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Oyala Thumotang National Park (CYPAL)

Coen, Cook Area

Formerly known as Mungkan Kandju National Park, this large park stretches from the McIlwraith Range foothills, between the Archer and Coen rivers, and features open eucalypt woodlands, melaleuca swamps and a variety of rainforest types. This park is a living cultural landscape, rich in significance for the Aboriginal Traditional Owners.

Bush camp at one of several secluded camp sites. Go birdwatching around waterlily-covered lagoons and forest-fringed riverbanks. Go spotlighting in the rainforest to see the common spotted cuscus. Drive to the Old Archer Crossing, the historical site of the main access to northern Cape York Peninsula. Ride mountain bikes or trail bikes or drive your 4WD through the park's network of internal roads. Try your luck fishing in the park's many creeks and lagoons. Remember to always be croc wise.

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Family friendly – please refer to operator's website for services and facilities.
Peninsula Developmental Road
25 kilometres north of Coen
Coen, Cook Area
Queensland
Australia

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Free Entry
Formerly known as Mungkan Kandju National Park, this large park stretches from the McIlwraith Range foothills, between the Archer and Coen rivers, and features open eucalypt woodlands, melaleuca swamps and a variety of rainforest types. This park is a living cultural landscape, rich in significance for the Aboriginal Traditional Owners. Bush camp at one of several secluded camp sites. Go birdwatching around waterlily-covered lagoons and forest-fringed riverbanks. Go spotlighting in the rainforest to see the common spotted cuscus. Drive to the Old Archer Crossing, the historical site of the main access to northern Cape York Peninsula. Ride mountain bikes or trail bikes or drive your 4WD through the park's network of internal roads. Try your luck fishing in the park's many creeks and lagoons. Remember to always be croc wise.

Cape Melville National Park

Cooktown, Cook Area
Free Entry
This beautiful yet rugged park features the rocky headlands of Cape Melville, massive tumbled granite boulders of the Melville Range, sandy beaches of Bathurst Bay, sandstone escarpments of Altanmoui Range and inland dunes. Rainforest, mangroves, heathlands, woodlands and grasslands are found here. The isolation of this park means that many plants and animals are found only here and nowhere else in the world; the best-known of these endemic species is the foxtail palm. Bush camp on the eastern side of Bathurst Bay near Cape Melville in one of several camping areas along the beach, or at Ninian Bay camping area on the park's eastern coast. Walk along the sandy beaches of Bathurst Bay or take the short track up to the Mahina monument that commemorates lives lost in the pearling fleet disaster of 1899. Fish and boat in the adjacent marine parks. Take your mountain bike or trail-bike along the park's internal roads and tracks. This park is extremely remote and visitors must be well prepared and entirely self-sufficient. Be aware of estuarine crocodiles (be croc wise) and dangerous stinging jellyfish. Camp only in the designated areas.
Free Entry
This remote coastal park in northern Cape York Peninsula features long sweeping beaches, rugged heath-clad ranges and the largest area of lowland tropical rainforest in Australia. The park protects a unique collection of wildlife, including mammals, frogs, lizards and snakes that are found nowhere else, and is a refuge for birds that are rare in Australia but also live in New Guinea. Enjoy bush camping by the river or creek in the rainforest, or behind the dunes at Chilli Beach, in the park's popular camping areas. Take the 10 kilometre one-way walk following the Old Coen track through rainforest and open woodland where birdwatching is excellent. At night, spotlight for green pythons and common spotted cuscus. During the day, look for eclectus parrots and palm cockatoos, wander along the white sands of Chili Beach and visit the viewing platform for scenic views of Mount Tozer and surrounding heathland.
Free Entry
In this vast, remote wilderness near the tip of Cape York Peninsula, the sandstone landscape is dominated by the mighty Jardine River and its many streams and swamps, and is rich in Aboriginal and European cultural heritage. Heath, rainforest and woodland cover low sandy ridges separated by swamps. Shrub lands and vine thickets cover massive coastal dunes. Bush camp at Eliot Falls, beside the Jardine River, or near the coast at Captain Billy Landing and Ussher Point. Enjoy short walks along the creeks at Eliot and Fruit Bat falls, to view crystal-clear water and striking waterfalls. Look for carnivorous pitcher plants and delicate sundews along moist creek margins. At Captain Billy Landing, explore remote scenic beaches.
Free Entry
This iconic remote park has a rich and diverse landscape that features spectacular wetlands and river systems. In the north, grasslands and woodlands, wetlands, coastal estuaries, mangroves and mudflats, are prominent, while in the south, sandstone hills and escarpments dominate the landscape. Lakefield is a wildlife refuge for threatened species including the red goshawk, Lakeland Downs mouse and spectacled hare-wallaby. Hann and Kalpowar crossings are two of the many significant Aboriginal cultural heritage sites found in this landscape. Bush camp beside a waterhole at one of many camping areas. Take your pick from popular busy camping areas with all facilities or camp sites that are remote bush getaways. Visit the Old Laura Homestead for a brush with the pastoral history of the cape. Fish for barramundi in the waterholes. Take your binoculars and marvel at the diversity of waterbirds at Low Lake. Admire the beautiful lotus-lilies carpeting Red and White Lily lagoons. Explore the Kalpowar discovery walking track or take your bicycle or trail-bike along the network of internal roads throughout the park. This is croc country so remember to be croc wise!

