Lawn Hill National Park – the stunning hidden gem of Queensland

Lawn Hill National Park

Description

Lawn Hill National park, also called Boodjamulla National Park by Waanyi traditional owners, is located far in the west-north corner of Queensland, 320 km from Mount Isa mining town. If you never heard of it, don’t worry. We barely knew its existence before our trip to Lorella Springs.

Lawn Hill National Park is one of the most scenic national parks in Australia. Stunning gorges and World Heritage fossils are the two things that bring tourists and scientists to explore them.

The spectacular scenery of numerous freshwater springs, sandstone cliffs, emerald waters, and lush vegetations make this place a real, remote oasis that you don’t want to leave once you are there.

Boodjamull National Park consists of Lawn Hill Gorge and Reversleight World Heritage Area known for its fossils.

As I mentioned, on this trip, with the final destination in Lorella Springs we decided to stay in Lawn Hill National Park for three days and soak its atmosphere. For us, the best activity was swimming, walking and canoeing plus as usual birdwatching and taking a lot of photos.

Lawn Hill has only freshwater crocodiles so there are no worries here.

Lawn Hill Gorge
Lawn Hill Gorge
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Access & how to get there

Coming from the south – Starting in Mount Isa head west by Barkly Highway and after 120 km turn right into Thorntonia Yelvertoft Rd. 

The road is mostly unsealed and has a few shallow, concrete crossings. On the way to Lawn Hill National Park, you pass Riversleight World Heritage Area so you can stop and do the self-guided fossil tour.

View from the hill in Riversleigh World Heritage Area
View from the hill in Riversleigh World Heritage Area

Coming from the north – you can get to Lawn Hill National Park from the north, getting of Savannah Way in Doomadgee for 105 km drive. Note that this is only a 4WD track with a few creek crossings.

Coming from the east – the 82 km drive from Gregory Downs is also through an unsealed road and 4WD is recommended but this road is well maintained so it is actually suitable for conventional vehicles or off-road caravans.

Note that during the wet season access to the park could be hazardous as creek crossing levels may be high after heavy rain but if you decided to do it make sure to take your 4WD and additional food supplies just in case.

Travel Spiced Life

The concrete bottom creek crossings are covered with green algae and they can be very slippery. Make sure you engage a low range gear and drive steadily without sudden acceleration or breaking.

Concrete slippery crossing on the way to Lawn Hill
Concrete slippery crossing on the way to Lawn Hill

Recommended 4WD equipment for Lawn Hill NP

Accommodation

Tent Icon

Camping

Toilets
Bore Tap Water
Tent, Camper Site
Camper Trailer Area
Dogs NOT Allowed

Situated on the bank of Lawn Hill Gorge. There are two designed areas for camping and camper trailers. Toilets and showers are provided. This camping ground is the best if you plan to have a dive in Lawn Hill Creek or going for walks.

Toilets
Bore Tap Water
Tent, Camper Site
Camper Trailer Area
Dogs NOT Allowed

Located 55 km south of Lawn Hill Gorge next to Riversleigh fossil fields. It is a small camping ground with only 6 sites and only 1 site suitable for a caravan.

Nearby you find Gregory River where you can enjoy birdwatching or observing the star sky after the sunset.

It is a perfect spot to stay if you arrived late and you want to do the Riversleight fossil trail self-tour in the morning.

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Caravan Parks

2 WD Access from Gregory Downs
Community Fire Pit
4G Access
Power Sites
Tent & Cabins
Dogs Allowed

Adels Grove is a very popular place to camp as it offers various accommodations including pre-erected tents, ensuite rooms, and camping sites. Also, there is a restaurant and bar.

Also, you can book various tours like Riversleight Fossils or Boat Cruise.

Right at the door, there is access to a swimming hole where you can relax in a shady area.

Adels Grove became very popular after the Federal Government decided to shoot a short Dundee film to show during the American NFL Super Bowl.  The video was featured Chris Hemsworth and comedian Danny McBride who played the role of Crocodile Mick Dundee’s long-lost son.

The video reached 400 million people on social platforms and Adels Grove and Lawn Hill National Park became super popular.

Find out more about the Dundee film from this article.

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Things To Do

Canoeing

This is one of the main reason tourist visit Lawn Hill National Park. We sometimes compare it to Katherine Gorge but this one is a bit smaller.

The water in the creek is very calm and grabbing a canoe is the best way to explore and view the gorge from the bottom.

The canoes can be hired from Adels Grove reception and this is what we did. 

First, you paddle to Indarri Falls where you can spend few hours swimming and relaxing. Then, you have to carry the canoe for a short distance around the falls for the second part that leads to the Upper Gorge.

In the end, the wide waters change to serious of channels and rapids so no further exploring is recommended.

Upper Gorge - End of Canoeing
Upper Gorge - End of Canoeing

Exploring

Whether it is Riversleigh or Lawn Hill Gorge, everyone finds something to do. At Riversleigh we went for a guided tour and this way we could learn more about the area and fossils discovered by scientists. All tours can be booked at Adels Grove.

At Riversleight Information Shelter
At Riversleight Information Shelter
Riversleigh Fossil Tour - old bones still visible after millions of years
Riversleigh Fossil Tour - old bones still visible after millions of years
Riversleigh Fossils
Riversleigh Fossils

At Lawn Hill Gorge there are numerous short walks where you can get a real good feeling about the place and enjoy stunning views from the top of the gorge.

