Oyala Thumotang National Park (CYPAL) Tropical North Queensland

Photo credit: Photo: Adam Creed © Qld Govt

Visiting Oyala Thumotang safely

    Jerry Lagoon. Photo: Queensland Government.

    Jerry Lagoon. Photo: Queensland Government.

    Mango Lagoon. Photo: Queensland Government.

    Mango Lagoon. Photo: Queensland Government.

    Getting there and getting around

    Oyala Thumotang National Park (CYPAL) is closed throughout the wet season every year from 1 December to 19 June (inclusive)—roads into and on the park become impassable for extended periods and are closed to public access. These dates may vary depending on weather and road conditions, and roads may also be closed after heavy rain. 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.

    Oyala Thumotang National Park (CYPAL) (pronounced ‘oy-a-la toom-o-tongue’) is a remote park suited to visitors seeking a wilderness experience. Access to the national park from Cairns is via the Peninsula Developmental Road, through Coen to the Rokeby Road turn-off. Average travelling times are Cairns to Coen—8 to 10hr, Coen to Rokeby Road—30mins and Rokeby Road to tracks leading to camp sites—1.5 to 2hr. These times are only a guide as road conditions vary considerably throughout the year.

    From the Rokeby Road turn-off it is 74km to the Coen River section, 78km to the Langi section and 125km to the Archer Bend section of the park.

    Roads into and on the park are suited to four-wheel-drive vehicles only. Most roads within the park are simple bush tracks. Vehicles should be in good mechanical condition.

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

    Wheelchair accessibility

    There are no wheelchair-accessible facilities or tracks in the park.

    Staying safe

    A practical working knowledge of basic first aid is highly important when travelling in remote areas. Be familiar with first-aid procedures for heat exhaustion, snakebite and sprained or twisted ankles. Ideally, at least one person in your party should have an up-to-date first-aid qualification. You should carry a well-stocked first-aid kit, and make sure that other members of your party know where it is located. Other important guidelines are to:

    • When driving, stay on designated roads, travel with another vehicle if possible.
    • Let a responsible person know your itinerary.
    • Plan your itinerary to allow adequate time to drive carefully as park roads are unsealed with rough surfaces. 
    • Ensure that your vehicle is in good mechanical condition, carry adequate spare parts and fuel and be prepared for delays caused by breakdowns and stranding due to wet weather.
    • Always carry adequate drinking water with you as well as equipment for treating water.
    • Observe directions about road closures or other restrictions to avoid road damage and vehicle problems.
    • When trail-bike riding, wear appropriate safety gear and be realistic about your riding abilities. Ride to the conditions.
    • When cycling, wear appropriate safety gear and be realistic about your cycling abilities. Slow down or stop when approaching other track users. Follow the give-way code—cyclists must give way to walkers and alert others when approaching.

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

    Be crocwise

    Estuarine crocodiles are present in the creeks, rivers, waterholes and lagoons of this park. Crocodiles are dangerous and attacks can be 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.

    • Expect crocodiles in ALL waterways within Oyala Thumotang National Park (CYPAL), even if there is no warning sign.
    • 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.
    • Leave the lure. People have been attacked while recovering a fishing lure, even though they didn’t see a crocodile there all day.
    • The smaller the vessel, the greater the risk – crocodiles have taken people from small vessels such as kayaks. Canoes, kayaks and other small craft are not suitable in crocodile habitat areas.
    • Camp at least 2 metres above the high water mark and at least 50 metres from the water’s edge. Crocodiles have attacked people in tents pitched too close to the water.
    • Bin your food and fish scraps – don’t leave food, fish scraps or bait near the water, around your camp site or at a boat ramp. Crocodiles will be attracted by an easy meal, and this puts subsequent visitors to the area at risk.
    • Don’t be the bait. Keep your arms and legs inside your boat at all times when fishing.
    • Your boat is your barrier. Keep the boat between yourself and the water when launching or retrieving it.
    • 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.
    • Crocodiles fill an essential role as key predators in the aquatic and estuarine ecosystem. This park is crucial to the long-term conservation of estuarine crocodile on Queensland's east coast.

    For more information, see crocodiles—Be crocwise.

    Before you visit

    Essentials to bring

    Always prepare for a longer stay than anticipated in case of breakdown, or stranding due to wet weather and ensure that someone is notified of your itinerary. Ensure vehicles are in good mechanical condition.

    • Always carry adequate food, water, equipment for treating water, fuel, spare parts and basic vehicle repair equipment. The nearest fuel, repairs and supplies are in Coen 25km south-east of the Rokeby Road turn-off.
    • Most roads in the park are bush tracks. Carry plenty of fuel—driving on rough roads in low gear uses more fuel than normal driving conditions.
    • Bring insect repellant and a screened tent or mosquito nets for protection from insects at night.
    • Carry rubbish bags to take your rubbish away with you—bins are not provided.
    • A fuel stove.

    Opening hours

    Oyala Thumotang National Park (CYPAL) is closed throughout the wet season every year from 1 December to 19 June (inclusive)—roads into and on the park become impassable for extended periods and are closed to public access. These dates may vary depending on weather and road conditions, and roads may also be closed after heavy rain. 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.

    Permits and fees

    Camping permit

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

    Find out more about camping in Oyala Thumotang National Park (CYPAL). All sites in Oyala Thumotang National Park have a six month booking horizon, except Vardons Lagoon, Governors Waterhole and Horsetailers Lagoon which have a one month booking horizon.

    Other permits

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

    Pets

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

    Climate and weather

    Cape York Peninsula's seasons are divided into 'the wet' and 'the dry'. During the wetter months (December to April) the area can be deluged by heavy monsoonal rains, making roads impassable for extended periods and preventing access to the park. The best time to visit is during the drier months of July to November. Some late rain is possible during May and travel within the park is often restricted until July. Winter temperatures can drop below 10°C, and summer temperatures can soar above 40°C. The weather from October to November is very hot and thunderstorms are common. For more information, see the tourism information links.

    Fuel and supplies

    The nearest fuel, meals, supplies and mechanical repairs are available from Coen, 25km south-east of the Rokeby Road turn-off. Fuel, meals, toilets, showers, limited supplies and some mechanical repairs are also available from the Archer River Roadhouse, 38km north of the park. For more information, see the tourism information links.