Nothing embraces the pioneering spirit of adventure more than camping in Cape York. The Cape’s interior is a landscape of vast sweeping plains, pocketed with rivers, lakes and waterholes. Its coastline comprised of wide sandy beaches, bordered with native flora and the scene to some seriously stunning sunrises.
There are so many places to set up the tent, sleep under a million stars and enjoy a good camp fire, at Cape York you’re spoilt for choice. Campers can choose from a range of national parks, private properties and commercial businesses. Amenities and availability vary across the season (which runs from May to October) and communication can sometimes be patchy, so it’s always wise to book your Cape York camp sites well in advance of travel.
The Cape York tourist season is May to October. It’s also called the ‘Dry Season’. This is the best time of year for camping and travelling across the Cape. Why? For the rest of the year it is hot and wet and in many places the roads are closed, bridges are flooded and Cape York businesses have shut up shop for the ‘Wet Season’. Also, please note that Cape York’s National Parks are closed from around 1 December until April and May. So, plan your trip between May and October.
Cape York has some amazing national parks and camping at them is very affordable. The amenities vary across the Cape and each Park, ranging from large well utilised camp sites with showers and toilets, to isolated bush camps with no facilities. To find your perfect Cape York National Park camp site you can visit their website www.qld.gov.au/nationalparks select Find a park or forest, browse by region (Cape York Peninsula) and search for camping areas that suit your needs. Select Camping as well as other facilities such as Toilets, Generators permitted and Camper trailer sites.
Please note camp sites at Cape York National Parks must be booked in advance and you will need to display your permit while on site. Many of these sites become very busy during peak season (July – September) and if you arrive on site without a booking or permit, you may miss out. For the most popular areas such as Chili Beach and Eliot Falls you should book as far in advance as possible. For other camp areas you might wish to stay at during school holidays, book at least 2-3 months in advance. Outside of holiday periods, book several days in advance.
There’s also lots of camping spaces available at various properties across Cape York, including stations and caravan parks. Many of these are based at the Cape’s townships, including Weipa, Seisia, Laura, Lakeland and Coen. The amenities vary and again, space is limited, so you need to book in advance to avoid disappointment. Some popular places are below.
Around the Tip of Cape York, campers enjoy staying at Cape York Camping Punsand Bay. It’s 5km from the ‘tip’ and has a swimming pool, campground shop with bread, milk, maps and souvenirs, an onsite bar and they even do woodfired pizzas. They have beachfront and bush unpowered sites. There’s also Alau Beach Campgrounds, Umagico which provides absolute beachfront camping with views to the Torres Strait Islands. This one has hot showers, clean amenities and a coin operated laundry. Loyalty Beach Campground is also popular with 5000m of grassed beachfront camping. It has a fully stocked kiosk, gas, ice and laundry facilities.
Weipa Caravan Park and Camping Ground is set on 13 acres on the shores of Albatross Bay, with lots of grassy areas shaded by beautiful big trees. Campers will enjoy the pool as well as the cool drinks, hot food and amenities. Further inland, the Moreton Telegraph Station provides a welcome haven for campers. Situated on the Wenlock River there’s lots of shady camping areas and hot showers.
The Cape has lots of roadhouses and they make a great place to camp too, especially when you want some amenities. Archer River Roadhouse is the last stop before you turn towards the ‘tip’. On the banks of the Archer River, it offers guests lush green campgrounds, washing machines, food and beverages.
Bramwell Junction Roadhouse is at the start of the Old Telegraph Track. It has BBQ facilities and sells food and drinks. It also has toilets and showers for campers. Musgrave Roadhouse used to be a Telegraph Station, today it’s a well-maintained homestead offering accommodation and camping. It’s 136km north of Laura, halfway between Cairns and Weipa.
Bush camping is another option on Cape York. There’s some good places along the Palmer River and around Cape Melville. For independent travellers trekking along the Telegraph Track, there’s lots of creeks and streams you can camp around. It’s always good to ask the locals for their top tips, when you are re-fuelling or getting food and refreshments.
Heritage Tours Safaris love nothing more than a good camp fire at Cape York, that’s why we proudly offer a range of camping safaris. Let us make your camping in Cape York experience as easy and convenient as possible. You’ll travel in air-conditioned 21 seater 4WD coaches, be guided by experienced locals and have all the planning and meals taken care of. We’ve been camping up here for over 30 years and look forward to sharing Cape York with you. For more information, call us on 1800 079 006 Toll Free within Australia.