Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Cape Palmerston National Park   

What's special?

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.

The adjacent waters and the Cape Creek system are part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Exploring Cape Palmerston

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.

Bush camp at Windmill Bay, Clarke Bay or Cape Creek. Campers must be self-sufficient. Only picnic tables are provided. Take water, food and a fuel stove. Remove all rubbish from the park.


Scramble up Cape Palmerston for a magnificent view of the Northumberland Isles and Mt Funnel.

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.

Sources & Further reading


Journey Back Through Time
Experience Australia
Aboriginal Australia
National Parks
Photo Galleries
Site Map
                                                                                           Author: M.H.Monroe  Email:     Sources & Further reading