MUNGA-THIRRI NATIONAL PARK
(FORMERLY SIMPSON DESERT NATIONAL PARK)
Every year, adventurous travellers from Australia and around the world experience the thrill of crossing the Simpson Desert. Home to thousands of towering sand dunes, saltpans and rolling grey-greenspinifex, it’s a vast red wilderness under a rich blue sky. This is ‘the sun country’; land of the Wangkangurra and Yarluyandi people.
Spanning more than a million hectares, the Munga-Thirri National Park is Queensland’s largest protected area, teeming with rare mammals, strange reptiles and 180 exotic species of bird. It’s a magical place where you can camp under the stars, immerse your senses in the colours of the desert, feel the crunch of red sand and ironstone under foot, breathe in the pungent aroma of the Georgina gidgee – a glorious yellow wattle that grows in the holllows between towering dunes – or take a trip to Poeppel Corner and stand on the very spot where Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory intersect.
Only experienced, self-sufficient visitors should explore this park, and only from April to October. Be ready for hot days and freezing nights, make sure your vehicle is well-equipped and take plenty of water – this is, after all, the driest place in Australia.
There are no toilets, no designated camping grounds and no walking tracks. It’s just you against the desert, and it’s an experience you will never forget. Grey Nomads, Backpackers, 4WD travellers, and Caravanners alike will be left breathless by the beauty of this land. It is a special family travel destination to experience the feel of the outback.
All vehicles must have a Desert Parks pass. Please observe all camping and general safety recommendations with the DPP.
These are available from the Wirrarri Visitor Information Centre, Birdsville Roadhouse or Birdsville Fuel Service.
- Simpson Desert Regional Reserve and Conservation Park (PDF)
- Central West Queensland Parks- Visitor Guide (PDF)
- Remote Travel Information (PDF)
DIAMANTINA NATIONAL PARK
One of the most glorious sights in nature! The Diamantina National Park is a must-see destination and was named one of Australia’s top 10 National Parks by the Worldwide Fund for Nature. Visitors can get up close and personal with unique wildlife, including the kowari, plains wanderer, freckled duck, peregrine falcon and two rare skinks. In times of exceptionally good rain or floods, the native long-haired rat often has a population explosion. When this happens, predators like the inland taipan, letter-winged kite and eastern grass owl also make a welcome appearance.
Vast numbers of waterholes are fed by the Diamantina River. After cyclonic rains, water flowing from the north can be an astounding 50 kilometres wide before passing through the narrows known as Diamantina Gates. These can be viewed from Janet’s Leap across to Hunters Gorge. The area is a fish and bird fanciers’ paradise, and a fabulous camping destination.
Formerly a pastoral property known as Diamantina Lakes, the Park was purchased by the Queensland Government in the 1950s. The traditional owners of the area are the Maiawali people.
Visit old station buildings, cemeteries and hotel ruins, and pop in to the information room at the old homestead to learn about the park’s history.
Leave the caravan behind and take a day trip from Bedourie via Boulia. Stop in at Vaughan Johnson Lookout – affectionately known as ‘the loo with a view’, drink in the scenery of the self-guided Warracoota Circuit (approximately 90 kilometres from start to finish), visit Janet’s Leap for a bird’s eye view of the Diamantina, or roll out your swag and gaze at the night sky.
Only self-sufficient travellers should travel here. Diamantina National Park is an unforgettable experience – just don’t forget to take a good map, and plenty of food and water.
Camping permits are required and can be booked online or purchased at the Bedourie Outback Visitor Centre.