Cape Melville National Park

Cape Melville National Park, Barry Ashenhurst / Auscape International
Campfire Fishing Camping area Four-wheel drive touring Ranger

Introduction

Some gruelling 4WD tracks lead to this national park on Cape York Peninsula, and at journey’s end is a wild and rugged coastline of rocky headlands and sandy beaches bordered by wetlands and eucalypt woodlands stretching inland to the Melville and Altanmoui ranges. This is the land of the Bagaarrmugu, Daarba, Gambiilmugu, Junjuu, Manyamarr, Muli, Wurri, and Yiirrku people. The ruins of homesteads, testament to early European pastoral settlement, are scattered throughout the region.

The vegetation, which includes tropical rainforest, mangroves, heathlands, woodlands and grasslands, provides a haven for plants and animals, many endemic to Cape Melville. These include the foxtail palm, with its brush-like fronds and bottle-shaped trunk, the Cape Melville boulder skink, and two vulnerable frog species – the Cape Melville tree frog and the Cape Melville nursery frog. The creeks and rivers in the park provide good fishing but watch out for crocodiles. The coastal waters off the cape are part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, and fishing is prohibited in certain sections.

Camping areas are provided on the eastern side of Bathurst Bay and at Ninian Bay. However, there are no facilities; visitors must be totally self-sufficient and bring all supplies and water with them. The nearest supplies are at Laura, up to 6 hours drive away. The park is accessible only in the dry season, from April to November; the best time to visit is between June and October. The tracks into the park are rough and difficult; before travelling, check current road conditions with Department of Transport and Main Roads (see Fact File).

Fact file

Camping

Bush camping only; permit and fees apply

Location and access

475 km north of Cairns via Lakefield National Park; 250 km north of Cooktown via Starcke Rd; 4WD access only

Park information

  • NPRSR 13 7468
  • Department of Transport and Main Roads 13 1940

Size

171 410 ha

Visitor information

Cooktown and Cape York (07) 4069 6004

Campsites

Crocodile camping area (bush camping)

This camping area covers a 2 km stretch of beach on Bathurst Bay, between the Muck River estuary and the Nookai day-use area. There are no facilities, so bring all self-sufficient camping gear, including drinking water... Find out more


Granite camping area (bush camping)

This camping site on the beach at Bathurst Bay stretches across the 4 km span between Oystercatcher camping area and the northernmost point of Cape Melville. Accessing the site requires 4 creek crossings, including a... Find out more


Ninian Bay camping area (bush camping)

This camping area lies on the east coast of Cape Melville National Park, 88 km from the camping areas at Bathurst Bay. A 1 km stretch of beach, it contains no facilities, so bring all self-sufficient camping gear,... Find out more


Oystercatcher camping area (bush camping)

This camping area covers a 2 km stretch of beach on Bathurst Bay, between the Wongai and Granite camping areas. There are no facilities, so bring all self-sufficient camping gear, including drinking water and rubbish... Find out more


Wongai camping area (bush camping)

This camping area covers a 2 km stretch of beach on Bathurst Bay, between the Nookai day-use area and Oystercatcher camping area. There are no facilities, so bring all self-sufficient camping gear, including drinking... Find out more


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