Welford National Park Outback Queensland

Photo credit: John Augusteyn © Queensland Government

Things to do

    Camping and accommodation

    Image showing the wide open space offered at Little Boomerang camping area.Open larger image

    Enjoy the wide open space offered at Little Boomerang camping area.

    Photo credit: Sophia Levy © Queensland Government

    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 and Windorah. 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 Creek viewpoint—1.2km return (allow 30 minutes) Grade: Easy

    Park your vehicle near the sign marking the turn-off to Sawyers Creek viewpoint on the Mulga Drive. Take in panoramic views of exposed rocky outcrops, slopes and the mulga woodlands stretching out in all directions. Bright green foliage along the creek line stands out like a vein carrying lifeblood—water. Watch for mulga parrots and at dusk yellow-footed rock-wallabies.

    Driving

    Welford offers three self-guided scenic drives, on which you can explore dunes, rocky outcrops, scrub, plains, channels and billabongs. 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

    Image of ‘Little Red’ isolated dunes in the Welford National Park.Open larger image

    Welford National Park ‘Little Red’ isolated dunes.

    Photo credit: Sophia Levy © Queensland Government

    Travel north from Little Boomerang Waterhole and take the western turn, which marks the start of the Desert Drive. Visit Desert Waterhole and then explore spinifex and red sand country, where soil colours range from rose-pink through 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 ‘Little Red’ sand dune. Its colours and views are rewarding. Take care not to disturb the fragile plants.

    Continue on to the Oil Bore, here oil was saught up to 1,800m from below ground, and the Southern Cross Bore. This grand old windmill once pumped precious water up into troughs for stock.

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

    Image of the Stately River Redgums on the Barcoo River.Open larger image

    Stately River Redgums on the Barcoo River.

    Photo credit: Sophia Levy © Queensland Government

    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 — a cool place to rest and watch birds. Visit ‘the jetty’, a natural rock bar that protrudes out into the waters of the Barcoo River.

    The Barcoo River is 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—71km return (allow at least 4 hours) 4WD access only

    Image of the changing colours of the soft mulga woodlands at sunset. Open larger image

    Changing colours of the soft mulga woodlands at sunset.

    Photo credit: Sophia Levy © Queensland Government

    Spend the day discovering the eastern reaches of the park. Turn east off the Jundah-Quilpie Road, past the stockyards (stop for a glimpse of the old, rammed earth homestead) onto the Mulga Drive. Follow the flat expanse of the Barcoo River floodplains, along the way visit Frances Waterhole and Trafalgar Waterhole, the perfect place for a picnic and paddle. Then continue up into mulga country, dissected by stony escarpments and gullies. Look for wildlife at Sawyers Creek and stretch your legs to enjoy the panoramic vistas at Sawyers Creek viewpoint.

    Fishing

    Image of the Barcoo River which is a great place to fish.Open larger image

    Drop a line in the Barcoo River.

    Photo credit: Sophia Levy © Queensland Government

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

    Canoeing and kayaking

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

    Picnic and day-use areas

    Visit the Trafalgar Waterhole day-use area. Enjoy a picnic on the banks of the Barcoo River under the shade of coolibah trees. Try your hand at fishing (remember size and bag limits apply) or paddle the tranquil waters of the Barcoo. 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.

    Viewing wildlife

    Image of the Black headed python which is non-venomous and mostly active at night, plus can grow up to 3m in length! Open larger image

    Non-venomous and mostly active at night, the Black headed python can grow up to 3m in length!

    Photo credit: Sophia Levy © Queensland Government

    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.

    Other things to do

    As you drive 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.