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In line with the Queensland Government's easing of the COVID-19 restrictions, the following facilities have now been re-opened.
Lake Paluma is nestled among world heritage-listed wet tropics rainforest. Access to the lake is via a 12 kilometre gravel road from the township of Paluma.
The Lake is a drinking water storage and offers unique opportunities for day visitors and campers to spend time in a biologically diverse rainforest environment.
Remember - a camping permit is required at this location.
Camping at Lake Paluma
Lake Paluma is a popular camping destination. There are a limited number of camp sites available and you must have a permit. Without a permit you are not guaranteed a camp site.
Council Rangers patrol the area daily. People who camp without a permit can be fined. Camp sites must be vacated by midday on the day of departure.
Schools and large groups are encouraged to use Magar Yamba, the large group camping area.
Book a camping permit
Our online booking system allows you to select a camp site, pay your camping fees and obtain a permit for one or more nights. You may stay up to 12 consecutive nights. The system allows you to book up to 60 days in advance.
When your booking is completed your permit indicates your campsite number and other relevant information. Print this permit and bring it with you when you camp. The permit is confirmation that you have booked and paid for your campsite. The Ranger may request to see your permit at the campground.
You can pay your camping fee by credit card on the online booking system or in person (cash or credit card) at Council's Customer Service Centre - 103 Walker St, City or card only at our Customer Service Point located at CityLibraries Thuringowa - 86 Thuringowa Drive, Thuringowa Central.
Payment on site will incur an additional surcharge - credit/debit card only - no cash transactions.
Notice to the public
Any person using this lake and adjoining area for swimming, camping, non-motorised boating, or other recreational activity does so at his/her own risk. Townsville City Council accepts no responsibility to any such person for any damage to or loss of property, or any injury caused, contributed to or sustained by that person whether caused by other persons, concealed dangers, or any other cause whatsoever.
Points to remember
- Obtain your pre-paid camping permit before traveling to Lake Paluma
- Be self-sufficient as basic supplies are 30 minutes away
- All plants and animals are protected
- Check road and weather conditions before you travel. Strong winds and heavy rainfall can cause road closures
- Firewood is now available for purchase at Lake Paluma (payment by credit/debit card only - no cash transactions). Campers can obtain firewood when rangers are on site daily. Campers may supply their own untreated firewood. Collection from surrounding forest is not permitted.
Camping fees will be refunded or a camping permit of equivalent value issued, provided you give at least seven days notice prior to the date of your booking.
Campers who change their plans and cancel at short notice effectively limit or prevent others from using the allocated camp site.
Council will not refund camping permit fees for circumstances outside of its control, including:
- The occurrence of unfavourable weather, or
- Personal decisions to change plans
Checklist for campers
We recommend that you take the following items when you go camping at Lake Paluma:
- Pre-paid permit
- Waterproof tent and tarp
- Fuel stove
- Torch for walking at night
- Radio (for forecasts) and spare batteries
- Bags for storage and rubbish
- Sufficient non-perishable food, drinking water etc.
- Warm clothing and sturdy shoes
- Raincoat or waterproof jacket
- Insect repellent
- Hat and sunscreen
- Well-stocked first aid kit
- Binoculars, camera and film
- Axe or block splitter
- Fire starters
- Untreated firewood
Camping Terms and Conditions
- A person must not camp at Lake Paluma without a permit.
- A permit is only valid for the camp site and time stated.
- Visitors must obey any lawful instruction given by an authorized officer of Townsville Water.
- No domestic animals are to be taken into or kept at Lake Paluma Reserve, except Guide Dogs.
- All plants, animals and natural and cultural resources are protected and must not be disturbed or damaged.
- Bag and take all your rubbish home with you.
- Do not bury any rubbish or leave it in fireplaces.
- Do not pollute any waterway or Lake with shampoos, soaps, detergents or other substances.
- Firearms and chainsaws are not permitted. Appliances such as axes can only be used to split firewood or drive tent pegs.
- Cooking fires are permitted only in constructed fireplaces and must be extinguished with water before leaving.
- Firewood must not be collected from the surrounding forest. BYO or purchase from site.
