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About Wuthara Island National Park (CYPAL)

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Getting there and getting around

Three islands make up the Wuthara Island National Park (CYPAL). Access is by private boat from the boat ramp at Lockhart River or with a permitted commercial operator. See the tourism information links for details.

The islands are surrounded by fringing reef and approach should only be attempted during high water periods. The most sheltered and popular anchorage is located off the beach on the north-west side of the main island. There are no public moorings located around the islands.

There are no roads, walking tracks or public facilities provided on Wuthara Island National Park (CYPAL).

Weather forecasts are available from the Bureau of Meteorology.

Wheelchair accessibility

There are no wheelchair-accessible facilities on Wuthara Island National Park (CYPAL).

Park features

Rocky ridges and fringing reefs. Photo: Queensland Government.

Rocky ridges and fringing reefs. Photo: Queensland Government.

Wuthara Island National Park (CYPAL) comprises three high continental islands off the north-east coast of Cape York Peninsula. Rocky slopes and headlands rising steeply from small, sheltered bays overlook the surrounding reefs and water.

These remote islands are covered with melaleuca scrub and grassland and are home to a variety of marine and terrestrial birds.

The park is isolated and is ideal for self-reliant visitors looking for nature-based activities. Visitors can enjoy the pristine reefs and waters surrounding the park, or hike over the ridges and headlands of the islands to discover spectacular views of the Great Barrier Reef and Queensland coastline beyond.

Camping and accommodation

Remote bush camping is permitted in Wuthara Island National Park (CYPAL) on the main island. There are no formed campgrounds or camp sites. No facilities are provided—visitors must be entirely self-sufficient. A maximum of 10 people are allowed to camp on the island at any one time.

Camping permits are required and fees apply.

If you cannot book online, see camping bookings for other options.

Things to do

Beach treasure. Photo: Queensland Government.

Beach treasure. Photo: Queensland Government.

Walking

There are no formed walking tracks on the islands. Scrambling to the top of the ridges and headlands will reward visitors with impressive views over the islands, surrounding fringing reefs and the sea beyond.

Boating and fishing

Located close to the shipping channel the island’s sheltered anchorage makes them popular for cruising vessels. The best anchorage is in the bay on the north-west side of the main island. There are no public moorings in waters surrounding Wuthara Island National Park (CYPAL).

When boating, help protect the fringing reefs by following these guidelines:

  • Anchor in sand away from coral reefs.
  • Use a reef pick if anchoring in coral is unavoidable. When hauling in, motor toward the anchor to prevent damage.
  • Avoid landing on islands where seabirds are roosting or nesting on the beach—they are easily disturbed.

Wuthara Island National Park (CYPAL) and the surrounding marine waters 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.

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

Be aware that estuarine crocodiles can occur in waters around island national parks. Remember, your safety is our concern but your responsibility—always be croc wise in croc country.

Viewing wildlife

The park is a great place to see wildlife in their natural environment. Birdwatching is rewarding with many terrestrial and marine birds living on the islands. Marine turtles, dugongs or sometimes estuarine crocodiles may be seen in the surrounding waters and the coral reefs are brimming with marine life.

The fringing reefs surrounding the islands offer excellent snorkelling opportunities, but remember that you enter the water at your own risk.

Dangerous stinging jellyfish (‘stingers’) may be present in the coastal waters at any time, but occur more frequently in the warmer months. If you do enter the water, a full-body lycra suit, or equivalent, may provide a good measure of protection against stinging jellyfish and sunburn. Visit marine stingers for the latest safety and first-aid information. Remember to be croc wise in croc country.

To learn more about the park’s wildlife, see the natural environment section.

Things to know before you go

Wuthara Island National Park (CYPAL). Photo: Queensland Government.

Wuthara Island National Park (CYPAL). Photo: Queensland Government.

Our precious Great Barrier Reef World Heritage islands are among the most pest-free islands in the world. They need your help to stay this way. Please Be pest-free! (PDF, 574K) before your visit.

Essentials to bring

Wuthara Island National Park (CYPAL) is a remote marine park with no facilities. Preparation is the key to a safe and enjoyable visit. Make sure you bring:

  • drinking water
  • rubbish bags
  • protective clothing, sunscreen, hat and sunglasses
  • suitable shoes for walking on rough surfaces
  • a comprehensive first-aid kit
  • insect repellent.

Opening hours

Wuthara Island National Park (CYPAL) is open 24 hours a day all year round.

