Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park (CYPAL) Tropical North Queensland

Magnificent weeping paperbarks line the river at Kalpower crossing. Photo credit: © John Augusteyn

About Rinyirru (Lakefield)

    Park features

    Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park (CYPAL) is renowned for its vast river systems and spectacular wetlands. In the wet season, the Normanby, Morehead and North Kennedy rivers and their tributaries join to flood vast areas, eventually draining north into Princess Charlotte Bay. During the dry season, rivers and creeks shrink, leaving large permanent waterholes, lakes and lagoons that attract an array of animals, particularly waterbirds.

    To the north, the park features impenetrable mangroves along the estuaries and coastline of Princess Charlotte Bay. Behind the coast are extensive salt flats and marine plains that give way to inland tracts of eucalypt and paperbark woodlands. Fringing many of the river banks and streams are magnificent, tall paperbark trees and patches of gallery rainforest.

    The landscape of Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park (CYPAL) is of significant Aboriginal cultural significance. Sites associated with occupation, ceremonies and stories of ancestral spirits occur throughout the park. The area is also rich in European cultural heritage, associated with early explorers, geologists and surveyors, and tangible links to the establishment of the Palmer Goldfields and early cattle industry.

    Looking after the park

    Please help Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service rangers and Traditional Owners protect the park.

    • The use of firearms and chainsaws is prohibited in national parks.
    • Leave your pets at home. Domestic animals are not permitted in national parks.
    • When driving or trail-bike riding, stay on the formed roads—off-road trail-bike riding and four-wheel driving is not allowed.
    • Riders and drivers must be licensed and vehicles must be road registered.
    • Motocross is not permitted in this park.
    • Respect park neighbours and visitors—ensure the noise and dust from your riding and driving doesn’t upset others.
    • When cycling, stay on formed roads—mountain bikes are not permitted on walking tracks and boardwalks.
    • Limit the spread of weeds by ensuring clothes, shoes, gear, bikes and vehicles are clean and free of seeds before arriving at the park.
    • If toilets are not provided, bury human waste at least 15cm deep and 100m away from walking tracks and watercourses.
    • Take care not to pollute fresh water—do not use soap, shampoo or detergents in or near waterholes.
    • Light fires only in existing fireplaces and put the fire out with water when you leave your camp site. Fuel stoves are recommended. Do not collect firewood in the national park. Obey fire restrictions.
    • The use of generators is permitted in all camping areas in the park except Kalpowar Crossing. Generators must only be operated at less than 65dB(A), when measured 7m from the generator, and only between 8.00am and 7.00pm.
    • Do not feed wildlife or leave food or scraps around the camp site.
    • Do not remove plant material, living or dead.
    • Do not collect souvenirs or interfere with cultural sites.
    • Surveillance cameras may be used to monitor visitor behaviour and movements throughout the park. On-the-spot fines may also apply.

    See the guidelines on caring for parks for more information about protecting our environment and heritage in parks.

    Park management

    Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park (CYPAL) is jointly managed by the Rinyirru (Lakefield) Land Trust and the Queensland Government in accordance with an Indigenous Management Agreement and other land management arrangements. Read more about the joint management of Cape York Peninsula national parks.

    Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park (CYPAL) was formerly Lakefield National Park. This well-known national park was gazetted in 1979, with the area known as Marina Plains added to the park in 2005.

    Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park (CYPAL) covers an area of around 544,000ha. ‘Rinyirru’ is the name for the culturally-significant area of Jeanette Hill and a bora ground near Blue Lagoon in the north of the park. The dedication of Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park (CYPAL) represents the transfer to Aboriginal ownership of the largest and most iconic national park in the Cape York Peninsula region and the second largest park in Queensland.

    Rarda-Ndolphin (Low Lake) is a restricted access area. Visitor access is limited to the
    car park and viewing area.

    Sections of the park may be closed periodically for management purposes. Please do not enter these areas.

    Tourism information links

    Nature's Powerhouse
    Cooktown Botanic Gardens, Cooktown QLD 4895
    ph (07) 4069 6004
    email info@naturespowerhouse.com.au

    Quinkan and Regional Cultural Centre
    Lot 2 Peninsula Development Road, Laura QLD 4871
    ph (07) 4060 3457
    email inquire@quinkancc.com

    For tourism information for all regions in Queensland see Queensland Holidays.