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About Benarkin

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Getting there and getting around

Caution is required when driving the steep and winding unsealed road to the Emu Creek camping areas. Photo: R. Ashdown, Qld Govt.

Caution is required when driving the steep and winding unsealed road to the Emu Creek camping areas. Photo: R. Ashdown, Qld Govt.

Benarkin State Forest is about 150km or two hours drive north-west of Brisbane.

Turn off the D'Aguilar Highway at the Benarkin day-use area 3.5km east of Blackbutt. A scenic gravel road leads a further 16km down the range to camping and day-use areas beside Emu Creek. The steep and winding unsealed road is accessible for 4WD and high clearance vehicles with care in all weather conditions; however a high level of caution is required, especially after rain. Beware of logging trucks which frequently use this road.

Always check road conditions and weather forecasts before travelling.

Wheelchair accessibility

Facilities at Benarkin State Forest are not accessible to wheelchairs.

Forest features

Rolling hills and towering forests feature in Benarkin State Forest. Photo: R. Ashdown, Qld Govt.

Rolling hills and towering forests feature in Benarkin State Forest. Photo: R. Ashdown, Qld Govt.

A patchwork of majestic hoop pine plantations, towering eucalypt forests and dense vine scrub clothe the scenic Blackbutt Range and the rolling hills at the head of the Brisbane River. Take a scenic forest drive to picnic, camp, ride or walk under towering forest trees or beside refreshing streams.

Camping and accommodation

Clancys camping area is a perfect spot to pitch a tent. Photo: K. Smith, Qld Govt.

Clancys camping area is a perfect spot to pitch a tent. Photo: K. Smith, Qld Govt.

Camping

Stay overnight at one of two camping areas situated on small flats beside Emu Creek, a tributary of the Brisbane River. Depending on what time of the year you visit, Emu Creek may be flowing, completely dry or anywhere in between. It usually flows following heavy to moderate rainfall in the local area. Both camping areas have toilets, barbecues and tap water (boil or treat before drinking).

Clancys camping area is beside the Bicentennial National Trail. The nearby creek is quite shallow, making this an ideal family camp site. You can camp with your dog at Clancys camping area, providing it is under control and restrained by a leash at all times. You can camp near your horse at Clancys camping area. Tether or yard your horses uphill from the fenced area, and either water them downstream from the camping area or carry water to them.

Emu Creek camping and day-use area, a further 2km on, has cold showers and is set among tall trees near a large waterhole. Dogs are not permitted in this camping area.

Camping permits are required and fees apply. Permits must be booked prior to arrival as permits cannot be issued on site.

Other accommodation

Accommodation is available in Blackbutt, Yarraman and Moore and at farm stays out of town. See the tourism information links below or consult the local telephone directory or the internet.

Things to do

Floods during January 2011  knocked over vegetation and shifted rocks and soil from Emu Creek and its banks. Photo: B. Roberts, Qld Govt.

Floods during January 2011 knocked over vegetation and shifted rocks and soil from Emu Creek and its banks. Photo: B. Roberts, Qld Govt.

Picnic under a shady tree overlooking Emu Creek. Photo: K. Smith, Qld Govt.

Picnic under a shady tree overlooking Emu Creek. Photo: K. Smith, Qld Govt.

Trail riding through the forest. Photo: Qld Govt.

Trail riding through the forest. Photo: Qld Govt.

The mix of vegetation types and permanent waters of Emu Creek make Benarkin State Forest a great spot for birdwatching. Photo courtesy of K. Smith.

The mix of vegetation types and permanent waters of Emu Creek make Benarkin State Forest a great spot for birdwatching. Photo courtesy of K. Smith.

The Brisbane Valley Rail Trail passes through Benarkin State Forest. Photo: Qld Govt.

The Brisbane Valley Rail Trail passes through Benarkin State Forest. Photo: Qld Govt.

Picnic and day-use areas

Picnic amongst tall stringybark and ironbark trees at Benarkin day-use area beside the D'Aguilar Highway.

Emu Creek day-use area is a peaceful spot beside Emu Creek, 16km into the forest. Facilities include barbecues, toilets, water (treat before drinking) and rubbish bins. Dogs are allowed in the day-use area provided they remain on a leash and are restrained at all times.

