Yorkeys Knob—boat ramp

We are constructing a new recreational boat launching facility at Yorkeys Knob.

Yorkeys Knob was identified as a strategic location for additional boat launching facility to the north of the Cairns CBD through the Recreational Boating Facilities Demand Forecasting Study undertaken in 2016. The study concluded that there is an urgent need for an additional boat ramp north of Cairns, and that Yorkeys Knob was the most suitable site due to:

  • its central location
  • its access to the open sea
  • its proximity to the Great Barrier Reef
  • the relatively minor additional environmental disturbance required for its construction given the area is already highly disturbed by existing coastal and foreshore development.

The new boat ramp and associated on-land facilities will be constructed on vacant state-owned land and seabed to the west of Yorkeys Knob Boating Club marina and to the north of Half Moon Bay Golf Club, with an access road on state land between the 2 clubs.

We have worked closely with Cairns Regional Council to determine the configuration of parking and other on-land facilities. Transport and Main Roads and the Cairns Regional Council signed a deed of agreement in September 2021 about the contribution of Cairns Regional Council to the project and related matters.

This new facility will:

  • improve safety and reduce congestion at the existing Yorkeys Knob boat ramp
  • reduce wait times for boaties on the north side of the Cairns CBD, for both launching and retrieving
  • complement the recent upgrade to the Trinity Park/Bluewater boat ramp.


  • Improves safety
  • Increases capacity
  • Better road access
  • Increases car parks

Key features

  • 6 lane boat ramp with 3 floating walkways
  • 2 new breakwaters for wave protection
  • dredged basin and access channel 
  • reclamation 
  • queuing beaches 
  • 135 car-trailer park spaces
  • 63 single car park spaces 
  • new access road and footpath
  • new amenities block
  • golf course protective fencing.


This project has an overall budget of $22.4 million and is jointly funded by Transport and Main Roads and Cairns Regional Council.

Total investment
$22.4 million
Queensland Government
$18.9 million
Local government
$3.5 million

Current Status

Element 1: A contract was awarded in late 2022 for the boundary fencing element of the project following stakeholder consultation an amendment to the scope has been agreed. 

Element 2: Construction contract awarded to Halls Contracting Pty Ltd on 3 November 2021. Onsite works commenced in early February 2022 and will continue through to mid-2023.

Project stages

From late 2022 to mid-2023 the following works will take place, weather and supply chain issues permitting:

  • Construction continuing and will include western breakwater completion
  • boat ramp install
  • queuing beach completion
  • floating walkway installation
  • amenities block construction
  • services install – lighting, water, sewer, CCTV cameras
  • fence and screen install
  • road and car park civil works and final seal.

Detailed Design

We have listened to feedback from the local community and, where possible, the final design includes community suggestions. These improvements include:

  • improvements to vehicle exit options at the top of the ramp following launch and retrieve
  • inclusion of a third floating walkway with landing extension
  • refinement of the breakwater configuration to ensure calm water conditions are achieved without impacts to adjacent infrastructure or coastal processes.

One of the main concerns raised by stakeholders throughout consultation was about car parking. The final design maximises the number of available car parks to help resolve the existing parking issues at Yorkeys Knob. The final design features 135 car-trailer parks, 63 standard car parks and which includes 6 accessible (disabled) parking spaces.

Yorkeys Knob boat ramp detailed design (update plan)

Yorkey's Knob boat harbour map

Yorkeys Knob boat ramp car park detailed design (updated plan)

overview of boat ramp