Alau Beach Campgrounds

Address: Namok Road, Umagico, Cape York
Location Description: The campground is located at the end of Namok Road in Umagico. When you are trying to get in there you are best to use Google Maps over Hema. You will get navigated to the lodge section but if you continue on to the foreshore you will see signs pointing left towards the campground.
Cost: Fees apply
Type: Campground
Features:
  • Tents
  • Camper Trailers
  • Caravans
  • Disabled Access
  • 2WD Access
  • 4WD Access
  • Dog Friendly
  • Toilets
  • Showers
  • Bins
  • Drinking Water
  • Powered Sites
  • Generators
  • BBQ
  • Fires Permitted
  • Phone Reception
  • Kiosk
  • Laundry
  • Information
  • Crocodiles
  • Marine Stingers
  • Dingos
  • Alcohol Restrictions
  • Boat Ramp
  • Fishing
  • Swimming
  • Bush Walking
  • Bike Riding
  • Motor Bikes

Description:

As you drive down the road towards the beachfront you will see that the signs on Bamaga Road saying “Alau Campgrounds, a Magical Place” is spot on. With views over the Torres Strait and its islands it truly is a magical place.

Alau Campgrounds is nestled away on beach at Umagico. It is alot less crowded than some of the other commercial camping areas I can only guess this is because not alot of people have heard of it or because it is not as close to some of the attractions as the others.

The campground offers absolute beachfront camping areas or ones tucked in between the trees. All campsites had a grass base that may die down during the tourist season but was lovely and green when we went.

There are a few communal camp kitchens with basic facilities: seating, a sink, a bench and power. There are also wood BBQs and fire pits scattered through the park that had stacks of wood supplied.

There are powered sites but these are not on the beach, if you are running solar it is important to note that there is alot of trees in the campground so it may be hard to get sufficient sun to keep up with your power needs.

If you are travelling in a larger group there are also powered huts available on the beachfront which have their own basic kitchen set up and seating.

Besides the magical view and lovely grounds Alau Campgrounds has one other major bonus, it is one of two campgrounds that have a swimming pool. There is limited safe areas to swim north of the Jardine, having a swimming pool at your campsite is a pretty cool luxury. The swimming pool was built in the wet season of 2018, is fully fenced and deck chairs it is a great asset of the campground.

There is also a boat ramp just up the road, you can see it as you drive in you would be able to launch your boat from there and leave it moored up on the beach out front of the campground. You will see locals do this further up the beach. This makes it easy to jump in and enjoy a trip out into the Torres Strait to catch dinner.

If you are into fishing but don’t have a boat you could catch something off the beachfront.

There are coin operated washing machines and heaps of clothes line space so you can catch up on all that red dust washing.

There is limited mobile reception at the park but your best chance is with Telstra.

Note: Alau Campground falls within the Alcohol Restriction area of the Northern Peninsula Area. For details on the alcohol restrictions in this area visit the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Partnerships.

BOOKING – For information on how to book and any current specials please visit the Alau Beach Campgrounds Facebook page.


About The Area:

Umagico, was orginally named Alau and locally is still known as such. It was one of many Aboriginal camping areas on the north western coast of Cape York. Nowdays, it is one of the five communities that make up the Northern Peninsula Area of Cape York

The name Alau was given to the area by one of the founding families the Williams that did not wish to live in the Injinoo community.


Nearby Attractions:

Umagico has its own supermarket that you will pass on your way in, it has a good range of products including fresh produce and is a suitable place to replenish your food.

There is also some sporting fields and playgrounds in the community.

Whilst 'The Tip' is a 40km drive, other attractions are close by:
- Mutee Head radar tower
- Mouth of the Jardine River
- WWII Plane Crash Sites

It is 13km from Seisia Wharf which is a great place for fishing and the pickup point for island tours.


Closest Town And Distance: Umagico, Cape York -1km

What We Liked: Alau Campground really is a great campground with lovely grounds but the highlight for us and I am sure everyone that visits would be the magnificent views and the swimming pool. The appeal of being able to moor your boat on the beach was also a big selling point.

What We Didn't Like: We have heard mixed reports that at times there has been loud music from houses in the community. This however this is something that can happen anywhere, especially free camps where the campsite right next to you could party all night long.

