Visiting Central West Queensland safely
Getting there and getting around
Many outback roads in Central West Queensland are unsealed and impassable after rain. Some parks, and areas within parks, are accessible by four-wheel-drive vehicles only.
The best time to visit is in the cooler months (April and September) to avoid extreme summer daytime temperatures of over 45°C, and the risk of high rainfall and flooding.
Flooding can occur suddenly or even weeks after rain has been received in catchments further upstream. Rain can fall at any time of year and even a small amount of water can make outback roads impassable. Check with the Queensland Transport and local council websites for road condition reports. Check Park Alerts for information on park conditions, access and closures.
- Parks of Central West Queensland map
- Parks of the Cooper Creek catchment—park maps
- Parks of the Diamantina catchment—park maps
- Lake Eyre Basin map
Refer to each park’s web page for detailed information on getting there and getting around.
Wheelchair-accessible facilities (assistance may be required) are available in Lark Quarry Conservation Park, Idalia National Park, and Lochern National Park.
The parks of Central West Queensland are remote and rangers may not be onsite to help you. You must be self-sufficient, responsible for your own safety and prepared for all emergencies.
Be sure to read all essentials to bring and follow the guidelines below to help make your visit a safe and enjoyable one.
Before you leave
- Thoroughly check the condition of your vehicle and pack vehicle spares, recovery and repair equipment. Include 2 spare tyres, engine coolant and oil.
- Choose your destination wisely! Make sure you are familiar with your equipment, vehicle and someone in your group has experience with remote area travel and inland Australian conditions. For more remote parks, ensure one person has sound mechanical knowledge of your vehicle.
- Expect rough, slow, dusty and/or boggy roads, far from help if something should go wrong. Check local road and weather conditions and extended weather forecasts for the locations you intend to visit.
- Plan to fuel up regularly. Calculate driving times and distances accurately and plan your refuelling points. Driving time on an unsealed road is much longer than on a bitumen road! Frequent low gear and 4WD travel will use more fuel too. Remember, national park bases and local properties are not service stations.
- Leave an itinerary with a friend or relative. Include travel routes and/or check-in points.
- Plan for emergencies. Pack reliable communication equipment, extra supplies and a list of local UHF radio channels and emergency contacts.
- Pack for hot and cold conditions (plus flies and midges!). Outback Queensland can be very hot during the day, and very cold (to below freezing point) overnight. Check with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology for more information on average temperatures.
- Seek local advice. Contact relevant tourist information centres to help plan your trip.
- Keep to designated roads and tracks, and drive with caution as road conditions can change quickly. Watch out for animals, they can appear on roads at any time of day though are generally more active at dusk and dawn.
- Stay with your vehicle if it breaks down. A vehicle is much easier to find than a person.
- Carry drinking water, whether driving or walking. Boil, filter or treat water from streams, rivers or waterholes before drinking.
- Never jump or dive into water. It may be shallow or hide submerged objects.
- Watch your step on escarpments. Edges can be unstable due to natural weathering, so stay away from the edge and take care where you walk. Heed all safety advice and warnings.
- Wear protective clothing. Put on a hat, sunscreen, insect repellent and wear sturdy footwear, not thongs.
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times and be on the lookout for animals and insects that could scratch, sting or bite.
For more information, please read the guidelines on safety in parks and forests.
In an emergency
For all emergencies call Triple Zero (000).
Mobile phone coverage is generally not available, although some networks may have service in major towns. Carry a satellite phone or UHF radio. A Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) is also advisable.
We highly recommend you visit the Triple Zero website before visiting a national park or forest. Download the Triple Zero emergency app to help identify your location. Important: if there is no mobile coverage on any network, you will not be able to reach the Emergency Call Service via a mobile phone.
Before you visit
Distances from the nearest town or centre can vary, and people may not be around to help you. You must be self-sufficient and prepared for all emergencies.
Essentials to bring
- Adequate water, food and emergency supplies. Carry at least 7 litres of water per person per day (for drinking, cooking and limited washing) and enough emergency supplies (including water) in case of breakdowns or stranding.
- Reliable camping gear in good working order.
- Sturdy rubbish bags and sealable animal-proof containers.
- A portable fuel stove and/or clean pest free firewood.
- Complete first-aid kit. Include sun and insect protection plus medications.
- Communication equipment and a list of emergency contacts. A UHF, satellite phone and/or a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB). Mobile phone coverage is poor or not available in most areas.
- Extra fuel, vehicle spares and repair equipment. Frequent low gear and four-wheel-drive travel will use fuel more quickly.
Most Central West Queensland parks are open all year round, except Munga-Thirri National Park which is seasonally closed from December to mid-March.
Wet weather or management activities may cause site or temporary park closures. Check park alerts for information on park conditions, access and closures.
Permits and fees
Camping permits are required to camp in all Central West Queensland parks and fees apply.
- See each park’s web page for information on booking your camp site online.
- If you cannot book online, see camping bookings for other options.
- See more general information about camping in national parks.
Other permits and fees
Various activities in Queensland parks and forests require a permit. Activities include commercial tours, social events (for example weddings or birthday parties), organised group visits, school excursions, scientific research, professional photography and the sale of photographs or vision of the park. Contact us for further information.
Desert Parks Pass
If you wish to continue into the South Australian section of the Simpson Desert, you’ll need to purchase a Desert Parks Pass. See the Munga-Thirri National Park page for more information.
Domestic animals are not permitted in any Central West Queensland parks.
Climate and weather
The climate in Central West Queensland is generally cooler from April to September, average daytime temperatures range from 21°C to 31°C. Nights this time of year are mostly crisp, clear and cold — in some locations the temperature can drop to below freezing. Summer are hot! Temperatures reach over 45°C during the day, and summer rains often cause flooding. Though rain can fall at any time of year and flooding can occur weeks after rain has fallen in upper catchment areas.
Weather forecasts are available from the Bureau of Meteorology.
Fuel and supplies
Check tourist information links for details on the nearest towns for fuel and supplies.
- There are currently no park alerts for this park.