Tropical Coast of Queensland

Cape Palmerston National Park

Windswept rocky headlands, mangroves, swamps, rainforest and sand dunes are part of Cape Palmerston National Park's rugged beauty. Open eucalypt woodland with ironbark and poplar gum grows on the ridges while paperbarks grow in the gullies. The distinctive 344m Mt Funnel towers over the park.

Midden heaps are a reminder of the special connection Aboriginal people have with this place. Named by Cook in 1770, Cape Palmerston is one of the few remaining areas of natural coastline in the Mackay area.

The false water-rat lives in the park's mangroves while beach stone-curlews frequent the beaches. Both are considered vulnerable to extinction. Pied imperial-pigeons which visit late winter and spring are close to the southern limit of their range.

There are five beaches on Ince Bay, all relatively isolated, low energy and with no development, other than partly cleared grazing land behind beach. Much of the bay is dominated by intertidal sand flats that in places extend 3 km out from the shore. All these beaches have low to calm wave conditions and are relatively safe, with the best swimming toward high tide. However they are rarely used apart from fishers. There is excellent fishing in the tidal creek, while a few also venture out to fish the rocks of the cape.

Things to do

Relax and enjoy nature in this undeveloped, remote park. Take insect repellent, especially in summer.

Go birdwatching. See ospreys and sea eagles soaring overhead or white-breasted woodswallows in the flowering grasstrees. Look for birds around the swamp on the road into the camping areas.

Try your luck at fishing but beware of estuarine crocodiles. Swimming is dangerous when box jellyfish are present in the sea from October to May.

Getting there

Cape Palmerston is 115km south-east of Mackay. Access is by four-wheel-drive vehicles only. Turn off the Bruce Highway at Ilbilbie and drive east towards Greenhill. The park is a further 6.5km. Allow 45 minutes to reach the Cape Creek camping area from the park boundary. Take care driving in soft sand along the beach and beware of the extreme tidal range.

Further information: QPWS

DPI Building, 30 Tennyson Street, Brisbane. PO Box 15155, City East QLD 4002
ph (07) 4944 7800. fax (07) 4944 7811

Temple Island