A highlight of anyone’s Cape York trip is visiting the stunning Fruit Bat Falls. While Fruit Bat Falls is more than enough on its own, a few kilometres up the road, you’ll find the gorgeous Eliot Falls as well as a few more waterfalls and rockpools. While there is no Fruit Bat Falls camping, you can stay at the Eliot Falls campground, where you’re just a short drive away from the popular Fruit Bat Falls and an easy walk to all the other falls.
The Queensland National Parks run the campground at Eliot Falls, Cape York, so don’t expect any fancy facilities. However, you can expect large, spacious campsites surrounded by gorgeous bushland, with arguably some of Queensland’s best waterfalls and rockpools on your doorstep!
If you’re thinking about camping at Eliot Falls, this guide will cover all the information you need to know. You can also check out our YouTube video here, showing the highlights of the campground and the beautiful falls in the area.
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Where is the Eliot Falls Campground?
Eliot Falls and the Eliot Falls Campground are located in the Jardine River National Park along the famous Overland Telegraph Track (OTT). The falls are around some 200 km south of Bamaga, 300 north of Weipa and 2 hours or so from Bramwell Junction Roadhouse.
You will need a high clearance 4WD to reach the campgrounds and you will need to cross Scrubby Creek (see above). While many guide books list Scrubby Creek as deep, there is a detour around it where you’ll drive over a causeway across the creek. Water levels will depend on the time of year – but most people should have no troubles crossing the creek even with minimum 4WD experience. We’ve not overly experienced and did it just fine, even while towing our camper trailer.
If you want to visit Eliot Falls on a day trip – there is an area on the main road, outside the turn off to Fruit Bat Falls, where you can unhitch and park your van.
Campsites at Eliot Falls, Cape York
There are 31 campsites at Eliot Falls (6 of these sites are for commercial operators only), all of which vary in shape and size. 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, camper trailers and off road camper vans. We stayed at site 19, which was spacious, private and just a few metres away from the toilets.
Most sites allow a maximum of 4 or 6 people, with a few sites going up to either 8 or 10 people.
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.
View a map of the campgrounds here.
Eliot Falls Camping Facilities
In terms of amenities, there are only toilets available at the Eliot Falls camping ground. However, there are three toilet blocks scattered throughout the campgrounds, each with just a few toilets in them. They are composting toilets and some of the cleanest of these types of toilets I’ve come across.
You’re also able to have fires at the campgrounds and there are taps throughout as well. Some sites have picnic tables too.
The real highlight of camping at Eliot Falls is of course, all the waterfalls and rock pools that are perfectly safe for swimming. Water is in good supply here thanks to the high annual rainfall, which is collected in the sandstone bedrock and seeps into the streams year round. This continuous flow of water has carved deep channels into the surrounding sandstone rock, which is occasionally broken by the waterfalls.
Within Eliot Creek, you’ll find Eliot Falls and the Saucepan, while around the corner, you have the smaller Canal Creek, where you’ll find Twin Falls. All of these falls are just a short walk away from the Elliott Falls camping ground. You will need to drive to Fruit Bat Falls as it’s a few kilometres up the road.
Below is a brief overview of the different falls.
Eliot Falls – Cape York
The stunning Eliot Falls is the tallest of all the waterfalls in the area, with water cascading into a deep pool filled with crystal clear water. You can walk upstream above the falls and wade in the shallow waters as it comes tumbling through to the falls. Alternatively, if you’re brave, you can jump off the side for a swim in the deep pools below.
Twin Falls – Cape York
From Eliot Falls, you can either take the boardwalk around to Twin Falls in Canal Creek or walk alongside Eliot Creek downstream and then turn upstream into Canal Creek. There are many great spots along Eliot Creek here where you can jump in for a swim.
Twin Falls is perfect for younger children as it is the smallest of the various waterfalls in the area. As the name suggests, here you’ll find not one but two waterfalls stacked on top of each other, each with its own shallow rock pool.
The Saucepan – Cape York
The uniquely named Saucepan is almost like a mini Fruit Bat Falls. This area is located upstream from Eliot Falls but downstream from Fruit Bat Falls and is a great place for a swim or soak in the natural spa pools. While some sections are quite shallow, so perfect for wading or soaking in, there are also some deep sections that are great for swimming. Thanks to the force of the water tumbling down the creek – you have a lazy river current going on, so bring your inflatables for a bit of fun.
Fruit Bat Falls – Cape York
While the campground might be called Eliot Falls, the real show stopper in the area is Fruit Bat Falls. This area is expansive with waterfalls, spa pools, swimming pools and more! The place is so big that even when packed with excited tourists, you’ll still be able to find your own quiet place to sit and be amazed by this creation of mother nature.
To reach Fruit Bat Falls, it’s just a short 210 metre walk from the car park and boardwalk. You’ll eventually come to a fork in the track – where you can walk 35m downstream for the best view of the falls as well as the best entry into the rock pools. Alternatively, walk upstream where you can wade in the shallow waters above the falls and soak in the naturally formed spa pools.
Camping at Eliot Falls – Our Verdict
It’s amazing!!!!! Definitely ensure you make time to stay at Eliot Falls or any of the free campsites in the area. But the Elliot Falls campground is so pretty and the huge campsites are so lovely, surrounded by beautiful bushland – the sites are so private, you almost feel like you’re camping alone.
While not having any showers is not everyone’s cup of tea – if you’re swimming in the falls, you’ll likely feel just as clean as you do showering at any other campsite in Cape York. Plus the toilets are not too bad for composting toilets – I was impressed.
Of course the real reason anyone camps here is to visit the various waterfalls and rock pools and they will not disappoint you. If you’re travelling with children you’ll want to allow a few days here at least – as no doubt like my daughter, you’ll have trouble getting them out of the water!