Video Review:

Photos:

Roonga Point Campground (Free Camp)

Address: The Esplanade, Punsand Bay
Location Description: Access to the track is on the left hand side of Punsand Bay Road if you are heading North.
Cost: Free
Type: Campground
Website:
Features:
  • Tents
  • Camper Trailers
  • Caravans
  • 4WD Access
  • Dog Friendly
  • Generators
  • Fires Permitted
  • Phone Reception
  • Crocodiles
  • Marine Stingers
  • Dingos
  • Alcohol Restrictions
  • Fishing
  • Bush Walking
  • Look Out
  • Motor Bikes
  • Horse Riding

Description:

This is a magical location with a view over the Torres Strait to islands like Roko Island and Possession Island. During the dry season the camp area is mostly protected from the prevailing winds making it a nice place to camp.

The campground is 4wd access only however you would be able to tow in a tinny, offroad camper trailer or small offroad caravan. The sand is quite soft in places.

Being bush camping there is no allocated camping areas, people have made campsites all along the waterfront on the road in however, at the end of the road there is a large area that has cleared for camping. When selecting a site ensure that you consider the high tide line and be aware that crocodiles are known to be in the area.

– Small campsites along the road are either sand or grass (depending on time of year), they vary in size, but a limited number of those are large enough for camper trailers or groups. The outlooks of most of these sites are straight over the ocean to the islands.

– Campsites in the main camping area are mostly sand based and they also vary in size but most are large enough to have a group or larger trailers. The area has sufficient shade from small trees, the area is adjacent to a creek which is lined with mangroves.

– Campsites on the hill are dirt based but with lots of little rocks. There are a number of sites that would only be suitable for a small tent, swag or rooftop tent etc but there is a larger area at the top that is open and overlooks the water. Definitely suitable for small groups or larger campers. Some of the tracks were not well maintained when we visited and one in particular required 4wd power to get up. The waterfront can still be accessed by walking a short distance down the hill. This would be my pick as it has the awesome views with the safety of being quite elevated.

There are no facilities, drinking water or rubbish disposal so; you will need to have the capacity to manage this yourself. Keep in mind that there are wild pigs that dig up toilet paper so make sure you burn it. 

The nearest town is Bamaga but ‘Cape York Camping – Punsand Bay’ is close by and has a very limited range of supplies from their campground shop.

If you are going to have a fire please keep to the existing firepits.

As for our little friends that like to bite we were there in the middle of the day and did not have any issues. In saying that the main camping area is surrounded by mangroves so they may be an issue and being on the water there is always the risk of midges and sandflies.

On the shoreline you can see a lot of marine debris that has washed ashore. Take a spare bag and some gloves and walk along the beach (be croc wise),  you can find some interesting ‘keepers’ and it doesn’t hurt to get another bag of debris off the beach. On our trip we found a wrecked carved out boat, a brand new boat fender and lots of odd shaped bottles that could be used as decorations once cleaned up.

The closest toilet dumpsite and water to fill your tanks is located in Bamaga.

For details on the alcohol restrictions in this area visit the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Partnerships.

This is another one of the amazing bush camping areas that is covered by the Jardine River Ferry fee.


About The Area:

Much of the history of the area has not been documented in detail or has been lost over the years, but there are still the decaying relics of times gone by in the area. The area was used for mining tin and gold and abandoned mines can be found through the region. Roonga Point was once a tin scratchers (small time prospector) camp, supplies and mail were delivered by boat to the hardened people that worked in the harsh conditions of Cape York in search of fortunes.

Cape York played a significant part in WWII and there is evidence of the war scattered throughout the Cape. As you walk around near the actual point you will find the remains of a WWII workshop site. Defence forces in the area needed to be self-sufficient so it was used to service earth moving equipment and vehicles. The size of the engine block that can be found in the mangrove is possibly evidence that it was quite a substantial site.


Nearby Attractions:

Whilst you are staying at Roonga Point why not take some time to check out these local attractions:
- The most northern point of mainland Australia (just a reminder lol..)
- The site of the original Jardine Homestead at Somerset
- Jardine Family & Pearl Divers Graves at Somerset Beach
- The Abandon Pajinka Wilderness Lodge on your way out to the tip
- Take a drive along the magical 5 beaches run
- Some souvenir shopping at The Croc Tent on Pajinka Road
- Enjoy a woodfired pizza at Cape York Camping in Punsand Bay


Closest Town And Distance: Bamaga, Cape York – 28 km Cape York Camping & Punsand Bay – 4.5km

What We Liked: What we liked most about this campground was the location. It is a great spot to have as a base whilst you explore the most northern attractions. It has a scenic view, close to the tip and supposedly good fishing. It is also close enough to duck over to Punsand Bay for a pizza.

