Cape Melville National Park
It is not exactly remote, but it's still far enough from the Peninsula Developmental Road in west and Cooktown in south, to be less visited than most other places around.
Most Cape York travellers don't usually get time for it, and it is more popular with long time campers who only come here and stay for weeks or even months.
It is a great place to camp and fish, or go bird watching or mud crabbing. The park is mostly popular with Australians, not many international travellers make it here.
Most people enter the park from west, coming either from Musgrave or Laura on the Peninsula Developmental Road, and then driving through Lakefield National Park (drive across the river at Kalpower Crossing camp ground and continue from there).
Lakefield - Cape Melville junction. ©cape-york-australia.com
This is a reasonable gravel road, most parts are done in two wheel drive during the Dry Season (you still need a 4WD after the turnoff from Wakooka).
The road in from Lakefield National Park. ©cape-york-australia.com
Others come from south via Cooktown, Battlecamp Road and Starcke Wakooka Track.
The southern entrance. ©cape-york-australia.com
This road is narrow and much rougher. It's not dangeous, but it takes longer time to travel. If you like four wheel driving and have the time, this road is much more fun :-)
Cape Melville National Park, southern section. ©cape-york-australia.com
Whatever way you do, you finally get to the northern section's park entrance north of Wakooka...
The northern section park entrance. ©cape-york-australia.com
... and pass by some granite boulders.. after which the road is quite rugged all the way to the Cape, and four wheel drive only (even if you would not use the 4WD, you need to travel in a 4WD vehicle just because it's higher).
Granite boulders. ©cape-york-australia.com
At Cape Melville, there are camping spots next to the beach that starts on the left hand side of the carpark. In the other end of that beach is a river mouth that is great for fishing and mud crabbing.
The southern beach. ©cape-york-australia.com
But you can also turn right before the carpark (right as you com in = east), and after a few tracks ...
A creek along the drive between the northern and the southern beach. ©cape-york-australia.com
... you will get to the northern beach, from where you can drive along the beach, at the low tide, to the tip of Cape Melville, where there is a monument for the 300+ pearlers who were killed in 1899 in the tropical cyclone Mahina.
The cape from the northern beach. ©cape-york-australia.com
There are no facilities and you have to be totally self sufficient, but for long-term stayers it is good to know that you won't run out of freshwater since there is a great freshwater creek with drinkable water not far from the beach :-)
Cape Melville granite boulders. ©cape-york-australia.com
On your way back, about half way to Wakooka, is the turnoff to Ninian Bay. The track is narrow and at times almost overgrown by vegetation.
Road to Ninian Bay. ©cape-york-australia.com
Once at the bay, there is a beautiful beach and shady camping can be found under trees. In the northern end of the beach is a rocky headland where you can climb to the top of the hill for views over the bay; and in the southern end is is a river mouth with mangroves - which, as you'd know, means good fishing and mud crabs but also crocodiles.
Ninian Bay. ©cape-york-australia.com
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