Last updated: 29 Jan, 2021
The Vehicles: Tell me about the truck?
Zeus – Isuzu NPS300 15-Seater + Trailer
Our tour truck ‘Zeus’ is a very noble steed indeed! He seats 15 passengers and tows a neat camp trailer which has an esky for your drinks & snacks and stores our camping gear, luggage and is our kitchen! Our truck is fitted with a mini-bookshelf full of field guides and historical books! He is a slightly older model Isuzu, but is renowned with mechanics for being one of THE most reliable of its’ kind. I have lived and worked in remote locations and Cape York all my life and I place high importance on perfect maintenance before a trip – Zeus might be one of the best running vehicles in the Cape!
Aircon? Of course! Zeus’ aircon is phenomenal. In fact, at times clients ask us to turn it down. You’ve absolutely gotta have a good A/C in Cape York, and our ‘aircon guy’ does checkups very often and has recently just installed new blower fans!
Storage on board? There is VERY limited storage on board the truck, so we suggest only taking the very smallest of bags on board the truck. See our ‘Luggage’ section for more info.
Charging? There are 6 USB charging ports in the front section of the passenger module, and more in the trailer and rear truck compartments.
Herc (aka Freddy Hercules) – MAN 14 Series 19-Seater
Herc is the latest addition to the Cockatours fleet! He is a vehicle from another tour company and was maintained exceptionally. This MAN truck is renowned to be more comfortable than other large trucks of its kind due to its longer suspension and air bags. Herc has a huge viewing port through the front cab and a television in the rear cab.
Aircon? Herc is fitted with an exceptionally powerful and reliable Thermo King AC system and is bound to be plenty chilly on the inside!
Storage on board? Storage in the passenger cab is limited. The rear compartment of the truck stores all our camping, food and luggage.
Charging? There is 12V charging on board.
What is the sleeping gear like?
We are very particular about a few things that make a trip comfortable; good food and sleeping gear are two of those. Our tents are very spacious and easy to put up. They are the canvas teepee type. All it takes is 4 pegs and an extendable pole. The mattresses are thick mattresses that stack in the trailer (not rollable) and are very comfy! We have sheets and micro-fibre blankets for bedding and a mattress case as well. The pillows are great and are covered with hygienic pillow covers as well as a standard pillow case. We also supply bath mats for the front of your tent!
What is the food like?
As mentioned above, we are very particular about good food. Our meals are raved about every night of the trip, and we keep our recipes and menu under lock and key 😉 The food…is amazing! All tours will have a real chef on board cooking up a storm!
Fitness Level; Do I need to be fit to come on the trip?
Cape York Walks
You do not need to be overly fit to come on this trip – all past clients have made it to the tip successfully and without a worry! Throughout the trip we will be hopping in and out of the bus to check out places and walking short distances; but nothing too extreme. Walking sticks may be handy so feel free to bring one along. No walk is compulsory, but you’re on tour so you may as well do it right?! We do however, encourage everyone to make it to the Tip! The most difficult walks/treks are:
To the Tip where you have 2 options:
Option 1: easier beach front walk with a rocky ending at the Tip. This is the easy and short walk for those who struggle with incline. Note: This walk depends on tide, it is usually low when we get there but best to hurry back before tide rises.
Option 2: harder walk over rocky headland with incline. Is possible to do if you take your time. Recommended if you want to take photographs; you get the whole view from up top. Takes longer than beach front, 15 – 20 minute walk.
Split Rock: will be a self-guided Medium Level Hike with an inclined rocky walk. Some areas have rails for assistance but other areas don’t. Feel free to bring along a walking stick for extra help. You do not have to do this walk if you do not feel comfortable.
Walking sticks may be handy so feel free to bring one along. You have the choice if you want to participate in these treks. We do however, try to encourage everyone to make it to the Tip!
Gulf Savannah Walks
The Gulf Savannah walks are substantially more active walks than those on Cape York tours. We highly recommend clients prepare while you’re still at home, to make it the most enjoyable tour as possible. If you’re uncertain about these walks, if you can get daily walks in at home before the tour, you should be fine to make most of the stunning walks on the tour!
