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.
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.