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

Lake Emma is a unique, round lake on top of a sand ridge. Photo credit: © Queensland Government

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

Lake Emma

This intriguing and beautiful lake has unique features that set it apart from the other lakes, lagoons and waterholes in the park.

Accessible by

  • 4WD

Sitting proud on the top of a sand ridge, locals believe that Lake Emma is a crater lake—formed after a meteorite crashed to Earth. Close to the south-eastern entrance to the park, on Battlecamp Road, it’s definitely worth stopping for a look.

The shape, location and formation of Lake Emma aren’t all that’s unique. Ringed by lush marshes and sedges, this is one of a few places in the park that you’ll see freshwater crocodiles (freshies) and black swans. Freshies are timid and shy, so tread quietly and you might catch a glimpse of one basking on the bank or lying in the shallows.

Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park (CYPAL) is jointly managed by the Rinyirru (Lakefield) Aboriginal Corporation and the Queensland Government.

Getting there and getting around

NOTE: A seasonal closure is currently in place for Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park (CYPAL). Access to the park is prohibited and on-the-spot fines apply. Please monitor park alerts to keep up-to-date with the latest information on reopening dates.

Lake Emma is in the southern part of Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park (CYPAL), 340km north-west of Cairns, and 140km west of Cooktown, on southern Cape York Peninsula.

  • This lake is near the Battle Camp park entrance.
  • You need a 4WD to access the park.
  • Read 4WD with care for important information on 4WD safety and minimal impact driving.

From Battle Camp Road

  • Drive 85km west from Cooktown along Battle Camp Road to the park's eastern boundary.
  • Just after you enter the park, turn right at the Lake Emma turn-off.

From the south

  • Drive 2km north past Laura on the Peninsula Developmental Road and take the Lakefield turn-off.
  • Drive 25km to the park.
  • Continue 1km and turn right onto Battle Camp Road.
  • Drive 26km east and turn left at the Lake Emma turn-off just before the park's eastern boundary.

For tourism information for all regions in Queensland, see Queensland.com, and for friendly advice on how to get there, where to stay and what to do, find your closest accredited visitor information centre.

Wheelchair access

There are no wheelchair-accessible facilities.

Before you visit

Opening hours

Lake Emma is open 24 hours a day

Check park alerts for the latest information on access, closures and conditions.

Seasonal closures

Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park (CYPAL) is closed throughout the wet season every year.

  • Camping areas south of Lakefield ranger base are closed from 1 December to 31 May.
  • Camping areas north of the Lakefield ranger base are closed from 1 December to 30 June.
  • These dates vary each year depending on weather and road conditions.
  • Refer to the park map for location of the Lakefield ranger base and camping areas.

Visiting safely

For more safety information see Visiting Rinyirru (Lakefield) safely.