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

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

Things to do

    Camp site one, Kalpowar Crossing camping area. Photo: Queensland Government.

    Camp site one, Kalpowar Crossing camping area. Photo: Queensland Government.

    The Normanby River near Kalpowar Crossing. Photo: Queensland Government.

    The Normanby River near Kalpowar Crossing. Photo: Queensland Government.

    Catfish Waterhole. Photo: Sarah Jess.

    Catfish Waterhole. Photo: Sarah Jess.

    Viewing platform at Red Lily Lagoon. Photo: Queensland Government.

    Viewing platform at Red Lily Lagoon. Photo: Queensland Government.

    Walking track to viewing area at Rarda-Ndolphin (Low Lake). Photo: Queensland Government.

    Walking track to viewing area at Rarda-Ndolphin (Low Lake). Photo: Queensland Government.

    Old Laura Homestead. Photo: Queensland Government.

    Old Laura Homestead. Photo: Queensland Government.

    Walking

    Kalpowar discovery walk (Grade: easy)

    Distance: 4km return
    Time: 1.5hrs
    Details: This track follows the banks of the beautiful Normanby River from the Kalpowar Crossing camping area, through vine forest before looping back through open woodland. Magnificent weeping paperbark trees line the river banks and provide shade. The riverine environment and picturesque waterholes provide excellent opportunities for viewing wildlife. It is a great place to relax and unwind.

    Four-wheel driving

    Drive four-wheel-drives through Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park (CYPAL) on the network of internal roads. Expect to share the roads with pedestrians, cyclists, trail-bikes and other vehicles.

    Stay on formed roads—vehicles are not permitted off-road, including on walking tracks and boardwalks. Vehicles are also not permitted in Restricted Access Areas or on internal roads and tracks that are closed for management purposes.

    Drivers must be licensed and vehicles must be road-registered. For more information, see four-wheel driving.

    Trail-bike riding

    Ride trail-bikes through Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park (CYPAL) on the network of internal roads. Expect to share the roads with pedestrians, cyclists, vehicles and other trail-bikes.

    Stay on formed roads—trail-bikes are not permitted off-road, including on walking tracks and boardwalks. Trail-bikes are also not permitted in Restricted Access Areas or on internal roads and tracks that are closed for management purposes.

    Riders must be licensed and trail-bikes must be road-registered. For more information, see trail-bike riding.

    Quad bikes

    Roads in national parks are the same as any other public road in Queensland. All vehicles, except those exempted by law, must be registered. The department does not give permission for conditionally registered vehicles (e.g. quad bikes) to be used recreationally by individuals. In many places it is not legally possible to issue a permit.

    Surveillance cameras may be used to monitor visitor behaviour and movements throughout the park. On-the-spot fines may also apply.

    Boating and fishing

    Recreational fishing is permitted at all camping areas in Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park (CYPAL). The use of private vessels is permitted—canoes are not recommended due to the presence of crocodiles. Please limit your boat speed to prevent bank erosion and water turbidity.

    There is boat access to Princess Charlotte Bay but no vehicle access. The Bizant River boat ramp, in the north-east of the park, provides the best boat access to Princess Charlotte Bay.

    Fisheries regulations apply—information on bag and size limits, restricted species and seasonal closures is available from Fisheries Queensland.

    Marine waters adjacent to Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park (CYPAL) are internationally significant and are protected in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Zones in the two marine parks—the Great Barrier Reef Coast and Great Barrier Reef—provide a balanced approach to protecting the marine and intertidal environments while allowing recreational and commercial use. Check zoning information and maps before entering or conducting any activities in the marine parks.

    The critically endangered speartooth shark has been found in the Bizant River in Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park (CYPAL). This species occurs in freshwater and anglers are requested to treat all sharks with care and return them to the water unharmed.

    Be aware that crocodiles occur in the creeks, rivers, swamps, waterholes and along beaches of this park. Crocodiles are dangerous and attacks can be fatal Always be croc wise in croc country.

    Bicycling

    Cycle through Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park (CYPAL) on the network of internal roads. Expect to share the roads with vehicles, trail-bikes, other cyclists and pedestrians.

    Bicycles are not permitted on any of the walking tracks and boardwalks, in Restricted Access Areas or on internal roads and tracks that are closed for management purposes.

    For more information, see cycling.

    Viewing wildlife

    Catfish Waterhole, just off Lakefield Road between New Laura and Lakefield ranger bases, is one of many deep, permanent waterholes along the North Kennedy River. The waterhole offers visitors the chance to see waterbirds, turtles and crocodiles. During the dry season, as water becomes scarce elsewhere, large numbers of wildlife congregate here for food and shelter.

    Red Lily and White Lily lagoons are about 8km north of Lakefield ranger base. A spectacular display of red lotus lilies can be seen from a viewing platform at Red Lily Lagoon, while only white lilies are found at White Lily Lagoon. A variety of waterbirds, including magpie geese and comb-crested jacanas, can be seen at these lagoons. Birdwatching is best in the early hours of the morning or late afternoon.

    In the north of the park are the vast grasslands of the Nifold Plain. This treeless, flat landscape, dotted with termite mounds, is home to a variety of animals including birds such as finches and bustards. Early morning and late evening birdwatching can be rewarding.

    Rarda-Ndolphin (Low Lake) and Sweetwater Lake are located in the north-west of the park. These picturesque lakes feature colourful lilies and a range of wetland birds. Visit these lakes during the early hours of the morning or late afternoon, as this is the best time for viewing birds and other animals. Visitor access at Rarda-Ndolphin (Low Lake) is limited to the car park and viewing area—do not venture further around the lake's edge as it is a restricted access area. Camping is not permitted at Rarda-Ndolphin (Low Lake) but there is a camping area at Sweetwater Lake.

    Equipment, such as binoculars, camera and torch will make the visit more enjoyable. Please remember that crocodiles occur in this park so visitors must take precautions. Always be croc wise in croc country.

    • Read more about these areas and the natural environment of Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park (CYPAL).

    Other things to do

    Old Laura Homestead

    In the southern part of the park, a short distance off Battle Camp Road, is the historic Old Laura Homestead. Explore the buildings that were once the original homestead for Laura Station.

    Breeza Homestead

    Explore the delightful lagoon and 100-year-old mango trees that, along with remnant buildings and cattle yards, mark the site of Old Breeza Homestead. Camping is not permitted here.