DRIVING ON CAPE YORK IS NO EASY THING – DEPENDING ON THE STATE OF THE ROADS, A COUPLE OF HUNDRED KILOMETRES CAN BE AN ADVENTURE, OR A GRUELLING FEAT OF ENDURANCE.
Any chance for a stop is welcome, and if there’s something to see and a yarn involved, even better. One place you’ve got to stop at, and if you’re south-bound it’s compulsory, is the Coen Information & Inspection Station. Biosecurity Queensland runs the station on the Peninsula Development Road, about 20 kilometres north of Coen, near the turn-off to the Coen airstrip.
Biosecurity Queensland runs the station as a buffer against plant and animal pests and diseases that could spread into Australia from our northern neighbours. They’re a very real threat to agricultural industries and could spread serious diseases to humans.
If you’re driving south you’ll have to stop and be checked for produce that might be carrying dangerous critter passengers. The process doesn’t take long, and you’ll find Scott Templeton & his team love a yarn and are a treasure house of information about the Cape, sights to see and road conditions. Scott has 26 years experience on Cape York, and I hope he’s going to write a book one day, because it would be a must-read.
There’s a good display inside the Centre with plenty of info about the pests and critters they’re looking for – the red banded caterpillar, citrus canker, banana skipper, foot and mouth disease, screw-worm fly and the papaya fruit fly. You’ll get plenty of tips on how to travel wisely on the Cape, and how to make sure your journey doesn’t help spread pests and diseases.
AUDIO FILE Click on the red arrow to hear Scott Templeton in action at the Coen Information & Inspection Centre, Scott’s talking to the ABC’s Charlie McKillop.
More about the Coen Station at http://www.daff.qld.gov.au/4790_21373.htm