Lawn Hill Gorge, Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park Outback Queensland | Tropical North Queensland

Lawn Hill Gorge is a beautiful oasis in the outback. Photo credit: © Tourism and Events Queensland

About Lawn Hill Gorge

    Park features

    Sunrise from the Constance Range.
    Sunrise from the Constance Range.

    Photo credit: Tamara Vallance

    Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park is one of Queensland's most scenic national parks. Situated within the remote north-west highlands of Queensland, the park features spectacular gorge country, sandstone ranges and World Heritage fossils.

    Lawn Hill Gorge is formed by Lawn Hill Creek, which is fed by numerous freshwater springs from the limestone plateau to the west. The magnitude of the sandstone cliffs lining the gorge, its emerald waters and lush vegetation make it a visual splendour. Serving as an oasis, the spring water and surrounding vegetation attract an abundance of wildlife. The Waanyi Aboriginal people have strong cultural ties with the park while pastoralists of European descent have more recent historical connections.

    Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park lies on ancient sandstone of the Constance Range, between the Barkly Tablelands to the south-west and the black soils of the Gulf Savanna Plains to the east. Lawn Hill Creek and the Gregory and O'Shanassy rivers flow all year round, providing a stark contrast to the dry, parched landscape during the dry season.

    Ranger interview

    Hear Ranger Sarah Jess talking about what you can expect when you visit Lawn Hill Gorge in Boodjamulla National Park (Courtesy ABC Radio).

    Audio transcript

    You’re with Cat Feeney on ABC Radio Queensland.

    The borders are easing, the race is on to enjoy this particularly-perfect part of Australia so how about we take a visit to some of our spectacular national parks and why not do it from the comfort of wherever you are listening right now? Helping you make the journey to one of Queensland’s stunning national parks this afternoon, to one of the most remote stretches of the Sunshine State by the way, Park Ranger, Sarah Jess. Sarah, where are you taking us today?

    Well Cat, today I thought I’d take you on a journey to Boodjamulla National Park in far north west Queensland.

    I gotta confess I had never heard of Boodjamulla National Park until I had to sit down and write this script. And of course, the first thing I did was toddle off and look at the internet for some images and, hooley dooley, what a brilliantly-beautiful part of paradise you get to ‘park range’! Tell me more.

    It’s an amazing part of Queensland. I’m just one of a few rangers who happen to work up there. It’s an amazing spot. Managing that park is one of the highlights of my occupation, I believe.

    So, you’re based in Charters Towers. What’s the drive time between CT and the park that you ‘range’?

    It’s a comfy 10 to 11 hours depending on the caravans and trucks on the road. It’s just shy of 1000km.

    OK, and how is the drive through? Is the road in good nick or do you need something serious to make the most of a visit to Boodjamulla National Park?

    It’s mostly bitumen coming from Charters Towers. The last 60 to 70km is dirt but other than that it’s bitumen the whole way, a nice comfortable drive. And from Mount Isa up through the Barkly Highway, there’s about 150km of dirt, but bitumen to there.

    Now paint me a picture about what happens when you make your way along these dusty roads, and then what do you see? How do you know you’ve arrived?

    You make your way along these dusty roads, you’re a little bit broken and rattled, and then you arrive at this break in the Constance Range. There’s a lovely little stone-pitched wall there that says ‘Boodjamulla National Park’ and as you drive through there’s an old rock formation on the right hand side that we call the ‘old man, old grandfather’, and he’s looking down on you. And then you’ve got another 4 or 5km, and then this beautiful green oasis emerges out of nowhere. And that’s how you know you’ve arrived.

    Now this green oasis you’re talking about, what sort of chance do I have of encountering a crocodile if I was to take a dip in the beautiful green waters of this national park?

    Most unlikely. They (freshwater crocs) are in there, there’s quite a good little population in there. But they tend to hide. They’re a little bit shy and unless provoked you’d be unlikely to come across one when you’re swimming. You might find one basking on a log but you’re unlikely to encounter one while you’re swimming.

    ABC Radio Brisbane Queensland. We’re taking a dip this afternoon with Park Ranger, Sarah Jess, into the beautiful waters that make up the Boodjamulla National park, formerly known as Lawn Hill Gorge National Park, which is in the Burke Shire, in the very north west of Queensland. Sarah, tell me a little bit more about what you could expect to enjoy if you decided to head up there for a camp. Have you got sites? Have they got power? What’s the play?

    At the national park, we have 20 unpowered sites. There are some designed for caravans and some designed for tents. Ten kilometres down the road you can camp at Adel’s Grove where you do have options for powered sites and/or unpowered sites. And we have a bush camp down on the Gregory River as well, if you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the gorge, and camp a little bit more quietly along the Gregory.

