Cooktown Regions Nature

Great Barrier Reef | Black Mt | Rainforest | Cedar Bay | Shiptons Flat | Wujal Wujal | Bloomfield | Quinkan | Cape Melville | Cape Tribulation Wilderness Cruise

The regions surrounding Cooktown are second to none when it comes to nature. The Australian Landscape offers a wide range of experiences, only a few as unique or majestic as Queensland’s Cape York and far northern tropics.

Nature is the second biggest attraction to the regions visitation and the number one for Mungumby Lodge guests. The region hosts a group of National Parks and primitive rainforest listed by the World Heritage Commission as one of the earths most unique and valued assets. A magnificent collection of botanically diverse landscapes & ecosystems including tropical rainforest, animals, birds, and mangroves, wetlands, heathland and outback which possibly excels that anywhere else on the continent. Additionally this is all encompassed by a 800km remote and pristine wilderness of coastline . Its is truly where the Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef meet to be divided only by the sun kissed exotic pure white sands. In tact reef systems still exist along the coast due to the lack of inhabitants.

The bio diversity is second to none and hosts 100’s of endemic species only found in this region. At 320 million years the wet tropic rainforests here are some of the oldest in the world and stretch down to the Bloomfield River and beyond to Cape Tribulation in the south. As our region is low in population and lacks major industry the region has remained in tact including the Great Barrier Reef a short distance from the coast.

TOP 10 Natural things to do!

  1. Grassy Hill – light house look out in Cooktown
  2. Tropical Rainforest Coast – Helenvale, Rossville, Shiptons Flat, Cedar Bay.
  3. Mt Cook – a view of the (GBR) reef from a walking track on the north spur.
  4. Archer Point – Wilderness Coast area between Cooktown & Black Mountain
  5. Black Mountain (Kalkajaka) – a 260 million year old rock formations
  6. Bloomfield falls – water falls at Wujal Wujal, Bloomfield River.
  7. Little Annan gorge – gorge system the catchments for the Annan River
  8. Waterfalls (all year) and ancient Rainforest behind Mungumby Lodge.
  9. Finch Bay & Cherry Tree Bay – secluded beaches a walk from Cooktown.
  10. Weary Bay – a stunning beach at the entrance to the Bloomfield River

Great Barrier Reef

Pristine inshore reefs provide great diving and snorkeling over its extensive coral gardens with huge populations of colourful fish. On the remote coastlines turtles mate in warm spring currents at the mouth of the Annan River, Archer Point, Elim Beach and various other locations along the coast. Their eggs are laid in the pristine white sand dunes along the same coast. Dugongs can be seen grazing sea grass beds at Archer Point or at Hope Islands. The Hope Islands, Lizard Island are great vantage points to make the most of the reef. Hope Islands, traditional sea country of the Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal people. The Hope Islands area delight for birdwatchers and fishers, these tropical islands provide a haven for nature lovers. Share a secluded campsite with birds or head out on the water to enjoy the marine life. There are few opportunities to get to the reef from Cooktown due to the the reefs proximity to the mainland. Charter options fr snorkelling, kite surfing or bird watching are available. We can make these arranagements for you easily in advance.

Black Mountain (Kalkajaka) National Park

An imposing mountain range of massive granite boulders is the highlight of this park, which is home to some unique wildlife, and is rich in Aboriginal cultural significance. The formations are 260 million years old with little vegetation on them. Kalkajaka is traditional country of the Kuku Bididji and Kuku Nyugkul clans of the Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal people. 

World Heritage Rainforest

People still talk about the seven wonders of the world. Today, world heritage areas are considered the most outstanding heritage places on earth.

World Heritage areas are outstanding examples of the world’s natural or cultural heritage. The World Heritage Committee oversees world heritage listing on behalf of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). Our northern tropical rainforest is 320 millions years of development making these areas one of the world’s oldest intact ancient rainforests. Quite different to the new world rainforests regions, the north Queensland Wet Tropics rainforest region is a must do experience whist in the area. Easily accessible by Shiptons Flat Road, Mungumby Road and the Bloomfield Road south of Black Mountain/Helenvale. Mungumby Lodge is located set on the sclerophyll divide at the start of the northern rainforest and has 30% of its estate as virgin ancient rainforest and is home to the Bennett’s Tree Kangaroo (Dendrolagus Bennettianus). 

Cedar Bay (Mangkal-Mangkalba)

Cedar Bay (Mangkal-Mangkalba) National Park just east of Rossville is a remote coastal forested area that remains as it has for millions of years. Walking trails are available from Home Rule & Bloomfield or the quickest way to visit is by boat from the Bloomfield Hire boats centre at Bloomfield. However prevailing south easterly winds often make this difficult. This is the traditional land of the Kuku Yalanji people whose country extends along the coast to Mossman. Cedar Bay National Park was a major turtle hunting area and contains important story sites. The Kuku Yalanji people have kept their culture alive and ask visitors to respect this special place. There is a new Gap Creek walking track into Cedar Bay National Park and is now open. Both tracks take approximately 4–6hrs to walk and are difficult 6km+ tracks. The new track commences on the eastern side of the Cooktown–Bloomfield Road, north of power pole 66/530/288 and south of pole 66/531/289. Follow the orange flagging tape and triangle markers attached to trees along the track to the camping area at the southern end of Cedar Bay beach.

