Parks of Central West Queensland Outback Queensland

Photo credit: © Tourism and Events Queensland

About Central West Queensland

    Features of the parks

    The parks of Central West Queensland fall within two major river catchments, the Cooper Creek and Diamantina River catchments. Idalia, Forest Den, Lochern and Welford national parks are part of the Cooper Creek catchment. Bladensburg, Diamantina and Munga-Thirri national parks, along with Lark Quarry and Combo Waterhole conservation parks, all fall within the Diamantina River catchment.

    Ten national and conservation parks covering more than 2.1 million hectares help protect the natural and cultural heritage of semi-arid western Queensland.

    Craggy escarpments and deep gullies tell of a land that has been alternately shaped by, then starved of, water for eons. Cretaceous sea floors and lakebeds laid down 65 to 140 million years ago form the base of the landscape, preserving fossils from shellfish to dinosaurs.

    Drainage lines of the Mitchell grass plains are visible for kilometres, identified by coolibah and river red gums—strikingly tall trees in a land dominated by stunted vegetation.

    Each park has distinctive values. A secret to appreciating their diversity is to learn about their similarities and differences.

    Central West parks are special. They contain areas of fragile geology, high numbers of endemic, rare and threatened and species, waterways of significance, relics of pastoral activities and are living cultural landscapes for Traditional Owner groups. For the purpose of natural resource conservation, access is restricted to some areas, view Goneaway National Park restricted access area (PDF, 64.1KB) and Diamantina restricted access area (PDF, 67.4KB) .

    Read more about Central West Queensland’s nature, culture and history.

    Looking after the parks

    Everything in a national park and conservation park is protected. Please appreciate, respect and help care for these places of outstanding natural and cultural value and encourage others to do the same by following these guidelines.

    • Leave everything as you find it. Everything, living and dead, is protected including ruins and artefacts.
    • Keep food away from wildlife. Accidental or intentional feeding upsets the balance of nature and can make animals sick and/or aggressive.
    • Manage your waste. Take rubbish with you as no bins are provided. Pack food away immediately after meals and secure rubbish in strong sealed containers to avoid attracting insects and larger animals. Do not bury rubbish. Dingoes or other animals will dig it up.
    • Use toilets where provided. Do not throw rubbish or contents of chemical toilet tanks into pit toilets. Where toilets are not available—bury toilet waste (and paper) at least 15cm deep and 100m away from camp sites, tracks and watercourses.
    • Stop the spread of weeds and pathogens. New introductions can spread and displace resident species and alter the local ecology. Soil from your camping gear and boots can contain weed seeds and foreign plant pathogens. Before you arrive clean all vehicles (especially the tyres and undercarriage), all camping equipment and walking gear. If available, use a washdown facility provided in a local town.
    • Domestic animals are not permitted in the parks. Please observe the before you visit guidelines for dog and pets.

    Practise low impact camping

    • Choose your site carefully. Use the designated camping areas provided and take care to camp on park land (not private land).
    • Do not tie ropes to trees or drape things over vegetation. Arid zone plants are slow to recover.
    • Set up camp away from animal nests and/or burrows to avoid disturbing them.
    • Be careful with fire. Use fireplaces (fire rings), where provided. Put the fire out with water when you leave your campsite. Bring your own clean, pest free firewood—collecting firewood in national parks is not permitted. Obey fire restrictions. Preferably use a gas or fuel stove for cooking.
    • Keep noise levels reasonable. Generators are prohibited, except for medical reasons (with Department of Environment and Science approval).

    Practise low impact driving

    • Keep to designated tracks. Driving off-track damages vegetation, causes erosion and creates confusing new tracks. Arid landscapes are fragile, plants grow extremely slowly while tyre tracks will remain for decades.
    • Be considerate—much of the land surrounding the parks is privately owned. Only cross private land on a designated track with the landowner’s permission. Leave all gates as you find them. Be mindful, some maps show roads that are private and not open to the public.
    • Never drive on rain-affected roads. Even if you make it through, your vehicle will damage the road surface and make it dangerous for other road users.
    • Use wash down facilities in local towns to remove seeds and soil from vehicles. Wheels pick up weeds and pathogens during travel and disperse them into parks.
    • Drive according to local conditions, watch out for animals and avoid washouts and flooded crossings. Slow down and move off the road for trucks and semi-trailers.

    Protect watercourses

    • Minimise your use of soaps and detergents and wash at least 50m away from waterbodies.

    Practise responsible fishing

    Fishing is permitted at Welford, Lochern, Bladensburg and Diamantina national parks.

    • Do not use frogs or other live bait. Invasive species may escape and establish a pest population. Severe penalties apply for using invasive species as bait. Practise responsible fishing and check your bait.
    • Comply with size and bag limits. Only keep what you can eat on-site. Contact the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for more information about fishing regulations.

    See the guidelines on caring for parks for more information about protecting our environment and heritage in parks.

    Management of the parks

    Each park in Central West Queensland has unique attributes. They are managed to conserve their natural condition and protect their cultural resources and values. The department is responsible for parks in the area, however Winton Shire Council jointly manages Lark Quarry Conservation Park.

    Tourism information links

    Blackall-Tambo Regional Council/Visitor Information Centre
    108a Shamrock Street, Blackall
    ph (07) 4657 4637
    email or

    Longreach Regional Council
    96a Eagle Street, Longreach
    ph (07) 4658 4111
    email or

    Diamantina Shire Council
    17 Herbert Street, Bedourie
    ph (07) 4746 1600

    Bedourie Outback Visitors Centre
    13 Herbert Street, Bedourie
    ph 1300 794 257 / 07 4745 1630

    Barcoo Shire Council or
    6 Perkins Street, Jundah
    ph (07) 4658 6900
    email or

    Jundah Visitor Information Centre
    11 Dickson Street, Jundah
    ph (07) 4658 6930

    Wirrarri Visitor Information Centre
    29 Burt Street, Birdsville
    ph (07) 4656 2000
    email or

    Winton Shire Council
    75 Vindex Street, Winton
    ph (07) 4657 2666

    Waltzing Matilda Centre
    50 Elderslie Street, Winton
    ph (07) 4657 1466

    Windorah Visitor Information Centre
    Maryborough Street, Windorah
    ph (07) 4656 3063

    For information on road conditions contact:
    Queensland Traffic
    Ph: 13 19 40

    For tourism information for all outback regions in Queensland see Outback Queensland.

    • There are currently no park alerts for this park.