Jardine River


Jardine River is huge.

It is the largest perennial river in Queensland.

Its catchment takes up the whole Jardine River National Park, one of the largest national parks in Queensland.

It starts up in the mountains of the Great Dividing Range, not far from Captain Billy Landing and Southern Bypass Road.


And its mouth is on the northernmost Cape York peninsula, near Mutee Heads.


But the most of the time it is remote and inaccessible deep in the heart of the national park.

   jardine river
 
Most travellers first get to it where the main road north crosses it at the vehicle
ferry crossing.

   jardine river ferry

And some still try their luck at the
Old Ford.

   jardine river crossing

At the Old Ford you also have some national parks camping spots, both south and north of the river.

   jardine river camping

You can also get to its mouth, via some sandy tracks from Mutee Head.

   jardine river mouth

Or if you have a boat you can go discovering it water-ways.

   jardine river boat

There is some wildlife to watch,

   brolgas

... and as you ride in via its mouth,

   jardine river vegetation

... it is interesting to see how quickly the vegetation changes from salt to fresh water.

   jardine river vegetation

Further in there are a couple of nice spots ...

   jardine river freshwater arm

... to try freshwater fishing.

   freshwater fishing

And on the other side there is a saltwater arm,

   jardine river saltwater arm

... great for saltwater fishing.

   saltwater fishing

The whole river is great for fishing, even from the river bank, just watch out for
 crocodiles.

Jardine River National Park

Jardine River National Park is near the tip of Cape York.

It is the northernmost national park in Cape York, and the northernmost national park in Australia.

It is quite a large park - its southernmost parts are near Captain Billy Landing and Elliott Creek about half way up the Old Telegraph Track, and its northernmost end is at the mouths of Jackey Jackey Creek and Escape River.


The park almost covers the whole Jardine River catchment area.

jardine river national park
National park. ©cape-york-australia.com

It protects the upper parts of the river, which is mostly wide and shallow, and has a thriving population of deadly saltwater crocodiles.

jardine river
The river. ©cape-york-australia.com


Jardine NP Animals

Like Iron Range and other national parks and places in Cape York, many of the plants and animals in Jardine River National Park are found nowhere but it Cape York and Papua New Guinea.

Eclectus parrot, cuscus and palm cockatoo are only some of the examples.

jardine river animals
Crocodile warning signs. ©cape-york-australia.com

Jardine NP Plants

The park does not protect tropical rainforests as does Iron Range National Park. It has a tropical, green vegetation with a lot of grass trees, but it is not exactly rainforest, more like tropical savannah.

It has many vast swamplands, and the highest variety of mangroves in Australia.
Along the creeks and in other wetter places are carnivorous plants such as tropical pitcher plants. Cape York is the only place in Australia where these are found. 

jardine river plants
Grass trees aka Blackboys. ©cape-york-australia.com

Things to Do

There are no real bushwalking tracks in this national park. Instead there are some good drives where you can discover the park.

jardine national park
Driving through the park. ©cape-york-australia.com

Bird watching is quite good with imperial pigeons, paradise kingfishers, red-bellied pittas and many more. Mammals are easiest seen when spotlighting night time.





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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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