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

Enjoy the peace and quite at Bottom Whiphandle Waterhole camping area. Photo credit: Doug Davidson © Queensland Government

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

Bottom Whiphandle Waterhole camping area

Escape and unwind at this remote camping area sitting high on a ridge near the mighty Normanby River.

Accessible by

  • 4WD

Campground facilities

  • Campfires allowed (conditions apply)
  • Generators allowed (conditions apply)
  • Tent camping
  • Camper trailer camping
  • Tent camping beside car
  • Scenic drive
  • Fishing

This camping area is as far north as you’ll get by road on the Normanby River. Set up camp on the high ridge and then grab your rod and head to the permanent waterhole to try your luck.

If rest and relaxation is more your style, at dusk take your camp chair and a cold drink to the waterhole. You might see an estuarine crocodile swim lazily by, and birds and animals braving the water for a drink.

At night, sit around the camp fire under a star-studded sky, and fall asleep to the sounds of the surrounding park.

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

Getting there and getting around

Bottom Whiphandle Waterhole camping area is in the northern part of Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park (CYPAL), 340km north-west of Cairns, and 140km west of Cooktown, on southern Cape York Peninsula.

  • The camping area is on the western bank of the Normanby River. Nearby Jane Table Hill is a restricted access area (PDF, 290.8KB) .
  • You need a 4WD to access the park and camping area.
  • Read 4WD with care for important information on 4WD safety and minimal impact driving.

From the north

  • Take the Lakefield turn-off at the Musgrave Roadhouse on the Peninsula Developmental Road and drive 38km east on Marina Plains Road to the park.
  • Continue 46km through the park to the Hann Crossing.
  • Turn left and drive another 29km north-east to the camping area.

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 108km north through the park, past the Lakefield ranger base, to the camping area.

From Cape Melville

  • Drive 70km from Wakooka in Cape Melville National Parkto Kalpowar on the eastern boundary of Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park (CYPAL).
  • Continue 1km to Lakefield Road.
  • Turn right and drive 48km north to the camping area.

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.

Before you visit

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 (PDF, 510.3KB) for location of the Lakefield ranger base and camping areas.
Camp site one at Bottom Whiphandle Waterhole camping area. Photo: Queensland Government.

Camp site one at Bottom Whiphandle Waterhole camping area. Photo: Queensland Government.

Camping area features

On a high ridge a short distance away from the western bank of the Normanby River. This is the most northerly camping area on the Normanby River. This out-of-the-way permanent waterhole is ideal for bank fishing or to just enjoy the peace and quiet. Large crocodiles are frequently seen here—be croc wise in croc country.

  • Location: northern part of the park on the western bank of the Normanby River. By road, camp site one is 48km north of Lakefield ranger base or 29km north-east of Hann Crossing. Camp site two is a further 3km north.
  • Map: Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park (CYPAL) northern camping areas map (PDF, 123.8KB)
  • Access: the camping area can be reached by four-wheel-drive vehicle only. It is not accessible for caravans, campervans or buses. The road becomes impassable after rain.
  • Boat launching: nil.
  • Number of sites: two numbered sites
SiteCamp size
1Maximum 2 cars and trailers (6 people).
2Maximum 3 cars and trailers (8 people).
  • Camp sites are suitable for: tent camping beside your car and camper trailers
  • Camp site surface: dirt and grass (seasonal).
  • Shade: partial shade.
  • Facilities: nil.
  • Open fires: allowed (except when fire bans apply). Fuel stoves are recommended. Do not collect firewood in the park.
  • Generators: only generators operated at less than 65dB(A), when measured 7m from the generator, are permitted, and only between 8.00am and 7.00pm.
  • Essentials to bring: adequate food and drinking water, equipment for treating water, rubbish bags, insect repellent, mosquito nets, fuel stove and adequate fuel and spare parts for your vehicle. Read more about before you visit.
  • Bookings: book online, over-the-counter, at a self-service kiosk or by phone prior to arrival. Bookings are essential and should be made well in advance for May to August and the September school holidays.
  • Mobile phone coverage: not available.

Visiting safely

For more safety information see Visiting Rinyirru (Lakefield) safely and camp with care.