Photos of Cape York Peninsula, North Queensland, Australia

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Cape York Peninsula of North Queensland

Cape York Peninsula, pointing all the way up to the Torres Strait Islands in Far North Queensland, is the largest unspoilt wilderness in eastern Australia, although about half of the area of the largely flat land is used for grazing cattle. The west coast borders the Gulf of Carpentaria, with a number of towns and Aboriginal communities; the largest town is Weipa, with its bauxite mine. The east coast borders the Coral Sea, with its town of Cooktown and nearby Hope Vale, an Aboriginal community on Cape York Peninsula, about 46 kilometres northwest of Cooktown by road. It is home to several clan groups whose traditional language is mostly Guugu Yimidhirr.

Princess Charlotte Bay
 
Wenlock River
 
Possession Island
 
Aboriginal cave paintings
 
Punsand Bay beach
 
Punsand Bay mangroves
 
Cape York beach
 
Tip of Cape York
 
Injinoo
 
Poi-Poi Street, Bamaga
 
Bamaga creek
 
Wasiu Street, Bamaga
 
Bamaga house
 
Bamaga High School
 
High School students
 
New Mapoon
 
House near Seisia
 
Beach near Seisia
 
Men of Umagico
 
Street in Umagico
 
Archer River
 
House in Coen
 
Kennedy River
 
Lakefield National Park
 
Lakefield Station
 
View near Laura
 
Great Dividing Range
 
Cape Kimberley
 
Over Bamaga
 
Hope Vale church
 
Hope Vale police station
 
Hope Vale
 
Hope Vale school
 
Falls near Hope Vale
 
Weipa beach
 
Evans Landing, Weipa
 
p>The Peninsula Development Road up the peninsula climbs over the Great Dividing Range leading past the town of Laura with its yearly Aboriginal Festival and its nearby Split Rock Gallery with its Aboriginal paintings. North of here is Lakefield National Park with its huge termite mounds and reminders of its pioneer past, when the local Aborigines killed the explorer Kennedy; a river is called after him. There are now large cattle stations on Cape York peninsula as well, but most remains unspoiled bushland, with small Aboriginal communities. It is 240 kilometres from Laura along a dusty road to Coen, a wild gold mining town in the late 1870s and now a small service town for the surrounding Aboriginal communities and cattle stations. 114 kilometres further on is the turnoff to the bauxite mining town of Weipa, 145 kilometres further on the west coast.

The Telegraph Road continues further north, four wheel drive only. The first obstacle to cross was the Wenlock River (there is a bridge here now) and there are many more crossings with the most formidable: the Jardine River, where there is a ferry. Eventually, 324 kilometres from the turnoff to Weipa is Bamaga, Australia's most northerly mainland township. The majority of residents are Torres Strait Islanders, descendants of Saibai Islanders, led by a man named Bamaga Ginau, who resettled here after their island was devastated by a tidal wave. The reserve that was established took Bamaga's name. Nearby on the coast are the small settlements of Injinoo, Umagico and Seisia from where there is a ferry service to Thursday Island. Just off the north western tip of Cape York is tiny Possession Island, where Captain James Cook raised the flag on 22 August 1770 and claimed the east coast of Australia for England; the Aboriginal people, of course, were not consulted and remained unaware of their distant ruler for a long time after this.