On Sunday 22nd July 2018 a group of friends donned their matching shirts and made the trek to the northernmost point of mainland Australia ……. 15 people and 6 4WD’s left camp early that morning with a feeling of excitement and anticipation that soon they would be standing on the tip of Australia, this is what the trip had all been about. Months and maybe even years of dreaming and preparation for this trip and we were all now so close to seeing that sign and standing on the tip of Australia.
As you leave the township of Bamaga and take the turnoff to Pajinka you notice the landscape change. As you drive through what is known as the Lockerbie Scrub you are surrounded, and often dwarfed, by the lush rainforest around you. The Lockerbie Scrub is the northern most rainforest on mainland Australia. There is so much diversity in the landscape, one minute you are driving through rainforest and the next you are surrounded by huge eucalypt woodland. This is a really one of the prettiest drives in the area, although the narrow windy road does get a little scary with others driving too fast and on the wrong side of the road. You really have no idea how many near misses we had on this road, during both of our visits.
On the way up you pass the Croc Tent, which you really must stop at. This place is filled with souvenirs, gifts and t-shirts, plus plenty of helpful information on the area and road conditions. It originally opened in the early 80s on land that was once part of Lockerbie Station – opposite the tent are the remains of the old homestead Station, which was established by Frank Jardine. In 1988 the business moved to its current location at the junction of Punsand Bay & Pajinka Road, approximately 17km from the tip of Australia. The current owners, Dale and Lea live on site with their young family and run the store. They could not be more helpful and they know everything there is to know about Cape York. They are so friendly and happy to help so go in and have a chat! Dale and Lea are actually taking a break shortly and our good friends are moving up there to take over the store for a few months, what an amazing experience that’s going to be for them! …. we are maybe just a little jealous guys!
There is no way to explain exactly what it feels like to know you’ve made it, to know you are standing there on the tip of Australia. It’s a feeling of accomplishment, an awe-inspiring feeling as you make your way up the track (which isn’t an easy walk) and take in the spectacular views that surround you. As you make your way down the other side of the hill and see that sign you know you’ve made it, you know you’re about to mark one more thing off the bucket list. It’s at this point that you realise how lucky you are to be experiencing the magic of this area, this is the reward for braving the corrugations, dust and dirt of the past few days!
For George and myself it was our second visit to this point so it was a slightly different feeling for us this time, but it was amazing to see how excited all our friends were and know that we’d shared in that moment and would forever be part of the memories from that day.
Pajinka lies right on the coast and is surrounded by the rocky hill climb on one side and beautiful blue water on the other. Looking to the left you see the beautiful white sand of Frangipani Beach, with the rainforest behind.
Approximately 17km south-west of the tip of Cape York you will find Possession Island. This is where Captain James Cook rowed ashore and formally claimed all of eastern Australia on 22nd August 1770.
Whatever you decide to call it …… ‘The Tip’, ‘Cape York’ or it’s indigenous name ‘Pajinka’, it’s a place that should be on everyone’s must visit list, it truly is spectacular. It’s the remoteness, the unspoiled wilderness, the natural beauty of the area, the people, the adventure ….. it’s all of this rolled into one, it’s hard to explain to someone who hasn’t been why we love this place so much. It just has this hold over you and you can’t help but fall in love with the area. Once you visit, you’ll understand.
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