Queensland’s Southern Outback is home to some of the most beautiful national parks in Australia and to some of the most beautiful and rugged landscapes you’ll ever enjoy. Wildlife abounds – kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas, emus – and the region is a birdwatcher’s paradise. The sharp contrast between wide rivers fringed by towering redgums and coolibahs and the dry mulga plains and red sandhills are a feast for the eyes. Get to know a little more about Australia’s varied environment.
Nuga Nuga national park is located about 200 kilometres north of Roma. Nuga Nuga conserves remnants of endangered bonewood scrub and the vulnerable ooline tree. Lake Nuga Nuga is the largest natural water body within the Central Queensland Sandstone Belt and provides valuable habitat for water birds in an otherwise arid sandstone landscape. When the water lillies on the lake flower it is a photographer’s delight. Lake Nuga Nuga provides habitat for waterbirds including, pelicans, black swans, magpie geese, brolgas, grey teal, great crested grebes, pink-eared ducks, hardheads and plumed whistling-ducks. Many of the birds are migratory and are listed under International treaties. You can camp, canoe, fish and swim in the park. Visit the website.
Carnarvon National Park
Injune offers a convenient base for those seeking to explore the natural wonders of the area. Carnarvon Gorge is located between Roma and Emerald, 111 kilometres from Injune. Carnarvon Gorge features towering sandstone cliffs, vibrantly coloured side gorges, diverse flora and fauna and Aboriginal rock art. Rock art on sandstone overhangs is evidence of the Aboriginal people's long connection with the gorge. Ochre stencils, rock engravings and freehand paintings include some of the finest Aboriginal rock imagery in Australia. You can camp in the park or accommodation is available on the edges of the park. Visit the website.
Expedition National Park
The Lonesome and Beilba sections of the Expedition National Park are accessed via Injune. The Lonesome Lookout offers fabulous views of the Arcadia Valley and the Dawson River Valley. Visit the website.
Thrushton National Park
Thrushton National Park is approximately 40km north east of Bollon and accessible via dirt roads (dry weather only). You will need a 4WD and to be self-sufficient. A diverse range of plants and animals thrive within Thrushton and over 100 species of birds have been recorded in the area. Mammals such as koalas and echidnas frequent creek-lines. The wildflowers that bloom during spring are a special feature of this park. Visit the website.
Culgoa Floodplains National Park
Culgoa Floodplain National Park is approximately 50km south west of Hebel and accessible via dirt roads (dry weather only) and a 4WD vehicle is recommended. You can explore the Culgoa Floodplain National Park using Hebel as your base. This park is a birdwatcher’s haven with more than 150 bird species recorded. An important floodplain in the Murray-Darling Basin, Aboriginal cultural sites and diverse woodland vegetation are preserved in Culgoa Floodplain National Park. Visit the website.
Currawinya National Park
Currawinya National Park is located near Hungerford. Currawinya's lakes, rivers and wetlands are a striking contrast to the sandy plains and rocky ranges of semi-arid south-western Queensland. These wetlands are among the most important inland waterbird habitats in Australia. Two large lakes, separated by only a few kilometres of sand dunes, are the centre-piece of a fascinating mosaic of habitats across the park. A 25 square kilometre electrified predator and feral animal-proof enclosurehas been built to re-establish a wild breeding population of bilbies at Currawinya National Park as part of the national strategy to recover this endangered species. The enclosure is not accessible but you can see live, captive-bred bilbies in Charleville. Evidence of thousands of years of Aboriginal occupation and more recent relics of pastoral activities dating from the 1860s are scattered across the park. Visit the website.
Lake Bindegolly National Park
Lake Bindegolly National Park is located between Cunnamulla and Thargomindah. Lake Bindegolly National Park conserves one of the most important wetland systems in south-west Queensland. The park is home to more than 195 species of birds, 80 other kinds of animals and 300 species of plants.
Camping and vehicles are not permitted in the park but accommodation is available in nearby Thargomindah. Explore around Lake Bindegolly on a 9.2 km circuit track (2.5–3 hour walk) which skirts the lake edge then returns along scrub-covered sandhills. Visit the website.
Tregole National Park
Tregole National Park is located between Roma and Charleville. The park protects a small, almost pure stand of ooline Cadellia pentastylis, an attractive dry rainforest tree dating back to the Ice Ages. Ooline has been extensively cleared and is now uncommon and considered vulnerable to extinction. Visit the website.
Hell Hole Gorge National Park
Hell Hole Gorge National Park is located approximately 57km north-west of Adavale on the Grey Range. It is centred on the waterholes and gorges of the rugged Powell Creek drainage system and its associated plateau. Take a look around the gorge via the 360 degree video below. Hit play and then either use your mouse, or rotate your phone, to move around the scene.
Easily Accessible Bushland
You don’t need to hike into a national park to experience the natural beauty of Queensland’s Southern Outback.
The Cunnamulla Bushlands is a 6 hectare site positioned on the eastern outskirts of Cunnamulla. The Cunnamulla Bushlands takes you on a journey through six of the regional ecosystems within the Shire, Mulga Lands, Sandhills, Gidgee Stands, Mitchell Grass Plains, Wetlands and Brigalow Country. A looped walking track meanders along a flowing waterway which terminates at the Wetlands. Maps and information can be collected from the Cunnamulla Fella Information Centre.
Explore the beautiful sandhills adjacent to the Jack Tonkin Caravan Park and take the time to walk through and enjoy what nature has on offer.
The Bowra Sanctuary, just north-east of Cunnamulla, is a 14 000 hectare property owned by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy. It has over 200 species of birds including threatened species. Visit the website.
Roma Bush Gardens
The Roma Bush Gardens is an accessible way to enjoy nature in Roma. Visit the website.
Charleville Outback Native Timber Walk
The Charleville Outback Native Timber Walk is located in the Graham Andrews Parkland. Self-walk guides are available from the Visitor Information Centre.
Charleville Bilby Experience
Have a personal encounter with these endangered marsupials. Visit the website.
Baldy Top Lookout
Located approximately 7.4 km from Quilpie on the Toompine Road rests a red rocky formation aptly named Baldy Top. Part of the Grey Range, Baldy Top is one the most elevated points in South West Queensland. A climb to the summit of Baldy Top is a relatively easy ten minute scramble. Although Baldy Top appears quite small in its surroundings, once atop this hill, breathtaking panoramic landscapes stretch into the distance. Take a look around the gorge via the 360 degree video below. Hit play and then either use your mouse, or rotate your phone, to move around the scene.