Old Coach Road – Part 5

6/8/13 – There are lots of photos in this post, as they say a picture paints a thousand words, it’s the best way to show the road conditions. So many in fact that we have split this post up over 5 parts, make sure your read parts 1, 2, 3 & 4,before reading this post.

64.9km (from the turnoff at the PDR) in there is a steep climb with some really deep ruts. A large rock bounced us sideways and one of the Ute tyres went into a hole on the left, it left us on a steep angle sideways with a wheel in the air. My response to Chris was why did you do that? Chris informed me he didn’t do it on purpose. I had to climb out Chris’s side as I couldn’t open my door. The winch had to come out, which got us out no worries. Chris could have got the Ute out with the lockers once he pumped the left side airbag up but felt the winch was the safer option so we didn’t do any damage. This is one hell of a steep climb.

Stuck Stuck-2 Stuck-1 Stuck-3 Stuck-4

We are getting close to the end now, but this track is not finished with us yet, with another very tight corner.


65.8km (from the turnoff at the PDR) marks the start of the descent down the hill, elevation 471m.

Rough-Spot Rough-Spot-1

67.6km (from the turnoff at the PDR) we came to the Palmer River. The road leads over the rocky creek bed. This area is good for camping. In hindsight we should have stopped for the night here but at the time we didn’t realize we had reached the northern bank of the Palmer River, elevation 327m.

68.6km (from the turnoff at the PDR) elevation 249m we crossed the Palmer River.

71.7km (from the turnoff at the PDR) is the Louisa Mine site.

Louisa-Mine-site Louisa-Mine-site-2 Louisa-Mine-site-3 Louisa-Mine-site-1

Just around the corner is Enterprise Mill. Bit further up are Comet and King of Range and Mable Louise Mines. We didn’t stop at these due to it getting late in the day and we were keen to find a place to stop. It can be very confusing as there are roads leading everywhere, a lot have signs saying private, keep out. Stick to what seems to be the main track and you will find Maytown.

75.7km (from the turnoff at the PDR) elevation 278m we drove into Maytown. We didn’t stop as we were trying to find a place to stop for the night. You are not allowed to camp within the Maytown town limits.


76.0km (from the turnoff at the PDR) we cross Palmer River again. According to the Cape York book by Ron Moon there is camping south of the Palmer River just outside Maytown. Palmer River is really wide, first half was sandy, 2nd half was very rocky, it didn’t have a lot of water over the crossing. It does say crossing not recommended. Ron’s book said just over the river on a small grassy area. The only area we could find was covered with bulls and land mines, so we went a tad further up the road and found a place to stop.

Palmer-River Palmer-River-1 Palmer-River-2 Palmer-River-3 Bulls

76.6km (from the turnoff at the PDR) we stopped for the night. We were really tired, it was a hell of a drive, great in places, really rough in others, over all a good day but a big one. Took us 9hrs towing includes breaks, pumping up a bike tyre and winching out of a hole. We were more concerned with taking it steady and safe rather than breaking any speed records. We have never been so dusty; you don’t go fast enough to blow the dust off.


Chris was really happy with the way the Ute went. Has heaps of power to get up hills and can creep very slowly down the steep hills. The trailer just followed along behind.


This is the vertical profile of the Old Coach Road as travelled from North to South. It shows some very significant climbs and descents when travelled from either direction, especially so with the poor track conditions.

The two dips at the 68.5km and 76km marks indicate the two crossings of the Palmer River.

The descent from 65.6km to the Palmer River at 68.5km is a 224m drop in only 2.9km.

Click on the link above for a larger version in Google Maps of the days travels.

Click on the link above for a larger version in Google Maps of the whole of the Old Coach Road