Things to do
There are several options for camping in Bowling Green Bay National Park.
There are three camping areas accessible by high clearance 4WD suitable for camper trailer and tent camping, facilities are not provided. There is also opportunities for remote hiking and camping available in the Mount Cleveland and Mount Elliot section of the national park. All camping activities in the park require a permit and fees apply. Before setting up camp you will need to obtain a camping permit, which should be attached to your tent in a visible place. Rangers conduct regular patrols in all sections of the park. Please camp with minimum impact and take all rubbish with you when you leave.
- Find out more about camping in Bowling Green Bay National Park.
- Book your camp site online.
- If you cannot book online, see camping bookings for other options.
There is a range of holiday accommodation in and around Townsville. For more information, see the tourism information links.
If you intend to embark on extensive hikes in remote areas remember to tell a responsible person where you are going and when you expect to return. Let them know your route and contact them on your return. Have a contingency plan if you fail to contact them by the agreed time. If you change your plans, inform them.
Alligator Creek boardwalk (Mount Elliot)—200 m return (15 mins) Grade: easy
A wheelchair-accessible boardwalk leads from the day-use area through riparian forest to the bank of Alligator Creek. Interpretive signs highlight some of the plants and animals in the area.
Alligator Creek lookout (Mount Elliot)—1 km return (30 mins) Grade: easy
Take your camera for a canopy-level view of the lower sections of Alligator Creek from the lookout.
Cockatoo Creek track—3 km return (1.5 hrs) Grade: moderate
Enjoy a walk through open woodland, climbing steadily to Cockatoo Creek. Lined with bottlebrush trees and filled with clear rockpools, this creek is ideal for a rest.
Alligator Falls track (Mount Elliot)—17 km return (5–6 hrs) Grade: difficult
Do not walk this track during or after recent rain or if heavy rain is forecast. Rain in the Alligator Creek upper catchment can cause rapid rises in water levels (flash flooding)—making creek crossings dangerous. It may also result in walkers becoming stranded for periods of time between crossings.
The track to Alligator Falls starts from the southern end of the day-use area. The Alligator Creek lookout is located 500 m along the track. The track then continues on for another 2 km to Cockatoo Creek.
From Cockatoo Creek the track meanders roughly parallel to the creek, following powerlines through open woodland forest to Hidden Valley. Across the creek the valley narrows, with Mount Elliot and Saddle Mountain framing the landscape. An open clearing features towering, old mango trees, one of the only reminders of the homestead that once stood there. After a further 2km, the track arrives at a series of steps ascending through a rocky vine-thicket where some boulder-scrambling is required. The track then suddenly emerges at the falls. Access to and above the falls is not provided.
On this track visitors must cross the creek on four occasions. These crossings vary in depth from ankle-deep to approximately waist-deep depending on the season and weather conditions. Walkers attempting to make Alligator Falls during the summer months (November to March) are expected to have at least a moderate level of fitness and be prepared to get wet at creek crossings.
As the walk is long, visitors are advised to start walking in the morning to ensure a safe return during daylight hours. Carry water, a first-aid kit, and wear sturdy footwear.
Other extended bushwalking opportunities exist on Mount Elliot and Mount Cleveland for experienced walkers. See camping information for more details.
Picnic and day-use areas
At Alligator Creek there is a spacious central day-use area with boardwalks, bridges, seating and viewing decks featured along the creek. The day-use area provides picnic tables, a shelter with gas barbecues, toilets and caters for large groups and offers access for mobility-impaired visitors. Picnic tables are also located along the road leading to the central day-use area. Please remove all of your rubbish.
Alligator Creek is a great place to visit but is also hazardous. Water levels can rise rapidly, care must be taken in and near the water because of slippery rocks and submerged objects. Heed all warning signs. Serious injuries and deaths have occurred here.
Boating and fishing
Marine waters adjacent to Bowling Green Bay National Park are internationally significant and are protected in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Zones in the two marine parks—the Great Barrier Reef Coast and Great Barrier Reef—provide a balanced approach to protecting the marine and intertidal environments while allowing recreational and commercial use. Check zoning information and maps before entering or conducting any activities in the marine parks.
Fisheries regulations apply—information on bag and size limits, restricted species and seasonal closures is available from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.
Bowling Green Bay National Park offers excellent opportunities for viewing wildlife. The diversity of landscape and vegetation supports a large and varied population of birds, including migrants such as the channel-billed cuckoo. Male scarlet honeyeaters make a colourful subject for keen photographers. Agile wallabies and allied rock-wallabies are common. At night, common brushtail possums can be spotted patrolling the area. If you are lucky you may even see a rufous bettong. Never feed any animals, including fish and turtles, as it can affect their health and alter the natural population balance. Ensure that your food is securely packed away out of animals' reach.
Throughout much of the year the buzzing resonance of cicadas dominates the park. Their empty skins can be found on rough-barked trees.
See the description of the park's natural environment for more details about Bowling Green National Park's diverse wildlife.
- Alligator Creek visitor precinct at Bowling Green Bay National Park temporarily closed 2 March 2021 to 31 May 2022
- Planned burn Cape Cleveland and Mount Elliot sections Bowling Green Bay National Park 29 April to 27 May 2022