    Canoeing and other activities. What could we do while we’re up there besides just sit and marvel at the spectacular natural scenery?

    There’s plenty to do there. You can certainly go wildlife spotting; you’re spoilt for choice there. You can go canoeing up to Indarri Falls or above that up to the Upper Gorge. And there’s around 20km of walking tracks to explore. And you can see a range of things from rock art to escarpments to beautiful spinifex or limestone outcrops. Just beautiful. You’re spoilt for choice. And of course, there’s the Riversleigh World Heritage Area.

    All respect to the Waanyi Aboriginal people who lived on country there for a very, very long time. And some of the other sights that I understand that you could spot, Jess, if you had a couple of binoculars and were keen for a bit of twitching, some crimson finches, and other birdlife are a big deal up there?

    We get purple-crowned fairy-wrens up there and they are delightful. You can see them quite readily just around the campground, you don’t have to be an expert birdwatcher to come across those. You’ll see buff-sided robins, lorikeets, parrots, cormorants, all sorts of birds.

    Now how busy does it tend to get during school holidays, which are just around the corner?

    School holidays can be very busy, and we advise anyone wanting to go there to book well in advance to avoid disappointment. It’s the peak time. Generally, this time of year it starts getting very hot up there, we’re in the early 40s now, so people should be conscious of that if they’re considering a trip to Boodjamulla. But otherwise I’d recommend booking early.

    Sounds fantastic, Sarah. Thank you very much for your time in taking us to Boodjamulla National Park. And gorge – gorgeous!

    My pleasure, we look forward to seeing you there.

    Oh yes please! Thank you.

    Looking after the park

    Views from the Indarri Falls lookout.
    Views from the Indarri Falls lookout.

    Photo credit: Tamara Vallance

    • Everything in the park is protected. Please leave everything as you found it.
    • Fossicking for fossils is illegal on the Riversleigh fossil trail. Penalties apply.
    • Fires are not permitted. Use a fuel or gas stove for cooking.
    • The use of generators is not permitted.
    • Fishing is prohibited in Lawn Hill Creek.
    • Do not feed the wildlife, including fish. It can affect their health and alter the natural population balance. Do not leave food or scraps around your camp site.
    • To protect the tufa formations, canoeing is not permitted in the Cascades or in the Lower Gorge.
    • To ensure that the waterways are kept unspoiled, motorised boats are not permitted in the park.
    • Limited rubbish facilities are provided at the camp ground. Please place recyclables in the containers near the amenities block and take the rest of your rubbish with you.
    • Domestic animals are prohibited in national parks as they can disturb and harm native wildlife.
    • All snakes are protected. Always carry a torch at night as this is when many snakes are active.
    • Protect water quality—minimise the use of repellents and sunscreen when swimming.
    • Be considerate of other campers and do not make undue noise or disturbance—this park allows campers and visitors to enjoy a remote and natural setting.

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

    Park management

    Lawn Hill Gorge was gazetted as national park in December 1984. Prior to this it was part of the neighbouring cattle grazing property, Lawn Hill Station. In March 1992, the park was extended to include Riversleigh World Heritage Site, which was part of the neighbouring Riversleigh Station.

    Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, in conjunction with the Waanyi Aboriginal people—the Traditional Owners of the area—aim to preserve Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park's unique beauty and values. Please help by following park guidelines and regulations.

    Tourism information links

    Adels Grove
    www.adelsgrove.com.au
    Phone: (07) 4748 5502
    Email: reservations@adelsgrove.com.au

    Outback @ Isa Visitor Information Centre
    http://www.experiencemountisa.com.au/
    19 Marian Street, Mount Isa Qld 4825
    Phone: 1300 659 660 or (07) 4749 1555
    Email: info@outbackatisa.com.au

    At the Creek Julia Creek Visitor Information Centre
    www.atthecreek.com.au
    34 Burke Street, Julia Creek QLD 4823
    Phone: (07) 4745 7690
    Email: tourism@mckinlay.qld.gov.au

    TerrEstrial Visitor Centre
    Low Street, Georgetown QLD 4871
    Phone: (07) 4062 1485
    Email: terrestrialgeorgetown@bigpond.com

    Croydon True Blue Visitor Information Centre
    www.croydon.qld.gov.au
    Samwell Street, Croydon QLD 4871
    Phone: (07) 4748 7151
    Email: mejenkins@croydon.qld.gov.au

    Normanton Visitor Information Centre
    Cnr Landsborough and Caroline Street, Normanton QLD 4890
    Phone: (07) 4747 8444
    Email: tourism@carpentaria.qld.gov.au

    Karumba Visitor Information Centre
    Walker Street, Karumba QLD 4891
    Phone: (07) 4747 7522

    For tourism information for all regions in Queensland see Queensland Holidays.