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About Idalia

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Getting there and getting around

Idalia National Park is one of nine parks around Longreach that you can visit, and is part of the Cooper Creek catchment. To help you plan your visit to this remote area, go to the Parks of Central West Queensland web page.

Idalia National Park is 113km south-west of Blackall in the Gowan Ranges. Access to Idalia is suitable for four-wheel-drive only. Take the Isisford Road from Blackall for 42km then turn left into the Yaraka Road. At the Benlidi siding, turn left and follow the ldalia-Benlidi Road for about 34km to the park boundary.

Many outback roads are unsealed. Even small amounts of rain can make roads impassable so always be prepared and have at least a week’s worth of extra supplies in case of stranding. Check with the RACQ or local council offices for current road conditions before your trip.

Wheelchair accessibility

There is a wheelchair-accessible toilet at Monks Tank camping area.

Park features

This 144,000 hectare park protects extensive mulga woodlands, the headwaters of the Bulloo River and threatened wildlife, including a translocated population of bridled nailtail wallabies.

Explore the gorges and rock formations of Idalia’s Gowan Range tablelands. As you emerge from the dense mulga, catch surprise views of rugged escarpments, home to yellow-footed rock-wallabies. You may also see other macropods grazing along the creek flats.

Visit innovative stake stockyards built from the 1920s to 1950s to hold up to 300 cattle during muster. Wander among the rusty iron and splintered bush timber relics, imagining the stories behind them.

Camping and accommodation

Camping is permitted at Monks Tank camping area. A pit toilet is the only facility provided. Camping permits are required and fees apply.

Things to do

Enjoy birdwatching, bushwalking, scenic driving, exploring historical sites and watching wildlife. Pick up a drive guide brochure from the information shelter at Chucksters Bore just 3km from the park entrance, or from the camping registration station at Monks Tank. It’s a handy summary of the park’s diverse destinations.


Walk through the rugged, rocky gorges and tablelands at different times of day to discover Idalia at its best. It is a 37km drive from the park entrance to Emmet Pocket Lookout. On the way, there are several side branches with short drives and walks. You could easily spend a couple of days exploring Idalia’s most accessible spots.

  • When walking, wear sun protection and sturdy shoes, carry plenty of water, and follow other safety advice.

Old Idalia (Allow 30–45mins to explore) Grade: Easy

The turn-off to Old Idalia is about 5.5 km north-west of the park office and Old Idalia is a further 1.9 km from the turn-off. Old Idalia is the site of a musterer’s hut and stockyards dating from the 1920s. Look for the remains of a wagon and see the old ship’s tank where a natural spring once supplied water to the cattle. Please leave everything at this historic site as you find it.

Wave rock walk—1.2km return (Allow 1–2hrs) Grade: Easy

Departing from Old Idalia, walk past the old ship’s tank to reach the cliff overhang shaped like a wave. Wind, sun and time are nature’s carving tool here; sunset is the paintbrush. Panoramic views from the top of the cliff give an idea of the size of the park and its diverse vegetation.

Rainbow Gorge walk—200m return (Allow 30–45mins to explore) Grade: Easy

The entrance to Rainbow Gorge is about 14km north of the Old Idalia turn-off. Walk 100 m downstream to see a mass of white, red and yellow-stained sandstone. The creek drains into the Barcoo River via Thornleigh Creek.

Bullock Gorge walk—2.7km return (Allow 1–2hrs) Grade: Easy

The turn-off to Bullock Gorge is 9km north of the Monks Tank turn-off. Follow this road for 5.7km to reach the walk’s start. Walk along the Gowan Range’s flat ridge top through bendee shrubland. Painted rocks show the way. Take care though, as there are steep gorges on either side.

Look for small diggings of echidnas on the track. Watch the sun rise or set over spectacular gorges and look for yellow-footed rock-wallabies. While sitting, you have a wallaby’s eye view of the herbs they seek among the forest of trunks. Remember to take a torch for sunset walks.

Emmet Pocket walk—4.4km return (Allow 2–3hrs) Grade: Difficult

Starting from the Emmet Pocket lookout this track will take you deep into the gorge. This track has steep grades up and down the gorge side. The plains lie before you like a map. Tree lines mark waterways that stretch from rocks to river channels.


Discover Idalia’s history, wildlife and colour at its best. Several short drives and walks branch off the main road.

  • Please practise low impact driving in Idalia National Park.
  • Remember to bring extra fuel if undertaking these drives.

Murphys Rockhole—approximately 10km (return)

Murphys Rockhole is located 9.3km north of the turn-off to Monks Tank. Drive through thick, mature mulga to where a gorge shaded by large river red gums begins abruptly in the sandstone. This is a watering point for many animals.

Emmet Pocket lookout—approximately 24km (return)

From the Monks Tank campground, follow the tourist drive for 12km to reach Emmet Pocket lookout. The lookout has panoramic views over the park’s northern end. If you are very quiet you may be lucky enough to see yellow-footed rock-wallabies hiding among the rocks below. Please do not disturb them by climbing down among the rocks.

