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About Russell River

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Getting there and getting around

Turn off the Bruce Highway at Mirriwinni, 65km south of Cairns, and follow the road for 17km to Bramston Beach. Turn left into Sassafras Street and travel along the unsealed road for 5.5km to the entrance of Russell River National Park. From the park boundary, the unsealed road continues 1.4km to the mouth of the Bluemetal Creek. This road is bounded by the creek on one side and the beach on the other.

Access to the park is by four-wheel-drive vehicles only. Care should be taken on the sandy road within the park as passing cars may get bogged.

Wheelchair accessibility

There are no wheelchair-accessible facilities in this park.

Park features

Russell River National Park occupies a section of the Graham Range between the meandering Russell River and the coast. It also includes a section to the north of the Russell River, near Deeral Landing.

The only point of access into the park is from Bramston Beach. Here, the long sandbar, only 30 m across in some areas, supports a fragile environment that changes each year with the tide. Paperbark and mangrove forests line the many creeks and rivers in this tranquil, unspoilt area.

Be aware that crocodiles may be encountered in the area. Estuarine crocodiles live mainly in tidal reaches of rivers and creeks, as well as in freshwater sections of lagoons, swamps and waterways up to hundreds of kilometres from the sea. They can even occur in the ocean and along some beaches. Crocodiles can be dangerous. Do not take unnecessary risks and remember to be croc wise in croc country.

Camping and accommodation

Camping

Russell River National Park offers the opportunity to enjoy quiet bush camping next to the beach. There are five camp sites along the unsealed road into the park. No facilities are provided so campers must be self-sufficient.

All camp sites in Russell River National Park require a camping permit and fees apply. A tag with your booking number must be displayed at your camp site.

Other accommodation

There is a range of holiday accommodation available at Bramston Beach. For more information see the tourism information links.

Things to do

Relax and enjoy this rare opportunity to be surrounded by unspoilt nature. Russell River National Park is a great location to camp, have a picnic, birdwatch, or just sit and enjoy the surroundings.

Fishing

Fishing is permitted in the Russell River, its tributaries and along the Coastal Section of Russell River National Park. Marine park zones apply. Check zoning information and maps before fishing is this area. Fish size and bag limits apply. See Fisheries Queensland for more information.

Be aware of estuarine crocodiles and remember to be croc wise in croc country.

Things to know before you go

Plan your trip carefully, be self-sufficient and ensure your vehicle is in good condition.

Essentials to bring

  • Carry enough food, water, equipment and other supplies for your trip.
  • Pack a first-aid kit, water, sunscreen, insect repellent, sturdy shoes, hat and raincoat.
  • Bring suitable clothing as temperatures in the area are around 32°C in summer and winter nights can be a little cool.
  • Rubbish bins are not provided—bring rubbish bags, and take all recyclables and rubbish with you when you leave.
  • Campers should bring a screened tent or mosquito nets for protection from insects at night.
  • Bring a fuel or gas stove for cooking.

Opening hours

Russell River National Park is open 24 hrs every day.

Permits and fees

All camp sites in Russell River National Park require a camping permit and fees apply. A camping tag with your booking number must be displayed at your camp site.

Special permits are required for commercial or organised activities. Contact us for further information.

Pets

Domestic animals are not permitted in Russell River National Park.

Climate and weather

This region has a tropical climate, with generally hot and humid summers, and milder, drier winters. Most rainfall occurs between January and March; monsoonal conditions bringing the possibility of thunderstorms and tropical cyclones.

Summer temperatures are around 32°C. Winter averages a more pleasant 25°C, but nights can be cool. Although you can visit the park all year round, the cooler, dry months of the year (from May to September) are the best times to visit.

For more information see the tourism information links.

Fuel and supplies

Fuel and supplies are available nearby at Bramston Beach. For more information see the tourism information links.

Staying safe

Be croc wise in croc country

Estuarine crocodiles may inhabit waterways in and around Russell River National Park. Crocodiles are potentially dangerous. Never take unnecessary risks in crocodile habitat. You are responsible for your own safety, so please follow these guidelines and be croc wise in croc country.

  • Obey crocodile warning signs—they are there for your safety and protection.
  • Never swim in water where crocodiles live even if there is no warning sign present.
  • When fishing, always stand a few metres back from the water's edge and never stand on logs or branches overhanging the water.
  • Never clean fish or discard fish scraps near the water's edge or at boat ramps.
  • Never leave food scraps at your camp site and always check that previous campers have left no food scraps.
  • Never prepare food, wash dishes or pursue any other activity near the water's edge or adjacent sloping banks.
  • Never provoke, harass or interfere with crocodiles, even small ones.
  • Be more aware of crocodiles at night and during their breeding season, September to April.
  • Never feed crocodiles—it is illegal and dangerous.

General safety tips

Take some simple precautions to ensure a safe, enjoyable visit.

  • Always carry water, wear hats, sunscreen and sturdy footwear.
  • Be alert for wildfires.
  • Stay clear of feral pigs—they can be dangerous if provoked.

Dangerous stinging jellyfish (‘stingers’) may be present in the coastal waters at any time, but occur more frequently in the warmer months. If you cannot avoid entering the water, a full-body Lycra suit, or equivalent, may provide a good measure of protection against stinging jellyfish and sunburn. Remember to be croc wise in croc country. Visit marine stingers for the latest safety and first aid information.

Take care around cassowaries. These large birds are potentially dangerous. Stay well away from any cassowaries sighted and never feed them. Be cass-o-wary.

For more information, please read the guidelines on safety in parks and forests.

Looking after the park

  • Leave all pets at home, domestic animals are not permitted in national parks.
  • Rubbish bins are not provided—take rubbish with you when you leave.
  • Do not remove plant material, living or dead.
  • Do not interfere with, or feed, native animals.

See caring for parks for more information about protecting our environment and heritage in parks.

Park management

Russell River National Park is managed by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) to conserve its natural and cultural resources, to present these resources and their values, and to ensure that the use of these resources is nature-based and ecologically sustainable.

Most of Russell River National Park is within the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area (WTWHA). Proclaimed in 1988, the WTWHA extends for about 450km between Cooktown and Townsville. Consisting of nearly 900,000 ha, vegetation is primarily tropical rainforest, but also includes open eucalypt forest, wetlands and mangrove forests. The WTWHA meets all four natural criteria for World Heritage listing. These criteria recognise the area's exceptional natural beauty and the importance of its biological diversity and evolutionary history, including habitats for numerous threatened species. The WTWHA also has cultural significance for Aboriginal people who have traditional links with the area and its surrounds.

Find out more about the Wet Tropics Management Authority.

Tourism information links

Innisfail Visitor Information Centre
www.innisfailtourism.com.au
Cnr Eslick Street and Bruce Highway, Innisfail, Qld 4860
ph (07) 4061 2655
email

Cairns and Tropical North Visitor Information Centre
www.cairnsgreatbarrierreef.org.au
51 The Esplanade, Cairns, Qld 4870
ph (07) 4051 3588
email
For information on current road conditions contact:

RACQ (The Royal Automobile Club of Queensland)
www.racq.com.au
ph 1300 130 595 for 24-hour road reports.

For tourism information for all regions in Queensland see Queensland Holidays.

Further information

Contact us

Last updated
31 May 2013