Chili Beach is a must-visit on any Cape York itinerary. A beautiful part of the Kutini-Payamu (Iron Range) National Park (CYPAL), the coconut-lined beach offers an endless expanse of white quartz sand. The sand is derived from the coarse-grained granite of the ancient coastal hills, approximately 285 million years old. The beach stretches between Cape Griffith and Cape Weymouth, overlooking nearby Restoration Island, and provides a near perfect place to rest and relax in a truly tropical paradise. As well as being visually spectacular, Chili Beach is home to an abundance of wildlife, many of which are easily seen and heard during your stay. There’s a range of activities you can enjoy here including beach fishing, beachcombing, hiking and just relaxing. You can camp at Chili Beach but please note advance bookings are absolutely essential, or choose to stay at nearby Portland Roads, which is just 6km and a 15-minute drive away.
Chili Beach is the perfect place to sit back and take some time out of the usually hectic timetable lots of visitors plan for themselves when doing a Cape York trip. You can do as much or little as you like here. Lots of people love the beachcombing. Many different types of shells are washed up on the white sands, including the intriguing and beautiful Nautilus shell. Fishing the coastal waters is also popular and please note appropriate Great Barrier Reef Marine Park fisheries regulations apply, including bag and size limits. The beach itself has an extensive dune system, supporting an array of vegetation including coconut palms, beach almonds, river lilies and the striking beach calophyllum, with its gnarled trunk and horizontal branches, which children love to climb.
There are lots of camp sites available at Chili Beach, most of which are behind the coastal dunes providing shelter from the sea breeze. The sites are suitable for tents and campervans and are scattered across several camping bays. Please note advance bookings are essential and permits must be purchased prior to arriving in the area. Permits can be booked online through the Queensland National Parks website.
Birdlife is abundant here and Iron Range birdwatching is some of the best in the world. Depending on the season, you may see Palm Cockatoos feeding on the ground around the Chili Beach camp sites. Many species of frogs live in the rainforest creeks and paperbark swamps behind Chili Beach. There’s also an active population of nocturnal creatures at Chili Beach. Go spotlighting after dark and try to find Australian Owlet-nightjars, Papuan Frogmouths, Spotted Cuscuses, Striped Possums, Sugar Gliders and more.
There are two walking trails around Chili Beach. The first is an easy 720m return, which starts at the entrance of the camping area, tracks through coastal dune and swamp vegetation and ends at the northern end of the camping area. While the Chili Creek Walk is 10km return and takes between 3-4 hours.
The closest facilities to Chili Beach are at Portland Roads, which is a 15-minute drive away. It has a café which serves the best seafood on the Cape. Quality seafood that has been locally caught and prepared with love. It also has boutique accommodation, in the form of a retro-styled beach house, which can provide a break from camping.
This unique location on the eastern coastline of Cape York is just beautiful. Long sandy beaches, lowland tropical rainforest and all the highlights of Iron Range and the vibrant Lockhart River Arts Centre are all an easy drive from here.
© Portland Roads 2021 / This website was funded in part by the Cook Shire Council’s Economic Resiliency Investment Initiative.