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About Denham Group

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Getting there and getting around

The Denham Group National Park is located off the east coast of Cape York Peninsula, adjacent to Jardine River National Park. The park is approximately 700km north-west of Cairns and about 50km south of the tip of the peninsula. Access to the park is by private boat only.

Denham Group National Park consists of Aplin, Milman, Cholmondeley, Wallace, Sinclair and Cairncross islets and Boydong Island.

To protect the important conservation values of this national park, there are restrictions on access to some of the islands.

  • To protect significant seabird and turtle nesting sites, access is not permitted to Milman Islet (PDF, 256K) and Aplin Islet (PDF, 233K). These two islands are designated restricted access areas under the Nature Conservation Act 1992.
  • The waters surrounding Aplin and Millman islets are Preservation (Pink) Zone—no access without written permission. See Great Barrier Reef Marine Park zoning information and maps for more information.
  • Cholmondeley and Wallace islets are important nesting areas for seabirds. Avoid landing on these islands if seabirds are nesting. Nesting birds are easily alarmed and will leave their nests if disturbed. Eggs and chicks are then vulnerable to heat, cold and predators and can die quickly.
  • Sinclair Islet is an important nesting site for hawksbill turtles and seabirds. Going ashore to these islands during the seabird breeding season from 1 September to 31 March should be avoided. Hawksbill turtles nest year round and can also be easily disturbed.
  • Cairncross Islets and Boydong Island are important nesting sites for pied imperial-pigeons. Going ashore to these islands during the breeding season from 1 September to 31 March should be avoided.

Park features

Hawksbill turtle. Photo: Hoppen. (c) Commonwealth of Australia (Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority).

Hawksbill turtle. Photo: Hoppen. (c) Commonwealth of Australia (Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority).

Pied imperial-pigeon. Photo:Queensland Government.

Pied imperial-pigeon. Photo:Queensland Government.

The islands of Denham Group National Park are remote, relatively undisturbed and highly significant for bird and turtle nesting. To protect significant seabird and turtle nesting sites, access is not permitted to Milman Islet (PDF, 256K) and Aplin Islet (PDF, 233K).

Green turtles and hawksbill turtles nest on several of the islands. Milman Islet is the largest hawksbill turtle breeding site within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Hawksbill turtles are listed as vulnerable in Queensland and nationally (Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999).

Hundreds of nesting seabirds gather on Aplin, Milman, Cholmondeley and Wallace islets during the breeding season. The islands also provide important roosting and breeding areas for migratory birds, including pied imperial-pigeons which breed on Boydong Island and Cairncross Islets.

The vegetation varies from island to island and includes grassy areas, small patches of low closed forest, fringing mangroves and shrublands. Wallace Islet has a small area of Pisonia grandis forest which is of high conservation value and important seabird nesting habitat. The surrounding marine habitat provides food and shelter to many marine animals including turtles, dolphins, dugongs and estuarine crocodiles.

Camping and accommodation

Camping and accommodation

Camping

Camping is not permitted on any of the islands within Denham Group National Park. The nearest island national park camping area is on Flinders Group National Park and on the mainland at Jardine River National Park.

Other accommodation

Other accommodation including camping areas and cabins is available on the mainland at Bamaga which is located approximately 70 km north-east of Denham Group National Park.

For more information see the tourism information links.

Things to do

Boating and fishing

Island parks and the surrounding marine waters 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. The waters surrounding these islands include Preservation (Pink) Zone and Marine Park (Green) Zone. 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 Fisheries Queensland.

To protect the important conservation values of this national park, there are restrictions on access to some of the islands. See Getting there and getting around for more information.

Anchor on sand if possible—corals are fragile and easily damaged.

Dangerous stinging jellyfish (‘stingers’) may be present in the coastal waters at any time, but 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.

Be aware that crocodiles can turn up anywhere in croc country, including tidal reaches of rivers, along beaches, on offshore islands and cays in the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait, and in freshwater lagoons, rivers, and swamps. Crocodiles are dangerous and attacks can be fatal. Remember to be crocwise in croc country.

Things to know before you go

Our precious Great Barrier Reef World Heritage islands are among the most pest-free islands in the world. They need your help to stay this way. Please Be pest-free! (PDF, 574K) before your visit.

Essentials to bring

Denham Group is remote and there are no facilities—visitors need to be well prepared.