Moderate, 1.6km return. Start at Wangi plunge pool. The walk takes you to a viewing platform at the base of the falls, through a monsoon forest and up stairs to the escarpment. Swimming is not allowed above the falls.
Kakadu: Burrungkuy (Nourlangie) Rock, Nanguluwurr art site walk
Easy-moderate, 3.4km return on mostly paved path. Nanguluwurr art site walk is a peaceful walk through woodlands, leading to a cool, quiet Indigenous rock art site.
Kakadu: Injalak Hill
Moderate, 2km return. Walking time is approximately 2.5–3 hours. Most of the tour is in shade. Tour includes panoramic views across the flood plains and to Arnhem Land escarpment. Injalak Hill is home to numerous rock art shelters that have been home to Kunwinjku people since time immemorial. Climbing the hill can be slightly strenuous, as well as maneuvering between some of the rocks but it is taken at a pace that would suit even the most casual of hiker.
Kakadu: Ubirr Rock
Easy-moderate, 1km return. A 1 km circular track takes you past the rock art sites before a steep 250 m climb to a rocky lookout with 360-degree views of Arnhem Land and the Nadab floodplain. The walk passes several breathtaking Aboriginal art sites and leads up to a stunning lookout over the Nadab floodplain.
Kakadu: Maguk Falls
Moderate, 2km return. Hike through monsoon forest and along a sandy and rocky creek to a small waterfall and large, clear plunge pool.
Kakadu: Gunlom Falls
Moderate-difficult, 1km return. Climb up to the Gunlom Falls plunge pool – an unforgettable natural infinity pool with views for miles across Kakadu. After a short, steep climb up the escarpment, you’ll be rewarded with a great view of the southern hill and ridges. Another 100 metres along the track brings you to a series of rock pools and a small waterfall.
Butterfly Falls & Southern Lost City
Both moderate bush walks.
Riversleigh Fossil Site #4
Moderate, 800m return. A steep but fascinating trail through an ancient landscape to the top of a limestone outcrop.
Undara: Bluff Walk
Easy, 1.5 km return. The Bluff Walk starts at reception and climbs the small granite knoll SW of the Lodge, take the left fork at the Atkinson’s Lookout Track intersection. Climb through a gentle gully and approach the summit from the west. From the summit you have magnificent views over the wooded lava plains to many of the region’s volcanoes.
Undara: Lava Tubes Experience
Moderate, 2hr return. Some boardwalks and stairs, but also expect uneven surfaces and climbing over rocks.
Luggage; Do I have a luggage limit?
Please keep in mind that we will be sharing luggage space with 16 people along with all our equipment including mattresses, sleeping bags, chairs, fridges, tents. We only have LIMITED SPACE for luggage.
Please restrict your luggage as much as possible and bring only the essentials. Couples are advised to share luggage but this is not compulsory. If you bring bags that are excessively big, you may be asked on pick-up morning to repack your gear into a bag provided.
Use the below measurements or image as a guidance. Soft bags are preferred to hard suitcases.
Single travellers; 1 x small OR medium bag: cabin size/carry-on bag; Height: 56cm-60cm, Width: 36cm-40cm, Depth: 23cm-27cm
Couples; 1 x medium OR large bag: Height: 56cm-64cm, Width: 40cm-64cm, Depth: 27-35cm
Booking flights; When should I book my arrival & return flights?
We encourage everyone to book flights/transport closer to the date of departure as weather and other unpredictable events out of our control can have an effect on operation.
In case of flight/transport delays, it is highly recommended to book flights/transport to arrive in Cairns (or Darwin) at least the day before we depart. This will give you enough time to get to the pick up locations in case of any delays.
In case of any unexpected situations which may occur on our way home (e.g. break downs, re-routes due to road conditions), it is highly recommended to book flights/transport to depart Cairns (or Darwin) at least the day after we return home. This will give you enough time to catch your transport home in case of any delays on trip.
Pick Up; Where do we get picked up and dropped off?
