Edmund Kennedy National Park
Edmund Kennedy National Park is within the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. Few parts of north Queensland's wet tropics can boast the range of vegetation types found in this park.
Lying along the coastline, just north of Cardwell, Edmund Kennedy National Park contains areas of low coastal rainforest, eucalyptus forest, melaleuca woodland, sedge swamps and extensive mangrove swamps.
This section of coastline is just as explorer Edmund Kennedy found it. In 1848, he and his party of 12 men landed at Tam O'Shanter Point, about 35km north of the park, to begin their ill-fated expedition to Cape York.
Kennedy initially travelled south, through what is now the national park bearing his name, in search of a way through the ranges behind the coast. Moving inland at Meunga Creek, Kennedy's progress was impeded by swamps and mangroves as well as disease and disagreements with local Aborigines.
Over six months later Kennedy was killed by Aborigines near the tip of Cape York, only a short distance form his rendezvous point with the supply ship 'Ariel'. Only three members of the party survived.
Flora and Fauna
Many of the mangrove species known to occur in Australia are found in the park. The red beech, with its distinctive red, flaking bark and large yellow flowers, along with pandanus and melaleucas are common. The rare Arenga palm, only known from a few locations in Queensland, also grows here.
Much of the wildlife is nocturnal although birds and reptiles may be seen during the day. The park is home to the endangered Mahogany Glider. Orioles, sunbirds, black butcherbirds and honeyeaters are common. The nesting mounds of orange-footed scrubfowl can be seen along the edge of the walking tracks.
The entrance road to the park (Clifts Road) is 4km north of Cardwell on the Bruce Highway. It is about 1km to the park entrance and further 1km to the park entrance and further 1km to the ranger station. The road past this point is unsuitable for caravans; please leave them here if you wish to drive through the rest of the park. Check road conditions with the ranger during the wet season because some areas become boggy. Driving on the beach is prohibited.
Things to do
A picnic area with tables and a toilet is available at the beach front. Bring your own drinking water and please take your rubbish home with you.
Walking tracks take you through coastal rainforest, open forests and woodland before eventually reaching the beach. Where the track ends near Wreck Creek, it is possible to return along the beach. This should only be attempted at low tide because an outflow from a tidal creek has to be crossed. Similarly, it is not recommended that any of the main creeks be crossed as estuarine crocodiles are known to occur in this area. Along the tracks there are boardwalks and bridges which allow you to view the extensive mangroves. Stop for a moment and look for the small, colourful mangrove crabs as they emerge from their holes.
Waters surrounding Edmund Kennedy National Park are part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Here the Marine Park is zoned General Use and most activities are allowed. Detailed zoning information can be obtained from a map of the central Section of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
Things to remember
Estuarine crocodiles are present in the creeks which flow through this area. Do not swim in the creeks.
Swimming in the ocean is particularly hazardous between October and May when potentially fatal box jellyfish are present in the creeks and along the coastline. Vinegar should be applied to stings and medical help sought immediately.
During summer months mosquitoes and midges are a problem. Remember to bring insect repellent and to wear protective clothing.
Camping is not permitted on the beach.
Leave pets at home; domestic animals are not allowed on national parks.
Fires are not permitted on the park. Fuel stoves only.
For further information contact:
Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service
The Ranger Edmund Kennedy National Park
PO Box 74 CARDWELL QLD 4849 Tel: (07) 4066 8850
Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service
Reef and Rainforest Centre
PO Box 74 CARDWELL QLD 4849 Tel: (07) 4066 8601