Pandanus Park is operated under a Deed of Licence from the Traditional Owners, the Kalpowar Land Trust therefore all prospective campers should read this guide which is based on the Licence and adhere to all limitations noted herein. 

Opening Period:    Although Pandanus Park is open to Veterans from ANZAC Day through to Remembrance Day each year access may not be available until late May or early June because of the condition of the roads after the tropical Wet Season and the depth of water over the Kalpowar Crossing of the Normanby River. 

Furthermore there is a now a lockable boom gate within the water of the Kalpowar Crossing. If this gate is locked do not attempt to drive around the gate posts as the water is deep enough to drown your vehicle and large boulders have been placed in the water extending well beyond the gate posts. The gate will be opened by COOK SHIRE only when the roads beyond Laura and into Pandanus Park are safe to drive. Driving past Road Closed signs is a Civil (Police) Offence.
Note: The water on the Kalpowar crossing is home to Estuarine or Salt Water crocodiles –  DO NOT walk through the water to the boom gate.




Guidance to find Pandanus Park:  The Rangers at the Lakefield Ranger Station have copies of the access map and have kindly offered to give advice on how best to access Pandanus Park. However they are not able to act as a guide vehicle for newcomers.

Length of Stay:    There is no set or normal length of stay and no minimum period. Most veterans tend to arrive in the week before Long Tan Day (18th August) then depart on or about the 20th August. This ensures they are at Pandanus for the Service of Remembrance on the 18th August. A handful of long term campers arrive as soon as the roads are open and depart around mid-September.

Vehicle Access:  4 wheel drive, high clearance vehicles are recommended whilst camper trailers and caravans regularly make the trip though experience has shown that all vehicles should be sturdy enough to cope with the rough roads. Unfortunately highway style motor homes and long (over 18 feet) caravans may experience difficulty in crossing some of the creeks so attempting to reach Pandanus Park in these vehicles requires careful consideration.

Access Route:  Access to Pandanus Park is best achieved via Mareeba to Laura as this ensures bitumen roads to Laura. From Laura follow the road signs to Lakefield National Park and then the Kalpowar Crossing camp ground. From there cross the Normanby River via the causeway then drive the 17 kilometres of tracks to Pandanus Park. A longer but more picturesque route for 4WD vehicles without trailers is via Cape Tribulation and the Bloomfield Track to Cooktown then via the Battlecamp Road to meet the north-south road to Kalpowar Crossing.     

The causeway at the Kalpowar Crossing over the Normanby River will almost always have water flowing over it and whilst the causeway has a solid concrete base it curves markedly to the left. Please note that the base of the crossing may not always be visible. We recommend first timers either follow another vehicle across the causeway or use the cascading water on your left as an indication of the edge of the concrete. If in doubt do not cross and most certainly do not wade to check the crossing! Take care because the causeway is a narrow, single lane, crossing.


Once you have crossed the causeway drive ahead for about five kilometres to the entrance to the yard of Kalpowar Homestead. The homestead will be on your right and the entrance gate is now identified by a sign placed there by the Veterans as service to the Traditional Owners.






Communications:  Though not mandatory all vehicles should be fitted with a UHF radio tuned to Channel 1 (Duplex OFF) as this is the inter-camp communication and EMERGENCY frequency at Pandanus Park. Low power (1/2 Watt) handheld UHF radios are just adequate but have reduced range. A 5 Watt unit (either hand held or in car) provides the best and most reliable coverage.
Please be aware that the indigenous population also monitor the UHF network including Channel 1 so adhere to normal radio etiquette.

HF radio telephones work at Pandanus but can be unreliable. A large purpose built antenna strung between trees works well. 
Satellite phones work but can be unreliable and are costly to operate.

Please do not expect those who have private satellite phones at Pandanus Park to lend you their phone. The cost of calls from these telephones is very high and other veterans should not be expected to pay for your calls. 
Cape York Peninsula is a remote area.
Do not wander off the beaten track without adequate communications.

Emergency Contact whilst at Pandanus Park. If your relatives or family need to contact you URGENTLY they should phone the Laura Police on 07 4060 3244 or the Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park Ranger Station on 07 4060 3260 (after hours) and ask for a message to be relayed. The message transfer to Pandanus will not be immediate – it may take a day or two. 

Mail:  By arrangement with the owner of the Laura General Store (next to the pub) mail can be held there until collected by the recipient or when a veteran from Pandanus Park passes through Laura.
Address all your mail to:
       Your Name
            Pandanus Park War Veterans Retreat
              c/o General Store
                   LAURA   QLD    4871
Please check at the store on your way out. This avoids the store having to deal with unclaimed mail.  

If you are new to Pandanus Park please call on UHF Channel 1 for directions when you arrive at this banner. If there is no response, cross the dry creek bed then drive to the HQ 'building' located on your right approximately 1 kilometre further along the track. Once there attempt to communicate on Channel 1 and sign the visitors book. If you cannot establish radio contact or cannot locate any other camper then select a suitable campsite between the HQ complex and the dry creek you have just crossed. If desired you can shift camp later. PandanusParkArrivalSign




The HQ 'building' is unmanned and consists of a few tree branches tied together with green shade cloth. IMPORTANT:  The names of all persons in your party MUST be registered in the visitors book. This a requirement of the Licence as well as a safety measure.  

Command and Control:  There is no 'commander' at Pandanus Park. However Pandanus Park is managed and overseen by a committee appointed each year by the veterans. If in doubt ask for the Secretary or a Committee member.