikes!

  3. @Lily – I’m sure it’s a VERY miniature version of your falls!! And crocodiles? Never say never!!! Heavy rains and flooding mean the crocs can move around more easily …
    @Mary – I was more fascinated by the low loader than anything! Although the colours are AMAZING!
    @Sailor – Thanx! And thanx again! Good to see you back!!

  4. I really like the new look of your blog and as usual you have a fantastic post!

    I was away visiting my parents and could not visit any blogs.

  5. It looks like a beautiful spot and one that you found surprisingly interesting. I can’t wait to heat your reports of your final destination. I hope you have a great day.

  6. The Cape York Road is most interesting, reminds me of a photo I took down one of our country lanes, except in the fall with beautifully coloured leaves of autumn. The falls remind me of a miniture version of our “Lepreau Falls” – future blog and the vehicles crossing the water make me thing of Crocidile Dundee. ha,ha
    Great story and I did receive your comment about The Red Sands of PEI. Thought u might enjoy that. Cheers OZ and have a great day. Lilly

  7. @Jayne – Welcome back! Glad you enjoyed it. Drop in anytime for good ol’ Aussie escapism!
    @Windsmoke – ah! Maybe that’s what the two bulldozers on the back were for?!?!
    @Alessandra – the mess was only a small part of it. And I’d be mortified if anyone thought I was responsible for rubbishing any part of OZ!
    @PerthDailyPhoto – Never been there – sounds fab! Although I’m not as athletic as I sound …
    @Dan – Always, my friend!
    @Manzanita – Yep, a lot of wet red mud!! The smart tourists stop and walk across 1st to get the lay of the land! The others? Well … fortune favours the brave!!

  8. OMG…That truck crossing and all that mud looks mighty slippery. I’ll bet a lot of tourists get in trouble here. Or over the falls…

  9. What fantastic adventures you do have Red. You would get on well with my hubby, he not so long ago completed the Bibbulmun Track (980klms) all in one go, he was walking for 5 weeks in all weather, something tells me you might like that challenge too!!

  10. It looks so wild, difficult to imagine graffiti on tree, beer and trucks there. I am sure that you have been a good traveller :-).


  11. I wouldn’t want to be the person to pull out the low loader should it get stuck half across Isabelle Falls what a nightmare :-).

  12. @Linnea – this is just the tip of the iceberg (although icebergs are pretty rare in these parts)!!
    @Mags118 – I’ve misrepresented the situation! We were actually really impressed with the driver’s expert navigation of the ford. He was clearly very familiar with the route!
    @Andrew – so do we!
    @Dianne – yeah, apart from the broken glass in the campfire spot and the tree graffitti!!
    @River – welcome back! Correct on both counts!!

  13. Isabella Falls is very pretty, and I’d say that low loader driver is obviously very familiar with his route.

  14. Lots of red mud!! – I had never heard of Isabella Falls – it looks like a lovely unspoilt area.

  15. Hi,
    A beautiful part of the Country.
    I just can’t believe how stupid that truck was crossing the creek without checking it was safe to do so especially with the weight it was carrying.

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