What We Didn't Like: Having the most awesome water, but you cannot swim in it hurts.

Video Review:

Photos:

The Tubes – Jervis Bay, New South Wales

Jervis Bay is an oceanic bay with several seaside villages and towns including the township of Jervis Bay. Located on the South Coast of New South Wales it is approximately 3 hour drive south of Sydney. The natural beauty of the area and the abundance wildlife that call it home make it a popular holiday destination and a must visit.

Pristine Waters of Jervis Bay on the South Coast of New South Wales.

The beautiful white sands and pristine water make it the perfect destination for people that love the water. There are beaches that are perfect for kayaking and paddle boarding and those that are well known for their surf breaks. There are also some excellent dive sites scattered throughout the bay including a a submerged Fairey Firefly a WWII aeroplane .

For us there was a different reason that we made the almost 13 hour trip from Brisbane to Jervis Bay…. The Black Marlin.

For many rock fishos ‘The Tubes’ in Jervis Bay is considered the birth place of land based game fishing in Australia. Land based game fishing takes fishing off the rocks to a whole new level targeting pelagic fish that most people considered as target species on game fishing boats. It is the Jervis Bay headland that protrudes into the Tasman Sea that makes it the perfect spot for land based game fishing. The area is known for pelagic fish like king fish, snapper, tuna and black marlin.

Stairway to ‘The Tubes’ a Land Based Game Fishing Hot Spot. Jervis Bay, NSW.

‘The Tubes’ are located on the Beecroft Peninsula the northern headland of Jervis Bay.  To access the tubes you need to go through the Department of Defence’s Beecroft Weapons Range, access to the area is restricted by a boom gate you are required to provide identification to obtain access. The area is closed to public visitors, other than authorised campers, from 9 pm till 2 am everyday.

The Beecroft Weapons Range is still in use for live firings by the Australian Navy so may be closed at certain times. This information is available on the Beecroft Weapons Range and Peninsula Facebook page. The area is also marked with red flags and signage during closures.

As tempting as it sounds to head down there and hook yourself a big one the tubes are not for the average fishing rig or casual fisho.  For starters you will need some heavy duty gear something that will handle the fish  you are targeting, Brendon uses his Shimano  Tiagra 50wlrsa or 80wlrsa with 130lb braid,  heavy leader and some special hook set ups that we make in arts and craft time. You will also need a kiddie pool to store your large live bait, an aerator to keep them happy, an extendable gaff for when you hook that big one and all the other bits and pieces you normally take.

Walking Track Down to ‘The Tubes’ Land Based Game Fishing Hot Spot. Jervis Bay, NSW

You will need to carry all your gear and enough food and water for the day along a bush track, down some steep metal stairs and across the rocky ledges to secure a place. The walk takes approximately 30-40 mins and not an easy stroll so you don’t want to be forgetting anything when you head down. Oh and you will also need to get there well before the sunrises to even have a chance of getting a spot.

So is it worth all the effort? If you are a mad fisher and looking for a challenge or to tick a large pelagic off your bucket list, Yes it is. It is one of the best places to go land based game fishing and all the people that return every season is proof of that. Sadly, we were there it was the very start of the marlin season and Brendon wasn’t able to tick a black marlin off the bucket list so we will be going back to Jervis Bay for another longer stay in the marlin season.

Brendon with a just legal yellowtail kingfish caught at ‘The Tubes’ that was put out as a live bait.

Jervis Bay is definitely somewhere that you should have on your list of places to visit. With the natural beauty of the bay and surrounding national parks, quaint seaside towns and villages, markets and great seafood it really has something for everyone.

More information on fishing ‘The Tubes’ visit:

What can save a fishing trip, ‘thongs’ or ‘pluggers’?

For our travels we decided to sell our much loved tinny for a smaller one to go on the roof of the Patrol. So in the weeks leading up to our departure we ordered a Clarke Predator 355, we wanted a few customisations and Clarke were more than happy to accommodate. With the delivery date being only days before we were leaving there was no time for delays.

Brendon had designed modifications to our existing roof rack to become our new roof top boat loader but we experienced delays with the fabrication and when received it was not as designed and we didn’t have time to have it rectified in Brisbane before we left on our adventures. We were stuck with a boat loader that was not right and a dilemma, do we now take our modfied roof rack to Sydney and get it re-refabricated down there or do we go with what we had originally really wanted but considered too expensive at the time which was an Almac Boat Loader. The decision was made easy when the quotes to remove the modifications that had been made and remake the loader to Brendon’s specifications was going to cost almost the same as an Almac Boat Loader. Almac Trailers are based in Bundaberg (also known as East Bundaberg Engineering), we would be passing through Bundy on our way north so we made arrangements to get it underway.

The new tinny and Almac boat loader

The boat loader was now under control but we still did not have a motor. Brendon was tossing up between the 4stroke or 2 stroke Mercury motors, If we went the 4 then the rear outboard mount would have to be modified, and the 4 is a lot heaver, 2 strokes are on the other hand on their way out with some dams already banning them. In the end the 2 stroke won out, largely due to the weight and cost. With only one Mercury dealer in Bundaberg we were lucky to walk in and they had a second hand American style (reverse on the throttle) in fair condition on the showroom floor. Just like that we had a motor for our tinny.

It turned out we were in Bundaberg for two weeks rather than two days, due to issues with our brand new camper meant we were behind schedule. We took some time out to visit 1770, Agnes Waters and Baffle Creek, where we actually had to cut our day short and evacuate due to bushfires. Besides been messed around by the camper manufacturer, it looked like Mother Nature was against us making it to Cape York. There were predictions of a tropical low/cyclone heading towards the Cape which meant roads north could be blocked off. With all the terrible fires that seemed to be breaking out in Queensland we decided to drive inland to avoid them. In a rush to get up to the Cape to make it before the impending cyclone we drove long hours and arrived on the 5th December before any real weather issues began.

Several times we talked about taking the tinny out for her maiden voyage but it wasn’t till two months after we purchased it that we finally were heading out. All packed up for a few hours on Jackey Jackey Creek Cape York Qld there was a little bit of excitement and nerves. We had never used the boat loader with just us and had never tested the motor (other then the obligatory run in the tank at the marine shop in Bundaberg) and now we were in croc country.  

Jackey Jackey Creek Boat Ramp, Cape York Queensland

We pulled up to the boat ramp and unloaded the tinny for the first time, it definitely wasn’t the smoothest process with being under constant attack by sand flies and mosquitos and the frequent check over your shoulder to make sure nothing was eyeing you off for dinner. With the tinny unloaded, all the gear sorted and the motor attached all that was left was put in the bung and walk it down the ramp into croc water. It was then we realised that the bung that was provided with the tinny was the wrong size.

It had been 2 months since we bought the tinny, 2 months it has been on the roof of the truck waiting to go out, Brendon had been counting every day, although the bung is a minor issue we had to travel, prepare, unload the tinny, put all the gear in it. I could tell Brendon was more then mildly upset by the exact words he yelled out to me that day “The *freaking bung is wrong.”. Personally not being to keen on the current environment I started to put everything back in the truck thinking well we will have to do this some other time.

The ‘Plugger’ bung

Brendon was determined there was no way in hell that we weren’t going out in the tinny today. The hole just needs to be plugged up. Off came the new thongs, they were cut up and a piece squished into the hole. Problem solved… being not so keen on the idea of going out water with a piece of thong stopping the tinny from sinking I reminded Brendon about the croc situation but we were going and that was that.

With our thong bung we headed out on the Jackey Jackey for an enjoyable but thoroughly unsuccessful afternoon of fishing. I wasn’t confident with the thong bung but guess I am still here to share the story, we now taken the boat out a few times and have the unloading process running smoother and have a proper bung, but we still keep the bit of plugger stashed in the boat just in case.

So no matter what you call them, thongs, flip flops, jandles or double-pluggers, pretty sure we will be calling them simply, ‘pluggers’ ,from now on.

~Leah

Brendan navigating Jackey Jackey creek in search of the catch of the day.
As the sunsets we were still hoping for the hookup.

* words may not be exact.