Cape York, the tropical peninsula of northeastern Australia, has been a destination for overlanders long before “overland” was a hashtag. There’s endless extreme jungle terrain up there but one spot in particular, Gunshot Creek, has been making the rounds on social media lately. Take a closer look and you’ll see why.
One of the coolest things about Cape York is how much it changes over the course of a year. Go up there in the wet season and you have to be ready for a lot of water fording, and at least a little mud digging. (OK, a lot of mud digging.) Also-watch out for crocs. In the dry season, some of the raging rivers turn into dusty roads.
The Old Telegraph Track, where you’ll find the Gunshot Creek crossing, can’t even really be accessed when it’s wet. Even in dry months, it can still be pretty sticky and sloppy. It’s a well-known off-road challenge that people have been testing their mettle and metal on forever.
This one clip of a Gunshot Creek crossing in particular, for some reason, has recently been re-gram’d by a bunch of the off-road Instagram accounts I like to look at. Behold, the supremely sketchy Gunshot Creek descent:
Cameras play tricks, but this joint is freaking wild for real.
In 2011, when I worked as a tour guide Down Under, I helped lead expeditions to the top of Cape York with trucks and motorcycles. If you have a reasonably short wheelbase, low range and big tires, the actual danger coming down this drop isn’t all that high. But the pucker-factor is through the roof, and visually, the obstacle looks absolutely ridiculous from any angle.
It certainly requires commitment—there aren’t a lot of automotive services, or any services in general, in that particular corner of Queensland. If you get stuck, you better have friends with a lot of torque to tow you out.
Speaking of Australian friends–one has told me that Cape York isn’t as treacherous today as it was the last time I saw it. Apparently there’s a lot more tourism infrastructure up there now. But a little Googling of the Old Telegraph Track would indicate there’s still plenty of adventure to be found up there.
Anyway, the drop in the video clip is just one of many splashes you need to make to finish the route. This Cape York blog has some descriptive, albeit low-resolution images from other spots.
If you liked watching the Land Rover, there are a lot more clips of this spot online. Here’s a Nissan Patrol at Gunshot Creek:
A Land Cruiser:
And a Ford Ranger:
Maybe that one Land Rover clip is suddenly going lowkey viral because people are amazed a Defender made it that far from a dealership (zing), but if you saw it and were wondering about it, I hope this blog post has been informative. Or better yet, inspired you to go wheeling in Australia!