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

Photo credit: Doug Davidson (c) Queensland Government

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

Top Whiphandle Waterhole camping area

Stay for a few relaxing days at this quiet and shady oasis on a shallow section of the mighty 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
  • Fishing

The peaceful surrounds will help you unwind after a long day on the road. With no other camps nearby, this quiet bend in the river is a great place to spend a few days.

Walk along the bank flicking lures at snags, hoping to entice a barra or mangrove jack for dinner, or see if you can spot the resident croc sunning on a sandbank.

Spend a day sightseeing around the park. Red Lily and White Lily lagoons and the old Breeza Homestead are just down the road and there’s plenty more to see further afield.

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

Getting there and getting around

Top Whiphandle Waterhole 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 north of Lakefield ranger base, on the western bank of the Normanby River. Nearby Jane Table Hill is a restricted access area (PDF, 290.8KB) .
  • 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 46km through the park and turn left at the Hann Crossing.
  • Drive 24km north-east 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 103km north through the park, past the Lakefield ranger base, 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 a further 43km north 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 Top Whiphandle Waterhole camping area. Photo: Queensland Government.

Camp site one at Top Whiphandle Waterhole camping area. Photo: Queensland Government.

Camping area features

Adjacent to shallow water on a low bank on the western side of the Normanby River. Large crocodiles are frequently seen here—be croc wise in croc country.

  • Location: northern part of the park on the western bank of the Normanby River—by road, 43km north of Lakefield ranger base and 24km north-east of Hann Crossing.
  • 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: one numbered site—maximum two cars and trailers (six people).
  • Camp sites are suitable for: tent camping beside your car and camper trailers
  • Camp site surface: dirt and grass (seasonal).
  • 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, 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.