Cape Melville National Park (CYPAL) Tropical North Queensland

Photo credit: Photo: Adam Creed © Qld Govt

Things to do

    Camping in Crocodile camping area. Photo: Fran Mickan, Queensland Government.

    Camping in Crocodile camping area. Photo: Fran Mickan, Queensland Government.

    The beach at Ninian Bay camping area. Photo: Craig Hall, Queensland Government.

    The beach at Ninian Bay camping area. Photo: Craig Hall, Queensland Government.

    Camping and accommodation

    Camping

    There are camping areas on the eastern side of Bathurst Bay near Cape Melville (Crocodile, Wongai, Oystercatcher and Granite camping areas) and at Ninian Bay camping area. Access is by four-wheel drive only and no facilities are provided.

    Campers must be completely self-sufficient in this extremely remote area. For more information, see things to know before you go and staying safe.

    Be aware that crocodiles occur in all creeks, rivers, swamps, waterholes and along beaches of this park. Crocodiles are dangerous and attacks can be fatal—always Be Crocwise in croc country.

    Camping permits are required and fees apply.

    Other accommodation

    Camping facilities are provided at nearby Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park (CYPAL). Privately managed camping areas are located adjacent to the park at Bathurst Head and Starcke River. There is also a range of holiday accommodation in and around Cooktown, Laura and along the Peninsula Development Road. No accommodation facilities are provided in Cape Melville National Park (CYPAL). For more information, see the tourism information links.

    Alka Bawar (Kalpowar) Aboriginal Corporation manages camping within the Kalpowar Aboriginal Land. For information regarding camping at Bathurst Head and Marrett River please visit the Alka Bawar (Kalpowar) Aboriginal Corporation website.

    Cape Melville offers many opportunities for visitors to explore and enjoy the natural surrounds.

    Map: Cape Melville, Flinders Group and Howick Group national parks (CYPAL) map (PDF, 938.4KB)

    Walkers on the beach at Cape Melville. Photo: Eric Wason, Queensland Government.

    Walkers on the beach at Cape Melville. Photo: Eric Wason, Queensland Government.

    The walking track to the Mahina monument. Photo: Eric Wason, Queensland Government.

    The walking track to the Mahina monument. Photo: Eric Wason, Queensland Government.

    Freshwater creek in Nookai day-use area. Photo: Janie White, Queensland Government.

    Freshwater creek in Nookai day-use area. Photo: Janie White, Queensland Government.

    Tidal creek crossings along the beach near Cape Melville. Photo: Janie White, Queensland Government.

    Tidal creek crossings along the beach near Cape Melville. Photo: Janie White, Queensland Government.

    Walking

    Mahina monument track (Grade: easy)

    Distance: 300m return
    Time: Allow about 30mins walking time
    Details: From the beach in the Mahina camping area there is a 200m (one way) 4WD track to a parking area. From here, this walking track leads to a monument commemorating lives lost when a pearling fleet was destroyed in Cyclone Mahina in 1899.

    Four-wheel driving

    Drive four-wheel-drive vehicles through Cape Melville National Park (CYPAL) on formed roads and tracks. Expect to share the roads with pedestrians, cyclists, trail-bikes and other vehicles.

    Vehicles should be in good mechanical condition. Carry plenty of fuel as driving on rough roads in low gear uses more fuel than under normal driving conditions. Also carry spare parts and basic vehicle repair equipment. You will need to be self-sufficient as no fuel, spare parts or mechanical work are available at Cape Melville National Park (CYPAL).

    If possible, travel with another vehicle. Always observe directions about road closures or other restrictions to avoid road damage and vehicle problems.

    Stay on formed roads—vehicles are not permitted off-road, including on walking tracks and boardwalks. Vehicles are also not permitted in Restricted Access Areas or on internal roads and tracks that are closed for management purposes.

    Drivers must be licensed and vehicles must be road-registered. For more information, see four-wheel driving.

    Trail-bike riding

    Ride trail-bikes through Cape Melville National Park (CYPAL) on formed roads and tracks. Expect to share the roads with pedestrians, cyclists, vehicles and other trail-bikes.

    Trail-bikes should be in good mechanical condition. Carry plenty of fuel as riding on rough roads in low gear uses more fuel than under normal driving conditions. Also carry spare parts and basic repair equipment. You will need to be self-sufficient as no fuel, spare parts or mechanical work are available at Cape Melville National Park (CYPAL).

    If possible, travel with another trail-bike or vehicle. Always observe directions about road closures or other restrictions to avoid road damage and bike problems.

    Stay on formed roads—trail-bikes are not permitted off-road, including on walking tracks and boardwalks. Trail-bikes are also not permitted in Restricted Access Areas or on internal roads and tracks that are closed for management purposes.

    Riders must be licensed and trail-bikes must be road-registered. For more information, see trail-bike riding.

    Quad bikes

    Roads in national parks are the same as any other public road in Queensland. All vehicles, except those exempted by law, must be registered. The department does not give permission for conditionally registered vehicles (e.g. quad bikes) to be used recreationally by individuals. In many places it is not legally possible to issue a permit.

    Surveillance cameras may be used to monitor visitor behaviour and movements throughout the park. On-the-spot fines may also apply.

    Picnic and day-use areas

    Nookai day-use area covers the 4km of coast between Crocodile and Wongai camping areas (see Cape Melville National Park (CYPAL) camping areas map (PDF, 739.3KB) ) and offers great beach fishing. The day-use area extends inland to include a small fresh water creek. Fresh water is extremely limited in the park so take care not to pollute it—do not use soap, shampoo or detergents in or near the creek. Camping is not permitted in the day-use area.

    Boating and fishing

    Marine waters adjacent to Cape Melville National Park (CYPAL) 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.

    Recreational fishing is allowed in all creeks and rivers in Cape Melville National Park (CYPAL). Fisheries regulations apply—information on bag and size limits, restricted species and seasonal closures is available from Fisheries Queensland.

    Be aware that crocodiles occur in all creeks, rivers, swamps, waterholes and along beaches of this park. Crocodiles are dangerous and attacks can be fatal. Always Be Crocwise in croc country.

    Bicycling

    Cycle through Cape Melville National Park (CYPAL) on internal roads and tracks. Expect to share the roads and tracks with pedestrians, vehicles, trail-bikes and other cyclists.

    Bicycles are not permitted on any of the walking tracks and boardwalks, in Restricted Access Areas or on internal roads and tracks that are closed for management purposes.

    For more information, see cycling.