Permits and fees

Camping permits are required and fees apply. A camping tag with your booking number must be displayed at your camp site.

Permits are required for commercial or organised events. Contact us for further information.

Pets

Domestic animals are not permitted on Wuthara Island National Park (CYPAL) or on tidal lands adjacent to Wuthara Island National Park (CYPAL) within the Great Barrier Reef Coast Marine Park. Tidal areas include beaches, rocks, mangroves and dunes.

Climate and weather

Wuthara Island National Park (CYPAL) has a tropical climate with the wetter months usually between December and April when maximum temperatures can soar above 30 °C. The best time to visit the island group is between May and October when rain is unlikely and temperatures are cooler.

Fuel and supplies

There are no facilities on Wuthara Island National Park (CYPAL), all fuel and supplies need to be brought with you.

The nearest fuel and supplies are available on the mainland at Lockhart River about 58km south of the park.

For more information, see the tourism information links.

Staying safe

Wuthara Island is a remote national park. Visitors must be well prepared.

  • Wear sunscreen and cover up when you are boating.
  • Be aware that estuarine crocodiles can occur in the waters around island national parks. Remember, your safety is our concern but your responsibility—always be croc wise in croc country.
  • Dangerous stinging jellyfish (‘stingers’) may be present in the coastal waters at any time, but occur more frequently in the warmer months. If you cannot avoid entering the water, a full-body lycra suit or equivalent, may provide a good measure of protection against stinging jellyfish and sunburn. Visit marine stingers for the latest safety and first-aid information.
  • Always carry drinking water and wear a hat.
  • Bring insect repellent.

For more information, please read the guidelines on safety in parks and forests.

Looking after the park

Nautilus shell, Wuthara Island National Park (CYPAL). Photo: Queensland Government.

Nautilus shell, Wuthara Island National Park (CYPAL). Photo: Queensland Government.

  • Be careful not to damage coral with anchors.
  • Everything in the park, living or dead, is protected. Please leave everything as you found it.
  • Do not feed the wildlife as it can affect their health and alter the natural population balance.
  • Domestic animals are not permitted.
  • Lighting of fires is not allowed. Bring a fuel or gas stove for cooking.
  • Rubbish bins are not provided—take rubbish with you when you leave.

Be pest-free!

Our precious Great Barrier Reef World Heritage islands are among the most pest-free islands in the world. They need your help to stay this way. Please Be pest-free! (PDF, 574K) before your visit.

Before you visit, please check that your boat, clothing, footwear and gear are free of soil, seeds, parts of plants, eggs, ants and insects (and their eggs), spiders, lizards, toads, rats and mice.

Be sure to:

  • Unpack your camping gear and equipment and check it carefully as pests love to hide in stored camping gear.
  • Clean soil from footwear and gear as invisible killers such as viruses, bacteria and fungi are carried in soil.
  • Check for seeds in pockets, cuffs and hook and loop fastening strips, such as Velcro.

While you are on the islands, remove soil, weeds, seeds and pests from your boat, gear and clothes before moving to a new site. Wrap seeds and plant material, and place them in your rubbish.

Everyone in Queensland has a General Biosecurity Obligation to minimise the biosecurity risk posed by their activities. This includes the risk of introducing and spreading weeds and pests to island national parks.

See the guidelines on caring for parks for more information about protecting our environment and heritage in parks.

Park management

Atop the main island, looking west. Photo: Queensland Government.

Atop the main island, looking west. Photo: Queensland Government.

First gazetted as Forbes Island National Park in 1990, the park was renamed Wuthara Island National Park (CYPAL) in July 2011. Wuthara Island National Park (CYPAL) is jointly managed by the Northern Kuuku Ya’u Kanthanampu Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC Land Trust and the Queensland Government in accordance with an Indigenous Management Agreement. Read more about joint management of Cape York Peninsula national parks.

The reef and waters surrounding the islands are protected within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. They also form part of the Great Barrier Reef Coast Marine Park (State) and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park  (Commonwealth).

Complementary management of waters adjacent to these islands is vital and continued close cooperation between Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) is essential.

Tourism information links

Nature’s Powerhouse
www.cooktownandcapeyork.com
Cooktown Botanic Gardens
Walker Street, Cooktown Qld 4895
Phone: (07) 4069 5763
email:

For tourism information for all regions in Queensland see Queensland Holidays.

Further information

Contact us

Last updated
28 November 2016