Visiting Eungella safely
Turn off the Bruce Highway 91km south of Proserpine and drive 9km to Marian. Continue 53km to the Eungella township.
From Mackay, drive 80km west along the Mackay–Eungella Road to Eungella township.
From either direction, the road to Eungella winds sharply and steeply up the Clarke Range—take care if towing a caravan. When you reach Eungella township at the top of the range, follow the road sweeping left to get to Eungella National Park and its short and long walks.
Eungella National Park has more than 20km of walking tracks and is the starting point for the 56km Mackay Highlands Great Walk. So, whether you want to stroll with the family, walk for several hours, or set out on the Great Walk, there's something to suit. Stops along the way include, Finch Hatton Gorge, Peases Lookout, Goodes Lookout (in Eungella), Pine Grove, Sky Window and Broken River―each offering different views, walks or facilities. Pine Grove, is at the edge of Eungella township, and here you'll find parking, information and the start of the Pine Grove track and the Great Walk.
The toilets and picnic tables at the Broken River information centre and Sky Window are wheelchair-accessible.
For your safety
Consider your fitness, ability and weather conditions carefully before setting out. Be well prepared and responsible for your own safety—even on a short stroll. Do not expect to be warned of every possible danger.
- Wear sturdy footwear, not thongs.
- Supervise your children at all times, especially around water and near cliff edges.
- Stay behind barriers and adhere to safety signs.
- Take care on slippery rocks and at creek crossings.
- Take care near cliff edges—do not climb on rock faces.
- Stay on formed walking tracks and avoid taking shortcuts.
- Always tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return.
- Walk in a group, never alone. Leave plenty of time to reach your destination in daylight.
- Avoid walking in the hottest part of the day.
- Carry sufficient drinking water.
- Protect yourself from the sun and biting insects by wearing a hat, long sleeves, sunscreen and insect repellent.
- Avoid contact with stinging hairs on the leaves and stems of stinging trees.
- Pack a raincoat and jumper as weather can change rapidly in the mountains.
Long distance walking
Prepare well if undertaking a long distance or overnight walk such as the Mackay Highlands Great Walk. Ensure you have:
- a topographic map. Download detailed digital maps from a suitable source before you go
- compass and/or GPS (and know how to use it)
- mobile phone and personal locator beacon (PLB)
- nourishing food that is compact and lightweight (plus extra emergency supply)
- drinking water
- appropriate clothing and sun protection
- first-aid kit, torch, toilet paper and hand trowel
- lightweight tent, sleeping gear, fuel stove and cooking equipment if camping out overnight
- camping permit.
Dangers and risks
Six deaths have occurred in this area since 1976.
Finch Hatton Gorge section of the national park has many dangerous cascades. While the cascades look inviting to explore and climb, please beware of the dangers—too many lives have already been lost here!
Death, spinal cord injuries such as quadriplegia and paraplegia are some of the serious consequences of jumping or diving into creeks and swimming holes, or slipping from steep slopes. Drowning is the greatest threat to people who have injured their spines through accidents in and around the cascades and water. Heed safety signs, don’t take risks and remember; there is no cure for spinal cord injury—it’s with you for life.
Please observe and obey signs
- Parts of the Araluen Cascades and Wheel of Fire are closed to keep you safe. Entry to the restricted access areas is prohibited without a permit or written approval. Penalties apply.
- Take care when swimming, and do not attempt to climb steep or wet slopes. Beware of dangers and do all you can to reduce your risk of injury or death due to:
- slips and falls
- drowning/near drowning
- hypothermia or shock from unexpected water temperature.
- Climbing rock faces is prohibited. Rocks may be loose or slippery, especially after rain or from water spray at the cascades. Penalties apply.
- Jumping and diving into the creek and swimming holes is prohibited. Penalties apply.
- Finch Hatton Gorge has fast flowing streams with turbulent and dangerous currents, especially after rain.
- Sudden downpours and seasonal storms can quickly change the nature of the water flows in Finch Hatton Gorge. Fast stream rises and strong currents occur following heavy rainfall. Do not attempt to cross fast flowing streams.
See map of Finch Hatton Gorge .
Aesthetics and overcrowding
During summer months, the creeks and swimming holes at Araluen Cascades and Wheel of Fire often became overcrowded with visitors. Estimated current visitation to Finch Hatton Gorge is in the vicinity of approximately 100,000 visitors annually.
People have suffered serious injuries in water-related accidents. There are no patrolled swimming areas in Eungella National Park. Avoid tragedy.
- Supervise children closely when near water
- Do not jump or dive into water. Serious injuries and deaths have occurred.
- Beware of slippery rocks, especially around the cascades.
- Take care at creek crossings. Rocks may be uneven, loose or have slippery surfaces.
Safety is your responsibility
- Advise a reliable friend or family member of your itinerary and contingency plan if things go wrong.
- Be aware that this person, not rangers, is responsible for alerting police if a rescue is needed.
- Always check track conditions before starting your walk.
- Do not ignore track closure signs.
In an emergency
In case of accident or other emergency please:
- call Triple Zero (000) or use the Emergency+ app (which uses the GPS on your smartphone to give an accurate location address)
- call 106 for a text-only message for deaf or speech or hearing impaired callers
- advise the nature of the emergency and your location
- stay on the phone until you are told to hang up.
For more information, please read the guidelines on safety in parks and forests.
Essentials to bring
- sufficient food and water
- sturdy footwear
- first-aid kit—and know how to use it
- protective clothing
- insect repellent
- strong rubbish bags—bins are not provided
- fuel stove and fuel
- A mobile phone or satellite phone (with spare battery), GPS and a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) are recommended for remote bushwalking.
Eungella National Park is open 24 hours a day.
Permits and fees
Camping permits are required and fees apply. A tag with your booking number must be displayed at your camp site.
Commercial photography permits are required if you intend to sell any photographs taken of Eungella National Park.
Organised event permits are required for organised group activities that may interfere with general public use.
View permits and fees for further information.
Domestic animals are not allowed in Eungella National Park.
Climate and weather
The region's dry season occurs during winter (June–August), with average temperatures from 10°C to 20°C. Between October and March, high humidity, strong seasonal rainfall and average temperatures of 20°C to 30°C make walking less comfortable.
Much of the yearly rainfall is between December and March. Walking from April to September will help avoid wet and dry weather extremes.
For more information see the tourism information links.
Fuel and supplies
Fuel and supplies are available at Mackay, Proserpine, and Finch Hatton. For more information see the tourism information links.