the old coach road

The Old Coach Road is quickly gaining reputation as Cape Yorks Toughest Track and with extremely steep climbs, loose rocky tracks that will have you searching for every bit of traction and countless rock step ups, its not hard to see why.

But the fun doesn’t end there. The area is rich with history left behind form the gold rush of the 19th Century. With the remains of what was a busy settlement scattered throughout the region, including Maytown ruins and large mining machinery, it would be easy to spend a whole day exploring the myriad of tracks at the southern end of the Old Coach Road.

The 81km Drive from the Mulligan Hwy turn off, along Whites Creek Rd, to The Palmer River Crossing is a relatively easy drive along a graded dirt road. It is when you get across the Palmer River that this quickly changes.

Once you cross the Palmer you will soon discover the old Maytown Ruins. The gutters down the main road, made from local slate, can still be easily made out and the foundations and piles of bricks are all that remain of the abandoned buildings. All the old sites are marked with plaques inscribed with what once occupied the now vacant lots.

A period building has been replicated on the old hotel site and contains relics and a sign in book.

Surrounding the Maytown Ruins you will find hordes of abandoned mining machinery that became too costly to remove when the gold deposits began to run out.

Beyond Maytown you will quickly to learn where the Old Coach road gets it reputation from.
The “road”, that quickly becomes steeper and rockier, will have you in low range for the next 55km and take you approximately 8 hours to reach Laura. If your up for a real challenge take the left hand fork towards the folders hotel site. This route is by far the most technical section on the Old Coach Road and after a steep climb and a great look out it joins back up with the main track. If want to take the less technical option then take the right fork towards Laura (still difficult but skips some seriously steep tracks and large step ups)

The Old Coach is definitely not for the novice four wheel driver. It’s the perfect challenge for those with a well equipped 4wd and plenty of off-road experience. While not totally necessary a winch and lockers will help keep accidents and damage a minimum.

 The Old Coach Roads steep hills and gully’s come hand in hand with spectacular vistas that are sure to keep the passengers happy too.

If you want more information click the video links to see our journey to Maytown and along the Old Coach Road. Make sure to subscribe to follow along!!

Cape York locals tip – There are good camp sites to be had on the banks of the Palmer river but remember to be croc wise. Be sure to book any national park camping prior to arrival as mobile reception is non-existent.



At True North Adventures we have a passion for everything adventure. Based in Cairns, Cape York is our back yard and traveling this amazing part of the world is at the core of what we do. Our goal is to travel to Australia's most remote and rugged regions and inspire others to do the same.

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