Hell Hole Gorge National Park Outback Queensland

Photo credit: © Queensland Government

Things to do

    Go in search of wildlife taking refuge from the dry at waterholes and along creeks.

    Go in search of wildlife taking refuge from the dry at waterholes and along creeks.

    Photo credit: © Queensland Government

    The blossoms of Homalocalyx sp. are quite extraordinary.

    The blossoms of Homalocalyx sp. are quite extraordinary.

    Photo credit: Tracy Wattz © Queensland Government

    Showy clusters of Clerodendrum flowers contrast against the red soil and blue sky.

    Showy clusters of Clerodendrum flowers contrast against the red soil and blue sky.

    Photo credit: Tracy Wattz © Queensland Government

    Hell Hole Gorge National Park has no visitor facilities, but is well-suited to low-impact nature-based activities. You can camp, hike, explore, birdwatch, relax and study or photograph nature.

    Hell Hole Waterhole, with its steep rocky banks and cascades that run after heavy rainfall, is the largest of the park’s rock pools and the park’s main attraction. More washpools and cascades can be found along the length of Powell Creek and in smaller Spencer Creek. Rugged gullies invite exploratory walks in search of unusual plants or glimpses of animal life.

    Visitors need to be mindful of their safety in this remote park. Take a compass or GPS when exploring as the terrain is deceptively rugged.

    Camping and accommodation

    Camping

    Camping is permitted near Powell Creek, 7km from the park entrance. Campers should plan their visit and obtain an e-permit well in advance. Self-registration is not available. There is no alternative accommodation within close proximity to the park.

    Campers must be self-sufficient as there are no facilities. Take plenty of drinking water. Roads are not suitable for caravans.

    Camping permits are required and fees apply. A tag with your booking number must be displayed at your camp site.

    Other accommodation

    There is a range of holiday accommodation at Quilpie (189km) and Charleville (256km).

    For more information see the tourism information links.

    Walking

    Hell Hole Gorge National Park has only one marked walking track, but you can also explore around waterholes and into rugged gorges, or stroll along the top of the plateau high above the creek. Watch for birds, look for wildflowers or spot wildlife resting in the cool gorge below. The terrain in the park is deceptively rugged, so ensure you follow all safe bushwalking guidelines.

    Warning: Unstable cliff edges.

    • Keep well back—the edge can be closer than you think and sandstone may crumble unexpectedly.
    • Supervise children at all times.
    • Take extra care when using binoculars or cameras near cliff edges.

    Grade 4 track Hell Hole Waterhole

    Distance: 1.2km return from Powell Creek camping area
    Time: Allow 40min
    Details: Follow markers across the smooth-rock creek beds of Powell Creek. Explore gorges and billabongs as you wander to Hell Hole Waterhole—a magnificent spot to sit quietly and enjoy the sounds and smells of nature. Listen and look for birds and other animals along the way, and stop to admire the sheer determination and beauty of plants striving to grow in these harsh arid landscapes.

    Caution is required near the creek. Heavy rain can cause water levels to rise quickly.

    Key to track standards

    Grade 4 track Grade 4 track

    • Rough track with many obstacles, loose surfaces and minimal signage.
    • Bushwalking experience and ankle-supporting footwear recommended.

    Driving

    Drive through mulga woodland, across open stony plateaus and little gullies towards hidden gorges and waterholes awaiting exploration. It is 7km from the park entrance to the camping area. A side track leads to Spencers Waterhole. Vehicle crossing of Powell Creek is prohibited to protect fragile landscapes and avoid disturbing yellow-footed rock wallabies.

    Fishing

    Fishing is not permitted in Hell Hole Gorge National Park.

    Swimming

    Water seems inviting in such a harsh, dry landscape, but swimmers should exercise caution as visibility is poor in the muddy water and conditions can be deceptive. Swimming is only recommended for strong, experienced swimmers. Never swim when creeks are in flood.

    Warning: Submerged objects, steep slippery banks and poor visibility in muddy water make swimming, jumping and diving unsafe.

    • Supervise children at all times.
    • Never dive or jump into the water.
    • Never swim after heavy rain. Water levels can rise rapidly without warning.
    • Take care on slippery rocks and steep banks.

    Viewing wildlife

    Keep watch for secretive yellow-footed rock wallabies bounding effortlessly up rocky ridges and cliffs around the gorge. They are quick to scurry into hidden cracks and crevices. Woodlands along creeks are the favoured spot of noisy red-tailed black cockatoos. Keep an eye out for the subtle pink of Major Mitchell’s cockatoos and for spinifex pigeons found here at the south-eastern limit of their distribution. See snakes and lizards laze in the sun then slide into shady crevices; glimpse Krefft’s river turtles dipping under the water surface when disturbed.

    Colourful wildflowers can be seen along the plateau from late winter through spring. Catch the yellow-tinge of acacia (wattle) blossoms, the subtle but varying colours of different Eremophila spp. (fuchsia, emu, boobialla and turkey bush), and the deep fushia pink of intricate Homalocalyx sp. flowers. The large, creamy-white blooms of Clerodendrum floribundum (lolly bush) are beautiful to see, but the heavy clusters of the bright red and black fruit which follow are even more spectacular.

    Be surprised by seeing quinine Petalostigma pubescens, red ash Alphitonia excelsa, dogwood Jacksonia scoparia, and wilga Geijera parviflora so far west. Wattles Acacia deaniei, A. cowleana and A. holosericea are also found here at the limits of their usual range.

    • There are currently no park alerts for this park.