Iron Range National Park
Long sweeping beaches, rocky outcrops, the largest area of lowland tropical rainforest in Australia and rugged, heath-covered ranges are significant features of this remote park on Cape York Peninsula.
Iron Range National Park is a coastal park with spectacular views from the beaches and headlands to the heath-covered Tozer Range, which rises 543m above sea level. The park is also of international significance as it contains the largest remaining area of lowland rainforest in Australia. Surrounded by drier eucalypt and paperbark forest, the rainforest is a refuge and stronghold for birds also found in New Guinea but with a restricted distribution in Australia. It supports the vibrant eclectus parrot (Eclectus roratus macgillivrayi), which lives only in the Iron and McIlwraith ranges between Pascoe and Rocky rivers, the raucous palm cockatoo (Probosciger aterrimus) and the magnificent rifle-bird (Ptiloris magnificus).
Camping is permitted at Rainforest, Gordons Creek, Cooks Hut and Chili Beach camping areas. Chili Beach has several camping areas suitable for tents and campervans. Campers must be self-sufficient and equipped for bush camping. The only facilities are the toilets at Chili Beach and Cooks Hut. Take plenty of drinking water, a fuel stove and mosquito nets. Generators are not permitted in the camping areas. The use of chainsaws in national parks is not permitted. A camping permit is required and fees apply. Permits for Rainforest, Gordons Creek and Cooks Hut can be obtained from the Iron Range ranger station. Permits for Chili Beach can be obtained on site at the self-registration shelter.
The only walking track starts from Rainforest camping area, on the banks of Claudie River. The track follows the Old Coen Track, an easy 10km return walk through rainforest and open woodland. Birdwatching along this track is excellent. If you intend to bushwalk please advise someone in your party of your planned route and return time. Wear a hat and sunscreen. Take drinking water.
Visit the Mt Tozer viewing platform, a short 80m walk from Mt Tozer carpark. Enjoy the scenic views of Mt Tozer and surrounding heath community. Interpretive signs are provided on the platform.
At Chili Beach you can take a stroll along the white sandy beach and enjoy the views of the offshore islands and fringing reefs. Explore the unusual coastal plants of the foreshore.
You can take a more energetic 5km walk to the mouth of Chili Creek at the southern end of Chili Beach, where you can see diverse mangrove species along with spiky pandanus and the low, leafy bush, Cardwell cabbage. Please take care not to disturb the fragile dune system.
The park offers excellent opportunities for birdwatching. Early morning and late afternoon are the best times for seeing and hearing birds. Chili Beach provides opportunities for viewing many coastal and seabird species including pied oystercatchers, little terns and the majestic white-bellied sea-eagle. The spectacle of the metallic starlings flocking offshore from Chili Beach can be seen during the warmer months from September to April. Palm cockatoos, large black birds with distinctive crests, can sometimes be seen feeding on the ground around the campsite. Double-eyed fig parrots, which are small green parrots with pale grey beaks, may also be seen.
Spotlighting at night around the road or campsites at Chili Beach may reward you with a glimpse of nocturnal birds including owls, owlet-nightjars and Papuan frogmouths as well as snakes, frogs, giant tree geckos and small mammals such as spotted cuscus, striped possums and sugar gliders.