Aboriginal rock art, Courtesy of Tourism Queensland

Population 225

Laura is a tiny town in Far North Queensland that boasts only a few buildings, including the quaint old Quinkan Pub nestled in the shade of mango trees. The area to the south-east of town is known as Quinkan country after the Aboriginal spirits depicted at the incredible Split Rock and Gu Gu Yalangi rock-art sites. Every two years Laura hosts possibly the biggest Indigenous event on Australia's calendar – the Laura Dance and Cultural Festival.

Visitor Information

Quinkan Centre, Peninsula Development Rd; (07) 4060 3457

Nearby national parks

Nearby towns

  • Cooktown

    Cooktown is the last main town before the wilderness that is Cape York. In 1770, Captain Cook beached the Endeavour here for repairs after...more

  • Daintree

    The unspoiled township of Daintree lies in the tropical rainforest of Far North Queensland, at the heart of the Daintree River catchment...more

  • Mossman

    The town of Mossman, in Far North Queensland, is set among green mountains and fields of sugarcane. Originally named after the explorer Hugh...more

In Town

Quinkan Centre: photos and relics of Quinkan Country are on display here. Guided tours, which include rock-art sites, can also be booked from the centre; Peninsula Development Rd; (07) 4060 3457.


Split Rock and Gu Gu Yalangi rock-art sites These are Queensland's most important Aboriginal art sites. Hidden behind a tangle of trees in the chasms and crevices of the sandstone escarpment, a diorama of Aboriginal lore and culture unfolds. The Quinkan spirits – the reptile-like Imgin and stick-like Timara – can be found hiding in dark places. There are also dingoes, flying foxes, kangaroos, men, women and many hundreds of other things, both obvious and mysterious. More sites exist nearby, though only these 2 are accessible to the public. Bookings through the Quinkan Centre; 12 km S.

Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park (CYPAL) This park is Queensland's second largest and a highlight of any visit to the Cape. The large rivers and waterholes are excellent for fishing and boating in the dry season, but become inaccessible wetlands in the wet season. In the south is the Old Laura Homestead, once en route to the Palmer River Goldfields, and in the north are plains dotted with spectacular anthills. See the threatened gold-shouldered parrot and spectacled hare-wallaby in the rainforest fringes of the Normanby and Kennedy rivers. 4WD is recommended. Access only in the dry season (Apr–Nov); (07) 4069 5777; entrance is 27 km N.

Lakeland Downs: bananas and coffee are the main fare cultivated from the area's rich volcanic soil, which is also ideal for a variety of fruit and vegetables; 62 km S.

Fishing spots near town

Munbah 97 km

It’s predawn and Les Gibson walks down to the creek and stops. He is on his way to push some boats out into deeper water as the tide is falling rapidly. Following Les are three journalists. He stops at the creek,... Find out more

Eco-friendly activities around town

Indigenous tours - Cooktown to Cape York 87 km

Guurrbi Tours offers an award-winning tour with Willie Gordon, Nugal-warra elder, Guugu Yimithirr speaker and author, on which you will visit a series of sacred rock-art sites that you otherwise cannot see. There are... Find out more

Campsites around town

Quinkan Hotel

Camping is permitted on the grounds of this hotel in the remote township of Laura, about 140 km west of Cooktown. Hotel accommodation with air-conditioning and laundry facilities is also available on site. Meals are... Find out more

Six Mile Waterhole camping area (bush camping) 32 km

Six Mile Waterhole is about 15 km south of the New Laura Ranger Station, 3 km east of Lakefield Rd. The park’s wetlands attract a diversity of animals, particularly waterbirds. Look for brolgas, sarus cranes,... Find out more

Horseshoe Lagoon camping area (bush camping) 35 km

To reach this campground for self-sufficient campers, head for Old Laura Homestead then turn onto Battle Camp Rd and travel 29 km east of Old Laura to the turn-off. Check with a ranger for current fishing restrictions... Find out more

Lake Emma camping area 36 km

Lake Emma is on Battle Camp Rd, approximately 32 km east of the Old Laura Homestead. Complete self-sufficiency for food, water, equipment for treating water, fuel and vehicle spare parts is essential. There is a... Find out more

Welcome Waterhole camping area (bush camping) 37 km

The Welcome Waterhole is about 7 km from Horseshoe Lagoon and about 6 km north of Battle Camp Rd. The turn-off from Battle Camp Rd is about 30 km east of Old Laura Homestead. Bring all self-sufficient supplies.... Find out more

Twelve Mile Lagoon camping area (bush camping) 40 km

Twelve Mile Lagoon is near the Normanby River about 12 km east of Lakefield Rd; take the turn-off opposite New Laura Ranger Station. There are 9 numbered sites; open fires are allowed in the provided rings and generators... Find out more

Palmer River camping area (bush camping) 50 km

This campground beside the North Palmer River is accessible by 4WD and suits self-sufficient campers only. As with Dog Leg Crossing camping area, there are 2 main access routes for the campground; contact NPRSR for... Find out more

Kennedy Bend Waterhole camping area (bush camping) 52 km

Kennedy Bend Waterhole is on Lakefield Rd, 8 km north of New Laura Ranger Station. Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park (CYPAL) protects a number of threatened species, including the golden-shouldered parrot, star finch,... Find out more

Lakeland Caravan Park 55 km

Lakeland Caravan Park is at the junction of the Mulligan Hwy and Peninsula Development Rd in the town of Lakeland, between the Laura and Normanby rivers. On site you’ll find a small internet cafe with 3... Find out more

What's on around town

Aboriginal Dance and Cultural Festival: around 25 Cape York and Gulf communities gather at a traditional meeting ground by the Laura River. Traditional dance, music, and art and craft feature at the 3-day event; odd-numbered years, June.

Annual Race Meeting: race meeting on river flat that has run since 1897, and includes dances and rodeo; June.

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