Chili beach is a coastal campground on the eastern edge of Cape York. It’s a windy place, and the best campsites offer some shelter from the relentless wind. Chili beach is a great place for a walk; you can find nautilus and other special shells on the high tide mark, and if you head south along the beach you’ll come across a very cool tree with a rope swing that the kids will love.
There are 25 numbered sites which are very popular during peak periods.
Plan your visit and obtain a permit in advance.
No mobile coverage
Best fishing is along the beach at the creek mouth but beware of the salty that lives in the mangroves and creek
The camping area can be reached by four-wheel-drive vehicles only.
Bring adequate food and drinking water, equipment for treating water, rubbish bags, insect repellent, screened tents or mosquito nets, a fuel stove and adequate fuel and spare parts for your vehicle
The road from the PDR to Iron Range has been upgraded recently and is now a pretty easy 4×4 road. That doesnt mean that a caravan can get in there as there are still washouts and narrow sections.
From the ranger station turnoff to Chili Beach remains pretty rough and is slippery when it rains.
There are no showers available and its not recommended that you swim in the ocean.
The campground is well maintained and clean
toilets are clean and there’s a few of them there
drinking water is not available at the Campground
If you can get it, we recommend campsite 8 – it offers some shelter from the wind while also being quite open, close to the beach and toilet.
There are a few areas that are so dark that the mozzies just loved it. Then there were others that you would be almost blown away. We saw a family who arrived late and had trouble setting up their tent. They were blown around all night and left first thing the next morning.
Playground / kids activities
Theres no playground but plenty of coconuts to open and find shells and other interesting things washed up on the beach. The kids wont get bored when camping here.
The standard QLD National Park fees apply. You need to book these sites in advance, especially in the dry season.
It’s nice and quiet and the campsites are not really on top of each other. Secluded beach front camping.
The unfortunate thing is that the beach, like the nearby town of Lockhart is that there’s a fair bit of rubbish that’s washed up on the beach. Watch your feet when your walking around. The rubbish gets washed in from the easterly winds, not from the campers. The campground is very clean.
You need to be aware that the coconuts are plentiful in the area and can actually fall out and land either on your car, tent or even worse, your head! Be mindful.
The Rangers were there cutting the coconuts down from the Palms before the busy season ramped up.
What we liked most
We loved the walks along the secluded beach finding items that had washed up overnight on the high tide.
We also met a family who we would end up becoming very close with at Chili Beach who happened to be passing through.Well, you dont really pass through there! We convinced Dave, Jude, Eliza and Jas to stay with us and then travel together to Weipa and up to the tip. See their blog here.
We have caught up with them in Broome, Kalbarri and Perth and shared lots of laughter and sadly a few tears as well. Open up their Blog and have a read. There may even be a post on the topic of nude beaches along the West Coast having spent many a day tanning it up in Broome.
What we disliked most about Chili Beach
Everyone hates the wind and is the first thing people say about Chili Beach. For most of the year it blows onshore and can be annoying if you’re not prepared. Even our rooftop tent was shaking around all night.
What the kids liked most about the Chili Beach
Kids loved beach-combing along Chili Beach where they found many many thongs and beautiful Nautilus Shells.
What the kids disliked most about Chili Beach
The boys hated not being able to swim there due to stingers, sharks and crocodiles lurking in the water. We were lucky at low tide that there were many metre deep swimming holes on the beach to play in.
Parking and access
There is plenty of room for cars and camp trailers. The road in is not really suited for caravans and some of the sites are too small for the larger vans. There are many washouts along the way and a couple of narrow sections. The Campround is approx 150kms from the PDR. Long drive but spectacular driving through the Iron Range National Park.