The Bloomfield Track
Mason's Tours crossing a creek on the Bloomfield Track
The temporary causeway on the Bloomfield River, photos by Mason's
The Bloomfield Track is not suitable for normal cars so
you either need to book on a fourwheel
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.....
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
View from the Cooktown wharf over the Endeavour River
Lighthouse on Grassy Hill
Mysterious Black Mountain
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.
The tour crossing a creek 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
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
Tropical Tours, Billy
Tea Safaris, Adventure
North Australia, and Back
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;
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
is another international car hire business
with a reputation for cheap rental cars and fourwheel drives.
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