  • Be self-sufficient in food, water and first-aid supplies.
  • Bring sunscreen, insect repellent, hat, suitable clothing and sturdy footwear.
  • Carry rubbish bags to take your rubbish away with you—bins are not provided.

Opening hours

Denham Group National Park is open 24 hours a day but there are access restrictions to some of the islands. See Getting there and getting around for more information.

Permits and fees

Permits are required for commercial or organised group activities. Contact us for further information.

Pets

Domestic animals are not permitted in Denham Group National Park or on tidal lands adjacent to the national park within the Great Barrier Reef Coast Marine Park. Tidal areas include beaches, rocks and mangroves.

Climate and weather

Denham Group National Park has a tropical climate. Summer can be very hot, humid and wet with maximum temperatures reaching over 32 °C. From December to April, storms and heavy downpours are common. During the cooler, drier months from May to September the weather is pleasantly warm, with reduced humidity.

Visitors should check weather conditions and obtain updated forecasts before venturing out in recreational vessels. Weather forecasts are available from the Bureau of Meteorology.

Fuel and supplies

There are no facilities on any of the islands in Denham Group National Park. Fuel and supplies are available on the mainland at Bamaga, approximately 70 km north-west of the park.

For more information, see tourism information links.

Staying safe

Dangerous stinging box jellyfish. Photo:Jamie Seymour.

Dangerous stinging box jellyfish. Photo:Jamie Seymour.

  • Wear sunscreen, a hat, insect repellent, protective clothing and sturdy footwear.
  • Ensure you carry plenty of drinking water.
  • Be aware of wind, current direction and tides.
  • Be aware that crocodiles can turn up anywhere in croc country, including tidal reaches of rivers, along beaches, on offshore islands and cays in the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait, and in freshwater lagoons, rivers, and swamps. Crocodiles are dangerous and attacks can be fatal. Remember to be crocwise in croc country.
  • Dangerous stinging jellyfish (‘stingers’) may be present in the coastal waters at any time, but 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.

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

Looking after the park

  • To protect the important conservation values of this national park, there are restrictions on access to some of the islands. See Getting there and getting around for more information.
  • Check zoning information and maps before entering or conducting any activities in the marine parks.
  • Domestic animals are not permitted in Denham Group National Park or on tidal lands adjacent to the national park within the Great Barrier Reef Coast Marine Park. Tidal areas include beaches, rocks and mangroves.
  • Do not feed wildlife, including birds and fish—it is harmful to their health.
  • Take rubbish (including food scraps) home with you.
  • Anchor only on sand—corals are fragile and easily damaged.
  • Everything in the park, living or dead, is protected. Please leave everything as you found it.

Be pest-free!

Our precious Great Barrier Reef World Heritage islands are among the most pest-free islands in the world. They need your help to stay this way. Please Be pest-free! (PDF, 574K) before your visit.

Before you visit, please check that your boat, clothing, footwear and gear are free of soil, seeds, parts of plants, eggs, ants and insects (and their eggs), spiders, lizards, toads, rats and mice.

Be sure to:

  • Unpack your camping gear and equipment and check it carefully as pests love to hide in stored camping gear.
  • Clean soil from footwear and gear as invisible killers such as viruses, bacteria and fungi are carried in soil.
  • Check for seeds in pockets, cuffs and hook and loop fastening strips, such as Velcro.

While you are on the islands, remove soil, weeds, seeds and pests from your boat, gear and clothes before moving to a new site. Wrap seeds and plant material, and place them in your rubbish.

Everyone in Queensland has a General Biosecurity Obligation to minimise the biosecurity risk posed by their activities. This includes the risk of introducing and spreading weeds and pests to island national parks.

See the guidelines on caring for parks for more information about protecting our environment and heritage in parks.

Park management

Denham Group National Park was declared in 1994 and is managed by Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) to protect cultural values, species of conservation significance and regional ecosystems. A management framework is provided by the Nature Conservation Act 1992, Cape York Peninsula Heritage Act 2007, and the Aboriginal Land Act 1991. The park has been identified for future joint management negotiations.

The reef and waters surrounding the Denham Group National Park are protected within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Great Barrier Reef Coast Marine Park and the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

Tourism information links

Nature’s Powerhouse
www.cooktownandcapeyork.com
Cooktown Botanic Gardens
Walker Street, Cooktown Qld 4895
Phone: (07) 4069 5763
email:

For tourism information for all regions in Queensland see Queensland Holidays.

Last updated
28 November 2016