Not many travellers make it over to the east coast of Cape York Peninsula, so if you really want to go somewhere a little more off the beaten track, then consider heading over to Chili Beach. This stunning beach, with secluded campsites, will make you feel like a real life Robinson Crusoe. Campers at Chili Beach, Cape York here enjoy fishing, birdwatching, strolling down the long stretch of sandy beach or simply relaxing among the beautiful landscape.
Chilli Beach camping isn’t for everyone – there are pretty much no facilities here – at the campground or nearby. But, if you’re considering heading to Chili Beach – this guide will help you decide if it’s right for you. Plus it will cover all the practical information you need. You can also check out our YouTube video here, showing the highlights of the campground.
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Where is Chili Beach, Cape York?
Chilli Beach, Cape York is located in the Kutini-Payamu (Iron Range) National Park on the eastern side of Cape York Peninsula – around the same latitude as Weipa on the western side.
It’s a bit of a mission to get to Chili Beach. From the turn off on the Peninsula Development Road to Chili Beach (around 35km north of Archer River), although it’s just 125kms, it’s around a 3.5 hours drive. The road is not in great condition, with many twists, turns, bumps, dips and a few shallow creek crossings. There is also the option of coming via the Frenchman’s Track. However, this 4WD track is said to be challenging and unpredictable and should only be taken by those with plenty of 4WD experience.
Once you’re in Chili Beach, there is nothing around either. To the north there Portlands Road, which is a speck of a town with a cafe run out of a residents home which opens on weekends only. Then to the south, you have Lockhart River, which has fuel and a small supermarket. Other than that, there is nothing around except the lush rainforest, gorgeous beach and the reef. To most – this is heaven on earth!
One important thing to note is that while Chili Beach sits outside the areas with alcohol restrictions, you will need to drive through areas where no alcohol is permitted, so best leave the alcohol behind.
Chilli Beach Camping Sites
At Chili Beach, there are 25 unpowered sites, all of which vary in shape and size. Click here to see a Chilli Beach camping map. All of the sites are set back behind the sand dunes, although some have partial ocean views. However, they are all incredibly spacious, with more than enough room for the largest of camp setups. All of the sites are suitable for tents or camper trailers. We stayed at site 20 (pictured above), which was spacious, private and just a few metres away from the toilets.
It’s important to note that the sites closest to the beach are exposed to severe winds; even those campsites one back from the beachfront can get incredibly windy. So if you want to be completely protected from the winds, you’ll need to be right back from the beach – but of course, then there are no ocean views.
Sites allow either a maximum of 6 or 12 people, so book accordingly.
You’re welcome to have a campfire at your site, but generators are prohibited.
Given this is a National Park campsite – rates are cheap, being just $6.85 per person or $27.40 per family (up to 2 adults and 8 children). Bookings can be made up to 6 months in advance and do book out during peak season, so book well in advance.
Chili Beach, Cape York Facilities
In terms of amenities, there are only toilets available at Chili Beach. However, there are four toilet blocks scattered throughout the campgrounds, each with two toilets. They’re composting toilets and were somewhat clean during our stay and always stocked with toilet paper.
Camping at Chili Beach- Our Verdict
Chili Beach is no doubt a stunning location. You really are away from it all here and, even during busy times, you’ll rarely see another soul. This is certainly the place to come to completely unplug from the world, and enjoy the beautiful surroundings and peace and quiet.
It is a lot to get there though – so you will want to seriously consider whether the long drive is worth the effort. If doing absolute nothing, fishing or bird watching sounds like you – then perfect. However, if you like to be close to even just a few modern conveniences, then Chili Beach may well not be for you. It’s a gorgeous location, but with a seriously long drive – so consider if it’s right for you before making the trek.