Dawes National Park Bundaberg | Gladstone

Heritage-listed Glassford Creek Smelter site. Photo credit: Peter Pickering © Queensland Government

Visiting Dawes National Park safely

    Getting there and getting around

    High clearance four-wheel-drive access

    Glassford section of Dawes National Park is 110km south from Gladstone. High clearance four-wheel-drive access is possible in dry weather conditions only. Roads within the park are steep in sections and unsuitable for towing trailers, camper trailers and caravans.

    • From Gladstone, travel south-west to Calliope, then follow the Dawson Highway south-west towards Biloela for 4km and turn left into Gladstone-Monto Road. Continue through Ubobo and Many Peaks before turning right onto Childs Road. The park is another 6km.
    • From Monto, travel 52.7km along the Gladstone–Monto Road, turn left onto Childs Road and travel for another 6km to the park.

    The 600m unsealed track to Markhams garden is very steep and narrow with loose gravel sections. There are no turnaround options. Passing vehicles is only possible at an area approximately halfway along the track.

    Always check weather forecasts and park alerts before visiting this park.

    • Flash flooding occurs in this area. Never drive into floodwater.
    • Avoid visiting this park during rain or if rain is forecast. Roads can become extremely slippery and difficult to navigate.
    • During heavy rain visitors may become isolated because of flooding and changed road conditions.

    Plan your four-wheel-drive experience well and read more about this park’s road safety and conditions and general four-wheel-driving safety before visiting.

    Staying safe

    Visitors must be self-sufficient—the area is remote and accessible only by four-wheel-drive. During or after high rainfall, natural creek crossings can flood quickly and cut road access—visitors can be cut off for extended periods.

    Supervise children. Natural areas have hazards that children are unfamiliar with, including creeks, steep slopes, stinging plants and wildlife.

    Plan your visit well and read the information below to understand the safety risks in this park.

    Mobile phone coverage is very limited in the park

    Coverage within the park maybe possible along the higher elevations of the northern section of Childs Road.

    • Have a UHF radio (tune to channel 3 while in the park) or carry a satellite phone.
    • A Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) is also recommended as these emergency beacons are suited for remote area emergencies.

    Road safety and conditions

    • Ensure your vehicle is mechanically sound.
    • Obey speed limits and road rules. All road rules apply on park tracks and roads.
    • Watch out for the unexpected—slow down to allow time to react to changed road conditions.
    • Check current weather forecasts  for the local area before leaving—there is limited mobile reception beyond Ubobo and Builyan, and only in areas of high elevation within the park.

    Warning: Creeks are subject to flash flooding and strong currents.

    During and following heavy rain:

    • creek water levels rise rapidly without warning
    • water currents become strong and swift
    • crossing creeks could result in vehicle loss, injury or drowning.

    Never cross creeks during or after heavy rain.

    Historic sites and mine shafts

    Observe and follow safety instructions associated with old mines sites. Exercise extreme caution when visiting this area and supervise children closely.

    Glassford Creek Smelter site has unstable historic, heritage-listed structures with collapsing chimneys and associated structures. Be aware bricks are loose and can fall at any time. You can view but not enter the site—public entry is prohibited. Follow the Danger sign instructions at the site.

    Some mine sites have a DANGER Mine entry prohibited sign near the mine entrance. Entry is prohibited due to unstable ceilings and a public health risk from inhaling bat guano.

    Unmarked mine shafts in this area are deep and potentially dangerous for visitors. Falling down a mine shaft is likely to cause serious injury or death. Exercise extreme caution when visiting this area. Stay well away from open mine shafts and stay on formed roads and tracks.

    Water safety

    Take care near water. Never dive or jump into creeks or rock pools as they can be shallow or have submerged objects.

    In an emergency

    In case of accident or other emergency, please use the emergency channel on the UHF or activate your PLB and follow instructions.

    Where mobile reception is possible, or using a satellite phone:

    • Call Triple Zero (000).
    • Call 106 for a text-only message for deaf or speech or hearing impaired callers.
    • Advise the location and nature of the emergency.
    • Stay on the phone until you are told to hang up.

    Mobile phone reception is limited in the park but could be possible at higher points along Childs Road.

    For more information, please read the guidelines on safety in parks and forests.

    Before you visit

    Essentials to bring

    There are no facilities available at the park, so you must be self-sufficient. Plan ahead and ensure you bring enough fuel, food and drinking water.

    • Carry a well-equipped, remote-area first-aid kit (including snake bit bandage) and know how to use it.
    • Pack UHF radio, satellite phone or PLB. There is poor mobile reception in the park.
    • All vehicles should include vehicle recovery equipment for boggy sections or after heavy or extended rain periods.
    • Pack strong rubbish bags, so you can take your rubbish with you when you leave. Rubbish bins are not provided.
    • Bring insect repellent and sunscreen.
    • Please bring a shovel for burying toilet waste. There are no toilets in the park.

    Opening hours

    For your safety, it is recommended you visit Dawes National Park in daylight hours only.

    Permits and fees

    A permit is not required to recreate within the park unless the activity is a commercial activity or organised event (including competitive and sporting events). All commercial activities require a permit and some organised and/or group activities require a permit.

    Commercial photography permits are required if you intend to sell any photographs taken of Queensland’s parks and forests.


    Domestic animals are not permitted in Dawes National Park.

    Climate and weather

    The climate in the park is generally the same as the surrounding Boyne Valley area, though it can be up to 3–5ºC cooler than surrounding lowlands depending on the time of year. Rainfall is higher than surrounding areas with most rain falling during summer. After heavy rainfall, check park alerts for park conditions.

    Always check the current weather forecast before you visit.

    Fuel and supplies

    Fuel and supplies are available at Monto, Ubobo and Calliope.

    • There are currently no park alerts for this park.