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

Set up camp on either side of Saltwater Creek. 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

Saltwater Crossing camping area

Set up camp under a canopy of delicate freshwater mangrove flowers on either side of beautiful Saltwater Creek.

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
  • Boating
  • 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.

Head out from your Saltwater Creek base camp for spectacular day trips to Low Lake (Rarda-Ndolphin) and Nifold Plain. You'll unearth some of the very best birdwatching, photography and wildlife-spotting that the northern part of the park has to offer.

At night sit around the camp fire sharing your photos from the day and, before you head off in the morning, flick a few lures at the snags in Saltwater Creek—you never know your luck.

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

Getting there and getting around

Saltwater Crossing 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.

  • This camping area is near the northern entrance to 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 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 15km through the park along Lakefield Road to Saltwater Crossing.
  • Camp sites are on both sides of Lakefield Road at the crossing.

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 119km along Lakefield Road, past the Lakefield ranger base, to Saltwater Crossing,
  • Camp sites are on both sides of Lakefield Road at the crossing.

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 59km north along Lakefield Road to Saltwater Crossing,
  • Camp sites are on both sides of Lakefield Road at the crossing.

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 Saltwater Crossing camping area.

Camp site one at Saltwater Crossing camping area.

Photo credit: Queensland Government

Camping area features

camp sites are located on both banks of the tidal Saltwater Creek. Nearby Low Lake and Nifold Plain are ideal for bird watching. Large crocodiles are frequently seen here—be croc wise in croc country.

  • Location: northern part of the park on Saltwater Creek—by road, the causeway is 53km east of Musgrave Roadhouse and 32km north-west of Hann Crossing. Sites one and two are on the southern side of Lakefield Road on the eastern bank of the creek; sites three and four are on the northern side of Lakefield Road on the western bank of the creek.
  • 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: four numbered sites.
SiteCamp sizeOther comments
1Maximum 2 cars and trailers (6 people).Set back from water.
2Maximum 4 cars and trailers (12 people).Steep river bank.
3Maximum 4 cars and trailers (12 people).Low river bank with shallow water.
4Maximum 3 cars and trailers (8 people).Low river bank with shallow water.
  • Camp sites are suitable for: tent camping beside your car and camper trailers.
  • Camp site surface: sand, dirt and grass (seasonal).
  • Shade: sites one and two have shade, and sites three and four have no 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 (no fresh water is available), 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,  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.