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Visiting Kutini-Payamu (Iron Range) safely
Roads into and on Kutini-Payamu (Iron Range) National Park (Cape York Peninsula Aboriginal land (CYPAL)) are suited to four-wheel-drive vehicles only. The roads and camping areas are not suitable for caravans.
Turn off the Peninsula Development Road onto Portland Roads Road 35 km north of the Archer River Roadhouse. Drive 97 km along the well-formed gravel road to its junction with Lockhart River Road. From here, continue along Portland Roads Road to Rainforest (3.9 km), Cooks Hut (4.8 km) and Gordon Creek (5.5 km) camping areas. A further 17.4 km past Gordon Creek is the turn-off to Chilli Beach camping area (which is an additional 6 km from that junction).
Alternative access to from the north is via the Frenchmans Track. This is a challenging route with unpredictable creek crossings and steep banks. The road is not maintained and is outside the national park. It is not recommended for vehicles without snorkels and recovery gear, towing trailers or drivers without suitable experience. Turn off the Telegraph Road onto Frenchmans Track, 22 km south of Moreton Telegraph Station. The intersection with Portland Roads Road is 52 km along this track. Turn left onto Portland Roads Road and travel 27 km to its junction with Lockhart River Road. From here, continue along Portland Roads Road to Rainforest (3.9 km), Cooks Hut (4.8 km) and Gordon Creek (5.5 km) camping areas. A further 17.4 km past Gordon Creek is the turn-off to Chilli Beach camping area (which is an additional 6 km from that junction).
Alcohol restrictions are in place in many of Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and apply to the towns and areas around Kutini-Payamu (Iron Range) National Park (CYPAL). For the latest information on restrictions, see community alcohol limits. The camping areas in Kutini-Payamu (Iron Range) National Park (CYPAL) are outside the alcohol restriction zone.
Check road conditions before travelling on the Portland Roads Road or Frenchmans Track as both can become impassable following rain. Contact the Department of Transport and Main Roads to find out about local road conditions and the Bureau of Meteorology for weather reports and forecasts.
There are no wheelchair-accessible tracks or facilities in the park.
Crocodiles live in the rivers, creeks, along the coast and offshore of Kutini-Payamu (Iron Range) National Park (CYPAL). Crocodiles are potentially dangerous to people. Never take unnecessary risks in crocodile habitat. You are responsible for your own safety, so please follow these guidelines and be crocwise in croc country.
- Obey crocodile warning signs—they are there for your safety and protection.
- Never swim in water where crocodiles may live even if there is no warning sign present.
- When fishing, always stand a few metres back from the water's edge and never stand on logs or branches overhanging the water.
- Never clean fish or discard fish scraps or bait near the water's edge, around camp sites or at boat ramps.
- Stay well back from any crocodile slide marks. Crocodiles may be close by and may approach people and boats.
- Never dangle your arms or legs over the side of a boat. If you fall out of a boat, get out of the water as quickly as possible.
- Never provoke, harass or interfere with crocodiles, even small ones.
- Never feed crocodiles—it is illegal and dangerous.
- Camp at least 2 m above the high water mark and at least 50 m from the water's edge. Avoid places where native animals and domestic stock drink.
- Never leave food scraps, fish scraps or bait at your camp site. Always check that previous campers have not left these behind.
- Never prepare food, wash dishes or pursue any other activities near the water's edge or adjacent sloping banks.
- Be more aware of crocodiles at night and during the breeding season, September to April.
For more information on being crocwise, see crocodiles—be crocwise.
- Wear appropriate safety gear and be realistic about your cycling and riding abilities.
- Obey speed limits and safety and advisory signs.
- Ride and drive to the conditions.
- Avoid camping and sitting under trees laden with coconuts.
- Dangerous stinging jellyfish (‘stingers’) may be present in the coastal waters at any time, but occur more frequently in the warmer months. If you do enter the water, a full-body lycra suit or equivalent may provide a good measure of protection against stinging jellyfish and sunburn. Remember to be crocwise in croc country. Visit marine stingers for the latest safety and first-aid information.
- Potentially harmful animals inhabit the reef at low tide, including cone shells, blue-ringed octopus and stonefish. Take care not to stand on or touch any animals.
- Avoid stinging trees. These plants are found at rainforest edges, growing up to 4 m high. They have large, heart-shaped leaves with serrated edges. Touching any part of the plant results in a very painful sting. If symptoms are severe, seek medical advice.
- Be self-sufficient with adequate fuel, basic vehicle repair equipment, food and first-aid equipment in case of unexpected delays or breakdown.
- Always carry adequate drinking water with you as well as equipment for treating water.
- Carry plenty of fuel—driving on rough roads in low gear uses more fuel than normal driving conditions.
- Stay on designated roads as there are various natural hazards in the park. Driving on the beach can be dangerous particularly near creek mouths and between the tides, where quicksand can develop.
- Bring sunscreen, hat and clothes for protection from the sun when walking around the park.
- Stay on walking tracks and take heed of safety signs as disused mine shafts are scattered throughout the park; some are deep and have unstable edges.
For more information, please read the guidelines on safety in parks and forests.
Essentials to bring
To enjoy your time at Kutini-Payamu (Iron Range) National Park (CYPAL) remember to bring:
- sunscreen and hat
- clothes for protection from the sun and biting mosquitoes, sandflies and midges
- a fuel stove
- rubbish bags
- adequate water.
The park is generally only accessible in the drier months (May to November). At other times the park can be inaccessible due to flooding, both locally and along the Peninsula Development Road. Check park alerts and Queensland Traffic to enquire about local road conditions.
Permits and fees
Camping permits are required and fees apply. A camping tag with your booking number must be displayed at your camp site.
- Find out more about camping in Kutini-Payamu (Iron Range) National Park (CYPAL).
Permits are required for commercial and some organised group activities. See park permits and policies for more information.
Domestic animals, including dogs, are not permitted in Kutini-Payamu (Iron Range) National Park (CYPAL).
Climate and weather
Cape York Peninsula has a tropical climate. During the wetter months (December to April), the area can be deluged by heavy monsoonal rains and roads can become impassable for extended periods, preventing access to the park. The best time to visit is during the drier months of May to November. Extremes of climatic and seasonal variations prevail. Winter temperatures can drop below 10°C and summer temperatures can soar above 40°C. Daily variation at any time of the year seldom exceeds 15°C. The weather from October to November can be very hot and thunderstorms are common.
Fuel and supplies
Food, fuel and mechanical services can be obtained from Lockhart River, 10.5 km from the intersection of Portland Roads Road and Lockhart River Road.
- Cape York camping and easing of travel restrictions 3–24 July 2020