Cape York 4WD tours
Save $1600/couple ($800/pp) in June-July
A $1,600 per couple ($800 per person) saving on June and July departures is offered by Off Road Adventure Safaris for its 8-passenger 15-day 4WD Northern Adventure accommodated tours from Cairns to Cape York.
The discount price of $7,995 per person twin share (otherwise $8,795) is the same price as 2015. Single supplement is $1,395.
Touring is in ORAS's new coach-comfort Mercedes 4WD.
The price includes full 12-days Cape York touring, choice of local Cairns tours, Kuranda VIP Skyrail, return flight to Cairns, 14-nights' accommodation, all meals, tea/coffee breaks, local park/guide fees, and ferry and airport transfers.
Stylish accommodation at Jabiru, Mungumby and Lotusbird safari lodges is featured as are two nights at the eclectic Portland Roads Beach House.
Also on the itinerary are the cape's national parks, rainforests and savannah grasslands, ranges of The Great Divide, waterfalls and clear water swimming holes, lakes and wide beaches, river crossings, the surviving section of the Overland Telegraph Track, remote art sites, birds and crocodiles, barramundi fishing, WWII sites, Thursday Island … capped with sipping wine at The Tip, and surprise stops.
See www.tourcapeyork.com.au , call 07 4128 2049.
· Tour guide-driver is company owner, Mark Essenhigh. He has driven the Peninsula Development Road some 40 times so has acute knowledge of The Cape, and its people.
Cape York (as opposed to The Cape York Peninsula) was named by Captain Cook in honour of the Duke of York. It is properly known as Pajinka and commonly referred to as 'The Tip', as in the northern most tip of Australia's mainland.
Off Road Adventure Safaris was purchased in 2010 by Mark and Jody Essenhigh of Hervey Bay, Mark has 30 years' experience as a tour operator and guide at Fraser Island, in The Outback, The Top End and Far North Queensland and Jody similar term of experience in business and tourism management.
The Cape York Northern Adventure is designed for discerning travellers who prefer true small group travelling over 20-passenger tour groups, stylish comfortable accommodation over camping and flexible itineraries over rigid schedules.
"Cape York is on their 'Must Do' list," said Mark. "They see it is as soft adventure discovery, they are challenging and curious, they want high quality food and interesting accommodation experiences."
"Without exception, our customers see themselves as travellers, rather than tourists, which is why we structure the itinerary to arrive at key sites before or after large tour groups so passengers can fully appreciate the scene and its solitude. They know it's a 4WD trek, they don't have 4WD skills and from their worldly travels appreciate the surety and value-add offered by an experienced driver-guide."
A "No Rush" philosophy also means the Off Road Adventure Safaris group is last to leave after breakfast, but they always arrive at the night's accommodation in time for sunset drinks. The day's journey is flexible to the needs of passengers. For instance, if the group wishes to linger at a swimming hole in preference to visiting an old mining site further on, so be it, says Mark.
"We're not a stop-watch tour," he said.
Half of last year's departures were booked by like-minded groups.
Over 12 days, the tour meanders over some 1500kms of red dirt roads, soft white sandy bush tracks and rocky river beds from Laura to The Tip, following travel on sealed roads from Cairns to Cooktown.
The tour takes ferries to Thursday Island and back to Horn Island for return flight to Cairns over The Great Barrier Reef.
The tour vehicle travels independent to other tour operators and tagalong 4WD groups and accesses surprise spots as well as sites not accessible to larger 4WD tour vehicles. The 50-km section of the surviving Old Overland Telegraph Track is a good example, as are Lockhart-Portland Roads-Iron Range sections and the beautiful Five Beaches drive.
As well as the featured lodges, accommodation is in motels and park cabins.
Best time to go. Mark believes May departures show The Cape at its greenest best following the January-April Wet Season, however peak season is June to August when temperatures are coolest. For the September departures last year, top temperature was around 28-30 each day, cooled by the prevailing South East Trades. Only one night guests had to slip on an extra layer.