Parks of Central West Queensland Outback Queensland

Photo credit: © Tourism and Events Qld

Visiting Central West Queensland safely

    Getting there and getting around

    Many roads in Central West Queensland are unsealed and impassable when wet. There are no all-weather access roads to any park in this region. Some parks, and some areas within parks, are accessible by four-wheel-drive vehicles only.

    It is recommended that you visit between April and September, in the cooler months. Summer temperatures can climb to over 40 °C, and high rainfalls can also occur in summer, followed quickly by floodwaters.

    Flooding can occur up to two weeks after rain elsewhere in the catchment. Rain can fall at any time of year and even a small amount of rain can make roads impassable. Check with the Queensland Transport or local council offices for current road conditions before your trip.

    Access to some parks is through private land. Be considerate and leave all gates as you find them.

    Elizabeth Springs Regional Park is not accessible by vehicles. A short walking track from the boundary gate enables you to experience the park. Goneaway and Hell Hole Gorge national parks do not have vehicle access, formed tracks or visitor facilities.

    Astrebla Downs National Park is not open to the public.

    Choose a travel route

    How much time do you have? Allow at least three weeks to see all the parks open to visitors. Your time will be well rewarded.

    Short trips (about one week)

    • Longreach—Lochern—Welford—Idalia—Longreach
    • Winton—Bladensburg—Lark Quarry—return Winton—Combo
    • Forest Den
    • Diamantina.

    Longer trips (about two weeks)

    • Bladensburg—Combo—Lark Quarry—Diamantina
    • Munga-Thirri (formerly known as Simpson Desert National Park) adds at least one week to any itinerary.

    Maps

    See each park’s web page for more detailed information on getting there and getting around.

    Wheelchair accessibility

    Wheelchair-accessible facilities are available in Lark Quarry Regional Park, Idalia National Park, and Lochern National Park.

    Staying safe

    These parks are remote and rangers may not be onsite to help you. You must be self-sufficient, responsible for your own safety, and prepared for emergencies.

    Be sure to read all essentials to bring and follow the guidelines below to help ensure your visit is a safe and enjoyable one.

    Before you leave

    • Thoroughly check the condition of your vehicle and pack vehicle spares and equipment, including two spare tyres, engine coolant and oil.
    • Ensure you are familiar with your equipment and experienced with inland Australian conditions. For more remote parks, ensure one person has sound mechanical knowledge of your vehicle.
    • Check local road and weather conditions and extended forecasts for where you intend to travel.
    • Calculate driving distances accurately and plan refuelling points.
    • Leave an itinerary with a friend or relative. Include travel routes and/or check-in points.
    • Pack reliable communication equipment and a list of local UHF radio channels and emergency contacts.
    • Pack for hot and cold conditions. 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.
    • Contact us or relevant tourist information centres to help you plan your trip.

    While visiting

    • Keep to designated roads and tracks and drive with caution at all times. Animals can appear on roads at any time of day and road conditions can change quickly.
    • Stay with your vehicle if it breaks down. A vehicle is much easier to find than a person.
    • Always carry drinking water whether driving or walking. Always treat water from streams, rivers or waterholes before drinking.
    • Never jump or dive into a waterhole. 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.
    • Wear protective clothing. Wear a hat, sunscreen 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.

    In an emergency

    In an emergency, phone Triple Zero (000) and if this fails try 112, or contact the local police station directly.

    You can also try to make contact with people on UHF radio. The most commonly used channels are listed below, however you should also seek local advice and scan for people using other channels while you are travelling.

    Bladensburg
    Winton Police Station (07) 4652 5130
    UHF Channel 1 (duplex)

    Lark Quarry
    Winton Police Station (07) 4652 5130

    Combo Waterhole
    Kynuna Police Station (07) 4746 8777

    Diamantina
    Boulia Police Station (07) 4744 1644
    UHF Channel 2 (duplex)

    Idalia
    Blackall Police Station (07) 4652 5151
    UHF Channel 24 or UHF Channel 6 (duplex)

    Lochern
    Longreach Police Station (07) 4652 5200
    UHF channel 2 (simplex)

    Munga-Thirri (formerly known as Simpson Desert National Park)
    Birdsville Police Station (07) 4656 5677
    UHF Channel 10

    Welford
    Jundah Police Station (07) 4652 5115
    UHF Channel 3 (duplex)

    Forest Den
    Aramac Police Station (07) 4652 5101

    For more information, please read the guidelines on safety in parks and forests.

    Before you visit

    Distances from the nearest town or centre can vary, and rangers are not always on-site. 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 breakdowns or stranding.
    • Fuel stove. No fires are permitted in these parks.
    • Complete first-aid kit. Include sun and insect protection in your kit.
    • UHF, satellite phone and/or a Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs). Mobile phone coverage is poor or not available in most areas.
    • Extra fuel and vehicle repairs. Frequent low gear and four-wheel-drive travel will use fuel more quickly on park drives. Fuel and supplies may not be available nearby. Use maps to plan refuelling points and calculate how much extra fuel to carry. You should also bring vehicle repair tools, spare tyres, oil and engine coolant.

    Opening hours

    Most Central West Queensland parks are open all year round except Munga-Thirri (formerly known as Simpson Desert) National Park which is closed from December to mid-March.

    However, wet weather may cause temporary closures, and you are advised not to visit in the hotter months between October and March. Check park alerts or contact us for information on park conditions and closures.

    While you are free to walk the tracks at Lark Quarry, access to Lark Quarry’s dinosaur trackways is by guided tour daily (Christmas Day and Boxing Day excluded), and fees apply. To arrange tours, contact Winton’s Waltzing Matilda Centre.

    Permits and fees

    Camping permits

    Camping permits are required to camp in all Central West Queensland parks and fees apply.

    Other permits

    Commercial photography permits may be required if you intend to sell any photographs taken of Queensland’s parks and forests. Organised event permits may be required for organised group activities that may interfere with general public use. 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.

    Pets

    Domestic animals are not permitted in any Central West Queensland parks.

    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 relevant catchment area, resulting in unexpected creek rises and road closures.

    Weather forecasts are available from the Bureau of Meteorology.

    Fuel and supplies

    The nearest fuel and supplies to these parks are often hundreds of kilometres away. Visit each park’s page for details on the nearest fuel and supplies.

    It is also vital you read each park’s web page carefully as well as the sections on before you visit and staying safe in Central West Queensland parks.

    • There are currently no park alerts for this park.