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About Errk Oykangand National Park (CYPAL)

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Getting there and getting around

Errk Oykangand National Park (CYPAL) is on the western side of Cape York Peninsula, about 609 km west-north-west of Cairns and 656 km south of Weipa. Access is by four-wheel drive from either Pompuraaw or the Kowanyama Aboriginal Community along the Kowanyama–Pompuraaw Road. The park is about 83 km to the south-east of Pompuraaw and about 32 km to the north-east of Kowanyama.

There is only one entrance to the park. Vehicles accessing the park cross the Mitchell River at Shelfo Crossing, a broad rock bar. Extreme caution must be exercised as the water is fast flowing and estuarine crocodiles and sharks are found here.

Restricted access areas have been put in place to protect cultural resources and property. Entry to the Poison Snake Story Area (PDF, 132K), Tomahawk Story Area (PDF, 128K) and Emu-Brolga Story Living Area (PDF, 127K) is prohibited.

Due to seasonal flooding the park is usually inaccessible between November and July/August. See the Department of Transport and Main Roads for information about road and travel conditions.

Wheelchair accessibility

There are no wheelchair-accessible facilities on Errk Oykangand National Park (CYPAL).

Park features

The banks of the Alice River. Photo: Eric Wason, Queensland Government.

The banks of the Alice River. Photo: Eric Wason, Queensland Government.

Errk Oykangand National Park (CYPAL) is a living, cultural landscape, rich in traditional significance for the Uw Oykangand people (the language group of the ‘people of the outside waterholes’). It is a landscape with bountiful resources, important to the Aboriginal people for hunting and fishing. Today the park is integral in passing on the Uw Oykangand peoples' traditions to future generations.

Nestled between the Alice and Mitchell rivers, Errk Oykangand National Park (CYPAL) is a landscape full of contrasts. Tall, elegant gum trees, milky pines and cabbage tree palms line the fertile banks of the Mitchell River while bloodwoods, Cooktown ironwoods and ti-trees thrive in the whitish coloured sands and clays bordering the Alice River. In between the rivers lies savanna country—the ground, hard and cracked during the dry months, often becomes an inland sea during the wetter months.

Camping and accommodation

Camping

Camping is not permitted in Errk Oykangand National Park (CYPAL).

Other accommodation

A public campground is available just outside the park. Permits are required. Contact the Kowanyama Aboriginal Land and Natural Resources Management Office on (07) 4060 5187 or email .

There is also a guest house in Kowanyama about 32 km from Errk Oykangand National Park (CYPAL), phone (07) 4060 5195.

For more information, see the tourism information links.

Things to do

Brolgas frequent the many permanent and semi-permanent lagoons. Photo: Queensland Government.

Brolgas frequent the many permanent and semi-permanent lagoons. Photo: Queensland Government.

Picnic and day-use areas

A picnic on the banks of the Mitchell River (near Shelfo Crossing) is a good rest break while travelling through the park. No facilities are provided.

Viewing wildlife

Errk Oykangand National Park (CYPAL) offers opportunities to see wildlife in a natural environment as the park is home to over 300 species of plants and animals. Seasonal flooding of the Mitchell and Alice rivers refills the many permanent and semi-permanent lakes and lagoons scattered throughout the park. Brolgas and sarus cranes wander through the waterlilies, searching for sedge tubers, while in the distance, white-bellied sea-eagles and whistling kites soar high above, searching for their next meal.

See the description of the park’s natural environment for more details about the parks diverse wildlife.

Things to know before you go

Essentials to bring

Preparation is the key to a safe and enjoyable visit to Errk Oykangand National Park (CYPAL). Make sure you bring:

  • drinking water
  • rubbish bags
  • protective clothing, sunscreen, hat and sunglasses
  • a comprehensive first-aid kit
  • insect repellent.

