Welford National Park Outback Queensland

Photo credit: Photo: John Augusteyn © Qld Govt

Things to do

    Visit the Trafalgar Waterhole day-use area. Enjoy a picnic on the banks of the Barcoo River under the shade of coolibah trees. To get there turn east off the Jundah-Quilpie road and travel approximately 18km, follow the signs to the day-use area. This track is accessible for 4WD vehicles only.

    Camping and accommodation

    Camping

    Bush camping is permitted at Little Boomerang Waterhole, on the Barcoo River. A toilet is provided.

    Camping permits are required and fees apply.

    Other accommodation

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

    Walking

    Take a closer look at animal footprints, soil cracks, gibber rocks and other small features of the landscape, and keep your eye out for birds and wildlife.

    • When walking, wear sun protection and sturdy shoes, carry plenty of water, and follow other safety advice.

    Sawyers lookout—1.2km return (allow 30 minutes) Grade: Moderate

    Park your vehicle near the sign marking the turn-off to Sawyers Lookout on the Mulga Drive. Take a walk from the drive and take in panoramic views of exposed rocky outcrops, slopes and spidery networks of channel country. Bright green foliage along creek lines stand out like veins carrying lifeblood—water. Look for yellow-footed rock-wallabies at dusk.

    Driving

    Welford offers three self-guided scenic drives, on which you can explore dunes, rocky outcrops, scrub, plains, channels and billabongs. Pick up a drive guide brochure from Little Boomerang Waterhole camping registration station. For your best chance to see Welford’s wildlife, drive slowly and go in either the early morning or late afternoon.

    • Please practise low impact driving in Welford National Park.
    • Remember to bring extra fuel if undertaking these drives.

    Desert Drive—22km one way (allow at least 3 hours) 4WD access only

    Travel north from Little Boomerang Waterhole and take the western turn, which marks the start of this drive. Explore spinifex and red sand country, where soil colours range from rose-pink, through paprika to impossibly red. White ghost gums stretch over spinifex and fallen timber under a vivid blue sky.

    Sandplains and dunes make thirsty country, but where there's water there's life. Look among the coolibahs for white-plumed honeyeaters. Capture the colour on camera! Whet your appetite for Simpson Desert-style dunes. Welford's isolated dunes are at the eastern reaches of the Lake Eyre sand dune system.

    You may walk, but never drive, up the dune. Its colours and views are rewarding. Take care not to disturb the fragile plants.

    River Drive—12.3km one way (allow at least 1.5 hours) 4WD access only

    From Little Boomerang Waterhole travel north and take the right turn-off towards the banks of the Barcoo River. Impressive river red gums offer shade and tranquillity. They are a cool place to rest and watch birds.

    Although the Barcoo is just a series of billabongs in dry times, flood debris caught in high branches tells of dynamic wet times when the river floods the vast plains and cuts all roads. When the Barcoo is in flood, debris is washed down with such force that the entire appearance of the landscape is altered.

    Mulga Drive—54.5km return (allow at least 4 hours) 4WD access only

    Continue east from the park office to follow the flat expanse of the Barcoo River floodplains. The drive then heads up into the mulga country, dissected by stony escarpments and gullies.

    Viewing wildlife

    Animals

    Numerous large, permanent waterholes on the Barcoo River's floodplains are important refuges for birds, particularly during severe droughts. Look for pelicans, brolgas, black swans, cormorants, whistling kites and whiskered terns.

    A delightful sight in late winter is a male emu walking across the open grasslands followed by his tiny striped chicks. The female emu's parental role ends when she lays the eggs.

    Major Mitchell's cockatoos, mallee ringnecks, red-winged parrots and mulga parrots provide a flash of colour in the Mulga Lands.

    Red and grey kangaroos and wallaroos are common at Welford. Watch out for them when driving at night.

    Common brushtail possums are rarely seen in Western Queensland, but nest at Welford during the day in hollows of river red gums and coolibahs lining the waterholes. Look for them near your campsite at night.

    Plants

    Welford contains a mosaic of plants typical of the Mulga Lands, Mitchell Grass Downs and Channel Country bioregions.

    Mountain yapunyah, poplar box, bendee and lancewood are at the extreme western boundary of their range in Welford—a major reason for it becoming a national park.

    The giant grey spinifex, found on the lower slopes of the park's ranges, is uncommon in the surrounding region.

    Fishing

    Fishing in the Barcoo River is permitted, however size and bag limits apply. Contact Queensland Fisheries for more information about fishing regulations.

    Boating and paddling

    Little Boomerang has a large expanse of permanent water which is a popular location for boating, canoeing and kayaking. Due care is needed when launching boats or canoes from the river bank due to steep and slippery conditions.

    Other things to do

    Discovering cultural heritage

    Many remnants of Aboriginal habitation, including water wells and stone arrangements, are found throughout the park. However some of these sites are in remote areas of the park which do not have public access.

    As you’re driving through the park take note of the historic cattle and sheep yards, a remnant of Welford’s cattle station past.

    Please remember, heritage sites and artefacts are protected. Leave everything as you find it.

    • There are currently no park alerts for this park.