Viewing wildlife


Idalia is home to seven species of macropods. Wallaroos, red and grey kangaroos, swamp wallabies, black-striped wallabies, yellow-footed rock-wallabies and endangered bridled nailtail wallabies all abound at Idalia.

Red and grey kangaroos graze on open plains while yellow-footed rock-wallabies inhabit high rocky escarpments. These animals are well camouflaged and leave the sanctuary of their rocky homes only to drink and graze at the base of the cliffs. The yellow-footed rock-wallaby is vulnerable to extinction. Their main threats include predation by foxes and dingoes, as well as competition from introduced herbivores such as feral goats and sheep.

Heavy-set common wallaroos forage on grassy slopes of the ranges or along creek beds for herbs and grasses. Swamp wallabies also chew herbs and grasses along creek beds.

At night, bridled nailtail wallabies, also known as flashjacks, feed mainly on herbs in scrubby sand country. Here, you may also see tiny kultarrs bounding gracefully in search of cockroaches and other bugs.

Black-striped wallabies are often seen nibbling short grasses that bridled nailtail wallabies ignore, only competing for food during droughts.

A number of bird species observed at Idalia are at the known limits of their distribution. These include plum-headed finches, eastern yellow robins and speckled warblers. Colourful mallee ringnecks and mulga parrots, crested bellbirds, grey-crowned and Hall’s babblers and common bronzewing pigeons are often seen.


The Gowan Range’s steep escarpments lie along the edge of flat-topped peaks and tablelands. Mountain yapunyah, Dawson gum and lancewood are sometimes associated with the low bendee woodlands covering the escarpments and steep slopes. Bastard mulga is found on the stony flat-topped peaks.

Mulga covers most of Idalia. Areas of mature mulga scrub have a good cover of leaf litter and fallen logs, which make ideal fauna habitat. Ironwood, beefwood and sometimes turpentine mulga are found in the mulga communities on sandy soils.

On sandy flats beside the Bulloo River, open woodlands of poplar box (normally found in greater numbers further east) or silver-leaved ironbark occur. These have an understorey of wilga and eastern dead finish.

Stands of brigalow, boree and gidgee occur on areas of wooded downs, which are also contained in the park.

Fifteen native fuschia species have been found at Idalia. These shrubs have characteristic tubular flowers.

Things to know before you go

Idalia National Park is 113km from Blackall, and you must be self-sufficient and prepared for emergencies.

Essentials to bring

  • Adequate water, food and emergency supplies. Carry at least seven litres of water per person per day and enough emergency food and water for at least seven days in case of stranding.
  • Fuel stove. No fires are permitted in Idalia National Park.
  • Complete first-aid kit. Include sun and insect protection in your kit.
  • UHF, satellite phone and/ or an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB). Mobile phone coverage is poor or not available in most areas of Idalia National Park.
  • Extra fuel and vehicle repairs. Frequent low gear and four-wheel-drive travel will use fuel more quickly on park drives. You should also bring vehicle repair tools, spare tyres, oil and engine coolant.

Opening hours

Idalia National Park is open all year, however wet weather may cause temporary closures. Check park alerts or contact us for information on park conditions and closures.

Permits and fees

Camping permits are required and fees apply.

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

Organised event permits are required for organised group activities that may interfere with general public use.

Contact us for further information.


Domestic animals are not permitted in Idalia National Park.

Climate and weather

Visiting is recommended from April to September as summer temperatures reach over 40°C during the day, and summer rains often cause flooding. Rain can fall at any time of year and flooding can occur up to two weeks after rain elsewhere in the catchment, resulting in unexpected creek rises and road closures.

Weather forecasts are available from the Bureau of Meterology.

Fuel and supplies

The nearest fuel and supplies are at Blackall (113km) and Isisford (approximately 150km).

Staying safe

This park is remote and rangers may not be on park to help you. You must be self-sufficient and prepared for emergencies.

It is vitally important that you read staying safe in Parks of Central West Queensland.

In an emergency

In an emergency, phone 000 and if this fails try 112. You could also contact the Blackall Police Station on (07) 4657 4200, or try to make contact with people on UHF radio (try channel 24 or channel 6 duplex and scan for other local radio traffic).

Looking after the park

Everything in Idalia National Park is protected, including plants, animals and heritage sites and artefacts. Please appreciate, respect and help care for Idalia’s outstanding natural and cultural values by leaving things as you find them, and encouraging others to do the same.

Please read looking after parks in Central West Queensland.

Park management

Each park in the Longreach district has unique attributes. They are managed to conserve their natural condition and protect their cultural resources and values.

The national park is managed in accordance with the Idalia National Park Management Plan (PDF, 7.4M).

Tourism information links

Blackall-Tambo Regional Council/Visitor Information Centre

6 Coronation Drive, Blackall

ph (07) 07 4657 4637

fax (07) 4657 4913

email or

Longreach Regional Council

96a Eagle Street, Longreach

ph (07) 4658 4111

fax (07) 4658 4116


For information on road conditions contact:

RACQ (The Royal Automobile Club of Queensland)

(search 'road conditions’)

ph 1300 130 595 for 24-hour road reports

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

Further information

Contact us

Last updated
23 January 2014