Mitirinchi Island National Park (CYPAL) Tropical North Queensland

Nature, culture and history

    Image of a Lesser frigatebird (Duwaduwa) on chick, Mitirinchi Island.

    Lesser frigatebird (Duwaduwa) on chick, Mitirinchi Island.

    Photo credit: Queensland Government

    Natural environment

    Mitirinchi Island National Park (CYPAL) is a small, rugged continental island rising steeply from a rocky shoreline. The main body of the island is a rocky granite ridge reaching 20 m in height. Small sheltered beaches occur on the eastern and western sides of the island and it is surrounded by a narrow fringing reef.

    Plants on the island are low and wind shorn, and consist mainly of grasses, herbs and a dense stand of Pisonia grandis. Bare granite outcrops protrude from the vegetation and the whole island is heavily stained with bird guano.

    Mitirinchi Island is recognised as an important seabird breeding site for the black noddy Anous minutus, great frigatebird Fregata minor and lesser frigatebird Fregata ariel. The island is one of only three breeding sites for great frigatebirds in the northern Great Barrier Reef. Both the great and lesser frigatebirds nest only once every two years due to the time it takes for their young to gain independence. Frigatebirds are at the top of the food chain and feed at sea, swooping on their prey without landing in the water. They are highly adapted to life in the air—they are unable to swim and look clumsy on land. However, they can glide and hover on wind currents for hours on end.

    Other bird species that breed on the island include the crested tern Thalasseus bergii, bridled tern Onychoprion anaethetus, pied imperial-pigeon Ducula bicolor and the eastern reef egret Egretta sacra.

    The vulnerable green turtle Chelonia mydas and hawksbill turtle Eretmochelys imbricate may be seen in the waters surrounding the island.

    Culture and history

    Traditional Owner culture

    Image of Mitirinchi Island, an area of significance for the Kuuku Ya'u people.

    Mitirinchi Island, an area of significance for the Kuuku Ya'u people.

    Photo credit: Queensland Government

    The Kuuku Ya’u people are the Aboriginal Traditional Owners of Mitirinchi Island National Park (CYPAL). This island is of great cultural significance to the Kuuku Ya’u people.

    In 2009, the Federal Court determined that the Kuuku Ya’u people are the native title holders of Mitirinchi Island. This determination formally recognised the native title rights of the Kuuku Ya’u people to use and maintain the island under their traditional laws and customs and protect it from harm. At this time, the Northern Kuuku Ya’u Kanthanampu Aboriginal Corporation was established as the registered native title body corporate (RNTBC) for the area described in this determination.

    In 2011, the park was transferred as Aboriginal freehold land to the Northern Kuuku Ya’u Kanthanampu Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC Land Trust. The Mitirinchi Island National Park (CYPAL) was then dedicated over the land.

    The Land Trust manages the park jointly with the Queensland Government in accordance with an Indigenous Management Agreement.

    Cultural awareness and protocol videos

    As part of the ongoing commitments to strengthen relationships with Traditional Owners in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, the Queensland Government, in partnership with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, is developing cultural awareness and protocol videos about the principles of visiting and working respectfully on Country.

    These videos highlight the intrinsic connection that Traditional Owners have to their Country while also providing them with an opportunity to share their stories, personal insights, experiences and cultural guidance for working on Country.

    • There are currently no park alerts for this park.