· Porcupine Gorge National Park
· White Mountains National Park
· Blackbraes National Park
View from Porcupine Gorge Lookout 63km from Hughenden
Known as Australia's "Little Grand Canyon" with its cool, clear, flowing creek, towering cliffs of vibrantly coloured sandstone and comparatively dense vegetation provides a striking contrast to the sparsely wooded, dry flat plains which surround it. This impressive canyon reveals strata of sedimentary rocks spanning hundreds of millions of years of geological history.
Hughenden is the access point for the Porcupine Gorge National Park - a canyon hidden away about an hours drive north. The road passes through flat woodlands of typical Australian Eucalypts and Acacias and gives no hint of the existence of the Gorge until one reaches it. The Gorge has been carved by Porcupine Creek out of a basalt lava-flow giving off the beautiful soft colours of the walls towering 150 metres over the water. The Gorge can be appreciated from two distinct areas. The first point is a lookout giving a view deep into the Gorge below. There is no access to the base of the Gorge from this point. The second point is a National Park campsite where basic facilities are provided. From this point there is a walking track that takes visitors to the bottom of the Gorge where the Pyramid formation can be viewed. There is also a swimming hole at the base of the Pyramid.
Camping is available at the Pyramid camping ground, 74km north of Hughenden. Camping Permits are required and fees apply. Campers should bring their own drinking water as the water supply is unreliable. The camping ground is situated in the upper level of the Gorge; the camping ground is the starting point for the 1.2 kilometre walking track which leads down into the Gorge. There are twenty-two numbered sites, including nine e-permit sites (online booking) and thirteen self-registration sites. Campsites are suitable for tents, caravans, camper trailers, small and large motor homes and large groups.
All of the road to Porcupine Gorge is sealed. Current road reports are available at the Flinders Discovery Centre or online here .
White Mountains National Park is characterised by white sandstone formations and complex gorge systems and covers 108,000ha of rugged terrain. For much of the year this vast area is an arid landscape but during the wet season it becomes a catchment for streams, eventually feeding into Lake Eyre in South Australia.
White Mountains encompasses a total of fourteen different regional ecosystems. During winter and early spring the park is transformed as native plants of all shapes, sizes and colour bloom across the landscape. Included are golden-orange, cream and red Grevilleas, Wattles of all shades of yellow, white clustered flowers of Ironbark and ground dwelling plants in shades of purple, white, yellow and red. The Park is also home to a variety of fauna.
White Mountains National Park is very remote and undeveloped and is only suitable for well-equipped, experienced bushwalkers. Before bushwalking you must contact the Ranger at Hughenden or Charters Towers and complete a Remote Bushwalking Form with details of your proposed trip plan and emergency contact details.
Canns Camp Creek campground is the only camping area in the national park set in peaceful, open woodland. The campground is relatively undeveloped, although a basic toilet is provided. Visitors need to be self-sufficient and bring water and a fuel or gas stove. Access to the campground is recommended for 4WD vehicles only. During the wet season, between October and April, the road can be closed.
White Mountains National Park
White Mountains National Park is 80km north-east of Hughenden and 140km south-west of Charters Towers. Visitor access at the south-eastern section of the park is from the Flinders Highway at Burra Range Lookout, where it crosses the Great Dividing Range.
Moorrinya National Park protects 32,607 ha and is located in the heart of the Desert Uplands, protecting 18 vegetation communities in the Lake Eyre Basin, one of Australia's most important catchments.
This remote park has dry, flat plains criss-crossed by watercourses and covered in open eucalypt, paperbark and acacia woodlands and grasslands. Moorrinya is a wildlife refuge, protecting Australian icons such as kangaroos, koalas, emus and dingoes, as well as threatened species such as the square-tailed kite, squatter pigeon (southern subspecies) and the Julia Creek Dunnart.
Moorrinya National Park was initially established as the sheep grazing property, Shirley Station. In the late 1970s, cattle replaced sheep and grazing continued until the park was established in 1993. Much of the sheep station infrastructure, dating back to the late 1940s, remains as a reminder of the spirit and hard work of the people who lived in this remote part of Queensland.
Bush camping is available in a remote and undeveloped setting near the old shearers' quarters. A pit toilet is available. Self registration is the only form of booking at this campground.
Moorrinya National Park is located 90km south of Torrens Creek or 180km north of Aramac. To access the camping area, follow the unsealed access road past the homestead and take the first road on the right. Travel for 4.5km and take the left-hand fork to the camping area. Signs are located at the intersections to guide visitors to the camping areas. The roads are accessible by 4WD only.
Blackbraes National Park is located 170km north of Hughenden and straddles two bioregions; the Einasleigh Uplands and the Gulf Plains. The National Park is also adjacent to three resource reserves: Blackbraes, Moonstone Hill and Kennedy Road Gravel resource reserves. Undulating hills and ranges surround basalt outcrops, black soil plains and seasonal swamps. The elevation of the park in 900m, providing wetter and generally cooler climate compared with the surround country.
In basalt country, ironbark woodlands with native grasses dominate the landscape, providing food and shelter for many native animals. Grey kangaroos are common and birdlife is abundant.
Some sections of the Kennedy Development Road are unsealed and therefore may be temporarily closed or inaccessible to vehicles after heavy rain periods. Access to the park is recommended for 4WD vehicles only.
To preserve such unique areas, please refrain from interfering with native animals, plants and their surroundings. Do not feed the animals. Leave pets and firearms outside the park. Take rubbish with you when you leave. Fires are prohibited – fuel stove only. Do not pollute creeks or lakes with soap, shampoos, detergents or human waste. For your own safety, wear a broad-brimmed hat, sunscreen, sturdy footwear and carry a First-Aid kit with you.
Always check road conditions before travelling, as weather circumstances change. Road conditions can be found online here or by contacting the Flinders Discovery Centre. Also visit the Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sports and Racing website for park closures.
Before camping in a park, forest or similar reserve, you must obtain a camping permit and pay your camping fees. Most camping areas can be booked online, by visiting an over-the-counter booking office or by phone. For these campsites, you need to book before you arrive in a park. At some camping areas you can get a camping permit on site by self-registering and paying by cash, credit card, cheque or camping credit. This generally only applies to more remote campgrounds. Be sure to check if the park or forest you plan to visit has self-registration available before arrival.
Information sheets on National Parks in the Flinders Region can be collected from the Flinders Discovery Centre.
- $5.45 per person per night.
- $21.80 per family per night. A family is one or two adults and accompanying children under 18 years. The family rate applies to a maximum of eight people.
- No charge for children under five years.
- Camping fees include GST.
- Flinders Discovery Centre: The Centre is now an agent for ParksQ and can do camping and vehicle permits for National Parks all over Queensland. For opening hours and further information on the Centre, click here.
- Internet: Visit Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing website and follow the instructions. Here you can find camping ground details, sites that are available and pay by credit card.
- Telephone: 13 QGOV (13 74 68)
- Self Registration: Generally only available at more remote campgrounds. Be sure to check if the park you plan to visit offers the self-registration option before travel.