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Check park alerts for the latest information on national parks access, closures and conditions.
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About White Mountains

Getting there and getting around

Views of the park from the Burra Range lookout. Photo: Queensland Government

Views of the park from the Burra Range lookout. Photo: Queensland Government

Maps

White Mountains National Park is about 80 km north-east of Hughenden and 140 km south-west of Charters Towers on the Flinders Highway.

Burra Range lookout is on the highway and is accessible to conventional vehicles.

The access road to Canns Camp Creek camping area, when dry, is accessible to all high clearance vehicle types with care. It is accessible for camper trailers but not caravans or buses. During the wet season, between November and April, and occasionally at other times, the road may be boggy and inaccessible. Check with the Department of Transport and Main Roads for road conditions and the Bureau of Meteorology for updated weather reports.

Wheelchair accessibility

There are no wheelchair accessible tracks or facilities at White Mountains National Park.

Park features

The park becomes a show of colour as native plants, such as this Melaleuca species, flower in winter. Photo: Eleanor Collins, Queensland Government

The park becomes a show of colour as native plants, such as this Melaleuca species, flower in winter. Photo: Eleanor Collins, Queensland Government

Covering 112,000 ha, this rugged wilderness features spectacular white sandstone bluffs and gorges, and diverse plants and animals. A further 12,000 ha are contained in a regional park on the eastern boundary of the park.

The park protects 14 different ecosystems in the Desert Uplands bioregion, making it one of inland Queensland's most botanically diverse parks. Lancewood forests, open woodlands, laterite pastures, heathlands and spinifex grasslands are spotted around the white sandstone outcrops, sand dunes and sandy flats in the Canns Camp area. Brilliant wildflowers and a host of animals are found throughout the park.

The park is a vast arid landscape for most of the year. When season conditions are favourable however, it comes alive in winter with a colourful display of wildflowers. The headwaters of three major catchments exist within the park. Water flows through several smaller streams into the Burdekin River and then to the east coast. The Flinders River flows north into the Gulf of Carpentaria. Water also flows through the channel country of western Queensland, eventually feeding into Lake Eyre in South Australia. White Mountains National Park is a major infill area for the Great Artesian Basin.

Read more about the natural environment of White Mountains National Park.

Camping and accommodation

Canns Camp Creek camping area is the only camping facility in the park and has limited facilities. When dry, the camping area is accessible to all vehicle types with care. During the wet season, between November and April, the road may be boggy and inaccessible.

Camping permits are required and fees apply.

Other accommodation

Other accommodation facilities, including hotels, camping and caravan parks, can be found at Pentland, Torrens Creek, Hughenden and Charters Towers. For more information see the tourism information links.

Things to do

The park is a refuge for many animals including species like this spotted python. Photo: Queensland Government

The park is a refuge for many animals including species like this spotted python. Photo: Queensland Government

Northern velvet geckoes are one of the 51 reptile species found in the park. Photo: Eleanor Collins, Queensland Government

Northern velvet geckoes are one of the 51 reptile species found in the park. Photo: Eleanor Collins, Queensland Government

Mountain biking

Map

Mountain bike along the access road from the Flinders Highway to Sawpit Gorge lookout, or to Poison Valley. Expect to share the roads with pedestrians, trail-bikes, vehicles and other cyclists. Mountain biking is not permitted on any of the management roads, firebreaks or adjacent private property

Access to the park may be closed during the wet season. See park alerts for up-to-date information.

For more information, see cycling.

Trail-bike riding and four-wheel driving

Map

Ride trail-bikes and drive four-wheel-drives along the access road from the Flinders Highway to the Sawpit Gorge lookout, or to Poison Valley. Riders and drivers must be licensed and trail-bikes and vehicles must be fully registered.

Sawpit Gorge lookout

Distance: 8 km return from park entrance

Time: allow 15 mins driving time

Details: The road to the lookout travels through sandstone heath and large deposits of lateritic stone litter the landscape. The drive can be particularly picturesque during the flowering period—from May to September. Sawpit Gorge is the headwaters of the Warrigal Creek system, flowing into the Cape and then Burdekin rivers.

Poison Valley

Distance: 28 km return from park entrance

Time: allow 1 hr driving time

Details: This road travels through open eucalyptus woodland, acacia scrub and heath and is surrounded by the rugged hills that form part of the Torrens Creek catchment. The valley takes its name from the heart-leaf poison bush Gastrolboum grandiflora that is common in the area. This plant contains the poison mono sodium fluroacetate, more commonly known as 1080. The road ends above the banks of Torrens Creek, the most northerly stream running into Lake Eyre.

Heed all park signs and expect to share the roads with pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles. Riding and driving are not permitted on adjacent private property.

Access to the park may be closed during the wet season. See park alerts for up-to-date information.

For more information, see trail-bike riding and four-wheel driving.

Picnic and day-use areas

Stop for a picnic at the Burra Range lookout on the Flinders Highway, where it crosses the Great Dividing Range. The views are typical of the park—steep gorges, lancewood forests and white sandstone shelves and peaks. Sheltered picnic tables and bins are provided by the Department of Transport and Main Roads.

