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

Melaleuca Waterhole is a top fishing spot. Photo credit: Doug Davidson © Queensland Government

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

Melaleuca Waterhole camping area

Prized as one of the park's top fishing spots, take your pick from four secluded camp sites along this large and permanent waterhole.

Accessible by

  • 4WD

Campground facilities

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

Set up camp on top of the steep embankment on the Normanby River and get ready for some of the park's ultimate fishing.

Manually launch (no trailer) your boat into the waterhole or cast a line from some great spots along the bank.

When the day is done, light the camp fire and cook up the day's catch under a star-studded sky. Fall asleep to the sounds of the Rinyirru night and wake ready for another day of fishing.

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

Getting there and getting around

Melaleuca Waterhole 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 the south

  • Drive 2km north past Laura on the Peninsula Developmental Road and take the Lakefield turn-off.
  • Drive 25km to the park.
  • Continue 66.5km north through the park, past the Lakefield ranger base and turn right at the Melaleuca Waterhole turn-off.
  • Drive 16km to the camping area.

From Cape Melville

  • Drive 70km from Wakooka in Cape Melville National Park to Kalpowar on the eastern boundary of Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park (CYPAL).
  • Continue 1km and turn right onto Lakefield Road.
  • Drive 6.5km north and turn right at the Melaleuca Waterhole turn-off.
  • The camping area is 16km along this road.

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 67km south through the park and turn left at the Melaleuca Waterhole turn-off.
  • Drive 16km 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 two at Melaleuca Waterhole camping area. Photo: Queensland Government.

Camp site two at Melaleuca Waterhole camping area. Photo: Queensland Government.

Camp site two at Melaleuca Waterhole camping area. Photo: Queensland Government.

Camping area features

Adjacent to a large, permanent waterhole on the steep (2–3m high) western bank of the Normanby River, this is an ideal spot for both boat and bank fishing or just enjoying the peaceful surroundings. 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, 16km north of Lakefield Road—by road, the turn-off is 6.5km north of Lakefield ranger base. Camp site one is a further 2km north.
  • 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 caravans, campervans or buses. The road becomes impassable after rain.
  • Boat launching: manual launching (no trailer access) from site four only.
  • Number of sites: four numbered sites
Site Camp size
1 Maximum 3 cars and trailers (8 people).
2 Maximum 3 cars and trailers (8 people).
3 Maximum 3 cars and trailers (8 people).
4 Maximum 2 cars and trailers (6 people).
  • Camp sites are suitable for: tent camping beside your car and camper trailers
  • Camp site surface: dirt and grass (seasonal).
  • Shade: all sites have 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.