Both tracks should only be attempted by fit and experienced walkers. They are strenuous, involving a steep climbing and descent with an elevation change of approximately 500m. The track should not be attempted when heavy rain has fallen or is forecast. 

Shiptons Flat

Shiptons Flat from Helenvale to Mt Poverty is a fantastic yet very different to the rest due to its bio diversity and remoteness. Here The Roberts brothers farm cattle and by previous arrangement take guests to see Bennett’s Tree Kangaroos (Dendrolagus Bennettianus) on the edge of their farm land. Lewis & Charlie Roberts are both likeable Bushmen who stand out from the rest due to their vast knowledge and enthusiasm for nature.

Wujal Wujal

Wujal Wujal home to the Kuku Yalanji people traditional owners of the rainforests has seen the rainforest open up due to 1000’s of years of Aboriginal occupation and burning to clear the ground for cattle. However the million acres of rainforest that surrounds is pristine and intrinsic to the Kuku Yalanji people who live there. The waters that flow down Wujal Wujal falls (Bloomfield Falls) from the Roaring Meg and China Camp above Wujal Wujal drain from the back of Mt Sorrow rainforest. Roaring Meg Falls, known by the Eastern Kuku Yalanji People as 'Kija', is an area that has very high Aboriginal cultural significance and is also a popular tourist site. The Walker Family offer nature tours to the Wujal Wujal (Bloomfield) falls. 

Bloomfield River to Cape Tribulation

The pristine rainforest extends down from Helenvale to Cape Tribulation before it starts to become commercialized and inhabited. Cowie Beach and mountain range offer pristine views over the Great Barrier Reef and World Heritage Rainforest. Often named lonely beach Cowie beach with its stilt mangroves, pure white sands covered with blue solder crabs is not to be missed. This Bloomfield Track road is best driven from north to south due to the awarded views lack of other vehicles and available fuel further south. 

The Quinkan Country

The land of the Kuku Thaijan people. The Laura region and central Cape York are a must do for visitors. It hosts a wide range of wildlife and the regions most extensive Aboriginal Art on the Rocks. Visit the Quinkan Regional Culture Centre for local road info and to arrange tours to the rock art sites. Travelling from Cairns or Mareeba Laura is easily accessible from Lakeland and the road to Laura will be fully sealed soon. The region typifies the Australian outback with its Spinifex grass, sand stone escarpments, Aboriginal culture and vast river systems. For visitors to the tip of Australia this is a must do stop and stay. From Mungumby Lodge we are able access this region very easily within 1.5 hours from the lodge. From Laura the road heading north opens out to Lakefield National Park and Princess Charlotte Bay and Musgrave. The dry parched landscape is host to a huge range of migrating birds and when closely observed many reptiles and other wildlife species.

Hope Vale, Cape Flattery and Cape Melville

On the coast east of Hopevale lies the pristine coastline of Elim Beach & Coloured sands. The inland McIvor country is rugged and scenic but is strictly 4x4 country. Cape Melville is a unique region where along the coast are pure white silica sands and the most amazing collection of endemic palms. The back drop of mountains gliding into the sea as the last of the great divide drops into the ocean at Cape Melville itself. Access to Lakefield National Park is limited but available from Cape Melville.

Cape Tribulation Wilderness Cruise

Cape Tribulation Wilderness Cruise (click here) is a top experience for those self drive clients travelling to or from the lodge along the coastal route. This not a touristy mangrove cruise but more so a nature experience and home to reputedly the most biodiverse mangrove system in Australia, Cooper Creek’s significance has been internationally recognized and rewarded by Queensland Park’s & Wildlife Service, which has afforded absolute protection to the creek’s flora and fauna.

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Devoid of tourist infrastructure, freehold subdivision and agriculture, Cooper Creek is, as it was, unspoiled by development, a perfect picture of prehistoric times. A wild environment, crocodile sightings are not guaranteed but participate in the hunt and enjoy Exclusive Access to 9 square kilometres of World Heritage wilderness with Ernie and his team.

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These cruises depart from Cooper Creek at Thortons Beach at 11.30, 14.00 we recomend booking prior which can be arranged at Mungumby Lodge or by call Ernie directly on 07 4033 2052. Additional departure operate in peak season but all times can be subject to change!

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Call +61 7 4060 3158 or relax(at)
to check availablity or contact your travel agent!