Things to do
The park offers two designated camping areas: Cedar Bay camping area on the coast adjacent to Cedar Bay, and Granite Creek camping area along the Home Rule Track. Bush camping is also permitted along the Home Rule track if required. No facilities are provided and campers must be self-sufficient.
Camping permits are required and fees apply. Permits are limited and it is recommended that you book at least two weeks in advance.
- Find out more about camping in Mangkalba (Cedar Bay), Ngalba Bulal National Park
Accommodation, including camping, is available at Home Rule Rainforest Lodge. Accommodation is also available nearby at Ayton, Rossville and Helenvale.
For more information see tourism information.
The 17km Home Rule track into Cedar Bay is a rough, steep and difficult track that should only be undertaken by fit and experienced walkers.
Home Rule track (grade: difficult)
Distance: 17km one way
Time: allow 2 days
Details: this rough, steep track provides access to Cedar Bay. Only fit and experienced walkers should attempt this track.
Visit between April and September when the weather and track conditions are at their best. During this time the temperatures are generally cooler and the weather drier. However, heavy rain can occur at any time of the year and creeks and rivers can rise quickly—take care when crossing rivers and creeks.
This is an overnight walk. While camping is permitted anywhere along the track, a designated camping area, Granite Creek camping area is provided about 50m north of the junction of Slaty and Granite creeks.
This track begins at the Home Rule Rainforest Lodge. The lodge managers allow access to their property and provide detailed advice to walkers. Overnight camping at the lodge is allowed by prior arrangement, allowing walkers an early start.
Traversing attractive rainforest, the track climbs and descends steeply before arriving at the northern end of Cedar Bay. The early part of the walk follows an old road and involves several creek crossings. The road narrows to a track before Slaty Creek, then climbs to Black Snake Rocks where red-bellied black snakes may be encountered. These snakes are venomous and should be avoided. Remember all snakes are protected.
Near Cedar Bay, glimpses of the sea can be seen from the ridge before the track drops steeply along an old tin mining track that leads to the beach. Walk south along the beach to the Cedar Bay camping area.
When returning to Home Rule, remember that the first part of the walk will involve a walk north along the beach and then a very steep climb to the ridge.
Marine waters adjacent to Cedar Bay 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 marine waters of Cedar Bay are zoned Marine National Park (Green) Zone. This is a ‘no-take’ area and activities such as fishing and collecting are not allowed. Check zoning information and maps before entering or conducting any activities in the marine parks.
The closest sheltered anchorage is at Hope Isles. One B and one C class mooring are provided at East Hope Island. Maximum vessel lengths and wind speeds apply and details are on the mooring buoys. Moorings also have a time limit of either two or four hours (displayed on the mooring). If a vessel picks up a mooring on or after 3.00pm it may remain on that mooring until 9.00am the next day. Read more about public moorings and anchoring.
When not using public moorings make sure to follow the guidelines below:
- Anchor only on sand and away from coral reefs. Corals are destroyed by anchors and chains dragging across the reef.
- Use a reef pick if anchoring in coral is unavoidable. When hauling in, motor toward the anchor to prevent damage.
- Do not throw rubbish overboard, especially when you are at anchor.
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, your safety is our concern but your responsibility—always be croc wise in croc country.
Motorised water sports
Motorised water sports, such as jet skiing, are prohibited in Mangkalba (Cedar Bay), Ngalba Bulal National Park and the marine waters adjacent to the park.
Mangkalba (Cedar Bay), Ngalba Bulal National Park is home to a variety of wildlife. Keen observers may see southern cassowaries, Bennett’s tree-kangaroos, lace monitors and many colourful birds. Several snakes, including venomous species, inhabit the park. Care should be taken to avoid disturbing all snakes.
See the description of the park’s natural environment for more details about the diverse wildlife of Mangkalba (Cedar Bay), Ngalba Bulal National Park.