The northernmost sizeable town in Queensland, Weipa is the largest one in central and northern Cape York. Surrounded by remarkable red soils, magnificent blue waters, and beautiful pink sunsets, Weipa is a must-visit destination smacked in the middle of the western coast wilderness, offering great fishing and wildlife watching.
But with many waterways filled with wilderness and unruly terrains calls for the need to stay safe in Weipa’s waters. Here’s our guide on how to do just that.
General water safety
With all the water bodies easily accessible in Weipa, it doesn’t matter if it’s snorkelling, canoeing, or hanging by the beach, there is a need to be aware of water safety especially when in the area. The challenge with waterways is that there may be hidden obstacles that may pose unforeseeable dangers. These waterways are not patrolled by lifesavers meaning that you will need to take greater care as swimming and participating in water activities is at your own risk.
When present at a water body, always read and heed on-site information and signs, which are provided for your safety. Be sure to always supervise children when they are near water and always be aware of your limits. Use your judgment to assess whether conditions are dangerous and stay out of the water if it does look unsafe to swim. Avoid swimming alone and avoid placing yourself or others at risk such as jumping off rocks or into shallow waters.
Take extra care when swimming in rivers, creeks, lakes and dams as conditions may change and given the absence of lifeguards. During and after heavy rains, the change in creek conditions can cause faster flow and rapidly rising water with strong currents, becoming dangerous. Take effort to avoid entering the water during and after heavy rain.
Always be aware of potentially dangerous wildlife in and around water bodies, being aware that Weipa is renowned for being croc country. There are also marine stingers, sharks and other marine creatures to be cautious of.
When accessing waterways, be sure to use established tracks to access the water as this helps add extra measures to ensuring your safety.
It is always advised to swim at patrolled beaches. In Weipa, beaches are not for swimming given the risk of dangerous wildlife in the waters. They are, however, great for fishing, enjoying sunrises and sunsets, alongside other beach activities that will give you the most picturesque views of Weipa.
Always be sure to keep aware of potential hazards in the area and heed all warning and safety signs. Never turn your back against the ocean, especially when near rock pools.
Be aware of vehicles that are driving near the beach. To leave minimal impact on wildlife, keep your distance from nesting birds as imposed threats can cause adult birds to abandon their nests, leaving eggs and chicks vulnerable to the elements and other predators.
Always keep dogs on a leash when on the beach and ensure they remain under control when allowed to bring a dog to the beach.
Keeping safe about crocodiles in Weipa
Spectacular water bodies in Weipa followed by perfect tropical climates make it a fishing haven. Unfortunately, that also means increased predators that include crocodiles and sharks.
As mentioned above, swimming in water bodies is a big no in Weipa.
The latest, most significant attack was the one in Vyce’s Crossing back in January 2021, which resulted in the capture of a 3.5 metre croc upstream.
If you see a crocodile in Weipa, call 1300 130 372. All management of crocs in Weipa fall under the Queensland Crocodile Management Plan under Zone E of the General Management Zone.
Given how Weipa is renowned to be croc county, it’s strongly advised to always be crocwise when in the area.
Crocodiles are highly unpredictable, making them extremely fascinating creatures that are highly intimidating. To keep safe, always presume that crocs are in all waterways, including beaches, even if there aren’t any warning signs.
Dawn, dusk and night are usually when crocodiles are most active, meaning you should always be extra careful during these times, especially with the poorer vision as a result of less light.
There are croc traps set up in certain areas, which you must stay clear from as these traps attract hungry crocodiles and tampering with a trap can result in a penalty over $15,000.
When fishing, stand back at least 5 metres from the water edge, avoiding the water at all times. Always remember that crocodiles are extremely stealthy, so even if you can’t see one it doesn’t mean they’re not there.
If you’ve been lucky with a fishing expedition when in Weipa, don’t miss out on the amazing Catch & Cook experience offered by the Albatross Bay Resort. It’s an offer anglers simply cannot pass up, as you let professional chefs cook your fish to perfection and serve it with a beautiful side of fresh salad and hot chips.
For those who haven’t had much luck catching a bite, the Deck Restaurant & Bar at the Alby promises fresh caught seafood that will delight. There’s also a great range of other foods including a hearty Sunday Roast, Wednesdays Trivia Night and $15 T-Bones. There’s Musical Bingo on Fridays, while parmigiana lovers won’t want to miss Parmageddon Thursdays.
Call (07) 4090 6666 to reserve a table at the Albatross Bay Resort.