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Things to do
The parks offer many opportunities for visitors to explore and enjoy the natural surrounds.
Camping is permitted at Eliot Falls, North and South Jardine River, Captain Billy Landing and Ussher Point. Fires are allowed in existing fireplaces only. Do not collect firewood from the parks. Fuel stoves are recommended. Camping is not permitted at Fruit Bat Falls.
Eliot Falls camping area is on Eliot Creek at the northern boundary of Heathlands Resources Reserve. There are picnic tables, fireplaces, drinking water, toilets and sites suitable for tents and camper trailers.
North and South Jardine River camping areas are on the banks of the Jardine River on the western boundary of Jardine River National Park. They have no facilities.
Captain Billy Landing camping area is behind the beach on the eastern boundary of Heathlands Resources Reserve. Picnic tables, fireplaces, a shelter and a toilet are provided.
Ussher Point camping area is on the far-northern coast of the Peninsula, on the eastern boundary of Jardine River Resources Reserve. There are no facilities.
Camping permits are required and fees apply.
- Find out more about camping in Jardine River National Park, Heathlands Regional Park and Jardine River Regional Park.
Campers must be self-sufficient in this remote area as fuel, supplies and first aid are not readily available.
Other accommodation is available in Bamaga and Seisia, 80km north of Eliot Falls. For more information, see the tourism information links.
Several formed walking tracks depart from Eliot Falls camping area, allowing you to explore the area around Eliot and Canal creeks.
Twin Falls (Yaranjangu) (Grade: easy)
Distance: 480m return
Time: Allow about 10mins walking time
Details: From the day-use area car park a sandy track meanders through woodland to a timber walkway in a shady grove of cypress pines, before reaching acacia woodland near Canal Creek. The walkway then leads to Twin Falls, near the junction of Eliot and Canal creeks.
Eliot Falls (Yaranjangu) (Grade: easy)
Distance: 550m return
Time: Allow 15mins walking time
Details: From Twin Falls trace your steps back 5m to the turn-off to Eliot Falls. The timber walkway descends to a viewing platform overlooking the picturesque Eliot Creek. A shady boardwalk along the creek leads to a natural sandstone platform with views of Eliot Falls. More steps ascend to the woodland where the walkway rejoins the sandy track returning to the day-use area.
The Saucepan (Grade: easy)
Distance: 670m return
Time: Allow 15mins walking time
Details: From the day-use area car park a sandy track leads into an acacia and grevillea woodland and then descends towards Eliot Creek, through dry heath featuring casuarinas, banksias, grevilleas and leptospermums. At The Saucepan, the shallow creek gently tumbles between fingers of sandstone, flowing into a deeper sandstone-lined channel, which leads towards Eliot Falls.
At Fruit Bat Falls find welcome relief in the clear, spring-fed waters of Eliot Creek after the hot and dusty journey.
Fruit Bat Falls (Grade: easy)
Distance: 400m return
Time: Allow 10mins walking time
Details: From the day-use area car park, a boardwalk leads to Fruit Bat Falls. From here, it follows Eliot Creek, providing access to the plunge pool and the top of the falls.
The coastal scenery of Captain Billy Landing lends itself to some of the best remote walking in Cape York Peninsula. The long white beach stretches north from the camping area for three kilometres to another headland. Walking along this beach will reveal a series of dune fields and sandstone shelves that can be explored on the lower parts of the tide.
The Captain Billy headland is immediately south of the camping area and is an excellent place to discover the marine environment. The rock pools and clear water make nature study a must for visitors on the lower tides. Behind the rock pools of the sandstone shelf, caves have formed in the fractures of sandstone to provide critical habitat for large bentwing and common sheathtail bats. On dusk visitors can witness a feeding frenzy as thousands of bats dart out of the caves to feed on insects. Do not enter the caves—disturbance will upset the bats, potentially causing the death of young as they drop from their mothers' undersides.
Fruit Bat Falls day-use area
A day-use area with picnic tables, toilets and a timber walkway along Eliot Creek are provided at Fruit Bat Falls. Camping is not permitted here.
Eliot Falls day-use area
At the end of the Eliot Falls access track a spacious day-use area has picnic tables, an interpretation shelter and toilets. The area caters for large groups; however limited car parking for buses is provided. Please remove all rubbish.
Eliot Falls is a great place to visit but is also hazardous. Water levels can rise rapidly and care must be taken in and near the water because of slippery rocks and submerged objects. Heed all warning signs. Serious injuries and deaths have occurred here.
Fishing and crabbing is prohibited in Eliot Creek and in the section of the Jardine River (and its tributaries) from the river mouth to a point 5km upstream of the old Peninsula Developmental Road crossing. Fishing is allowed in other parts of the Jardine River.
Marine waters adjacent to Jardine River National Park, Heathlands Resources Reserve and Jardine River Resources Reserve 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 apply—information on bag and size limits, restricted species and seasonal closures is available from Fisheries Queensland.
Take a moment to enjoy the variety of plants in this protected area. Unusual carnivorous plants thrive in moist habitats along the creek edges. Large pitcher plants, draped like vines over trees, line the creek banks and tiny, rosette-shaped sundews cling to the moist sandstone walls of the creeks. On the creek banks in the dry heath community, grevilleas, banksias, casuarinas and leptospermums flourish among a sparse understorey of sedges and grasses. One grevillea has distinct woody seed pods known as bushman’s clothes pegs.
There are excellent opportunities for viewing birds including yellow-billed kingfishers, fawn-breasted bowerbirds (species restricted to the remote north of Cape York Peninsula and New Guinea) and spectacular palm cockatoos. Around the camping areas visitors will see and hear sulphur-crested cockatoos and rainbow lorikeets. The northern race of the Australian brush-turkey, which has a purple, instead of yellow, wattle can also be seen. From the shore, white-bellied sea-eagles soar overhead while silver gulls, pied and sooty oystercatchers, crested terns and vulnerable beach stone-curlews paddle in the lapping waves. Endangered little terns breed on the beaches near the Captain Billy Landing camping area, laying several dark blotchy eggs in a scrape on the sand. Stay clear of any nesting seabirds—chicks and eggs are easily destroyed by heat, cold and predators if left unprotected.
Spotlighting at night may reveal unusual species, such as the common spotted cuscus and spiny knob-tailed gecko, as well as possums and native rodents.
If planning a spotlighting trip, here are a few things that will make your experience memorable.
- Keep bulb wattage to 30 or less. This will increase the chance of finding animals (by not warning them of your arrival) and will extend viewing time.
- Bring binoculars to get a good view.
- Use your senses to find wildlife. Look for eye shine, listen for leaves rustling and inhale the smells.
- Use a white light to explore the forest then add a red or orange filter to view wildlife. Cellophane is useful.
- Remember that loud voices and sounds will scare away the wildlife.
- Lights should never be trained on nesting birds—this can cause them great distress.
- See the description of the park's natural environment for more details about the area's diverse wildlife.
- Temporary closure: camp site 4 Ussher Point camping area, Jardine River National Park 14 October to 31 December 2020
- Safety advice: Scrubby Creek crossing into Eliot Falls camping and day-use area, Heathlands Resources Reserve 15 May to 22 December 2020