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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.
Camping is permitted at Monks Tank camping area. A pit toilet is the only facility provided. Camping permits are required and fees apply.
- Find out more about camping in Idalia National Park.
- Book your campsite online.
- If you cannot book online, see camping bookings for other options.
- See more general information about camping in national parks.
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.
- Species lists are available from the Queensland Government's request a species list page.
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.