The waters of Emu Creek are a pleasant place to cool off in summer. Supervise children at all times. Never dive or jump into the water—it may be shallow or hide submerged obstructions.

Fishing

Line fishing is permitted in Emu Creek

Horse riding

Horse riders can follow logging tracks, the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail, the Bicentennial National Trail or trails of the Blackbutt Trails Network. Horses must stay on existing roads and tracks and are not permitted in State forest camping and day-use areas.

You can camp near your horse at Clancys camping area. Tether or yard your horses uphill from the fenced area, and either water them downstream from the camping area or carry water to them. Full camping facilities including yards, water and showers are located in the nearby towns of Benarkin and Blackbutt.

Contact Brisbane Valley Rail Trail or The Bicentennial National Trail for trail details and trail closure information.

Viewing wildlife

Whether walking, driving or riding, a great variety of wildlife can be seen in among the towering blackbutt and ironbark forests, hoop pine plantations, dense vine scrub and open woodlands of Benarkin State Forest. The permanent pools and running water of Emu Creek are a haven for plants and animals that cannot survive far from moisture. Early morning and late afternoon are the best times for spotting birds, or to look for platypus swimming in the deeper pools.

See nature, culture and history for more details about Benarkin's diverse wildlife.

Other things to do

Logging and service tracks crisscross the forest and can be used for walking, cycling or horse riding. Motorised activities (i.e. four wheel driving and trail bike riding) are restricted to formed roads only. Stay on existing roads and tracks and be aware of the give-way code that operates in State forests: vehicles and bicycles give way to horses and walkers; and walkers give way to horses. A special permit is not required unless it is a commercial activity, an organised event or a competitive event.

Four-wheel-drive vehicles and trail bikes must be registered (conditionally registered vehicles are not permitted). The driver or rider must also hold a valid licence to operate the vehicle.

Entry into harvesting areas is not permitted. Obey all signs.

The Brisbane Valley Rail Trail leads up the Blackbutt Range. This hiking, biking and horseriding trail links Linville and Benarkin and is open to cyclists, walkers and horse riders. (Motorised vehicles are not permitted). See Brisbane Valley Rail Trail for more information.

What to take on walks/rides

  • Carry drinking water and nutritious snacks
  • Wear sturdy shoes, a hat and sunscreen and apply insect repellent.
  • Carry a first-aid kit.

Things to know before you go

Essentials to bring

  • Be self-sufficient. Ensure you have enough food and make sure your vehicle and equipment are in good order.
  • Bring drinking water, a fuel stove to boil water for drinking or chemical tablets to treat water.
  • Bring insect repellent to ward off ticks, and tweezers to remove ticks from skin.
  • Bring a first-aid kit, sunscreen, hat, suitable clothing, sturdy shoes and a raincoat.
  • Bring sturdy garbage bags or containers in which to store rubbish and recyclables for proper disposal after you leave. Rubbish bins are not provided.

Drinking water

Bring your own drinking water, a fuel stove to boil water for drinking or chemical tablets to treat water.

Opening hours

Benarkin State Forest is open 24 hours a day.

Permits and fees

All camping areas within Benarkin State Forest require a camping permit and fees apply. A tag with your booking number must be displayed at your campsite. Permits are not available at the forest and must be purchased before you visit.

Pets

Dogs are permitted, under control and restrained by a leash at all times, in Emu Creek day-use area and Clancys camping area. Dogs are not permitted in any other parts of Benarkin State Forest.

Horses are permitted on logging and service tracks, the Bicentennial National Trail and on the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail. They are not allowed in the day-use and camping areas. See Horse riding for more information.

Climate and weather

Expect warm to hot summers and cool to cold winters. Temperatures peak at more than 35 °C in December and drop below freezing overnight in winter. Most rain falls during the summer months, often as storms.

Be prepared for Emu Creek and its tributaries to rise rapidly after heavy rain in the upper catchment. During periods of good rain, check river heights before visiting.

For more information see the tourism information links below or the Bureau of Meteorology.

Fuel and supplies

Fuel and supplies are available at Blackbutt and Moore, with only limited supplies at the township of Benarkin.

