There are many adventures to be had in northern Queensland and for four-wheel drive enthusiasts, the Bloomfield Track is number one. Providing a coastal route between Cooktown and Cape Tribulation, the scenic and challenging drive makes a roadtrip along this spectacular section of Queensland’s coast an attractive option.
The Bloomfield Track is a 30 kilometre stretch between the Aboriginal community of Wujal Wujal and Cape Tribulation but, in order to reach it drivers must also pass through Helenvale, so we’ll start there.
Black Mountain National Park
Located 26 kilometres south of Cooktown, Helenvale is a small community on the edge of the Black Mountain National Park. The park centres around an enormous mountain formed of gigantic black granite boulders. It is a large protected area of cultural significance to local Aborigines, but which also carries mythological significance for non-Aboriginal locals. Over the years several tales have emerged of people and livestock heading to Black Mountain, never to be seen again, earning it the nickname ‘Mountain of Death’. Camping is not permitted and there are no walking tracks in the park. The imposing mountain can be seen from the roadside.
|Black Mountain, Helenvale, Queensland, Australia|
Lions Den Hotel
The infamous Lions Den Hotel is an outback pub with lots of character. The pub has been running since 1875 and features a small shop, campsite and a swimming hole out the back. The interior walls are covered in scribble from when miners (that mined tin from the mountain across the road) used to write their earnings on the wall to keep track of what they had and how much they could afford to drink.
|The Lion's Den Hotel, Helenvale, Queensland, Australia|
The Bloomfield Track
Roughly 30 kilometres further south, at the Aboriginal community of Wujal Wujal, the Bloomfield Track begins. The first point of interest is Wujal Wujal Falls, which is one of several important waterfalls for the local indigenous community. General access is only provided to one of the falls, as the others are believed to be sacred sites for women only.
The Bloomfield Track passes over the sometime steep Donovan and Cowie Ranges, crosses the Bloomfield River, and passes through natural creek crossings. The track is only partially sealed, the rest is red earth/mud, so is only suitable for four-wheel drive vehicles and becomes very slippery after rain, and can even become impassable after heavy rain.
Driving through this pristine heritage-listed rainforest is a privilege. Environmental protests took place against the construction of the track in the early 1980s. As you pass through the lush rainforest and creeks, and admire the secluded beaches and swimming holes, you can see why people wanted to protect the area.
A stop at Cowie Beach will make you believe you are in the middle of nowhere. The vast flat beach offers sweeping views across mangroves and out to the coral reef lying just offshore. A few isolated mangrove trees stand in splendid isolation as you stare out to sea.
|Cowie Beach, Queensland, Australia|
It is worth stopping at the lookouts along the way as they offer glimpses of the scenery, not least of all one that offers a great view over Cape Tribulation, just before you arrive.
Before you go, make sure:
Your vehicle is a four-wheel drive
You know how to use the vehicle in four-wheel drive mode
You know the current and recent weather conditions
You obey road signs (for safety and to avoid fines)
You comply with the alcohol limits in Wujal Wujal area