Porcupine Gorge National Park
Known as Australia’s ‘Little Grand Canyon’ with its cool, clear, flowing creek, towering cliffs of vibrantly coloured sandstone and dense vegetation. The Gorge 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. Porcupine Gorge National Park is a canyon hidden away approximately an hours drive north of Hughenden. The road passes through the flat woodlands of typical Australian eucalypts and acacias and gives no hint of the existence of the gorge until the edge is reached. The gorge has been carved over time revealing layers of basalt and coloured sandstones, creating the beautiful soft colours of the cliff walls that tower over the creek below. 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 is a National Park campsite area. From here a walking track takes visitors to the base of the Gorge where the Pyramid formation is a prominent feature. Intermittent water holes line the base of the Gorge, a perfect place for a cool swim. Camping sites can be either booked online or by phone, or at the Flinders Discovery Centre, and campers must be self-sufficent.
Hughenden to Porcuipne Gorge - Points of Interest
As you drive along this route, you will see some of the points of interest are identified by small brown and white signs
Once you reach the top of Mt Walker you will be greeted with sensational 360° views of Hughenden and surrounds from six lookout points. Named by explorer William Landsborough after Frederick Walker, Mount Walker is approximately 478 m above sea level, making it approximately 152 m above the township of Hughenden. Located 10 km south of Hughenden with a sealed access road to the top, sunrise and sunset on Mount Walker is a must for any keen photographer.
White Mountains National Park
White Mountains National Park is characterised by white sandstone formations and complex gorge systems that cover 108,000 ha of rugged terrain. For much of the year this vast area is an arid landscape but during the wet season it becomes a water catchment for streams and rivers which eventually feed into Lake Eyre in South Australia and the Gulf of Carpentaria. Encompassing a total of 14 different ecosystems, winter and early spring transform the landscape as the native plants bloom into a palette of colour. White Mountains National Park is very remote and undeveloped and is only suitable for well equipped, experienced bushwalkers and campers. Access is from the Flinders Highway 107 km east of Hughenden or 140 km south-west of Charters Towers. Camp site bookings are available by phone or online, or at the Flinders Discovery Centre.
Kooroorinya Falls Nature Reserve
Travelling south of Prairie brings you to an oasis in the desert. Kooroorinya is a spectacular waterfall during the wetter months of the year and retains a secluded billabong during the drier months. Kooroorinya offers bush walking, bird watching, fishing, and some excellent photographic opportunities. Camping sites offer modern toilet facilities, hot showers and wood fired barbeque. Campers must call into the caretaker’s office prior to setting up. This area comes alive each year at the Oakley Amateur Picnic Races held each May.
Blackbraes National Park
Blackbraes National Park and three associated resource reserves cover an area of approximately 52,000 ha. This park straddles the Einasleigh Uplands and the Gulf Plains biogeographical regions. Access is via the Kennedy Developmental Road 170 km north of Hughenden, which has sections of unsealed gravel road. The vegetation is largely open eucalypt woodland dominated by ironbark trees with spear and kangaroo grasses populating the grassy understorey. Visitors who enjoy geology, dense woodlands, or bird watching should find Blackbraes National Park of interest. The park is particularly diverse in birds, with over 150 species of birds recorded. Camping is available at a shady bush camp near Emu Swamp Dam, which is rich in birdlife.
Moorrinya National Park
In the heart of the Desert Uplands, Moorrinya National Park protects 18 land types in the Lake Eyre Basin, one of Australia’s most important water catchments. This remote park has dry, flat plains criss-crossed by watercourses and covered in open eucalypt, paperbark and acacia woodlands and grasslands. Camping is available in a remote and undeveloped setting.