Viewing wildlife

White Mountains National Park is one of Queensland’s most botanically diverse parks, encompassing 14 regional ecosystems including two classed as endangered. Approximately 430 plant species contained in 10 vegetation communities have been identified on the park. Eucalypt, acacia and melaleuca woodlands, and a mass of heathland species dominate the vegetation.

About 30 plant species, normally affiliated to southern Queensland, have also been recorded in the park. White Mountains National Park is the northern extremity of their range.

The park is a haven for a variety of wildlife, especially reptiles, which are well suited to the rocky landscape. Fifty-one species of reptiles have been recorded in the park. Some may be seen sunning themselves on rocks or branches, relying on the sun’s heat to warm their bodies. The rocky outcrops and spinifex grasslands provide perfect homes for frilled lizards Chlamydosaurus kingi, and spiny knob-tailed geckos Nephrurus asper.

See the description of the park's natural environment for more details about White Mountains' diverse wildlife.

Things to know before you go

Sunsets can fill the sky with a myriad of colours. Photo: Eleanor Collins, Queensland Government

Sunsets can fill the sky with a myriad of colours. Photo: Eleanor Collins, Queensland Government

Essentials to bring

To ensure an enjoyable visit bring:

  • A first-aid kit.
  • Fresh water, as water is not provided.
  • A fuel stove and fuel, as fires are not allowed.
  • A sealable container for rubbish—bins are not provided. Take your rubbish when you leave.

Opening hours

White Mountains National Park is open 24 hours a day and is generally accessible from May to September. During the wet season, between November and April, the road to Canns Camp Creek camping area may be boggy and inaccessible. Visitors should check with the Department of Transport and Main Roads for road conditions.

Permits and fees

Camping within the park must be pre-booked. A camping permit is required and fees apply. A tag with your booking number must be displayed at your camp site.

Pets

Domestic animals are not permitted in White Mountains National Park.

Climate and weather

Days can be very hot between October and March, reaching an average temperature of 32–36 °C. Hot summer days at times exceed 40 °C. The best time to visit is in the cooler months, from April to September, when daily temperatures average a more pleasant 28 °C. Weather forecasts are available from the Bureau of Meteorology.

Fuel and supplies

Fuel and basic supplies are available 23 km west at Torrens Creek and 27 km east at Pentland. Hughenden (80 km south-west) and Charters Towers (140 km north-east) have a wider range of supplies. For more information see the tourism information links.

Staying safe

  • Protect yourself from the sun. Wear sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses and a long-sleeved shirt, even on cloudy days.
  • Set up camp well before dark.
  • Wear insect repellent, clothing and shoes to protect yourself from stings, scratches and bites.
  • Ride and drive to the conditions.
  • Beware of other road users. Vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians use the access road in this park

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

Looking after the park

Parks and forests protect Queensland's wonderful natural diversity and scenery. Help keep these places special by following these guidelines:

  • Access to private property, adjacent to the park and reserves, is prohibited.
  • Use a fuel stove only—campfires are not permitted.
  • Domestic animals are not permitted in the national park—they disturb native wildlife.
  • Everything in the park is protected—leave everything as you found it.
  • Rubbish bins are not provided. Do not bury rubbish—take it with you when you leave.
  • Camp softly. Leave your camp site better than you found it.
  • Use toilet facilities.
  • Protect water quality. Don't use soap, toothpaste or detergent in freshwater creeks and waterholes. Wash yourself and your cooking utensils at least 50 m from fresh water.
  • Do not bring firearms or other weapons into the park.
  • Limit the spread of weeds by ensuring clothes, shoes, gear, bikes and vehicles are clean and free of seeds before arriving at the park. Remove, wrap and place seeds in your rubbish.
  • Ride and drive on formed roads as shown on map (PDF, 98K). Riding over vegetation, breaking branches, taking shortcuts and forming new tracks damages the environment.
  • Unlicensed trail-bike riders and drivers are not allowed in parks and reserves. Riders and drivers must be licensed and vehicles must be fully registered.
  • Motocross is not permitted in parks or reserves.
  • Avoiding driving and riding on unsealed roads during and after heavy rains.
  • Respect park neighbours and visitors—ensure the noise and dust from your riding and driving doesn’t upset others. Do not enter private property without the owner’s permission and leave gates as you found them.

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

Park management

White Mountains National Park was gazetted in stages from 1990. Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service manages the protected area to conserve its natural, cultural and historic values.

Tourism information links

Flinders Discovery Centre
www.flinders.qld.gov.au
37 Gray Street, Hughenden Qld 4821
Phone (07) 4741 2970
Email

Charters Towers Visitor Information Centre
74 Mosman Street, Charters Towers Qld 4820
Phone (07) 4761 5533
Email

For tourism information for all regions in Queensland see Queensland Holidays.

Further information

Contact us

Last updated
15 September 2016