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

Set up camp on the steep western bank of the Normanby River. Photo credit: © John Augusteyn

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

Kalpowar Crossing camping area (North Qld)

This well-appointed and popular camping area is sprawled along an 8km stretch of permanent waterholes on the Normanby River.

Accessible by

  • 4WD

Campground facilities

  • Campfires allowed (conditions apply)
  • Picnic tables (some sheltered)
  • Toilets (non-flush)
  • Wheelchair access (may require assistance)
  • Walking
  • Scenic drive
  • Boating
  • Fishing
  • Tent camping
  • Camper trailer camping
  • Cold showers
  • Tent camping beside car

This centrally-located camping area is a great place to base yourself for a few days while exploring the surrounding park. Rated as a top spot by locals and travellers alike, it is also the only place where you can cross the Normanby River on the way to Cape Melville National Park.

Launch your boat from the causeway and spend a day fishing and exploring the Normanby River and its tributaries. Or jump in your car and explore the surrounding lagoons, rivers and historic sites.

Back at the camp, stretch your legs on the Kalpowar discovery walk—an easy stroll that meanders along the river through thick vine forest and stretches of peaceful open woodland.

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 (PDF, 72.8KB) 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.

Kalpowar Crossing camping area is in the central 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 on the western bank of the Normanby River.
  • 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 Cape Melville

  • Drive 70km from Wakooka in Cape Melville National Park to Kalpowar on the eastern boundary of Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park (CYPAL).

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 59km through the park north and turn right at the Wakooka Road turn off.
  • Drive 3km east to the camping area.

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 73km south through the park, past the Lakefield ranger base, and turn left at the Wakooka Road turn-off.
  • Drive 3km 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

Opening hours

NOTE: A seasonal closure (PDF, 72.8KB) 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.

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 two at Kalpowar Crossing camping area. Photo: Queensland Government.

Camp site two at Kalpowar Crossing camping area. Photo: Queensland Government.

Camping area features

On the very steep (>5m high) western bank of the Normanby River adjacent to an 8km stretch of permanent fresh waterholes. This camping area offers the most facilities and is popular with locals and travellers alike. This is the only point vehicles can cross the Normanby River to access Cape Melville National Park. Large crocodiles are frequently seen here—be croc wise in croc country.

  • Location: central part of the park on the western bank of the Normanby River, adjacent to Kalpowar Crossing causeway, 3km north-east of Lakefield Road. By road, the turn-off is 1km south of Lakefield ranger base. Please do not park on the causeway, or on the rock ledges on either side, as this is a story place for local Traditional Owners.
  • Map: Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park (CYPAL) central camping areas map (PDF, 273.2KB)
  • Access: the camping area can be reached by four-wheel-drive vehicle only. It is not accessible for campervans or buses. The road becomes impassable after rain. If choosing to travel with a caravan, check road conditions before travelling (see Cook Shire Council road conditions).
  • Boat launching: Boat trailer access at the causeway.
  • Number of sites: 15 numbered sites for general use and four numbered sites for commercial operators only (sites 16–19).
SiteCamp sizeSuitable forNotes
1Maximum 2 cars (6 people)Tent onlyVehicles park in bays, separate from tents
2Maximum 2 cars (6 people)Tent onlyVehicles park in bays, separate from tents
3Maximum 3 cars (8 people)Tent onlyVehicles park in bays, separate from tents
4Maximum 2 cars and trailers (8 people)Tents and camper trailers onlyVehicles and camper trailers in parking bay
5Maximum 2 cars and trailers (8 people)Tents and camper trailers onlyVehicles and camper trailers in parking bay
6Maximum 2 cars and trailers (8 people)Tents and camper trailers onlyVehicles and camper trailers in parking bay
7Maximum 2 cars and trailers or off-road caravans (8 people)Tents, camper trailers or off-road caravansVehicles, camper trailers and off-road caravans in parking bay (reverse into bay)
8Maximum 3 cars and trailers or off-road caravans (12 people)Tents, camper trailers or off-road caravansVehicles, camper trailers and off-road caravans in parking bay (reverse into bay)
9Maximum 3 cars and trailers or off-road caravans (12 people)Tents, camper trailers or off-road caravansVehicles, camper trailers and off-road caravans in parking bay (reverse into bay)
10Maximum 2 cars and trailers (8 people)Tents and camper trailers onlyVehicles and camper trailers in parking bay
11Maximum 2 cars and trailers (8 people)Tents and camper trailers onlyVehicles and camper trailers in parking bay
12Maximum 2 cars and trailers (8 people)Tents and camper trailers onlyDrive in access
13Maximum 2 cars and trailers (8 people)Tents and camper trailers onlyVehicles and camper trailers in parking bay
14Maximum 1 car and trailer (4 people)Tents and camper trailer onlyVehicle and camper trailer in parking bay
15Maximum 2 cars and trailers (8 people)Tents and camper trailers onlyVehicles and camper trailers in parking bay
16Commercial operator site  
17Commercial operator site  
18Commercial operator site  
19Commercial operator site  
  • Camp site surface: dirt and grass (seasonal).
  • Facilities: hybrid toilets, cold showers, taps (treat water before drinking) and individual fire rings.
  • Open fires: allowed (except when fire bans apply) in fire rings only. Fuel stoves are recommended. Do not collect firewood in the park.
  • Generators: prohibited at Kalpowar Crossing camping area.
  • 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.