Porcupine Gorge National Park

The jewel in the regions landscape crown is undoubtedly Porcupine Gorge, which stands out from its arid surrounds, with flowing creeks, towering cliffs and dense vegetation. Five hundred million years in the making and only half a day to discover, easily accessed by bitumen road this must-see attraction is approximately one hours drive north of Hughenden.

Location: 74km North of Hughenden, which lies 449km west of Townsville.

Park size: 5410ha

Access: Via The Kennedy Development road (fully sealed)

Camping: Available at the Pyramid campground

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 the Pyramid Camping Area within the National Park. 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 through Queensland National Parks or at the Flinders Discovery Centre.

Getting there

The Kennedy Development road to Porcupine Gorge is fully sealed. The Gorge Lookout is 63km north of Hughenden and the Pyramid Lookout, campground, Rim Walk and Gorge Walk are another 11km further north. This road could have cattle, wildlife and road trains. Please check road conditions at the Flinders Discovery Centre before travelling to Porcupine Gorge.

Park features

Covering an area of 5410ha, Porcupine Gorge National Park extends for more than 25km along Porcupine Creek, and includes surrounding open woodland and grassland. The creek has carved an impressive canyon, which reveals strata of sedimentary rocks spanning hundreds of millions of years.

In the wider section of the gorge, the eroding action of the creek has also created the Pyramid, an isolated monolith of multicolored sandstone rising from the floor of the gorge, shaped as its name suggests.

Porcupine Gorge National Park and the surrounding area are a rich cultural landscape, with three traditional Aboriginal groups (the Gutjal, Jirandali and Mitjumba) continuing to maintain traditional connections to country within the park.

Natural Environment

Porcupine Gorge National Park is a unique area of the savanna plains with a dramatic sandstone gorge cut deep into its interior. A thin, hard, basalt cap, the product of geologically recent lava flows, has in most places protected the older underlying rock, but where this capping has been worn away, the scouring action of waterborne particles has excavated a deep chasm into the softer sandstone. The “excavator” is Porcupine Creek, a meandering string of clear pools in winter and a boiling cascade in the wet season.

In the wider section of the gorge, the eroding action of the creek has also created the Pyramid, an isolated monolith of multicolored sandstone rising from the floor of the gorge, shaped as its name suggests.

Plants and animals

Wind and water have coloured and sculptured the sandstone to form fluted channels, boulders, potholes and shallow caves. Permanent deep pools, each with its resident turtles, are lined with casuarinas (sheoaks) and melaleucas (paperbacks), while various eucalypts and acacias, including the rare pink gidgee, grow in precarious positions on the cliffs above.

The gorge is filled with the calls of currawongs, parrots and the occasional soaring bird of prey. Closer observation reveals a wide variety of birds including the black duck, red-winged parrot, black bittern and numerous honeyeaters.

The gorge becomes a focal point for many animals in the dry season while others, such as the wallaroo and rock wallaby, are permanent residents.

Camping

Porcupine Gorge is an amazing canyon etched into the terrain by Porcupine Creek’s eroding action,
showing strata of sedimentary rocks dating back hundreds of millions of years.

Things to do

Things to know before you go