Olkola National Park (CYPAL) Tropical North Queensland

Creek line in Olkola National Park (CYPAL) Photo credit: © Francis Malcolm

Visiting Olkola National Park (CYPAL) safely

    Water lily.

    Water lily.

    Photo credit: © Francis Malcolm

    Getting there and getting around

    Currently access is only possible to the Nukakurra Lagoon walking track, which is located adjacent to Dixie Road, off the Peninsula Developmental Road.

    Olkola National Park (CYPAL) is closed throughout the wet season typically from 1 November to 30 June (dates inclusive) as the road into the park becomes impassable. These dates may vary depending on weather and road conditions. Observe road closures and restrictions, as penalties can apply. Check park alerts and Queensland Traffic or Cook Shire Council for local road conditions. The Bureau of Meteorology provides updated weather reports.

    A Restricted Access Area (RAA) has been put in place over a section of Olkola National Park (CYPAL). Entry to the Nukakurra Restricted Access Area (PDF, 144.2KB) is prohibited.

    Access to Olkola National Park (CYPAL) is only suitable for four-wheel-drive vehicles.

    Travelling from Cairns

    The Nukakurra Lagoon section of the park can be accessed from Cairns via the Peninsula Developmental Road (PDR) through Laura, continue along the PDR until the park turn off at Dixie Road. The average travelling time from Cairns to Laura is 5–6hr and Laura to Olkola National Park (CYPAL) is approximately 4–5hr.

    Travelling from Coen

    The Nukakurra Lagoon section of the park can also be reached from Coen travelling south via the PDR, turning right at Dixie Road to reach the park.

    Roads in national parks are the same as any other public road in Queensland. All vehicles, except those exempted by law, must be registered. Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service does not give permission for conditionally registered vehicles (e.g. quad bikes) to be used recreationally by individuals. In many places it is not legally possible to issue a permit.

    Surveillance cameras may be used to monitor visitor behaviour and movements throughout the park. On-the-spot fines may also apply.


    Wheelchair accessibility

    There are no wheelchair-accessible facilities in this park.

    Staying safe

    • This area is isolated so it is important to plan trips carefully and be prepared for emergencies.
    • Carry at least one form of communication equipment. Satellite phones and Personal Location Beacons (PLBs) are the most effective in this area. There is no mobile phone coverage.
    • When driving, riding or cycling, stay on designated roads.
    • Ensure another person knows your itinerary.
    • Plan your itinerary to allow adequate time to drive carefully as park roads are unsealed and have rough surfaces.
    • Ensure that your vehicle is in good mechanical condition and be prepared for delays caused by breakdowns and stranding due to wet weather.
    • There are various natural hazards in the park. Please take note of all on-site management and safety signs.
    • Be alert for snakes when exploring the area. Wear protective clothing such as long trousers and closed-in shoes.
    • Always carry adequate food and drinking water supplies.
    • Always Be Crocwise in croc country.

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

    Be Crocwise in croc country!

    Crocodiles can occur in the rivers, creeks, swamps and wetlands of Olkola National Park (CYPAL). Crocodiles are dangerous and attacks have been fatal. Never take unnecessary risks in crocodile habitat. Visitors are responsible for their own safety, so please follow these guidelines and always Be Crocwise in croc country.

    • You need to take responsibility for your own safety in croc country.
    • Expect crocodiles in ALL north Queensland waterways, even if there is no warning sign.Warning signs are only placed in areas where crocodiles are known to frequent. Ignoring signs that are there to protect you puts your life at risk. But note that just because there are no signs, does not mean there are no crocodiles.
    • Just because you can’t see a crocodile doesn’t mean there is not one close by.Crocodiles can be very patient, and can stay underwater and unseen for up to four hours without even a breath.
    • Watch out for crocodiles in unusual places after very high tides and heavy rains. Crocodiles can move further upstream during very high tides and periods of flooding and may move into new areas where crocodiles had not been seen before.
    • Crocodiles can lunge at people and animals at the water’s edge. They are ambush predators, and you may not see them. Stand back from the water when fishing or cast netting. Wash dishes and prepare food well away from the water’s edge.
    • Be extra cautious at night, dusk and dawn. Crocodiles are more likely to attack during these times.
    • Breeding female crocodiles will defend their nests aggressively. September to April is breeding season for crocodiles – stay away and keep children away from crocodile nests.
    • Crocodiles are more likely to hunt prey during the warmer months of the wet season. Be extra vigilant with your children and pets near waterways at this time.

    Before you visit

    Essentials to bring

    Preparation is the key to a safe and enjoyable visit. Make sure you bring:

    • adequate food and drinking water
    • first-aid kit
    • fuel, spare parts and basic vehicle repair equipment
    • sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses
    • rubbish bags as no bins are provided
    • Mobile phone coverage is not available. Carry at least one form of communication equipment. Satellite phones and Personal Location Beacons are the most effective.

    There are no services or visitor facilities in the park. Ensure that someone is notified of your itinerary. All of the roads in the park are unsealed dirt roads and are not suitable for caravans, campervans or buses.

    Opening hours

    Nukakurra Lagoon walking track is currently the only visitor access point in the park. The park is closed during the wet season, typically from 1 November to 30 June (dates inclusive) as the road into the park becomes impassable.

    Permits and fees


    Camping is currently not permitted in Olkola National Park (CYPAL). For camping in Cape York Peninsula visit find a park.

    Other permits

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

    Climate and weather

    The best time to visit is during the ‘cooler’ months of the dry season, from June to September, when average maximum temperatures range from 30–33ºC. In July and August, the average minimum temperature drops to 14ºC at night. From October to December it can be very hot and thunderstorms are common. During this ‘build up’ season, the average maximum temperatures are around 35ºC with very high humidity. The wet season, usually from December to May, prevents access to Olkola and most of Cape York Peninsula. Average maximum temperatures at this time range from 32–35ºC. See tourism information links for more information.


    Domestic animals are not permitted in Olkola National Park (CYPAL).

    Fuel and supplies

    The nearest fuel, meals, supplies and mechanical repairs are available at Hann River Roadhouse, Laura and Coen.

    • There are currently no park alerts for this park.