You must confirm your pick-up location with us (by email is fine) AS SOON as you book your accommodation. A few days before the tour begins, we will confirm specific pick up times with you, starting from 7am. Please be out the front with all luggage on pick up. Please be at one of the following locations:
It will be best for you to stay at these locations. Please note that we DON’T pick up at locations South of Earlville for Cape York tours, or North of Cairns North for Gulf Savannah tours, so please be prepared to catch a taxi to a pickup point if you do choose something in this area.
For Darwin we haven’t completed our recommended hotels list yet. If you book at places other than below, please enquire with the hotel staff that a tour truck with a trailer can pick up there. If the truck can’t pick up there we will still need you to meet us at one of the below.
Accommodation; Where is the best place to stay?
Recommended locations to stay where you will not have to travel far for pick-up:
Our pick if flying in: Acacia Court; Price starts from $89. 223-227 Esplanade, Cairns North, QLD 4870. https://www.acaciacourthotel.com.au | (07) 40 515 011.
First City Caravillas; $47/night for site, Kelly Street, Earlville, QLD 4870. www.caravilla.com.au | (07) 40 541 403
Cairns Southside International; Price starts from $79, 450 Mulgrave Rd, Cairns City QLD 4870 www.cairnssouthsideinternational.com.au | (07) 4033 7722
Cairns Holiday Park; 12-30 Little Street Cairns QLD 4870
www.escape2holidayparks.com.au/cairns/ | 1800 259 977
Palms City Resort 64 Esplanade, Darwin (08) 8982 9200
Rydges Darwin Central 21 Knuckey St, Darwin (08) 8944 9000
Vehicle; Where can I leave my vehicle?
There are a number of caravan parks located in Cairns. Please consider our pick up locations as you will need to meet us here for departure.
Our Recommendation for Cape York Tours:
Note: if you book one of these for a Gulf Savannah tour you will need to meet us at a pick up point in the city.
Cairns Beaches Storage: Open Air for under 9m: $130/flat fee for up to one month, Open Air for 9 – 15m: $190/flat fee for up to one month, Cover: $250/flat fee for up to one month.
Located at Smithfield, north of Cairns. Mac Peak Crescent, Smithfield, QLD 4878. (07) 40 578 274
*in 2019 they have changed their minimum term to 1-month, however a 2-week stay will just attract the 1-month rate.
Big Blue Self Storage, Open air up to 7m: $75/week, up to 12m $90/week. Undercover: 3m x 7m $100/week, 2.5m x 11m: $115/week. 9-11 Maisel Close, Smithfield, QLD 4878. (07) 40 578 645
First City Caravillas (below): $15/night for Car and Caravan, $10/night for motorhome (if you stayed there). Pickup is OK from here for both tours.
Our Recommendation for Gulf Savannah Tours:
Note: if you book one of these for a Cape York tour you will need to meet us at a pick up point in the city.
National Storage Edmonton. Both open air and garage spaces. Keyless entry with a code. Spaces do book out and prices can change. An estimate for uncovered is: 3m x 6m: $180/month or $42/week, 3m x 8m: $220/month, 3m x 10m: $280/month. 55 Hargreaves St, Edmonton, QLD, 4869. (07) 4045 4611
First City Caravillas (below): $15/night for Car and Caravan, $10/night for motorhome (if you stayed there). Pickup is OK from here for both tours.
Departure and Arrival; What time will we depart and arrive home?
Departure times will be confirmed before day of departure. Usually, we will depart Cairns around 7:30am depending on pick up locations. Ensure you have your mobile with you as we will be in touch.
Arrival home depends on how we are going with time on the day. Usually we will arrive home mid-late afternoon, often before 5pm.
Alcohol Restrictions; Are there some places we cannot take alcohol?
Alcohol Restrictions are in place for some Aboriginal Communities in Cape York. We will be affected once we hit the Northern Peninsular Area (Includes Bamaga, Injinoo, New Mapoon, Seisia and Umagico) where there is a limit we can carry on board. The below restrictions are per vehicle, despite how many people on board.
