Lochern National Park Outback Queensland

Lochern National Park's peaceful Thomson River. Photo credit: John Augusteyn © Queensland Government

Things to do

    Camping and accommodation


    Camping is permitted at Broadwater Waterhole camping area. No facilities are provided.

    Camping permits are required and fees apply.

    Other accommodation

    There is a range of accommodation in and around Longreach. For more information see tourism information links.


    The park has no formal walking tracks but you can wander around the river and waterholes. As Lochern is relatively quiet and the terrain is gentle the habitat drive is also suitable for walking.


    For your best chance to see Lochern’s wildlife, drive slowly and go in either the early morning or evening.

    Image of Bluebush Lagoon

    Bluebush Lagoon. Appreciate the wide-open space of the Mitchell grass plains and lagoons of the Channel Country.

    Photo credit: Sophia Levy © Queensland Government

    Image of Bulbine lilies flowering after a flood

    Water brings life — Bulbine lilies flower after flood.

    Photo credit: Sophia Levy © Queensland Government

    Lochern habitat drive—approximately 40km return (allow 2–4 hours)

    This scenic drive is only accessible to 4WD vehicles. Start from the information centre, located 7km from Broadwater Waterhole camping area. Learn about the cycles of wet and dry in the Channel Country landscape at the information centre, then follow the ‘Scenic Drive’. Gidgee, bloodwood and mulga woodlands open out onto Mitchell grass plains and the channels and floodplains of the Thomson River. Step out of the car at spots like Bluebush Lagoon to watch waterbirds or examine blossoms on tiny plants. See the relics of the pastoral era at the shepherd yards and shearing complex or take a wander around the old homestead situated by the Thomson River.

    Image of the still waters of the Thomson River.

    Dip your paddle in the still waters of the Thomson River.

    Photo credit: Sophia Levy © Queensland Government

    Canoeing and kayaking

    Canoe or kayak along the still waters of the Thomson River at Broadwater Waterhole—a popular activity. Early morning is the best time for viewing wildlife along the banks of the river.


    Fishing in the waterholes is permitted, however size and bag limits apply. Contact the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for more information about fishing regulations.


    You can ride your bicycle along the park’s habitat drive. Be careful of other vehicles.

    Viewing wildlife


    Lochern is bustling with wildlife if you know where to look. When in the woodlands, look for hooded robins and Major Mitchell's cockatoos. Mallee ringneck, red-winged, mulga and Bourke's parrots are also common. Listen carefully for the crested bellbird's clear call.

    The eastern dead finish shrublands are home to Hall's babblers and splendid fairy-wrens. Emus abound at Lochern in good seasons. In late winter, watch for the male emu with strings of newborn chicks following closely behind.

    Australian bustards are most likely to be seen in the Mitchell grass plains and between river channels. Stately brolgas also frequent the plains and spotted harriers can be seen gliding low, hunting for food.

    Identify scavenging black kites as they fly overhead by the fork in their tail. Whistling kites nest and call beside Broadwater Waterhole.

    You will probably hear the trumpeting, creaky call of red-tailed black-cockatoos before you see them flying along the river channels with their deep, slow wing beats. Budgerigars nest in the coolibahs and little black-fronted dotterels scurry along the edge of waterholes. The bird flying erratically in your headlights with the large white spots in its wings is a spotted nightjar.

    Fallen timber in the gidgee woodlands is a haven for reptiles such as spiny-tailed geckos, marbled velvet geckos and gidgee skinks. In the warmer months you may be lucky enough to come across a handsome black-headed python stretched across the road at night.

    Large yellow goannas search through the day for carrion, burrowing lizards and frogs. Listen for tiny chirping froglets in mud cracks at the edge of waterholes. You may also spy a turtle poking its head out of the water. After dusk, watch for bats scouting for insects overhead.

    Brushtail possums have been seen in coolibahs beside Broadwater Waterhole. They are at the edge of their distribution on Lochern. Red kangaroos, eastern grey kangaroos and wallaroos are the most common larger animals.


    Lochern supports a number of plants typical of the Channel Country and Mitchell Grass Downs bioregions. These include groups of mixed mulga, hakea and western bloodwood, and coolibah and gidgee woodlands.

    The Thomson River's braided channels give life to grasses, herbs and bluebush and lignum shrublands. Naturally open Mitchell grass plains stretching back from the river give way to bands of open gidgee and thick mulga.

    All four species of Mitchell grass (bull, curly, barley and hoop) are found at Lochern. Stony areas support groups of whitewood and gidgee woodlands with Mitchell grass.

    Some sand-plains in the park support leopardwood and gidgee woodlands, while others support shrublands of eastern dead finish and mulga. These groups of plants have a restricted habitat. The mauve flowers of the silver turkeybush provide a particularly attractive setting in the distinctive tall shrublands of eastern dead finish on red sandy soil. A sweet scent emanates from the bush after rain.