Some are tiny,
are some of the largest in Australia.
Some cover tropical
others cover savannah grasslands,
tropical woodlands, coastal headlands or tidal wetlands.
Some are well
known and easy to access,
while others are remote
and not so well known.
Many have lately been given
Aboriginal names, and I guess they all soon will.
known is Daintree
National Park in
the Wet Tropics. It protects lush, dense tropical
rainforests, which you will
drive through. There are also a few walks, but the whole park,
particularly the northern, Cape
Tribulation section, is quite
commercialised compared to the other parks further north.
Bay National Park (Ngalba Bulal)
park to the north is Cedar
Bay north of Bloomfield. As you drive the Ayton
Rossville Road, you drive through the
park, but to enjoy the park it's one of the hardest. There are two long bushwalking
tracks only for experienced walkers, and that's the only
way to get to the actual bay.
Mountain National Park
Cooktown is Black
Mountain National Park along Mulligan Highway,
north of the turnoff to Wujal
Wujal. It is a very unique black mountain, looking like a heap of large
boulders, which you can have a look at from the highway car park. And
that's all you can do - there
are no bushwalks or camping.
River National Park (Yuku Baja-Muliku)
Black Mountain is Annan
River National Park - the largest in the area but with no access and no facilities. The
closest you get to it (unless boating or flying) is Walker Bay in the
mouth of Annan River, and Fisherman's Bend just north of the highway
bridge across the same river, south of Cooktown.
Cook National Park
of Cooktown is Mount Cook National Park. It is a
small national park, and it protects Mount
Cook. There is a walk
to the top of the mountain, but there
is no camping
in this park. The walk is quite a climb in places and
recommended for people with at least medium level of fitness.
River National Park
River National Park is just north
of Cooktown, and it protects the mangrove
habitats of Endeavour River - one of the two large rivers of Cooktown
with Annan). There is no
camping or any visitor facilities in this park, and the best way to
discover it is by a boat.
National Park (Rinyirru)
National Park is north-west of Cooktown, and it is the
one of all the peninsula's national parks. It covers savannah
mudflats and floodplains, and it also has shady camping sites and two walking
tracks. It is quite easy to see brolgas, jabirus, and
Melville National Park
of Lakefield, Cape
Melville National Parkcan be reached from the west
NP and Musgrave, or from the south via Starcke - Wakooka Track.
plenty of very nice camping
spots, and consequently the park is most popular with Australians doing
long time camping and fishing.
Kaanju National Park (Oyala Thumotang)
is one of the larger national parks on the peninsula, covering
a fair area between Coen and Archer
mostly covers dry open
woodlands, and looks like that during the whole 60km drive in to even
the closest camping
there are rivers and lusher vegetation. There are no walking tracks in
Range National Park (Kutini-Payamu)
Range National Park is
the most special of all of our national parks. It covers the largest
area of lowland rainforest left in Australia, and is the only pocket
inhabited by many birds and animals that Cape York shares with Papua
New Guinea. It is the only
place to see eclectus parrots, green pythons and many
other species. There is nice camping, and two bushwalking tracks.
River National Park
National Park is
another large park, near the tip of Cape York. You drive through it in
the northern end of the Old Telegraph Track, and you can drive through
it for a long while if you do the 60km drive to Sadd
Point and Ussher
Point. There is some camping, but no
vegetation is tropical savannah woodland with many blackboys and Zamia
parks camping in Cape York changed in February 2012.
changed to the worse
for us Cape York travellers.
No longer can we pull up,
pay at the
self registration station and put the tent up.
We now have to plan all our national parks camping, which on a Cape
York trip is next to impossible.
know how hard it
is to plan a Cape York trip with such
detail, and even if
you tried, having to keep the schedule while travelling would be
stressful and take the joy out of the trip. Unless, of course, there is phone
or internet reception so that you can
book at your arrival - but in most Cape York national
is not the case.
Camping rules before 2012
Until February 2012, all
you had to do
was to put cash into an envelope at a self registration
and put the envelope into a box.
A piece that you could rip off went to your windscreen so that rangers
who check in the mornings knew you had paid.
after 2012 Now you have to book on
the phone or
online, and your best hope is, like the sign above says,
mobile phone networks may be available' (in most places not).
Camp outside - perfectly
legal if you know the spots.
Get this 50 pages guide totally for FREE. It
contains information that helps you getting started with planning of your trip.
You get to make early-stages desicions such as when to go, how long time you
should take, how to get
there and get
to stay (general info), what
will it cost..
and a short insight to what is there to see and do in Cape York.
This complete 300 pages
travel guide is all you need before and during your trip. Besides the
background chapters on the peninsula's history and wildlife; and the comprehensive detail about all the places (down to prices, opening hours and full contact detail), it has invaluable information on at least 10 four wheel drive tracks, at least 30 guaranteed FREE camping spots on the Cape (and at least 150 on your way to the Cape), at least 40 best swimming holes, all mapped; as well as practical things - from fuel, roads, wireless internet and mobile phone reception, how to deal with the national parks booking rules; and Aboriginal land entrance and camping permits and alcohol restrictions - to vehicle preparation and accessories and necessary recovery gear by my partner Mark who is the recovery guy on northern Cape York and the Old Telegraph Track). Not to mention locals' tips on how to spot that croc and palm cockatoo ;-)
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