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

The camping area is on a flat high above Welcome Waterhole. Photo credit: Doug Davidson © Queensland Government

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

Welcome Waterhole camping area

Set yourself up on this shady flat overlooking the Normanby River and birdwatch in the nearby swamps and lagoons.

Accessible by

  • 4WD

Camping area facilities

  • Campfires allowed (conditions apply)
  • Generators allowed (conditions apply)
  • Tent camping
  • Tent camping beside car
  • Scenic drive
  • 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.

You'll pass plenty of swamps and lagoons on your way, so once your camp is set up, grab your binoculars, camera and field guide and head back along the road.

Horseshoe Lagoon is a treasured birder's paradise. Home to a vibrant mix of waterbirds you’re likely to see brolgas and sarus cranes, magpie geese, ducks and comb-crested jacanas … and maybe even a crocodile basking on the bank.

After a peaceful night at camp, head off for a day exploring the other sites in the park.

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

Getting there and getting around

Welcome 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.

  • The camping area is near the Battle Camp entrance to the park, on the 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 1km and turn right onto Battle Camp Road.
  • Drive 20km east and turn left at the Welcome Waterhole turn-off.
  • After 2km, take the right-hand track and drive 7km to the camping area.

From Battle Camp Road

  • Drive 85km west from Cooktown along Battle Camp Road to the park's eastern boundary.
  • Continue 6km and turn right at the Welcome Waterhole turn-off.
  • After 2km, take the right-hand track and drive 7km 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 Welcome Waterhole camping area.

Camp site one at Welcome Waterhole camping area.

Photo credit: Queensland Government

Camping area features

On the flat above a steep bank of the Normanby River adjacent to a large waterhole. On the way to the camp site are swamps and lagoons ideal for bird watching. Large crocodiles are frequently seen here—be croc wise in croc country.

  • Location: southern part of the park, north-west of Battle Camp Road—by road, turn off Battle Camp Road 20km east of Old Laura Homestead and, after 2km, follow the right-hand track 7km to the camp site.
  • 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 camper trailers, caravans, campervans or buses. The road becomes impassable after rain.
  • Boat launching: nil.
  • Number of sites: one numbered site—maximum one car (four people).
  • Camp sites are suitable for: tent camping beside your car.
  • Camp site surface: dirt and sand.
  • Shade: nil.
  • 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 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.