Staying safe

Logging trucks use access roads. Drive with care. Photo: K. Smith, Qld Govt.

Logging trucks use access roads. Drive with care. Photo: K. Smith, Qld Govt.

Flood debris above the creek bank shows how high water can rise. Be aware of submerged objects in creeks and streams. Photo: K. Smith, Qld Govt.

Flood debris above the creek bank shows how high water can rise. Be aware of submerged objects in creeks and streams. Photo: K. Smith, Qld Govt.

Your safety is your responsibility.

  • Supervise children. Natural areas have hazards that children are unfamiliar with, including creeks, steep slopes, stinging plants and wildlife.
  • Take care near water. Never dive or jump into creeks or rock pools as they can be shallow or have submerged objects.
  • Heed all signs. From speed limits to track information, signs give guidance on how to stay safe and enjoy your visit.
  • Treat or boil water from all sources before drinking.
  • Take a basic first-aid kit and don't rely on mobile phone coverage in emergencies.
  • Stay together and keep on formed tracks. Wear sturdy shoes, a hat and sunscreen. Carry drinking water and nutritious snacks.
  • Apply insect repellant on exposed skin and shoes to discourage biting insects and ticks. Remove ticks immediately by carefully levering them out of the skin with tweezers.
  • Take care with fire. Use only the constructed fireplaces provided, and make sure the fire is out before you leave. Preferably bring a fuel stove.
  • Drive carefully on unsealed roads—especially after rain. Watch for curves and steep slopes. Stay on your side of the road and avoid sudden slowing. Shift down a gear when roads are steep.
  • Roads are shared with other cars, logging trucks, cyclists, walkers, horse riders and wildlife. Be courteous and allow time to react to unexpected situations and changed conditions.

In an emergency

In case of an accident or other emergency:

  • call Triple Zero (000) or
  • if you cannot reach Triple Zero (000) from your mobile phone, try 112
  • if speech or hearing impaired call 106 using a text phone
  • advise the location and nature of the emergency
  • stay on the phone until you are told to hang up.

The nearest hospital is located at Nanango. Mobile phone coverage is not available within many parts of Benarkin State Forest.

For more information about staying safe while visiting national parks, please read the guidelines Safety in parks and forests.

Looking after the forest

Open forest at Benarkin State Forest. Photo courtesy of B. Cowell, Queensland Museum.

Open forest at Benarkin State Forest. Photo courtesy of B. Cowell, Queensland Museum.

By observing these rules you will contribute to the protection and conservation of the forest so it may continue to give enjoyment to you and others.

  • All plants, animals and natural and cultural features of the forest environment are protected. Do not remove living or dead plant material (including fallen timber), animals, rocks or other material.
  • Never gather wood (or even kindling) from the bush. It provides home for wildlife and nutrients for the soil. Bring your own firewood or use a fuel stove.
  • Take care with fire. If you light a fire, keep the flame below the grate and make sure it is out before you leave it. Use water, not sand or dirt, to extinguish the fire. Summer is a high fire risk time.
  • Stay on designated roads and tracks and obey all signs.
  • Never feed or play with native animals. Feeding wildlife upsets the balance of nature and can make animals sick or aggressive towards humans.
  • Protect streams from pollution. Do not use soap or detergent in creeks and waterholes.
  • Leave pets at home. Dogs on leash are allowed only in designated areas.
  • Be tidy. Please take your rubbish and recyclable waste away for proper disposal.
  • Be considerate of other visitors.

See caring for parks for more information about protecting our environment and heritage in parks.

Forest management

Benarkin State Forest is a multiple use reserve. The forest grows sustainable timber resources for current and future generations, provides recreational opportunities for visitors and protects important habitat for a rich variety of animals and plants.

Tourism information links

Nanango Visitor Information Centre
www.discoversouthburnett.com.au
South Burnett Energy Centre
41 Henry Street, Nanango, Qld 4615
ph (07) 4189 9446
email

Blackbutt Visitor Information Centre
Hart Street, Blackbutt, Qld 4306
ph (07) 4163 0633
email

Brisbane Valley Rail Trail
http://www.brisbanevalleyrailtrail.com.au/

Further information

Contact us

Last updated
7 December 2018