The maximum amount of alcohol a person can have in the restricted area is:
2 litres of wine (unfortified) and 11.25 litres (1 carton of 30 x 375ml cans) of any strength beer
2 litres of wine (unfortified) and 9 litres (1 carton of 24 x 375ml cans) of premixed spirits of up to 5.5% alcohol/volume.
This amount is per person on foot, or per vehicle, boat or aircraft regardless of the number of people in it. However, the Loyalty Beach, New Mapoon and Seisia Camping Grounds are designated wet areas. Registered guests of these camping grounds are permitted to drink alcohol in accordance with the carriage limit.
We hope that everyone respects the rules as we are responsible for what is carried on board. We could be fined up to $45,000.
Food & drinks; Can I bring my own food and drinks?
Yes but please limit yourself. We have an Esky on board to share between everyone. Everyone on board has the responsibility to keep the Esky clean, share space and take turns in buying ice for your goodies. This Esky will be used for your own food and drinks.
No food & drinks are to be put in our fridges or storage area as we have no extra space. You are welcome to bring alcohol on the first day.
Food on trip; What will be eating for breakfast, lunch & dinner?
Breakfast: fresh fruit, cereals, toast and try to mix up some specials when we have relaxed mornings.
Morning tea: we try to add any as many morning tea stops/breaks as we can to make our trips more relaxed and enjoyable. This gives are a good chance to get out and stretch our legs. Of course, this depends on the timing of the day and how much driving we have to do.
Lunch & snacks: fruit, salad, wraps and any leftovers we have from the night before. Snacks throughout the day provided.
Dinner: camping meals to cater for large groups of people. To be able to work with our conditions of being in a rural area with limited access to food, we stick to group meals like: pastas, stews, rice meals, soups etc.
Some meals will be Buy Your Own (B.Y.O). These days are stated clearly in the itineraries.
Unfortunately we cannot cater for food “preferences” – only allergies. Please make sure you tell us if you have any allergies. We do our best to cater for vegetarians, but catering for vegans is difficult in Cape York. Please inform us if you are vegan and we can try our best to make it work.
Will we have phone service?
Phone service is very limited across northern Australia and is often only found in towns/cities and not inbetween. In most places Telstra is the only provider. Cape York for example is entirely Telstra, apart from 1-2 towns.
Handy tip: If you want to save phone battery on tour, switch your phones to ‘aeroplane mode’ until you’re in town so they’re not constantly looking for satellites and chewing battery.
How often can we wash clothes?
Clothing washing facilities will be available usually around day 4-6 and day 8-10, when we stay at Weipa for 2 days, and Loyalty Beach (the tip) for 2 days. Many other camping grounds we stay at also have washing facilities. We provide washing powder on board.
How often do we have showers?
We have the opportunity to shower usually every 2 days. Many bush camps we stay at have a beautiful creek or river nearby that we can swim in also.
How can we charge our electronics?
Our bus is fitted with several USB charging ports, with extra USB ports in the trailer and storage space of the truck.
Deposit refund; Do I get a refund of my deposit if I cancel my booking?
Please head to our booking Terms & Conditions for updated policy.
Pet sitter; I need someone to sit my pet?
If you are staying in Cairns, there are a number pet minders you can search for. Please let me know if you need something more personal and I can contact local friends.
Final payment; When is my final payment due?
Final payment is due 60 days before departure date. You will be emailed an invoice with our details listed.
Are the flies bad?
You’re in luck! The flies aren’t bad at all in Cape York, in fact they’re not noticeable most of the year, unlike the centre of Aus. The NT should also be pretty good for that time of the year.
Do I need to bring rain gear?
Generally, no. Tours only operate in the drain season and rain is uncommon. Occasionally we get showers, but it’s not worth packing a large raincoat for. We suggest buying a cheap $2-4 poncho from the supermarket in the chance that we get rain.
What should we bring?
We have just about everything you need outside of your personal clothing and toiletries. Bring clothes, towel, hats, sunglasses and a camera and charging gear.
We have these items which are commonly asked for: