Old Coen track
Experience a birdwatchers’ paradise as you meander through open woodlands and lush tropical lowland rainforest on this historic track.
Pack your camera and binoculars before you embark on this one-way trek from the Rainforest camping area on the banks of the Claudie River. Relish the excitement of rewarding birdwatching along this track that was once the main road between Portland Roads and Coen. Look for cassowaries and double-eyed fig-parrots. You may also glimpse large black palm cockatoos, raucous eclectus parrots and elusive fawn-breasted bowerbirds. You’re sure to spot the Cape York forms of the Australian brush-turkey, with their surprising mauve (purple) wattles.
Make sure you arrange for a pick-up at the end of the track, where the Portland Roads Road crosses west Claudie River.
Kutini-Payamu (Iron Range) National Park (CYPAL) is jointly managed by the Northern Kuuku Ya'u Kanthanampu Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC Land Trust and the Queensland Government.
At a glance
Getting there and getting around
The Old Coen track is in Kutini-Payamu (Iron Range) National Park (CYPAL), about 200km north of Coen on Cape York Peninsula.
- From the park entrance, drive 17.9km along Portland Roads Road from the park entrance to the Rainforest camping area and the start of the Old Coen track.
- You can access the park from the south via the Peninsula Developmental Road or from the north via the challenging and unpredictable Frenchmans Track.
- For both routes, you need a high clearance 4WD with recovery gear and extra supplies; and you need to be proficient in four-wheel driving.
- On Frenchmans Track your vehicle also needs a snorkel; and you should be experienced in challenging 4WD conditions.
- If you're towing a trailer, take the Peninsula Developmental Road route; neither route is suitable for towing caravans.
- Alcohol restrictions are in place in many of Queensland's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and apply to the towns and areas around Kutini-Payamu (Iron Range) National Park (CYPAL). For the latest information on restrictions, see Community alcohol limits. The camping areas in the park are outside the alcohol restriction zone.
- Read 4WD with care for important information on 4WD safety and minimal impact driving.
Peninsula Developmental Road
Turn off the Peninsula Developmental Road onto Portland Roads Road, 35km north of the Archer River Roadhouse (175km south-west of Weipa), and drive 83km along this well-formed gravel road to the park entrance.
Turn off the Telegraph Road onto Frenchmans Track, 22km south of Moreton Telegraph Station, and drive 52km to the intersection with Portland Roads Road, then turn left onto Portland Roads Road and travel a further 13km to the park entrance.
You can park your car at the Rainforest camping area and at the end of the trail on Portland Roads Road.
Fuel and supplies
Food, fuel and mechanical services are available at Lockhart River, 10.5km from the intersection of Portland Roads Road and Lockhart River Road.
There are no wheelchair-accessible facilities.
When to visit
Old Coen track is open 24 hours a day.
Check park alerts for the latest information on access, closures and conditions.
The park may be closed the wetter summer months.
Climate and weather
Cape York Peninsula has a tropical climate. During the wetter months (December to April), the area can be deluged by heavy monsoonal rains and roads can become impassable for extended periods, preventing access to the park. The best time to visit is during the drier months of May to November. Extremes of climatic and seasonal variations prevail. Winter temperatures can drop below 10°C and summer temperatures can soar above 40°C. Daily variation at any time of the year seldom exceeds 15°C. The weather from October to November can be very hot and thunderstorms are common.
Permits and fees
- If you are planning a school excursion or organising a group event such as a wedding, fun run or adventure training, you may need an organised event permit. Maximum group sizes and other conditions apply depending on location and activity type.
Domestic animals are not allowed here.
Staying in touch
Mobile phone coverage
None. Check with your service provider for more information.
- Parks are natural environments and conditions can be unpredictable. You are responsible for your own safety and for looking after the park.
Read stay safe and visit with care for important general information about safety, caring for parks and essentials to bring when you visit Queensland’s national parks.
- Take all your rubbish with you when you leave.
- There is a rubbish pit on Portland Roads Road, near the turn off to Chilli Beach.
- Collect bore water from the roadside tank 1km from Chilli Beach or from a tap at the Iron Range ranger base.
- Treat all water before use.
- Stay on the tracks as this will keep you clear of the disused mine shafts that are scattered throughout the park.
- Avoid stinging trees. These plants are found at rainforest edges, growing up to 4m high. They have large, heart-shaped leaves with serrated edges. Touching any part of the plant results in a very painful sting. If symptoms are severe, seek medical advice.
- Be croc-wise in croc country.
- Read walk with care for tips on walking safely and walking lightly.