On the shores of the Gulf of Carpentaria, the Western Cape offers visitors a unique insight into the history of Cape York and a rich and varied travel experience. Northbound vehicles are best to continue up the PDR to Weipa, but when heading on to The Tip, join the Telegraph Track via Batavia Downs. To visit the Western Cape coming south from The Tip, turn right through Batavia
Downs and on to Weipa (see map).
Services-As well as a hospital, dentist, private medical centre and pharmacy, Weipa has a supermarket (not open on Sundays), post office, newsagency, specialty shops, bakery, butcher, café, and 4WD and fishing tackle supply stores. There is also a Centrelink office located at the shopping centre. The town’s two service stations (which are open seven days a week) also have a selection of fresh fruit and vegetables, ice and grocery items. The nearby community of Napranum has a small supermarket which is open seven days a week. A boat and car wash facility, along with several
mechanical workshops and a hardware store are located at Evans Landing. The Western Cape Cultural Centre is also located at Evans Landing which provides local cultural and tourist information as well as exhibiting local artwork. The Western Cape Cultural Centre is open 10am-2pm Tuesday to Friday, entry is free. Light refreshments and a great view of the harbour are offered. Weipa also boasts a wide range of facilities to suit the whole family for those travellers wanting to spend a little longer in the town. There is a skatepark, public swimming pool and library (which has an impressive historical display in the Cape York Collection) located at Rocky Point. Anine-hole golf course, bowling green, tennis and squash courts, and BMX track are sure to keep visitors active.
Fishing– Although Barramundi is one of the most keenly sought-after fish in Western Cape waters there are plenty of other species to entice anglers including Mackeral, Queenfish, Trevally, Mangrove Jack, Bream, Grunter, Tuskers, Jewfish and Estuary Cod. In deeper waters chasing Marlin and Sailfish is becoming a popular pastime. There are boats and houseboats for hire, fishing tours and extended fishing charters available from Weipa- enquire at Weipa Tackle World.
Bird watching– There are two freshwater man-made lakes in Weipa which are used regularly for recreation and bird watching by local residents and visitors – Lake Patricia and Lake McLeod. Lake Patricia has a well-equipped picnic area with wood-fired and gas barbecues, public toilets and a children’s playground. Both lakes are inhabited or visited by a large variety of birds and are very popular with birdwatchers. There are also many bush tracks around the Lakes area which are well worth exploring. The Uningan Nature Reserve covers an area of over 2,800 hectares and includes habitats such as open woodland, palm forests and mangroves. There are large shell mounds (middens), canoe trees have been found and there is great birdwatching.
Mapoon is 90km north of Weipa. Indigenous residents of the area were relocated to New Mapoon near Bamaga in the 1960’s due to the bauxite mining. Many people have moved back to ‘Old’ Mapoon since that time and it’s now a thriving community. The local store provides food, fuel, ice and permits to camp.
Cullen Point and Port Musgrave- There’s good camping and there are pretty basic toilets and showers as well. From this spot there’s access to Port Musgrave and the estuaries of the rivers and creeks on its northern and eastern side. Back at the end of the Blacktop at the T-Junction, turn left onto a soft sandy track which quickly hits the coast at the “She Oaks”. It is definitely 4WD!
It’s about 10km along the beach from where you first hit it to the northern shore of Janie Creek. There are a couple of spots to camp. Port Musgrave itself is a vast stretch of water with the Wenlock River coming in at its southern end and the Ducie River and others coming in on its eastern and northern shores. Small boats can be launched from a number of spots along the shore, Cloughs landing being the best and easiest, but only on the top half of the tide.
Stones Crossing- Situated on the Wenlock River, Stones Crossing is about 71km north-east of Weipa and located on Napranum land. You pass through Rio Tinto mining lease for most of the way, but by the time you get to Stones Crossing you are on Napranum Deed of Grant in Trust land. There are a number of excellent camping sites located around this area and they are popular with the locals. Below Stones Crossing the river is muddy and more tidal the closer you get to Port Musgrave. Gibson Waterhole and The Barrage are close together and accessed off the Stone Crossing road. Tent Pole Camp is located on Tent Pole Creek, a tributary of the Wenlock River.
Aurukun Wetlands- The turnoff to Aurukun is just north of Merluna Station, and it is about 107km to the community. Aurukun is situated near the mouths of the Archer and Watson Rivers, and has excellent fishing in the sheltered bay. There is a new guesthouse in town, and you can do tours of the extensive wetlands, or visit the art centre to see some of the crafts produced by local artisits