Opening hours

Errk Oykangand National Park (CYPAL) is open 24 hours a day. Access to Poison Snake Story Area (PDF, 132K), Tomahawk Story Area (PDF, 128K) and Emu-Brolga Story Living Area (PDF, 127K) are prohibited to protect cultural resources and property.

Due to seasonal flooding the park is usually inaccessible between November and July/August. See the Department of Transport and Main Roads for information about road and travel conditions.

Permits and fees

There are no permits or fees required to access Errk Oykangand National Park (CYPAL).

Permits are required for commercial or organised group activities. Contact us for further information.

Pets

Domestic animals are not permitted in the national park—leave all pets at home.

Climate and weather

Errk Oykangand National Park (CYPAL) has a tropical climate with wetter months usually between November and April. Temperatures regularly reach above 30 °C all year round. The best time to visit is between July and October when rain is less likely and temperatures are cooler.

Fuel and supplies

There are no facilities on Errk Oykangand National Park (CYPAL), all fuel and supplies need to be brought with you.

The nearest fuel and medium-sized supermarket are available at Kowanyama approximately 32 km east of the park. For more information, see the tourism information links.

Staying safe

Errk Oykangand National Park (CYPAL) is a remote park. Visitors must be well prepared and self-sufficient with adequate food, water, fuel and basic vehicle repair equipment.

  • Be aware that estuarine crocodiles live in the park. Remember, your safety is our concern but your responsibility—always be crocwise in croc country.
  • Be alert for snakes when exploring the area. Wear protective clothing such as long trousers and closed-in shoes.
  • There are various natural hazards in the park. Please take note of all management and safety signs.
  • Ensure that your vehicle is in good mechanical condition.
  • Plan your itinerary to allow adequate time to drive carefully as park roads are unsealed, have tight curves and rough surfaces.
  • Be prepared for delays caused by breakdowns and stranding due to wet weather.
  • Stay on designated roads.

For more information, please read the guidelines on safety in parks and forests.

Looking after the park

Please help the Uw Oykangand people and rangers protect the park.

  • Everything in the park is protected. Please leave everything as you found it.
  • Never feed wildlife as it can affect their health and alter the natural population balance.
  • Lighting of fires is not allowed. Bring a fuel or gas stove for cooking.
  • Check your clothing and shoes regularly for seeds and place in your rubbish to avoid the spread of weeds.
  • Please take your rubbish with you when you leave.
  • The use of firearms and chainsaws is prohibited in national parks.
  • Leave your pets at home. Domestic animals are not permitted in national parks.
  • Keep to formed roads and tracks.
  • Do not collect souvenirs or interfere with cultural sites.

See the guidelines on caring for parks for more information about protecting our environment and heritage in parks.

Park management

Joint management at work. Darren Birchley and Keith McDonald admire their handy work. Photo: courtesy of the Kowanyama Photo Archive.

Joint management at work. Darren Birchley and Keith McDonald admire their handy work. Photo: courtesy of the Kowanyama Photo Archive.

Gazetted as Mitchell-Alice Rivers National Park in 1977, the park was renamed Errk Oykangand National Park (CYPAL) in October 2009.

Today, the park is jointly managed by the Errk Oykangand National Park Land Trust and the Queensland Government in accordance with an Indigenous Management Agreement and other land management arrangements. Read more about joint management of Cape York Peninsula national parks.

Tourism information links

Nature’s Powerhouse Visitor Information Centre
www.cooktownandcapeyork.com 
Cooktown Botanic Gardens, Cooktown QLD 4895
ph (07) 4069 6004
email

Kowanyama River Guest House
www.kowanyamariverhouse.com.au
Lot 9 Chapman Road, Kowanyama QLD 4892
ph 1300 183 566
email

For public camping bookings:
Kowanyama Aboriginal Land and Natural Resources Management Office
31 Chapman Road, Kowanyama QLD 4892
ph (07) 4083 7100
email

For tourism information for all regions in Queensland see Queensland Holidays.

Further information

Contact us

Last updated
26 April 2017