Getting Here

Driving to Cooktown, open year-round to enjoy

Mulligan Highway to Cooktown

Getting here is very easy year-round. A superb drive from Cairns Airport or Atherton Tablelands on the Mulligan Highway is a nice way to travel and is suitable for conventional vehicles. Do forget the road to Laura is totally sealed to Laura so why not slip up to the Split Rock Art or visit the Quinkan galleries to visit Queensland’s most famous Aboriginal Rock Art at Split Rock from Lakeland Downs on your way here or on your return south. Flights to Cooktown are offered x 2 per day Monday-Friday and 1 on Saturday. Car rentals are available from the airport when booked in advance @ Cooktown Car Hire. Helenvale private airstrip is available near the lodge for private air charters. Helicopter transfers along the reef & rainforest coast are awesome and can land at the lodge.

Drive times from Mungumby Lodge

LocationKilometersDrive timeSealed/Unsealed
Laura1391hr 32minsSealed
Cape Tribulation781hr 40 minsSealed + unsealed 4×4
Port Douglas2462hr 49minsSealed
Cairns3013hr 30minsSealed
Mareeba2442hr 41minsSealed
The Mungumby Rd is 4 kms long and unsealed. In the wet season, we recommend a min all-wheel drive is best.

Cairns to Mungumby Lodge Cooktown Self Drive itinerary (CLICK HERE)

Travelling to Cooktown, S.E Cape York & Mungumby Lodge

The drive to our lodge from the village of Cooktown is only 25 minutes south, on the Mulligan Highway then turn into the famous Rainforest & Reef Coastal Drive, the road is sealed all the way to Mungumby Road the lodge driveway which is then unsealed (4kms) to the lodge. Coming from Cairns, Helenvale is located 3 kilometres north of the Little Annan River crossing on the inland Mulligan Highway. This road is sealed all the way from Mareeba to Mungumby Road.

Mulligan Highway (Inland Route)
Conventional Vehicle

The inland route to Cooktown is sealed all the way – 330km and less than 4 hours from Cairns. The route from Cairns takes you over the Kuranda Range and away from the coast via Highway 1, the Kennedy Highway, to Mareeba where you head north on Highway 81, the Mulligan Highway. Alternatively, along the coast to Port Douglas/Mossman to take Highway 44 via Julatten to join the Mulligan Highway at Mt Molloy.
Once over the ranges, the lush tropical rainforest is replaced by a more open tropical savannah as you travel through the tiny settlements common to Cooktown. Mt Molloy was named after a teamster who discovered copper here in the 1880s. The Post Office, in its pretty setting, provides local information. The Mt Molloy National Hotel, built-in 1903, illustrates the township’s historic past. Mt Carbine was founded after the discovery of extensive Wolfram deposits in 1890. The small community has a roadhouse (the best pies in the north) and a pub. Bob’s Lookout at the top of the Desailly Range offers spectacular views over remote and panoramic savannah stretching as far as the eye can see.

The Palmer River Goldfield, once Australia’s richest alluvial field.  The discovery of alluvial gold in the Palmer River in 1872 led to Queensland’s largest gold rush. It became legendary for its hardships and the large number of Chinese miners, which peaked at 17,000 in 1877. Lakeland lies in a natural basin formed by volcanic activity millions of years ago. This is a great base to get fantastic coffee, meals, fuel, groceries and fresh snacks from the Lakeland Coffee House. There are public toilets on the highway at the vehicle wash down or at the Lakeland Coffee House. Here the Peninsula Development Road heads north and is now sealed all the way to Laura, or continue North East on the Mulligan Highway, passing the Annan Gorge and Black Mountain

Reef & Rainforest Way – The Coastal Route
(4WD between Cape Tribulation & Wujal Wujal)

Travelling the Great Barrier Reef & Rainforest coast road, which is a very scenic the road is sealed till Cape Tribulation. From this point on, the track is unsealed and very much 4×4 country. It is known as the notorious Bloomfield Track and spans 32kms from Cape Tribulation to the Bloomfield River where it then becomes the Bloomfield Road up to Helenvale. From Wujal Wujal to Helenvale the road is fully sealed.

Reef & Rainforest Coast
Emergen Creek crossing
Cape Tribulation

Picturesque waterways, World Heritage rainforests, magnificent beaches, and rugged mountains make for a magical drive along the coast road to Mungumby Lodge. Allow 5 hours from Cairns to enjoy the scenery. Distance approximately 234km (32kms gravel between Cape Tribulation & Wujal Wujal). From Cairns follow the Captain Cook Highway past Port Douglas, Mossman and on to the Daintree River – a stunning coastal drive. It is 105km from Cairns to the Daintree Ferry (cash only) and 51km from Port Douglas. The road is sealed from the Daintree Ferry, which operates from 6 am to midnight, 7 days per week, to Cape Tribulation (38kms). This is a spectacular drive along the Great Barrier Reef Coast and through the World Heritage-listed rainforests, one of the largest rainforest wilderness areas in Australia with many beautiful rest stops, walking tracks, swimming holes, and wilderness beaches. Take your time and be aware of it!

After Cape Tribulation take a walk along the many unique tropical beaches, ‘where the rainforest meets the reef’ at many places along the coast. “I named the north point Cape Tribulation because here began all our troubles,” wrote Lt. James Cook in 1770 after his ship, the HM Bark Endeavour, foundered on a reef north of Bloomfield River. Emmagen Creek is a popular picnic spot and a great photo stop. After South Cowie Beach you will come to a unique bridge at Woobadda Creek. Take care in crossing the Cowie and Donovan Ranges as there are steep descents. 4WD is preferred beyond Emmagen Creek and the route often closes during the wet season.

The best information on current road conditions is available from operators north of the Bloomfield River. This very scenic road takes travellers on an amazing journey to the Aboriginal community of Wujal Wujal and the villages of Ayton, Rossville and Helenvale. Stop and take time to visit the wonderful Bana Yirriji Art & Cultural Centre open Monday-Friday. This trip also makes a great day out from Cooktown down Shiptons Flat Road and the Bloomfield Development Road, sealed from Helenvale all the way to Wujal Wujal.

At Wujal Wujal turn left after the bridge and drive to the Bloomfield Falls car park, then a 500m walk to the falls. The falls are especially spectacular after the wet season. Swimming is not advised due to the possibility of crocodiles in the Bloomfield River. Never swim right below Bloomfield Falls in respect of Aboriginal cultural sensitivity, as this is a traditional women’s birthing area.

Cairns to Cooktown Self-Drive (CLICK HERE)

Travel Maps

Google or Bing maps and some navigators are 100% guaranteed to get you lost or head you to the wrong location for Cape York, especially when trying to find unique places like Mungumby Lodge. Mungumby Lodge has been in the same location long before Google arrived or stopped listening to those that live here. Must admit they are getting better, but still, a while to go in the bush. RACQ road updates over the wet season cannot be trusted to be up to date. A good HEMA Map is available at most roadside stores or download it online.

Our GPS = 15 deg 70’5921?min S – 145 deg 25’54.99? min E.
Our street search address: 388 Mungumby Road, Rossville, Qld 4895