Oyala Thumotang National Park (CYPAL) Tropical North Queensland

Photo credit: Photo: Adam Creed © Qld Govt

Things to do

    Many permanent lagoons provide excellent opportunities for seeing waterbirds. Photo: Queensland Government.

    Many permanent lagoons provide excellent opportunities for seeing waterbirds. Photo: Queensland Government.

    Old Archer Crossing. Photo: Queensland Government.

    Old Archer Crossing. Photo: Queensland Government.

    Camping and accommodation

    Camping

    There are 14 camp sites adjacent to rivers and waterholes in Oyala Thumotang National Park (CYPAL). No facilities are provided on park—campers must be self-sufficient in this remote area. It is recommended to travel with another vehicle and have suitable vehicle recovery equipment on hand. Take fuel, food, vehicle spare parts and plenty of drinking water; there is no fresh water available in the park.

    Camping permits are required and must be booked in advance—self-registration is no longer availableFees apply. Your booking number must be displayed at your camp site.

    Other accommodation

    There is limited accommodation and camping available in the nearest town—Coen 25km south-east of the Rokeby Road turn-off. Camping is also available at the Archer River Roadhouse, 38km north of the Rokeby Road turn-off. For more information, see the tourism information links.

    The park offers many opportunities for visitors to explore and enjoy the natural surrounds.

    Map: Oyala Thumotang National Park (CYPAL) map (PDF, 393.2KB)

    Explore the three sections of Oyala Thumotang National Park (CYPAL)

    Langi section

    The Langi section is 78km from the Rokeby Road turn-off. This section is in the north of the park close to the forest-lined Archer River. The Old Archer Crossing—the historical site of the main access to northern Cape York Peninsula—is located here. Lagoons covered in waterlilies and fringed with forest are also a feature. This section includes the following camp sites: Old Archer Crossing, Jerry Lagoon, Twin Lagoons 1, Twin Lagoons 2 and 10 Mile Junction.

    Coen River section

    The Coen River section is 74km from the Rokeby Road turn-off. This section is located on the Coen River floodplain where the open woodlands and native grasslands are dotted with lagoons, swamps and creeks fringed with dry vine thickets. This section includes Pandanus Lagoon day-use area, which shows the conservation work of rangers at Oyala Thumotang National Park. Pandanus Lagoon has been fenced in order to reduce the impact of feral animals such as pigs and cattle from damaging the ecosystem. Make sure you stop in at this location and keep an eye out for birdlife on the water. This section of park includes the following camp sites: Mango Lagoon 1, Mango Lagoon 2, Mango Lagoon 3, First Coen River, Chong Swamp, Second Coen River and Vardons Lagoon.

    Archer Bend section

    The Archer Bend section is 125km from the Rokeby Road turn-off, via the Coen River section. The road to Archer Bend crosses the privately owned Merapah Corridor for 8km, north-west of Vardons Lagoon. Archer Bend section is bordered by the Archer River. Rainforest lines the river banks while open woodlands, sand ridges and swamps occur throughout the rest of the area. Archer Bend section includes the following camp sites: Governors Waterhole and Horsetailer Waterhole.

    Walking

    The best way to see the park is to camp at several sites and spend a couple of days exploring each location. The park has no tracks but visitors can walk around waterholes or along the Archer and Coen rivers. Equipment such as binoculars, a camera and a strong torch may make the visit more enjoyable. Remember that crocodiles inhabit this park so visitors must Be crocwise.

    As the surrounding landscape is extremely remote, being prepared is essential. Accidents have happened at this park, even to experienced bush walkers. This park has a predominantly flat landscape with very few visual points of reference—getting lost is a real risk if visitors are unprepared.

    Follow these guidelines to ensure a safe and enjoyable walk:

    • Check for fire danger and other park news before you leave.
    • Wear sturdy footwear, a hat, sunscreen and insect repellant.
    • Carry a topographic map, compass, GPS and whistle.
    • Don’t overheat—avoid walking in extreme heat or during periods of high fire danger.
    • Carry adequate drinking water, food and a first-aid kit.
    • Mobile phone coverage is not available. Carry at least one form of communication equipment. Satellite phones and Personal Locator Beacons are the most effective.

    See staying safe for more information on being crocwise in croc country.

    Four-wheel driving

    Drive four-wheel-drives through Oyala-Thumotang National Park (CYPAL) on the network of internal roads. Expect to share the roads with pedestrians, cyclists, trail bikes and other vehicles.

    Vehicles are not permitted off-road or on internal roads and tracks that are closed for management purposes. Drivers must be licensed and vehicles must be road-registered. For more information, see four-wheel driving.

    Trail-bike riding

    Ride trail-bikes through Oyala Thumotang National Park (CYPAL) on the network of internal roads. Expect to share the roads with pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles.

    Trail-bikes are not permitted off-road or on internal roads and tracks that are closed for management purposes. Riders must be licensed and trail-bikes must be road-registered. Expect to share the roads and tracks with pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles. For more information, see trail-bike riding.

    Quad bikes

    Roads in national parks are the same as any other public road in Queensland. All vehicles, except those exempted by law, must be registered. The department 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.

    Fishing

    Recreational fishing is allowed in all creeks and rivers in Oyala Thumotang National Park (CYPAL), except Peach Creek.

    Fisheries regulations apply—information on bag and size limits, restricted species and seasonal closures is available from Fisheries Queensland.

    Be aware that estuarine crocodiles inhabit creeks, rivers, waterholes and lagoons in this park—always Be crocwise in croc country.

    Bicycling

    Cycle through Oyala Thumotang National Park (CYPAL) on the network of internal roads. Expect to share the roads with pedestrians, motorbikes, vehicles and other cyclists.

    Bicycles are not permitted off-road or on internal roads and tracks that are closed for management purposes.

    For more information, see cycling.

    Viewing wildlife

    Birdwatching

    Take short walks around permanent lagoons, swamps, waterholes and rivers. Waterbirds, notably pelicans, Pacific black ducks, radjah shelducks, black-necked storks, royal spoonbills and sarus cranes, as well as forest birds such as the palm cockatoo, Australian bustard and orange-footed scrubfowl all live in the park. The best locations include Old Archer Crossing, Chong Swamp, Pandanus and Vardons lagoons and several swamps along the road in the Archer Bend section. Be sure to stop in at Pandanus Lagoon and compare the difference between a fenced versus unfenced lagoon like Chong Swamp.

    Wildlife spotting

    Crocodiles, turtles, frogs and many species of fish, including barramundi, live in the rivers and waterholes. Watercourses are also home to antilopine wallaroos and small agile wallabies. Large nesting mounds (up to 10m across and 4m high) of the orange-footed scrubfowl occur in the river gallery forests. Spotlighting at night may reveal the spotted cuscus, a small possum-like animal, in the rainforest margins along watercourses.

    Be aware that estuarine crocodiles inhabit creeks, rivers, waterholes and lagoons in this park—always Be crocwise in croc country.

    See the description of the park's natural environment for more details about Oyala Thumotang’s diverse wildlife.