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

Don't miss the chance to snag a fish for dinner. Photo credit: Doug Davidson © Queensland Government

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

Old Faithful Waterhole camping area

Relax at this shady and peaceful camping area, sprawled along a deep waterhole on the 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
  • Boating
  • Fishing

After a dusty day on the road, you’ll be glad to settle into one of the three shady riverside sites.

Flick lures from the banks or drop baits into the snags to see what you can hook. Cooked over the coals of an open fire, your catch is sure to be delicious.

If it's pure relaxation you're seeking, Old Faithful Waterhole is the perfect place to unwind while soaking up the peaceful, picturesque surrounds. Sit back in your camp chair and take in the serenity and solitude that only this park can offer.

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

Getting there and getting around

Old Faithful Waterhole 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 south of Lakefield ranger base, 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 42km through the park, past the New Laura ranger base, and turn right at the Old Faithful Waterhole turn-off
  • Drive 6km 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 89km through the park, past theLakefield ranger base, and turn left at the Old Faithful Waterhole turn-off.
  • Drive 6km east to the camping area.

From Battle Camp Road

  • Drive 85km west from Cooktown along Battle Camp Road to the park's eastern boundary.
  • Continue 67km through the park and turn right at the Old Faithful Waterhole turn-off.
  • The camping area is 6km east along this road.

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 three at Old Faithful Waterhole camping area. Photo: Queensland Government.

Camp site three at Old Faithful Waterhole camping area. Photo: Queensland Government.

Camping area features

Adjacent to a deep, permanent waterhole on the steep (2–3m high) western bank of the Normanby River, this is an ideal spot for fishing or simply relaxing at a shady camp site in peaceful surrounds. Large crocodiles are frequently seen here—be croc wise in croc country.

  • Location: southern part of the park on the western bank of the Normanby River, 6km east of Lakefield Road—by road, the turn-off is 16km north of New Laura ranger base and 17km south of Lakefield ranger base.
  • 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 caravans, campervans or buses. The road becomes impassable after rain.
  • Boat launching: nil.
  • Number of sites: three numbered sites.
SiteCamp sizeOther comments
1Maximum 2 cars (6 people).2m river bank.
2Maximum 2 cars and 1 trailer (6 people).2m river bank.
3Maximum 2 cars (6 people).3m river bank.
  • Camp sites are suitable for: tent camping beside your car or camper trailer (site two only).
  • Camp site surface: dirt and grass (seasonal).
  • Shade: all sites have shade.
  • Facilities: 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: 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.