Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Mungkan Kandju (Kaanju) National Park

What's special?

Stretching from the foothills of the McIlwraith Range between the west-flowing Archer and Coen Rivers lies Mungkan Kandju National Park, a large wilderness park in central Cape York Peninsula.

Dry open eucalypt woodlands and wet melaleuca swamps cover most of the park. Dense rainforest cloaks the tops of the McIlwraith Range. The braided channels of the Coen River are fringed by deciduous vine thickets while gallery rainforest lines the Archer River. These riverine areas are important wildlife corridors. Both rivers flow all year round.

Aboriginal people of the Wik Mungkan, Kaanju and Ayapathu clans lived here before European settlement in the 1880s.

Exploring Mungkan Kandju

Bush camp at specific sites near rivers and waterholes. No facilities are provided. Be totally self-sufficient in fuel, food and vehicle spare parts. Take drinking water and a fuel stove. Generators are not allowed. Remove your rubbish. Bury human wastes well away from waterholes. Boil the water for five minutes before drinking. Use no soap, shampoo or detergent in waterholes.

Go birdwatching around lagoons and swamps. This is crocodile country, so visitors must take precautions. Never swim, canoe, clean fish or prepare food at the water’s edge, or camp close to deep waterholes.

The park has no tracks but you can walk along the Archer River. See nesting mounds of the orange-footed scrubfowl.

Visitors must advise the ranger when leaving the park or travelling to the Archer Bend section of the park. Visit in the dry season. Summers are hot and wet.

Getting there

The ranger station is 95km north-west of Coen and about 10 to 12 hours from Cairns. Head north from Cairns along the Peninsula Development Road through Coen to the Rokeby turnoff to the west. Drive 66km to the ranger station. Access is only possible by four-wheel-drive in the dry season, May to November.

Be prepared. Driving on the rough roads in low gear uses more fuel than normal driving.

Sources & Further reading


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