Bowling Green Bay National Park Townsville

Alligator Creek valley, Bowling Green Bay National Park. Photo credit: Phill Copp © Queensland Government

Bowling Green Bay National Park—a stunning a mosaic of coastal wetlands and rainforest on mountain tops. Photo credit: Phil Copp © Queensland Government

Visiting Bowling Green Bay safely

    Getting there and getting around

    Bowling Green National Park is between 25km and 90km south of Townsville. The national park has three sections, Mount Elliot, Cape Cleveland and Bowling Green Bay.

    Mount Elliot section: Turn off the Bruce Highway towards Alligator Creek, 25km south of Townsville or 65km north of Ayr. The entrance to the Mount Elliot section of the park, and Alligator Creek day use area, is 6km from the highway. Access is suitable for conventional vehicles. There is no public transport.

    Cape Cleveland section: Turn off the Bruce Highway onto Cape Cleveland Road (Australian Institute of Marine Science road), about 33km south of Townsville or 57km north of Ayr. The roads leading to the national park are sealed, however four-wheel-drive vehicles are generally needed to travel on the unsealed roads within the park. The unsealed roads are prone to erosion particularly when close to the creek, always check prior to driving over them.

    Bowling Green Bay section: Turn off the Bruce Highway onto Jerona Road, about 12km south of the Giru turn-off (64km south of Townsville, 26km north of Ayr). The first kilometre of the road is bitumen. The remainder is mostly an unsealed road that is susceptible to wash-outs. Four-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended, especially during the wet season (December to April). The park boundary starts 9km along this road and extends for 6km until you reach the township of Jerona.

    Contact the Department of Transport and Main Roads to find out about road conditions and the Bureau of Meteorology for weather reports and forecasts. Remember to check park alerts for the latest information on parks and forest access, closures and conditions.

    Alligator Creek day-use area map (PDF, 1.2MB)

    Cockatoo Creek and Alligator Falls walking trails map (PDF, 917.1KB)

    Wheelchair accessibility

    In the Mount Elliot section, the Alligator Creek day use area toilets, some of the picnic facilities and the Alligator Creek walk are wheelchair accessible.

    Image of warning sign warning that crocodiles inhabit this area, to keep away from the water's edge and do not enter the water, take extreme care when launching and retrieving boats, do not clean fish or leave fish waste near the water's edge and camp well away from the water.

    For your safety heed all warning signage whilst visiting the national park.

    Photo credit: Linda Thompson © Queensland Government

    For your safety heed all danger signs in the national park.

    For your safety heed all danger signs in the national park.

    Photo credit: © Queensland Government

    Staying safe

    To ensure your visit to the national park is safe and enjoyable, please follow these guidelines.

    • Before embarking on an extended walk tell a responsible person where you are going and when you expect to return. Be realistic about your physical condition, knowledge, experience and skills. Be well prepared and observe all the walk with care guidelines.
    • Heed all safety signage and access warnings. For public safety two restricted access areas have been declared in the Mount Elliot section of the national park. Restricted Access Area notice, Mount Elliot section (1) (PDF, 345.8KB) ; Restricted Access Area notice, Mount Elliot section (2) (PDF, 335.6KB) .
    • Always pack a first aid kit (know how to use it!) and reliable communication equipment.
    • Take and drink adequate water, wear sturdy footwear and protect yourself from the sun.
    • Water levels can rise rapidly in Alligator Creek (Mount Elliot section) without warning. Do not enter the creek during or following heavy rain.
    • Never dive or jump from rocks into Alligator Creek—serious injuries and deaths have occurred here. Be careful in and near the water as the rocks are slippery and there may be submerged objects.
    • Do not climb cliff faces. Slippery rocks on cliff faces can cause falls. Landing on, or being entrapped by, submerged objects in the creek can lead to serious injury or death.
    • Do not take glass bottles or containers in or near Alligator Creek, injuries can occur from broken glass.
    • Estuarine crocodiles inhabit the waterways and coastal sections of the Cape Cleveland and Bowling Green Bay. Always be Crocwise in Croc Country.
    • Dangerous stinging jellyfish (‘stingers’) may be present in the coastal waters at any time of the year, and occur more frequently in the warmer months. A full-body lycra suit, or equivalent, may provide a good measure of protection against stinging jellyfish and sunburn. Visit marine stingers for the latest safety and first aid information
    The beach access to Salmon Creek camping area is accessible at low tide by 4WD only and subject to seasonal closures.

    The beach access to Salmon Creek camping area is accessible at low tide by 4WD only and subject to seasonal closures.

    Photo credit: © Queensland Government

    • Sandflies and mosquitoes may be a nuisance, especially during the wet season (December–April). Wear a long-sleeved shirt and pants and insect repellent to protect yourself from insect bites and stings.
    • Extreme weather and cyclones are common along Queensland’s tropical coastline. Check weather forecasts  before you visit. Never recreate if extreme weather or a cyclone is imminent.
    • Take care when driving on sand. Driving on sand requires particular driving skills and can be difficult and dangerous—all road rules apply. Driving on the sand dunes is not permitted
    • For important information on 4WD safety and driving read the four-wheel drive with care advice.

    For more information, please read the guidelines on safety in parks and forests.

    In an emergency

    For all emergencies call Triple Zero (000). Mobile phone coverage may not be available in sections of the national park. Consider taking a satellite phone, personal locator beacon (PLB) or another form of communication.

    We recommend you visit the Triple Zero website before visiting the national park. You can also download the free emergency + app before you leave home, the GPS functionality can provide critical location details to emergency services. Important: if there is no mobile coverage on any network, you will not be able to reach the Emergency Call Service via a mobile phone.

    Before you visit

    Essentials to bring

    Preparation is key to a safe and enjoyable visit make sure you bring:

    • a first-aid kit and reliable communication equipment.
    • appropriate clothing, sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses and insect repellent.
    • adequate drinking water.
    • fuel stoves are recommended.
    • a sealable container for rubbish. Bins are not provided—please take your rubbish home with you.

    Opening hours

    All sections of the park are open 24 hours a day. Sections of the park may be closed from time to time for management activities and extreme weather conditions. Before your visit, check Park Alerts for the latest information on parks and forests access, closures and conditions.

    Permits and fees

    All camping areas in Bowling Green Bay National Park require a camping permit and fees apply. A tag with your booking number must be displayed at your camp site.

    Other permits and fees

    Various activities in Bowling Green National Park require a permit. Activities include commercial tours, social events (for example weddings or birthday parties), organised group visits, school excursions, scientific research, professional photography and the sale of photographs or vision of the park. Contact us for further information.


    Domestic animals are not permitted in Bowling Green Bay National Park.

    Climate and weather

    The Townsville region has a dry tropical climate with distinct wet and dry seasons. The average daily temperature range is 24–31 ºC in summer (December–February) and 14–25 ºC in winter (June–August).

    Fuel and supplies

    Fuel and supplies are available 25km north at Townsville and 65km south at Ayr and at various locations along the Bruce Highway. For more information, see the tourism information links.