- All vehicles must be registered and must only be operated by a licensed driver.
- Vehicles and bicycles should only be driven on constructed roads, parking areas or routes and thoroughfares officially designated for vehicle use. Normal road rules apply.
- Vehicles must only be parked in designated car parking areas.
- Generators, loud music and loud use of vehicles are not permitted.
- To prevent disturbance to other visitors, minimize noise particularly between 9pm and 7am.
- Use toilet facilities provided. Wilderness campers must provide their own suitable camping toilet.
- Leave your campsite as you found it. Do not clear it, dig trenches or disturb vegetation.
- Campsites must be vacated by midday on the day of departure.
On the spot fines up to $300.00 may be issued for infringements of this local law.
For your safety
- A dedicated emergency phone connecting direct to 000 is located outside the Lake Paluma Office.
- Do not feed any wildlife in the campground and do not leave any food which may be scavenged.
- Supervise your children, especially near water.
- Be careful when swimming. Never dive or jump into the water.
- We strongly recommend all children using canoes/kayaks/boats wear an approved personal floatation device.
- Boil or treat water before use.
- Please drive carefully and observe speed limits.
- Stay on walking tracks and carry water and food on longer walks.
- Wear a hat and sunscreen.
- Wear protective clothing to avoid bites, scratches or stings.
Large group camping
Magar Yamba is a group camping area at Lake Paluma. Magar Yamba was constructed with the assistance of the local traditional owners of the Paluma area, the Gu Gu Badhun and Nywaigi people.
In Gu Gu Badhun traditional language, 'Magar' means 'scrub' and 'Yamba' means 'camp'.
Six traditional owners worked with staff from Council to develop the site as part of a training program under the Community Development and Employment Scheme. The site is available for use by all groups, with a priority given to education and community organisations.
Designed around a central fireplace, Magar Yamba features:
- Raised tent sites
- BBQ tables and seats
- Group BBQ
- Covered food preparation area
- Communal fire place with seating
- Separate parking area (suitable for coaster bus) and
- Non-potable water supply (boil before drinking)
Site capacity - nine tent sites for three to four person sized tents.
Parking - coaster bus plus four vehicles.
Camping fees - fees for Magar Yamba include access to non-potable water. List of Lake Paluma Fees available here.
Bookings - are essential. Magar Yamba can be booked by calling the Customer Service Centre on 13 48 10.
Things to see and do at Lake Paluma
Activities and facilities
- Dedicated foreshore area
- Covered picnic tables
- Gas barbeques
- Toilets (no showers)
- Non-motorised boat launching facilities
A morning paddle around the dam is a rewarding experience - set aside at least four hours.
Non-motorised vessels such as kayaks and canoes are ideal for finding the elusive platypus that live in the backwaters of the Lake.
Paddle up any one of the small creeks entering the Lake. You may surprise an Eastern Water Dragon sunning itself on overhanging branches. These dragons will usually drop into the water as soon as they see you - so keep an eye out.
There are no significant fish species in Lake Paluma. The slightly acidic, low nutrient waters of the Lake are not suitable for most fish species. A small population of Spangled Perch is all that remains of a stocking program which also included Brown Trout.
Peregrine Bay is named after the pair of Peregrine Falcons that nest in the large dead tree standing in the middle of the Bay. Breeding time begins from about August every year - but always approach quietly so you don't disturb the birds.
Council strongly recommends all children occupying canoes/kayaks/boats wear an approved personal flotation device.
- Water levels for Paluma Dam
- Information on Mt Spec and Paluma Range National Park
- Paluma accommodation and food outlets
- Wet Tropics Rainforest web site
- Hidden Valley Cabins 20km west of Lake Paluma
- Kookaburra tours
Map of Lake Paluma
Locations include: Python Point, Bellbird Beach, Tall Timbers, Dragon Inlet, Secret Point, Platypus Inlet, The Reach, Bowebird Bay, Mountain View Bay, Sundew Bay, Perigrine Bay, North Peregrine, Spillway Picnic Area, Lakeside, and Riflebird Gully.
For more information, please phone the Customer Service Centre on 13 48 10 or email us.