This beautiful yet rugged park features the rocky headlands of Cape Melville, massive tumbled granite boulders of the Melville Range, sandy beaches of Bathurst Bay, sandstone escarpments of Altanmoui Range and inland dunes. Rainforest, mangroves, heathlands, woodlands and grasslands are found here. The isolation of this park means that many plants and animals are found only here and nowhere else in the world; the best-known of these endemic species is the foxtail palm.... more
Bush camp on the eastern side of Bathurst Bay near Cape Melville in one of several camping areas along the beach, or at Ninian Bay camping area on the park's eastern coast. Walk along the sandy beaches of Bathurst Bay or take the short track up to the Mahina monument that commemorates lives lost in the pearling fleet disaster of 1899. Fish and boat in the adjacent marine parks. Take your mountain bike or trail-bike along the park's internal roads and tracks. This park is extremely remote and visitors must be well prepared and entirely self-sufficient. Be aware of estuarine crocodiles (be croc wise) and dangerous stinging jellyfish. Camp only in the designated areas.... less
How To Get There
All roads into and on the park are unsealed and suitable for high-clearance four-wheel-drive vehicles only—they are not suitable for trailers, caravans, campervans or buses. Roads on the park are not maintained and can be very rough. Be prepared for corrugations, washouts, tidal creek crossings and soft sand. The road into Ninian Bay is particularly difficult and vehicles may be scratched by roadside vegetation. Visitors must be experienced in four-wheel-driving and should travel with the necessary recovery gear, winches, spare parts, first-aid, communications equipment, and adequate food, water and fuel. Satellite phones are essential—there is no mobile reception—and personal locator beacons (PLBs) are recommended. Travel with another vehicle where possible.
Access to the park is either from the west via Kalpowar Crossing in Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park (CYPAL) or from the south by the coastal route from Cooktown. These routes converge at Wakooka outstation, which is Aboriginal land and camping is not allowed.
Access via Kalpowar Crossing
It is about 70 kilometres from Kalpowar Crossing to Wakooka outstation, and an additional 4 kilometres to the park boundary. From here it is a further 35 kilometres to the camping areas at Bathurst Bay or 37 kilometres to Ninian Bay camping area. Sections of this road are extremely rough and it can take up to five hours to traverse.
Access via Cooktown
The coastal route from Cooktown is around 180 kilometres to Wakooka outstation, and an additional 4 kilometres to the park boundary. From here it is a further 35 kilometres to the camping areas at Bathurst Bay or 37 kilometres to Ninian Bay camping area. The road is extremely rough and challenging and can take up to 12 hours to traverse. The coastal route can also be accessed by travelling 66 kilometres from Old Laura Homestead in Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park (CYPAL) along Battle Camp Road to join the coastal route 45 kilometres north of Cooktown.
Alcohol restrictions are in place in many of Queensland's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Roads in national parks are the same as any other public road in Queensland. All vehicles, except those exempted by law, must be registered. Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service does not give permission for conditionally registered vehicles (e.g. quad bikes) to be used recreationally by individuals.
Camping fees apply.
The best time to visit is during the drier months of July to November when the daytime temperature averages 28 degrees Celsius. From December to April the area can be deluged by heavy monsoonal rains and roads become impassable for extended periods, preventing access to the park. Average maximum temperatures at this time are around 33 degrees Celsius with very high humidity.
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