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

Spend your days birdwatching and your nights gazing at the stars. Photo credit: © John Augusteyn

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

Be inspired: Chase the adventure of a lifetime on Cape York!

Explore the landscapes and legends of Cape York Peninsula, one of Australia’s ‘last frontiers’, on a 4WD wilderness adventure of a lifetime! Photo credit: © Queensland Government

Horseshoe Lagoon camping area

If birdwatching is one of your passions, be sure to book in at this peaceful lagoon, fringed by freshwater mangroves.

Accessible by

  • 4WD

Camping area facilities

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

The self-service kiosk at this park has been decommissioned.

Visitors need to book their camping permit before they visit. Book online, at an over-the-counter booking office or by phone.

There's plenty to explore at this camping area overlooking Horseshoe Lagoon in the southern part of the park.

The lagoon and surrounding swamps are a haven for a variety of birds. Grab your binoculars and camera and head off in search of brolgas and sarus cranes strutting through the shallows and flocks of ducks crowding the banks. Stately and distinctive magpie geese gather and feed in the shallows, honking back and forth.

Back at camp, kick back and relax around the fire after a day of birdwatching and marvel at the star-filled sky.

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

Getting there and getting around

Horseshoe Lagoon camping area 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 camping area is near the Battle Camp entrance in the south-east corner of the park.
  • 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 Battle Camp Road

  • Drive 85km west from Cooktown along Battle Camp Road to the park's eastern boundary.
  • Continue 6km into the park and turn right at the Welcome Waterhole turn-off.
  • Drive 2km and take the left-hand track 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 1km and turn right into Battle Camp Road.
  • Drive 20km and turn left at the Welcome Waterhole turn-off.
  • Continue 2km and take the left-hand track 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 Horseshoe Lagoon camping area.

Camp site one at Horseshoe Lagoon camping area.

Photo credit: Queensland Government

Camping area features

On the road to Welcome Waterhole, this site is on a steep bank adjacent to a large waterhole with nearby swamps and lagoons that are ideal for bird watching. Large crocodiles are frequently seen here—be croc wise in croc country.

  • Location: southern part of the park, north-west of Battle Camp Road—by road, turn off Battle Camp Road 20km east of Old Laura Homestead and, after 2km, take the left-hand track to the camping area.
  • Map: Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park (CYPAL) southern camping areas map (PDF, 139.2KB)
  • Access: the camping area can be reached by four-wheel-drive vehicle only. It is not accessible for camper trailers, caravans, campervans or buses. The road becomes impassable after rain.
  • Boat launching: nil.
  • Number of sites: One numbered site—maximum four cars (12 people).
  • Camp sites are suitable for: tent camping beside your car.
  • Camp site surface: dirt and sand.
  • 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 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.