Mangkalba (Cedar Bay), Ngalba Bulal National Park Tropical North Queensland

Photo credit: ©

Visiting Mangkalba (Cedar Bay) safely

    Getting there and getting around

    On the beach at Cedar Bay. Photo: Queensland Government.

    Map: Mangkalba (Cedar Bay) section map, Ngalba Bulal National Park (PDF, 215.7KB)

    Mangkalba (Cedar Bay), Ngalba Bulal National Park is 40km south of Cooktown or 10km north of Ayton. Lying between Cape Tribulation and Cooktown, Cedar Bay is accessible only by boat or on foot via the Home Rule track.

    Check park alerts and Queensland Traffic to enquire about local road conditions. The Bureau of Meteorology provides updated weather reports.

    Access to Marbaymba (Rattlesnake Point) (PDF, 96.6KB) to protect significant cultural resources.

    Boat access

    Boat access is difficult in most conditions, especially during prevailing south-east winds above 15 knots. A fringing reef along much of the bay prevents easy access by boat. The best entrance points are at the far northern and more southern ends of the bay where sand allows for safe, easy access. Hope Islands, the closest sheltered anchorage, is about 10km away and public moorings are available.

    Walking track access

    The Home Rule track traverses Mangkalba (Cedar Bay), Ngalba Bulal National Park, providing access into Cedar Bay. The track begins at Home Rule Rainforest Lodge, a private property 3km from Rossville.

    Wheelchair accessibility

    There are no wheelchair-accessible facilities or tracks in Mangkalba (Cedar Bay), Ngalba Bulal National Park.

    Staying safe

    Image of a dangerous stinging box jellyfish (stinger) which swimmers need to be aware of.

    Be aware of dangerous stinging box jellyfish (stingers)

    Photo credit: Jamie Seymour © James Cook University

    You are responsible for your own safety. Follow the guidelines below for a safe and enjoyable visit.

    • 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 Beachsafe for the latest safety and first-aid information.
    • Be alert for snakes and take care to avoid disturbing them. Keep your distance if you do encounter a snake.
    • Inform a reliable person of your itinerary including starting and finishing times. Make sure to tell them when you return to avoid an unnecessary search.
    • Plan to complete your walk well before dark.
    • Never walk alone. Groups of four are recommended.
    • Carry at least one form of communication equipment. Satellite phones and personal locator beacons (PLBs) are the most effective. Mobile phone coverage is unreliable.
    • Stay on the track at all times and follow the trail markers.
    • Creek beds and rock surfaces can be slippery. Care is required when traversing these surfaces.
    • Always carry adequate drinking water as well as equipment for treating water—treated water is not available in the park. Remember to drink regularly to avoid heat stress.
    • Wear a hat, shirt and sunscreen, even on overcast days, to avoid sunburn.
    • Wear protective clothing (long sleeves and long pants) to protect yourself from lawyer vine, leeches, mosquitoes and sandflies.
    • Always carry a first-aid kit, map and compass, and know how to use them.
    • Pack lightly. Do not carry glass or other heavy, bulky food items.

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

    Before you visit

    Essentials to bring

    For a safe and enjoyable visit remember to bring:

    • lightweight food and drinking water
    • a fuel stove and fuel
    • rubbish bags
    • insect repellent and a mosquito net
    • first-aid kit
    • map and compass.

    Opening hours

    Mangkalba (Cedar Bay), Ngalba Bulal National Park is open 24 hours a day.

    Access to Marbaymba (Rattlesnake Point) (PDF, 96.6KB) to protect significant cultural resources.

    Permits and fees

    Camping permits

    Camping permits are required and must be booked in advance. Fees apply. Your booking number must be displayed at your camp site.

    Other permits

    Permits are required for commercial and some organised group activities. See park permits and policies for more information.


    Domestic animals are not permitted in Mangkalba (Cedar Bay), Ngalba Bulal National Park.

    Climate and weather

    Mangkalba (Cedar Bay), Ngalba Bulal National Park has a tropical climate. In summer the temperatures and humidity are high. From April to September the days are cooler and less humid. Visiting in the cooler winter months is recommended. Weather forecasts are available from the Bureau of Meteorology.

    Fuel and supplies

    Fuel and supplies are available at Ayton, Rossville, Helenvale and Cooktown.

    • There are currently no park alerts for this park.