Cape Upstart National Park Whitsundays

Visiting Cape Upstart safely

    Getting there and getting around

    Cape Upstart is on the coast between Ayr and Bowen. There is no vehicle access within the Cape massif section of the park. Coconut Beach bush camping area is remote and accessible by boat in good weather only. Launch your boat at ramp located south of the township of Gumlu, at Molongle Creek.

    Wheelchair accessibility

    There is no wheelchair accessible tracks or facilities in the park.

    Staying safe

    Enjoy your visit, keep yourself safe and help look after Cape Upstart National Park by following these tips.

    Be and stay informed, regularly check:

    Plan carefully

    • Ensure your boat and equipment are safe and in good working order. Remember to follow boat and fish with care guidelines Always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.
    • Take plenty of drinking water and snacks with you—and pack extras encase of emergencies.
    • Carry a first aid kit and medical supplies
    • Coconut Bay is remote and exposed to the prevailing weather, be alert and prepared for changes in conditions. Access from Upstart Bay is weather dependant.
    • Always read and heed on-site information and obey signs.
    • Use dependable communications.  Mobile phone coverage is unreliable. Satellite phones are best, and a marine VHF radio is very useful. A personal locator beacon (PLB) is highly recommended.
    • Cyclones are common along Queensland's tropical coastline. Never recreate if a cyclone is imminent and always be prepared for an emergency.
    • Never swim or snorkel alone, stay alert and be aware of your surroundings at all times. Follow water safety advice and remain SharkSmart.
    • Protect yourself from marine stingers, especially from October to May, although some may be present year-round. Always wear a stinger suit when swimming. See marine stingers for more information.
    • Be aware that estuarine crocodiles occur in the waters around this national park. Remember—always be croc wise in croc country.

    In an emergency

    In an emergency, phone Triple Zero (000). You could try contacting other vessels in the vicinity on VHF radio.

    VHF marine channel 16 and 67 (distress and urgency calls). See Maritime Safety Queensland for further details.

    We highly 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.

    Before you visit

    Opening hours

    Cape Upstart National Park is open all year, however adverse weather may cause temporary closures, especially during the wet season generally from December to March. The park may be closed at other times for management activities. Check park alerts for information on park conditions, access and closures.

    Essentials to bring

    If planning to visit Cape Upstart National Park, you must be self-sufficient and prepared for all emergencies. Ensure you bring:

    • a first-aid kit and reliable communication equipment
    • enough drinking water for your visit
    • fuel or gas stove for cooking (bring extra fuel)—fires are not permitted
    • sealable rubbish container—bins are not provided
    • insect repellent and sun protection

    Permits and fees

    Camping permits

    If you intend to camp you will need to obtain a camping permit and fees apply. A tag with your booking number must be displayed at your camp site. Penalties apply for camping without a permit.

    Other permits

    Various activities in national parks require a permit. Activities include commercial tours, social events, organised group visits, school excursions, scientific research, and the sale of photographs or vision of the national park. Visit Parks permits and policies for further information.

    Climate and weather

    The region has a well-defined dry season in winter, with average temperatures of 10–20°C. Between January and March, high humidity, strong seasonal rainfall and average temperatures of 20–35°C making recreating less comfortable.

    Weather forecasts are available from the Bureau of Meterology.


    Domestic animals are not permitted in Cape Upstart National Park.

    • There are currently no park alerts for this park.