The Iron Range locality in the north of Cook Shire, Cape York, takes its name from a low coastal range in the rainforest near the Gordon Creek and Cooks Hut camping grounds. Our localities name also honours our colonial past; namely the Iron Range gold mines in the 1930/50’s, and the Iron Range Airfields in WW2. It’s 752km north of Cairns and contains the largest area of lowland tropical rainforest in Australia. From its numerous waterways, to its array of woodlands, rocky outcrops and long sweeping beaches, it’s a place of great natural beauty. It’s also a haven for rare and endemic plants and animals and is a living, cultural landscape for the Kuuku Ya’u Aboriginal people, the Traditional Owners of this country. To visit our locality and explore Kutini-Payamu (Iron Range) National Park (CYPAL) you will need to stay at Portland Roads, Lockhart River or camp at Chili Beach, all of which provide easy access to the wonders and beauty of Iron Range.
The National Park was originally gazetted in 1981 and was converted to the Kutini-Payamu (Iron Range) National Park (CYPAL) on 22 July 2011
Kutini-Payamu (Iron Range) National Park (Cape York Peninsula Aboriginal Land) encompasses a diverse array of plants and vegetation, including tropical lowland rainforest, eucalypt and paperbark forest, extensive heathland and mangrove communities. Living within its green confines are an array of mammals, birds, reptiles and butterflies, many of which are rare and not found anywhere else. It’s a world class birdwatching destination and a researchers’ delight, regularly attracting the interest of academics from around the country and world.
Other than the birds, which have their own page on this website, perhaps the most striking creature living here is the emerald-green Tree Python. This non-venomous snake, which can reach 1.8m in length, inhabits the coastal vine forests of Iron Range. As a juvenile they are bright yellow, changing to vibrant green as they mature into adulthood. Another favourite with visitors is the Common Spotted Cuscus and the Southern Common Cuscus, both of which are nocturnal.
Kutini-Payamu (Iron Range) National Park (CYPAL) is amongst the most diverse habitats in Australia for butterflies, ants, ferns, palms and orchids. In fact, 60% of Australia’s butterfly species have been recorded here and the McIlwraith Range, while Iron Range areas have a significant degree of orchid diversity.
© Portland Roads 2021 / This website was funded in part by the Cook Shire Council’s Economic Resiliency Investment Initiative.