Diamantina National Park – discover endless river channels

Road Trips - Diamantina National Park - Hunters Gorge

Description

Diamantina National Park is a national park located in Queensland between Boulia, Bedourie, and Opalton. The park was previously a pastoral holding and was only established as a national park in 1992.

The park is the traditional homelands of the Maiawali and Karuwali people, who have had a strong connection to the land for thousands of years.

As Diamantina National Park is situated in the channel country, visitors can expect a flat landscape with floodplains of the Diamantina River and Mitchell grass plains. To the east, there are small sandstone ranges, and to the west, the park ends with dune fields similar to those found in deserts further west.

Prior to visiting Diamantina, it is important to prepare your 4WD properly, as there are only dirt roads and tracks in the area. If you anticipate any rainfall, bring your recovery gear.

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Upon arrival, visitors should head to the information centre at the ranger base to obtain all necessary information and driving directions.

Additionally, visitors should carry enough fuel, water, and food for their entire trip, as there are no facilities or services available within the park. Camping is allowed in designated areas, but visitors must bring their own camping gear and supplies.

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Weather

Diamantina National Park is located in the heart of the Queensland outback, so visitors can expect hot and dry summers with temperatures exceeding 30 degrees Celsius, as well as mild winters, with nighttime temperatures sometimes dropping as low as 8 degrees Celsius.

During the summer months, it is essential to come well-prepared with sun protection, such as hats, sunscreen, and plenty of water, to avoid dehydration. Conversely, during the winter, visitors should bring warm clothing for the cooler evenings.

Diamantina National Park Average Temperatures and Rainfall

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec 
383736 33 28242527 3236 38 39Max
25 242218 13 981014 19 2224Min
10066 58 97 135 3 714 27 41Rain mm
9 7 522 2 112 355Rain days
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Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Diamantina National Park is between April and September, as these months offer milder temperatures and a more pleasant experience overall. While nighttime temperatures during this time can be cold, daytime temperatures are typically comfortable for outdoor activities.

It is important to note that the park can occasionally be closed due to flooding, particularly during the wet season from November to March. Visitors should check the park alerts before making plans to ensure that the park is open and accessible.

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Don’t visit Diamantina National Park after a big rain. Check the weather forecast before your trip.

Take a Road Trip - on the way to Diamantina National Park
Take a Road Trip – on the way to Diamantina National Park
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Access & how to get there

Visitors should be aware that all the roads leading to the park are dirt roads. It is essential to come prepared with a self-sufficient mindset, including enough food, water, and other supplies to last the duration of your visit.

  • If you are coming from Winton, which is approximately 356 km to the east, consider stopping at the Australian Age of Dinosaurs and the Dinosaur Stampede in Lark Quarry which is 110 km south on Jundah Road. On the way to Diamantina National Park, be sure to visit the Mayne Hotel Ruins and learn about their history. From Lark Quarry, turn back on Jundah Road and turn right onto Diamantina Gates Road, which will take you to the park entrance. The total distance from Lark Quarry to Diamantina is approximately 255 km.
  • If you are coming from Boulia, which is approximately 150 km away, turn east on Kennedy Developmental Highway for 25 km. Turn right onto Springvale Road and drive the remaining 135 km to reach the park.
  • If you are coming from Bedourie, which is approximately 275 km away, drive south for 22 km and turn left onto Diamantina Developmental Road. After driving 50 km, turn left onto Coorabulka Road, and after driving 100 km, turn right and drive the remaining 82 km to reach the park.


Accommodation

There are two dedicated campgrounds in the park. Make sure you book your spot online as in the Winter season it gets busy.

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Camping

Hunters Gorge Camping Area

The Hunters Gorge Camping Area is situated alongside the Diamantina River. During your stay, you will have the opportunity to observe a wide variety of birdlife, including herons, ibises, pelicans, galah parrots, and many other species.

Take advantage of the peaceful setting and relax by placing a chair at the riverbank, where you can sit and enjoy the abundance of birdlife that surrounds you. Be sure to bring your binoculars and camera to capture the beautiful sights and sounds of the Australian outback.

Facilities:

  • Tent sites
  • Camper Trailer and Caravan sites
  • Toilets
  • Campfires
Camping at Diamantina National Park
Camping at Hunters Gorge

Gum Hole Camping Area

The Gum Hole Camping Area is a smaller campground than Hunters Gorge, and it does not offer sites for camper trailers or caravans. However, this charming camping area is located alongside the serene Whistling Duck Creek, and visitors will find plenty of shady spots under coolabah trees to set up their campsite.

Facilities:

  • Tent sites
  • Campfires

Book your camping spot online via Queensland National Parks

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Things to do

Despite the harsh climatic conditions, the park offers a diverse range of flora and fauna, including over 150 bird species, red kangaroos, and even the elusive bilby. The park’s unique geological features, such as the Diamantina River and the sandstone ranges, offer spectacular scenic views.

Before getting to the park

When driving from Winton, about 45 km before reaching the park, you will come across the Mayne Hotel ruins. The hotel was a popular resting spot for travellers, drovers, stockmen, and opal miners between 1888 and 1951. While there isn’t much left of the hotel now, it’s still an interesting historical site to stop and explore.

