Welcome to Bamaga, home to Cape York Peninsula Lodge, where vibrant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures thrive.

Dancer image copyright: Julie Stout

In Bamaga, both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities coexist, each with unique ties to the surrounding waters and lands and links to nearby PNG cultures.

Take time to discover the Northern Peninsula Area (NPA), where the northern banks of the Jardine River mark the ancestral territory of Traditional Owners.

Respect for the land is paramount and we ask that you please tread lightly.

The Northern Peninsula Area and the islands of the Torres Strait follow a seasonal rhythm, with four distinct traditional periods: Naigai, Zei, Kuki, and Woerr/Sagerr. These seasons, observed by locals through changes in nature, contribute to the region’s rich cultural heritage. Whether exploring the wonders of Cape York or immersing in Torres Strait’s traditional seasons, visitors embark on a journey shaped by nature’s rhythms and cultural nuances.

Many families in the NPA cherish coastal campsites for fishing and hunting. You can help by staying on walking tracks, taking your waste with you and using the toilets where provided.

You can deepen your understanding of our heritage by learning and using the traditional name Pajinka, previously named the TIP of Cape York during your visit.

It’s useful to remember the people of Bamaga and the Torres Strait are multilingual. English may be a second or third language for many locals! For further insights into our communities and regional areas, please visit TSRA Community Profiles.

More about the Cape York Peninsula area

Did you know?

The NPA boasts a diverse range of wildlife, including some impressive jawed residents! Saltwater Estuarine Crocodiles aren’t just inhabitants of the waters—they’re also skilled hunters. Always heed your guide’s advice and refrain from approaching waterways without guidance.

For safety reasons, swimming is prohibited in rivers, creeks, and the sea. However, you can enjoy a refreshing swim under the supervision of our guides at Fruit Bat Falls. And don’t forget to unwind with an afternoon dip in our resort pool at the Lodge.

In Bamaga, you’ll often come across wild horses, pigs and dogs along the roads outside of town. While most of these feral animals are harmless, it’s important to maintain a safe distance and let them roam freely. At the Lodge, you’ll also find a variety of native animals, amphibians and birds, including bright green tree frogs, pythons, red crested palm cockatoos and if you’re lucky; the incredible spotted cuscus! Having your camera ready is highly recommended for capturing these fascinating creatures in their natural habitat.

With a bit of caution, travellers to Bamaga can experience the perfect blend of the lush tropical atmosphere of Cape York and the relaxed island charm of the Torres Strait.

While the Northern Peninsula Area isn’t completely ‘dry’, it’s important to note that alcohol restrictions are in effect across the region. Public consumption of alcohol is not permitted and you can’t bring alcohol into the region with you. Visitors and locals alike are encouraged to savour the refreshing offerings available at the Lodge’s Paperbark restaurant, including a delightful selection of cool ales, cocktails and fine wines – check out the wine list here.

When to Visit

Located at the northernmost point of mainland Australia, Bamaga and the Torres Strait has two main travel periods; the Wet and the Dry.

The Dry, which extends from May to October, offers the most favourable conditions for visiting. During this period, roads are accessible, weather is typically more pleasant, and our Lodge experiences are in full swing.

During The Wet (Nov-April), roads are often flooded and become impassable. In May, the region showcases its verdant beauty with lush greenery, full rivers, and abundant birdlife. This period also affords a quieter tourism experience, ideal for those seeking tranquillity away from the crowds.

As The Dry progresses into June and July, the temperatures become milder, with clear blue skies dominating the landscape. Golden grassy plains, lush rainforest and iconic termite mounds characterise the scenery, creating a picturesque setting for exploration. July through September marks the peak season in Cape York, attracting visitors seeking warmth and adventure from Australia’s southern regions. Wildlife sightings peak during this time with an abundance of bird, reptile and marine life.

Getting Here


You can reach Bamaga from Cairns by travelling on two roads: The Peninsula Development Road or the Old Telegraph Track. The Peninsula Development Road offers a more comfortable journey for 4WD vehicles or travellers towing off-road camper trailers, caravans or boats.

The Old Telegraph Track can be a challenging drive and is suitable for 4WD vehicles only. We recommend packing a full repair and safety kit as damage to vehicles is not uncommon. Adventurers who choose the Track will likely be rewarded with an exciting journey. Please consider that some roads are remote and emergency assistance may take some time to arrive. Most phone networks don’t receive coverage in this area but Telstra does receive signal.

The track between Cairns and Bamaga can be closed depending on weather conditions (usually January to April) such as the amount of rainfall and the rise and fall of river levels. See here for further information.


Skytrans flies direct from Cairns to both Northern Peninsula Airport (ABM) and Horn Island (HID), as well as to surrounding Torres Strait Islands. Qantas also flies direct between Cairns and Horn Island. Upon arrival at Horn Island, passengers can buy tickets to the bus and ferry transfer services departing for Thursday Island. And from there, the Peddles ferry service will connect you to the NPA and Bamaga.


The Peddells ferry service runs twice daily between Thursday Island and Seisia Wharf (the closest wharf to Bamaga) on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from October to May. From June to September, the service operates from Monday to Saturday.

The Lodge offer guests return transfers from Northern Peninsula Airport and Seisia Wharf free of charge. Please get in touch with our team prior to your stay to organise a transfer for your arrival.

We recommend checking directly with airline and ferry operators for the most up-to-date information as schedules often change.

Sea Swift offers passengers round trips from Cairns to Seisia Wharf at times. It is one of the last working cargo vessels that also carries travellers, making it a unique way to travel. The journey to Bamaga can take two to three days, during which visitors can enjoy cruising on the pristine Great Barrier Reef and along the spectacular northern coastline before arriving into the Northern Peninsula Area. These sailings are very popular and tend to book out well in advance.

Explore Further 

While Cape York Peninsula Lodge provides everything you need to explore mainland attractions such as Pajinka, historic Somerset, and tropical Fruit Bat Falls, no visit to the region would be complete without venturing further to the islands that form the Torres Strait archipelago.

Thursday and Friday Islands hold a treasure trove of history and natural beauty waiting to be discovered. Thursday Island, once the bustling hub of the Torres Strait pearling industry, now offers a glimpse into its rich heritage through tourism and the flourishing crayfish industry. Must-visit attractions include the historic Green Hill Fort, once a stronghold protecting the island, and the Gab Titui Cultural Centre, a hub of historical artefacts and contemporary Aboriginal art.

For more recommendations on must-see destinations and experiences in the Torres Strait, be sure to check out Queensland Tourism’s curated list: Queensland Tourism Recommendations for Torres Strait