Another tour you can book is the Sunset on Harry’s Hill. In this tour, you learn about local landmarks, flora and fauna, and the history of the area. Finally, you will be rewarded with a real outback sunset.

Fishing

If you are a fishing enthusiast you can give it a try for a Barramundi, Bream, Grunter, Perch, or Cod.

Relaxing

Lawn Hill National Park is a great place to unwind and relax. If you want to take a break from cooking visit Adels Grove and book yourself for diner at their restaurant. There is nothing better than enjoying a good meal in the beautiful scenery.

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Walks

Island Stack

It is a loop, 2.6 km return walk. It starts easy with a creek sidewalk and then you have to prepare for a steep climb to the sandstone stack.

The best time to do this walk is early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the heat. Allow 2 hours to return.

You will be rewarded with stunning views of the gorge.

Sandstone formations are unique in around Lawn Hill National Park
Sandstone formations are unique in around Lawn Hill National Park

Botanical Walk

One way, 1.6 km walk that goes below the island stack. In the end, you get to the Lower Gorge sandstone cliffs and amazing limestone formation.

Return the same way. Allow 1.5 hours

Wild Dog Dreaming

Start from the information shelter, pass the bridge, and turn right at the interaction of tracks. Then, follow the creek up to the Lower Gorge Lookout with a little loop at the end. The total distance is 2.2 km. Allow 1.5 hours to complete it.

Doing the track you learn a lot about Waanyi Aboriginal people culture. You discover ancient rock engravings known as ‘peckings’ and extensive rock art in a rock shelter.

The highlight of the walk is the Wild Dog Dreaming site to witness tangible evidence of its past inhabitants.

Make sure to not touch any paintings or engravings. The Waanyi Peoples also ask to not take any photographs.

Constance Range Track

If you feel challenged and want to reward yourself with a spectacular, panoramic view, walk the 3.7 km walk to Constance Range.

Allow 3 hours and best do it in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the heat. It is only for experienced bushwalkers. Make sure you take enough water.

Indarri Falls Track

It is a 1.5 km walk mostly alongside Lawn Hill Creek with a short climb and short descent to Indarri Falls at the end of the walk.

We found this walk the best as there is an excellent swimming spot at the base of the falls. Thus, you can have a long break before heading back. Also, only 300 meters away there is Indarri Falls Lookout with great views of the gorge.

Indarri Falls Lookout - see the split of waters where you have to carry your canoe
Indarri Falls Lookout - see the split of waters where you have to carry your canoe

Duwadarri Lookout

The recommended way to tackle this 2.5 km walk is to go in a clockwise direction, visiting Indarri Falls and Indarri Falls Lookout first and then heading along the rim of this spectacular gorge to Duwadarri Lookout.

On the way, you enjoy the views over the Middle Gorge and later you can have a swim and rest at Duwadarri waterhole. Allow 2 hours.

Duwadarri Lookout
Duwadarri Lookout

Upper Gorge Lookout

The best way to enjoy the full scenery of Lawn Hill Gorge is to do the full 3.6 km (one way) loop walk.

First, you walk inland, through the changing outback landscape to finally reach the Upper Gorge Lookout. Then, you return alongside the creek, passing on the way Indarri Falls and Indarri Lookout and at the end Duwadarri Lookout.

Occasionally you will be challenged by steep climbs of sharp descends but it is worth it.

It is a long walk, but it covers all interesting points in one go. Allow 4 hours.

Download the Boodjamula National Park brochure.

Upper Gorge Lookout - this place is really amazing
Kasha, Marius and Nell at Upper Gorge Lookout - this place is really amazing
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Our Experience & Tips

We decided to stay three days and camp at Lawn Hill Gorge Camping Area. It was a convenient location as all walks and canoe hire is right there.

It was the end of September and in the middle of the school holiday so the campground was almost full.

Lawn Hill Creek is pretty wide and deep so when we went to its bank we had an uncomfortable feeling that salties may be inhabiting this area. However, the only crocodiles that live there are freshwater, so it is safe to swim. If you are not sure always ask in Adels Grove reception before heading to the water.

During our stay, we went for few walks including the long one to the Upper Gorge.

One day we hired a canoe and paddled to Indarri Falls where we had a long swim before carrying the canoe to the other side of the falls for the second run.

Lawn Hill Gorge Canoeing
Lawn Hill Gorge Canoeing
Travel Spiced Life

If you plan your visit during the school holidays, book your canoe on the arrival to Adels Grove to avoid disappointment.

Also, we booked the Riversleight Fossils guided tour where we learned about Gondwana and saw limb bones, gizzard stones, and remains of the larger version of the freshwater crocodile. 

From the top of the hill, the view was reaching very far in the outback and we felt very isolated for one moment.

Lawn Hill Gorge is a real paradise where we could unwind and relax. We would not mind staying longer as it was so beautiful and relaxing.

Maybe next time.

Have you been to Lawn Hill National Park? Have you seen freshwater crocodiles?

Please drop a comment below.

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2 Responses

  1. Sounds amazing. Will be heading this way as soon as we have some time off. Also looking forward to driving the Savannah Way. My grandfather was born in True Blue and I’m looking forward to exploring around here also.
    Thanks for all the tips.

    1. Great, make sure you stop for a burger at Hells Gate Roadhouse, visit Seven Emu Station and Lorella Springs.
      Soon, I will post articles about that. Stay tuned!

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