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Lakefield (Rinyirru) National Park Tour

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Tour Details

Rinyirru is the modern name for Lakefield National Park. This is located about half way up Cape York and only goes  as far as the Musgrave & the Lakefield region. It is the best area on the Cape to see the Golden-shouldered Parrots and the nesting Red Goshawks and the tiny Star Finches are an added bonus. The avifauna of Lakefield National Park bears more similarity to that of the Northern Territory than to nearby areas of Queensland and the dramatic, knife-like silhouettes of the magnetic termite mounds on the Nifold Plains are also reminiscent of the Northern Territory.  In comparison most Queensland termite mounds are just blobby structures. For people interested in indigenous art there are some fine examples which can be accessed from Laura a side trip that can be easily organised on the way. This is a great short break and is an interesting add-on to any time spent in the Wet Tropics. The length of the tour can be varied to suit available time.

Tour Cost

On Application

Single Supplement

On Application

Departure & Return Location

Cairns, Queensland, Australia (Google Map)

Departure Time

7:30am  – 8am from your hotel in Cairns

Price Includes

  • Guide/Driver
  • Transport in comfortable air conditioned 4WD vehicle with fridge
  • Entrance fees & permits
  • 3 Nights Hotel Accomodation - the number of nights can be varied but the cost will then change. Accommodation charges are based on Musgrave Roadhouse but sometimes it is possible to stay at Lotusbird Lodge which will also affect the cost
  • Meals as per itinerary

Price Excludes

  • Personal drinks and snacks
  • Phone and internet charges
  • Anything not covered above


  • Complimentary Water
What to Expect

The area around Musgrave and Lakefield (Rinyirru) National Park have an avifauna more similar to the Northern Territory than to the rainforests which lie immediately to its north and south.

We suggest you bring with you:

  • Comfortable covered walking shoes - while there are no major hikes during this tour there will be some walking on potentially rough paths. At certain times of year wellington boots may be an asset as Rinyirru is liable to flooding and the ground can stay wet a long time after the floods have receded
  • Lightweight long-sleeved shirt and long trousers - some rainforest plants can be rather scratchy
  • Lightweight raingear
  • Hat
  • Sunblock
  • Insect repellent
  • Camera and binoculars


This is not a difficult tour and suitable for anyone with a moderate level of fitness. However there will be quite a bit of driving on unsealed roads which can be rather bumpy..


At Musgrave  we usually stay in air-conditioned en suite rooms at the Roadhouse.

The alternative – the very comfortable but expensive Lotusbird Lodge is booked well in advance and it is not often possible to get bookings there especially during peak months.


Day 1Cairns to Musgrave

After being picked up from your accommodation you will head north through Mt Molloy where you will stop for morning tea and pay a visit to a bower of the Great Bowerbird. Continuing up the Cape Developmental Road we will stop for birding along the way but aim to end up in time to spend late afternoon searching for Golden-shouldered Parrots near Musgrave.

Day 2Lakefield National Park (1)

Provided the parrots are safely under the belt we will spend the whole day birding Lakefield National Park . There are a number of lagoons with waterbirds and the grasslands hold a variety of finches including Star Finch. They also have the spectacular magnetic termite mounds. These are very different to the usual globular mounds of the surrounding bush. We will also be looking for the Red Goshawk today. In the early eveing Grass Owl and the Tiny Southern Boobook are sometimes seen and there are some exciting marsupials such as Spectacled Hare Wallaby and Northern Nail-tailed Wallaby in the local area though these are very hard to see.

Day 3Lakefield National Park (2)

Another full day exploring the area around Rinyirru. There is a great lagoon in front of Lotusbird Lodge which is well worth a look at as it is usually full of waterbirds (and a big crocodile). Zitting Cisticola, Bar-breasted, Rufous Banded and Red-headed Honeyeaters, Tawny Frogmouth and Black-backed Butcherbirds will be amongst the birds we are looking for.

Day 4Musgrave to Cairns - birding along the way

Today we leave the Musgrave area and head south back through the park towards Cairns. We will bird at various places along the way and arrive back mid to late afternoon.