The best time to visit Cape York Peninsula is during the ‘dry season’ from May to October. During the wetter months (November to April), parks are closed as roads become impassable. Opening times vary depending on the weather but most parks are usually opened by July.
Camping in National Parks
You need a permit to camp in a Queensland national park. It is essential that you book your camp site and purchase your permit before arriving at your camping area. To purchase a camping permit, book online or phone 13 QGOV (13 74 68). Mobile phone charges may apply. It’s best to book well in advance as camp sites in popular parks are in great demand during peak periods, such as long weekends and school holidays. Even for non-peak periods, it is still advisable to book before you leave home as communications can be unreliable.
If you need to make or change a booking while you are on the road, visit an over-the counter permit booking office (The Lure Shop in Cooktown and Moreton Telegraph Station at Wenlock River crossing). Alternatively, use one of the touch screen computer facilities provided at the Queensland Parks Wildlife Services offices in Coen, Cooktown and Weipa or at the ranger bases at Rinyirru, Lockhart and Heathlands. Credit card and camping credits are accepted as payment. Cash and EFTPOS facilities are available at over-the-counter permit booking offices. Several parks have camping areas that are suitable for campervans and camper trailers. Visit the National Parks website and browse by activity (caravan/camper trailer/campervan sites).
Find out the latest information about parks – such as whether your intended camping areas and walking tracks are open or if fire bans are in place – visit here.
Camping Outside National Parks
There is plenty of great camping outside of the National Parks, and the Qparks booking system. All of the Roadhouses have camping areas with toilets and showers. There are also caravan parks with camping in most of the towns, such as Lakeland, Cooktown, Laura, Coen, Weipa, Seisia, and other parts of the Northern Peninsula Area. Other options with some facilities include: Elim Beach campground, Silver Plains Station, Merluna Station, Bramwell Station, Punsand Bay, Vrilya Point, Pennefather River, and Chuulangun campground on the way into Iron Range.
If you are an independent traveller, and don’t need a shower or toilet provided, then Cape York is the place for you. There are so many great bush camping options along your journey to the Tip of Cape York. The Palmer River area has good camping on the headwaters of the Mitchel River. The Wakooka/Cape Melville area has lots of unregulated camping, up to Bathurst Head. You can camp near the boat ramp at Port Stewart. The Wenlock has good camping north and south of the crossing on the road to Iron Range. Stones Crossing is a good option near Weipa. All along the Telegraph Track there are awesome places to camp next to crystal clear creeks. The Jardine River has camping north and south of the Ferry. There are plenty more places to bush camp; you’ll need to ask some of the locals, or other travellers for their tips on where to go.