What You Need to Know about Car Hire Insurance for Your Trip to Cape York

February 28, 2022
4WD guided tour Cairns

If you are planning to visit Cape York, this is one of the most iconic Australian road trips you can do in QLD. If you plan to take your own vehicle, make sure you are well prepared. The corrugation on the roads does shake up even the best-prepared vehicle, so many people choose to hire a vehicle for this trip; however, it’s still important to learn about rental insurance for 4WD hire in Cape York.


Finding the right car rental that hires 4WD vehicles is crucial so you can explore one of the many local areas available by road, whether you want to travel the coast and visit Port Douglas, Cape Tribulation in the Daintree National Park or perhaps take in the thrill of the Bloomfield Track to Cooktown.
However, you need to understand the insurance policies and the rental agreement available on the vehicle you are hiring. For example, some of our car hires are great for the Cairns local area; they can be driven off-road on dirt and unsealed roads to places like the “Bloomfield Track”, Cooktown, Undara and Chillago. But there are restrictions on how far from Cairns you can travel. Some vehicles can only be taken as far south as Airlie Beach, as far north as Cooktown, and as far west as Chillagoe located in the outback west of Cairns. Anything outside these areas requires written permission.


Other vehicles you can hire enable you to travel all the way to ‘the Tip’. If you are planning to go to Cape York, please be aware that there is a minimum of 7 days hire, at least 10 days is recommended.
You can only travel to Cape York between May and October each year; this is the dry season in far North Queensland. The wet season is usually between November and April, and Cape York virtually shuts down, roads are flooded and river crossings impossible, that is why you cannot hire a vehicle to travel to Cape York in the wet season.


The road conditions limit your travel to a few hundred kilometres per day, rather than 1000. Fuel is something else you need to consider. There’s fuel every 100km or so along the way but having a 1000km worth means you can skip the most expensive places. I’d try and avoid filling up north of the Jardine Ferry, if possible. If you have the means to carry a bit extra, it may save you a lot in the long run.


Hire vehicles have road restrictions, which can change, depending on the hiring company. All vehicle hire is subject to the road conditions at the time, and you may be refused rental on the pick-up location if the conditions are too dangerous. Vehicles that can go from Cairns to Cape York regularly and visit all the “Must See” tourist places on the way, such as the Great Barrier Reef. The vehicles can be driven on recognised unsealed roads as long as the weather at the time is suitable for such a trip, and this is why the vehicles can only be taken from Cairns to Cape York from June to October.


Depending on the vehicle you select, small sections of the Old Telegraph track can be traversed to access specific locations such as Fruit Bat Falls, Twin Falls and Elliot falls are easily reached from the main road, near the junction of the Old Telegraph Track, and Northern and Southern Bypass Road. The Telegraph Road, the Peninsula Development Road and the Bamaga Road (also known in sections as the Southern and Northern Bypass Road) are all well taken care of and allowable for you to travel on. The roads that these vehicles are allowed on will lead you from Cairns to the very tip of Cape York – Australia, where you can fish, catch ferries to the islands of the Torres Straits and stand at the sign saying you are at the very top of Australia. Please consult a good map provider for road names and details like the “Hema Map” company.

4WD hire in Cape York


This is a more complex trip than the average road so it is best to talk to the expert staff at 4WD Hire Cairns can explain what is involved with their car rental insurances and help you plan your trip around the Cairns, Cooktown or Cape York areas with our local knowledge and years of experience to ensure you get to see the best four-wheel drive areas in and around Cairns and avoid any unnecessary additional fees from other rental companies.