Alau Beach; insane beach front camping at Cape York

When you travel Australia, you can be guaranteed to have moments that take your breath away, and driving down the hill to Alau Beach was one of those moments. The aqua water colour that was incredibly calm, beautiful sandy beach and contrast of the red dirt was nothing short of spectacular, and set us in good stead to enjoy a stay at Alau Beach.

If you’re travelling to Cape York, you’ll inevitably hear of Alau beach, and its well known as one of the better places to stay in the northern most parts of Australia.

Alau Beach views
Alau Beach camping area has some spectacular views
Incredible beach front camping at Alau Beach
The camping here is fantastic

Where is Alau Beach?

Alau Beach is located in Umagico, roughly 42km north of the Jardine River Ferry. It’s only a couple of minutes away from Bamaga, Seisia and Injinoo. The beach itself is located below, and in front of a number of houses, which we’ll go into in more detail below.

Alau Beach location
Looking back onto Alau Beach, with lots of houses behind it, and up the hill

What’s there?

Asides from a truly beautiful beach, Alau Beach has a swimming pool, normal caravan park amenities and a fair bit of shade. You can camp basically anywhere you want, with the sheltered areas reserved for those who are paying for a powered site.

Alau Beach was magic
Typical views of the campground and beach

You can still camp on the beach front if you can get into a spot (but leave space for those with powered sites), and you are asked to park your van perpendicular to the beach, so you don’t hog the space.

Camped at Alau Beach
We got some nice, shady sites one row back from the beach

What does it cost to camp?

Camping here is $14 per adult, and $35 for caravans and camper trailers, which includes two adults. If you have kids over 4, you’ll pay an additional $7 each. That made it $47 a night for us to stay, and that has increased from 2022. It’s certainly not cheap compared to what we are used to, but then you soon realise nothing at Cape York is cheap, and compared to other alternatives, its pretty reasonable.

Alau Beach views from above
It’s pretty reasonably priced compared to other options

What did we think of Alau Beach?

We really loved Alau Beach. The scenery and beach is truly next level. We didn’t manage to find a suitable place to camp with beachfront views, but did land a couple of sites that had a heap of shade, and it was stunning.

The amenities are decent, and we really couldn’t complain about them. The pool was a welcome relief as there’s zero swimming up here, and that was a selling point for us (as not all alternatives have pools!).

What we didn’t like at all though, which we’d read about before staying was the loud music and noises that we could hear from what I imagine is residents not too far away from the caravan park. We could hear music playing for many hours of the day (which we don’t really care about), but woke to really loud music at about 3AM one night, along with occasional burnouts and it didn’t stop until we peeled ourselves out of bed when the sun was up.

There also seemed to be a number of dogs barking at night, and some are local to the caravan park, which was annoying.

The police come through the caravan park a couple of times a day, and we saw them a few times in the middle of the night drive through with spotlights and light bars on. We were told to lock things up and keep it tidy, as theft has been an issue, but we always do that anyway.

We all really liked Alau Beach, and were disappointed that the actions of those outside of the caravan park made it less enjoyable than it could have been. I don’t like to focus on the negative side of things, and we are really easy going normally, but this certainly left a bitter taste, and I’d be doing you a disservice if I didn’t mention it.

Alau Beach Sunset
We loved most of our stay at Alau Beach

Wild horses

There are a lot of wild, or semi wild horses that roam around Umagico, Bamaga and Seisia. You’ll see them walking around the streets, through the bush and they come and go through Alau Beach. In particular, you’ll hear them at night munching on the grass, or they might rub themselves against your caravan (like they did on my folks van!).

These are not really a problem if you leave them alone, but they do leave deposits everywhere and carrying a torch around at night, and watching where you step is advised. My mum decided to feed two rotten apples to a couple of horses, and we had a whole heap hang around our camper and caravan for a while, so its best that you just leave them alone. One of the bigger horses took a sip of my coffee whilst I was distracted, which I was less pleased about, but the kids and Sarah thought it was funny.

Wild horses at Alau Beach
Don’t feed the horses unless you want them around
Wild horse outside our camper
Hello there!

Boil your drinking water

Since December 2022, the Queensland Health Authority issued a ‘boil drinking water alert’, which applies to all of the towns in Cape York, including Bamaga, Seisia and Umagico. This means all of the water here is supposed to be boiled before you drink it (obviously let it cool!), and it stems from the high rainfall levels that have gone into the Daintree River.

I don’t know any more about it than that, and have no idea why it can’t be treated, but it meant we couldn’t fill any water tanks up, and you should prepare for this. This is not an Alau Beach problem though; its an entire Cape York problem!

Watch our vlog

YouTube video

Alternatives to Alau Beach

There’s quite a few Cape York Camping options. The Seisia Holiday Park is popular, and right on a beautiful beach too. Alternatively, you can camp at Loyalty Beach (which looked similar to Alau Beach, but less central), Bullys fishing and boat hire place, drive out to Somerset Campground, or down to Mutee Heads.

Loyalty Beach Camp Ground
Loyalty Beach looked decent, but was further away and had less grass
Somerset Campground
The campground at Somerset looked decent
Mutee Head Camping
I really liked the look of Mutee Head too, and its completely free

Of course, the most well known alternative is Punsand Bay which is further north, and at nearly $90 a night to camp, we didn’t even consider an option. Some people rave about this place, and other people say it’s the most expensive piece of dirt, with issues that need attention, so you’ll have to make your own mind up.

Alau beach had the pool, was decently priced, had mostly positive reviews and its quite central to the various attractions nearby, so got our tick of approval.

What can you do in the area?

Fishing is popular from a number of places here, including the Seisia jetty. Of course, there’s the tip of Australia at Cape York, Somerset Beach, the Croc tent, Mutee Heads, Jackey Jackey Creek, and the island tours that are hugely publicised.

Tip of Cape York
The tip of Cape York is one of the biggest attractions
Croc tent merchandise
Checking out the Croc Tent

We considered doing one, but at nearly a thousand dollars for our small family, and mixed reviews we decided to give it a miss. The islands are supposed to be pretty beautiful though.

The beaches in the area are absolutely stunning, but…you can’t swim there, which hurts!

Stunning beaches near Somerset
The beaches around Cape York are so stunning, but you can’t swim

Would we stay here again?

Alau Beach is truly magic, and if it weren’t for the disruptions that we experienced, we’d rate this place as one of the most amazing spots in Queensland. Even with them, its a fantastic place, that we really liked overall. We’re not overly concerned by these things normally, but they did make a decent dent in our level of enjoyment.

That said, its absolutely unreal, and we would come back again. If you are looking for a magic place to camp, with scenery that is truly beautiful, Alau Beach might be for you.

Alau Beach Camp ground
There’s no denying Alau Beach is a special part of the world

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