Flinders Group National Park (CYPAL) Tropical North Queensland

Photo credit: © Jacquetta Udy

Things to do

    Image of a carved rock on Apia Spit, Flinders Island.

    Carved rock on Apia Spit, Flinders Island.

    Photo credit: Julie Swartz © Queensland Government

    Image of a white-bellied sea-eagle.

    White-bellied sea-eagle.

    Photo credit: Andrew McDougall © Queensland Government

    Image of a dugong and calf just under the surface of the water.

    Dugong and calf.

    Photo credit: Queensland Government

    Camping and accommodation


    Camp on Flinders Island where a composting toilet, shelter, picnic table and water tanks are provided. Take adequate water, as water availability cannot be guaranteed. Bring a fuel stove and rubbish bags as open fires are not allowed and bins are not provided.

    Camping is not permitted on the other islands.

    Camping permits are required and fees apply.

    Other accommodation

    Camping is available on the mainland at Cape Melville National Park (CYPAL). Camping permits are required and fees apply. Other accommodation is available in Cooktown, 180km south-east of Flinders Group National Park (CYPAL) (235km by road from Bathurst Bay). For more information see tourism information.


    Walking opportunities on the islands are limited to strolls around the camping area and Apia Spit on Flinders Island and a longer, more demanding walk to the Aboriginal rock art shelters on Stanley Island. Walking around the other islands is not encouraged, to protect important cultural sites.


    The 'Dart' (Grade: easy)
    : 300m return
    Time: allow about 10mins walking time
    Details: A short track on Flinders Island leads from Apia Spit to several wells and a rock carved with the words 'HMS Dart, 1899'. This carving is a legacy of the visit by a naval survey ship that collected water from the wells in 1899.

    Yindayin rock shelters (Grade: moderate)
    : 2.8km return
    Time: allow about 1hr walking time
    Details: This walk on Stanley Island begins at the Mangrove Landing in Owen Channel. The track crosses to the northern side of the island, continues along the beach and meanders through low woodland. Interpretive signs provide information on bush tucker. A boardwalk with numerous steps climbs to a rocky overhang and winds through two rock shelters, allowing viewing of the famed rock art images. A sandy track descends back to the beach. The walk then returns along the same track. Signs along the boardwalk present the story of the island's heritage. The walk requires a moderate level of fitness and it is best to walk in the cooler part of the day, avoiding the midday heat. Carry water and wear a suitable hat, sunscreen and sturdy footwear. Please stay on the boardwalks to avoid raising dust in the rock shelters—dust can obscure and harm the rock art images.

    Guided tours

    Commercial operators provide guided walks to the Yindayin rock shelters as part of their cruise itinerary. For more information see tourism information.

    Picnic and day-use areas

    A day-use area is located adjacent to the camping area on Flinders Island. A shelter with picnic tables, a toilet and a water tank are provided. The water must be treated before use. Visitors should bring their own drinking water as the water tank may be empty.


    The Flinders Group offers sheltered anchorages for private and commercial vessels and are a popular destination for cruising yachts. The islands can also be accessed by small boat from Bathurst Heads or Cape Melville on the mainland, in suitable weather and tide conditions. The most popular anchorage is in Owen Channel adjacent to Apia Spit, a prominent sand spit on Flinders Island. This anchorage is safe in all winds except for the south-west storms during the wet season. Remember to be crocwise in croc country.


    Marine park zoning

    Flinders Group National Park (CYPAL) 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. Check zoning information and maps before entering or conducting any activities in the marine parks.

    Fisheries regulations also apply—information on bag and size limits, restricted species and seasonal closures is available from Fisheries Queensland.

    Be aware that estuarine 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. Always be crocwise in croc country.

    Viewing wildlife

    The national park offers opportunities for watching seabirds. Many species can be seen around the shores, including the eastern reef egret, eastern osprey, white-bellied sea-eagle, Australian pied oystercatcher , beach stone-curlew, silver gull, caspian tern, bridled tern, sooty tern, crested tern, lesser crested tern and common noddy. Woodland birds include the bar-shouldered dove, pied imperial-pigeon, varied honeyeater , olive-backed sunbird, mistletoebird, nankeen kestrel and Torresian crow.

    Along the walking tracks and around the camping area, visitors may also glimpse geckos, sand monitors and native rodents. Bats may be seen under rock overhangs and colonies of black flying-foxes inhabit the overhangs.

    A diversity of fish, crustaceans and molluscs can be found along the shores and in the shallow waters around the islands along with several species of marine turtles and dugongs.

    • See the description of the park's natural environment for more details about the islands' diverse wildlife.

    • There are currently no park alerts for this park.