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Due to the hot temperatures, the hotel cellar was open during the night to let the cold air cool the place and closed during the day to keep the hot air out.

Stop for a moment, stretch your legs and learn about the hotel and the people who lived here.

On arrival

A visit to the Information Centre at Ranger Base is a must-do when visiting Diamantina National Park. Here, you can learn about the park’s history, the local area, and the indigenous people who have lived here for thousands of years.

Walking

While there is only one dedicated walking track in the park, there are plenty of opportunities to take leisurely strolls along the banks of the Mundawerra Waterhole, Diamantina River, or Whistling Duck Creek.

One interesting place to explore is the Warracoota Ruins, which can be reached via an easy 400-meter walk. The ruins are located about 3 km west of the Warracoota Waterhole, along the signed Warracoota Circuit Drive.

4WD driving

The Warracoota Circuit Drive is a self-guided 90 km circuit drive that takes you through dunes, claypans, gibber plains, and grasslands, passing Little Lake Constance, and Warracoota Waterhole. This scenic drive takes around 5 hours, and there is an excellent resource map with all passing points available on the Central West Queensland National Parks brochure.

Janet’s Leap Lookout is an 8 km drive that takes you to a bird’s eye view of Diamantina Gates. From the top, you can imagine the roaring waters passing through the narrow gap between the Goyder and Hamilton ranges after a lot of rain. It’s a breathtaking view that’s worth the drive.

The park has a range of tracks that are suitable for experienced 4WD drivers. Some of the more challenging tracks include the Warracoota Ridge Track, the Peats Soak Track, and the Hunters Gorge Track. These tracks are only recommended for experienced 4WD drivers who have the necessary equipment and knowledge.

Canoeing and kayaking

Mundawerra Waterhole and Whistling Duck Creek are a true paradise for canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts. The calm waters make for a unique and peaceful experience, with only the occasional sounds of passing wildlife to break the silence.

Paddling through these serene waterways, you’ll have the opportunity to observe the park’s diverse birdlife and other wildlife up close. Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the stunning natural scenery from a different perspective.

Photography

One of the most breathtaking sights in Diamantina National Park is the incredible birdlife that can be seen around the waterholes. Every morning and afternoon, you can witness a flurry of activity as countless species of birds fly in and out of the area.

Make sure to have your camera ready to capture the incredible wildlife against the backdrop of the park’s stunning red and yellow sandstone ranges as the sun sets.

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Our Experience & Tips

Although Diamantina National Park had always been on our list, it was never quite on our way. However, during our latest trip to Darwin, we made sure to include it in our itinerary, primarily to see the famous Dinosaur Trail.

We started by exploring the Australian Age of Dinosaurs in Winton before making our way to Lark Quarry to witness the Dinosaur Stampede. Finally, we spent a night at Hunters Gorge in Diamantina National Park, where we were able to experience the park’s stunning natural beauty and abundant wildlife.

On our arrival, we made sure to stop at the information centre located at Ranger Base. Here we learned about the area and the indigenous people who have lived here for thousands of years. We had the opportunity to talk to a ranger who informed us that we had arrived towards the end of the season and the weather was starting to cool down.

I had personally expected to see more hills, but to my surprise, we drove through endless plains with vast grasslands stretching out in every direction.

At Hunters Gorge we were welcomed by many flies but they all disappeared after the sunset. Surprisingly, we were the only people in the campground.

The night was great. We had a fire and a tasty camp oven meal at the Diamantina Riverbank.

The next day, we decided not to go to the Warracoota Circuit Drive due to the hot weather, but we knew we had something to look forward to on our next visit.

Some interesting facts about Diamantina National Park:

  • The park is home to a range of unique wildlife, including the bilby, yellow-footed rock wallaby, and the rare and endangered Princess parrot.
  • The park is named after the Diamantina River, which flows through the area.
  • Diamantina National Park is one of the largest national parks in Queensland, covering an area of over 5,000 square kilometres.
  • The park has a rich cultural history, with evidence of Indigenous occupation dating back over 20,000 years.
  • The park contains a number of significant geological features, including the sandstone formations of the Warracoota and Huntly formations and the ancient dunes of the Simpson Desert.
  • Diamantina National Park is popular with birdwatchers, with over 150 species of birds recorded in the area, including the Australian bustard, wedge-tailed eagle, and brolga.
  • The park is also a popular destination for camping, hiking, and 4WD touring, with a range of camping areas and hiking trails available for visitors to explore.

Have you visited Diamantina National Park before? We would love to hear about your experience! Please feel free to share in the comments below.


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4WD Equipment Checklist

GPS Navigator or compass

Maxtrax – if you get bogged, you can use it for additional traction

Tire Deflator – deflate tires quickly when going on dirt or 4WD

Air Compressor – inflate tires quickly after going back on bitumen (we use MM)

Tire Repair Kit – to fix the tire by yourself when you don’t have access to the tire shop (we use Oztrail)

UHF Radio – for communication with your mates and in emergency

Full Recovery Kit (with Dampener Blanket) – must-have if you are going on real off-road

High Lift Jack – useful if you do serious 4WD tracks

Shovel – useful if you get bogged, also good for campfire cooking

Fuel funnel with water filter – additional protection when fueling up in dodgy places

Additional fuel canisters


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