Flinders Group National Park

Cooktown, Cook Area
Free Entry
Seven remote and ruggedly attractive islands, with a rich cultural landscape, form Flinders Group National Park. The islands contain important Aboriginal story and burial sites, along with nationally significant rock art showing early contact with Europeans. The islands lie adjacent to Cape Melville and are within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Visit the islands on a commercial cruise vessel or in your private boat. Walk the 2.8 kilometre interpretive trail to learn about the Yiithuwarra 'saltwater people'. Contemplate their rock art in the Ship and Yindayin rock shelters on Stanley Island (Yindayin). Bush camp on Flinders Island (Wurriima). Watch seabirds and look for turtles and dugong. Enjoy the remoteness of this unique park.
Free Entry
Southern Small Detached Reef, 80 kilometres North of Lockhart River in Far North Queensland, is a remote but stunning reef. Sitting so far off the coast, the walls of the reef drop to over 100 metres, with the deep waters inviting lots of larger marine life such as turtles, reef sharks, eagle rays, pelagic fish and occasional manta rays. The reef walls are decorated with a spectacular array of corals, large gorgonians, long sea whips, spike soft coral trees and sponges, which provide shelter for hosts of multi-coloured reef fish. The outstanding amount of marine life and the enormity of the reef walls make for breathtaking photos, so don't forget your camera!

Great Detached Reef Dive Site

Cooktown, Cook Area
Free Entry
Situated north of Cooktown, close to the Queensland cape, Great Detached Reef is a large complex of several reefs sitting on an old fossil mountain range. With roughly 46 kilometres of edge, wall diving is spectacular here, with steep cliffs dropping down to over 400 metres and small caves scattered across the reef walls. Barracuda, trevally and sharks, along with schools of basslets, fusiliers and sometimes blue-lined snapper, peer over the edges of the Great Detached Reef, while moray eels, lobster, shrimp and nudibranch pocket the coral and rock surfaces. Large potato cod as well as manta rays and turtles are also frequent visitors.

Tijou Reef

Port Douglas, Douglas Area
Free Entry
Located off Port Douglas on the Great Barrier Reef is Tijou Reef, home to many different dive sites, particularly the coral gardens on the inner side and wonderful wall dives on its outer eastern side. The northern tipis commonly known as Shark City. Whitetip, Grey and Silvertip reef sharks are always seen cruising along the wall. Shark feeds are sometimes conducted here. Masses of pelagic and reef fish gather along the steep wall which is covered with incredible variety of colourful corals and invertebrates.

Thursday Island

Thursday Island, Torres Area
Leave your watch behind when you go to Thursday Island as this colourful island paradise is where time really does seem to stand still. It is one of 274 islands which lie between the northern tip of Queensland and Papua New Guinea in the Torres Strait. This unique tropical region is home to the Indigenous Torres Strait Islanders whose culture is rich in the arts and whose lifestyle has evolved from the sea and its abundance of wildlife. You can reach Thursday Island via Horn Island either by plane from Cairns or Bamaga or by boat from Bamaga. While on Horn Island, visit the museum showcasing the Torres Strait's involvement in World War 2 and the pearling industry before you catch a boat to picturesque Thursday Island. The administrative centre of the Torres Strait, Thursday Island has modern accommodation and tours plus incredible fishing in the surrounding waters. Visit Green Hill Fort and the cannons which once guarded the island's main approaches. Its refurbished underground tunnels house the Torres Strait Historical Museum. Historical artefacts and contemporary Indigenous art can be seen at the Gab Titui Cultural Centre.
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