Savanna Explorer > Cape York

Cape York Peninsula region

This region covers Cape York Peninsula in far north Queensland. It has spectacular natural landscapes, numerous pastoral leases and Aboriginal communities as well as a large bauxite mine at Weipa. It covers an area of 115,000 square kilometres and has a relatively large area set aside for conservation. Pastoralism however is the dominant land use.


Wet seasons are hot and humid with maximum temperatures around 33–36ºC in January. This region during the wet is one of the cloudiest of the savannas, even though there is an average of seven to eight hours of sunshine each day. Rainfall ranges from an annual average of 800 mm in the south to a prolific 2400 mm in the north. Dry-season rainfall can be associated with the moist trade winds being uplifted over the coast. Temperatures moderate in the dry with July average minimums dropping to 21ºC in the north and 15ºC in the southern inland areas.

Biogeographic region

This area is defined by the the single biogeographic region Cape York Peninsula. For more information on this biogeographic region go to: ERIN's Interim Biogeographic Regionalisation of Australia (IBRA), web link below


 Total Population

 Indigenous Population

 Thursday Island









Table is based on Urban Centres and Localities figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2001 Census.

Population snapshot

The population figures below are based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics census of 2001 which was conducted in early August. These more standardised Urban Centres and Localities figures replace earlier ones on this site based on Statistical Local Areas (SLAs) and the Census Collection Districts.

The population of the Cape region is low. Many people live around the Thursday Island area (just north of the tip of the peninsula) and many are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent.

Cape York land regions

Land use

As shown in the map below, pastoralism (white) is the dominant land use throughout the region, however there are significant areas of nature conservation (brown), Aboriginal land use (tan) and forestry (green).

For more detailed information on this region click on the topics menu on the left