Australia, Travel, Walks

Hiking in Porcupine Gorge National Park

Queensland Roadtrip Part 5

The long road to the gorge_edited.jpg

After leaving Hughenden, we had hours of driving on long stretches of road before reaching the turnoff leading to the Gorge.  Finally arriving at the said turnoff, we passed through flat woodlands of typical Australian Eucalypts and Acacias it gave us no hint of the existence of the Gorge, leaving us thinking we weren’t on the correct road.

Of course, we were, and it was a delight and relief after hours of driving through flat plains to finally glimpse it’s striking contrast of towering sandstone cliffs and lush vine-forest fringing the gorge.

It was time to focus on setting up at our campsite.  With our first impressions being positive ones, the result was a feeling of total relaxation within minutes of stepping onto the dirt.

Evening stroll.jpg

This meant, at least for a few days, no travel days for us.  No mobile coverage. No noise pollution.  No light pollution in the sky. Just the sound of the birds and other wildlife, a challenging gorge walk, easy flat walks while watching the sunset disappear, and the mesmerising visual delights of the deep vibrant colours of the soil/stone and blue skies.  Raw beauty that only an isolated place can deliver.

What more could we want in an outback experience?

About the region

Gorge view from the lookout2_edited.jpg

Known as Australia’s “Little Grand Canyon”.

Porcupine Gorge National Park situated in North West Queensland, Australia, 1,174 km northwest of Brisbane and 60 km north of Hughenden from where we had previously overnighted.

Established in 1970, the national park has an area of 54.10 km² and is managed by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service. It is an IUCN [International Union for Conservation of Nature] category II park.

The national park was established in the area surrounding Porcupine Gorge. The gorge features strata of sedimentary rocks which span hundreds of millions of years.

It is easy to see the layers of Basalt, Mudstone, Conglomerate, Dark Sandstone and at the base of the gorge the White Sandstone. Before arriving at the campsite and entry into the gorge, we had a comprehensive 360-degree view from the lookout.  Giving us not only an impressive sight but also a feel of just how deep this area is, which is approx. 120 metres. At the broadest section of the gorge, the eroding action of the creek has created the Pyramid, an isolated monolith of multi-coloured sandstone rising from the ground below.

The Campsite

Our campsite_edited

Our allocated campsite was relatively easy to find as we drove just a short distance from the entrance.  This camping ground is on level ground on the Western tip of the gorge, offering excellent views down to the Pyramid.

There was no crowding in this campsite with just 22 campsites.  A popular spot and bookings are essential.  We booked our site at the Hughenden Information Centre via a phone call to the National Park Centre.

Most had a firebox and apparently the one we were given no fire was permitted even though a recent fire had been lit.  Been a sensible couple, we decided to adhere to the newly erected sign.  This meant our recently brought wood stacked in the external hatch was going to stay there a bit longer.  Eventually, at the end of our trip we donated it to a couple we meet who were Grey Nomads, they would have more opportunity to use it.

The Hike

The Flintstone Steps

This was not the last of the steps.  Very deceiving as the path veers to the right with further steps to climb.  The best advice I can give is to stop and admire the view and remember the reason for climbing so many levels.

Leaving the Squire happy to continue his conversation on righting the world with another camper, I made my way on what seemed like “flintstone” steps that lead me down a steep track to the creek at the bottom of the gorge.  Where I walked alongside the swimming holes, rocky terraces, grevilleas, melaleucas and other vegetation.

Dry river bed.jpg

Not a long climb by any means though it sure had my heart racing in parts! 

Once I got to the bottom it was fun to walk while peering skyward and feeling very insignificant against the landscape.  I could have spent endless hours exploring.  With no mobile coverage, I needed to head back as the Squire was given my return time.

At the bottom_edited

There is really only the one access track, and I don’t know how far upstream or downstream from it, one could walk, but it is certainly further than I would consider doing or manage in one day. An overnight hike would be a tempting idea for some though not encouraged by park management; the same goes for exploring the tangle of gorges to the East of the Pyramid.

She is a vast country with many crooks, crannies and just plain wide open spaces to get lost in.  As I did this hike by myself, well not entirely alone as other campers were out and about.  I still felt I needed to be very conservative about how far I went.  In other words, making sure I had plenty of energy to easily make the journey upwards without any concerns.

The selfie to prove I did it

Hiking down into the Porcupine Gorge is something I recommend putting onto your list of must-dos if in the area.   Australia really isn’t a vast area of nothingness.

Hiking in Porcupine Gorge National Park

38 thoughts on “Hiking in Porcupine Gorge National Park”

  1. Such great shots of another new place for me to add to our list one day! I enjoyed reading your story and couldn’t help but think how sensible you were in being aware of no mobile coverage and not wanting to just wander too far. Some people wouldn’t think of that! Thanks for the info 🙂 Have pinned for #mlstl

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There’s so many places in Australia I’ve never even heard of – and this was one of them! Beautiful countryside and I loved all your photos (although I may have been tempted to stay at the campsite and join the conversation – I’m a better talker than hiker!)
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Squire would’ve welcomed your input 🙂 Even if he was well hiking isn’t to his liking. Though a stroll along the beach is. A few beautiful treasures around your homeland.

      Like

  3. What a beautiful and fascinating place, Suz. I’ve never heard of it before and certainly didn’t know of its existence when I was in Australia many, many moons ago. Always reasons to go back! 🙂

    And, so nice to be without internet and cell for a while. That’s when one can totally unwind…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Looks lovely. We passed through Hughenden, but headed south. Wish I’d known about this place though we were on a bus so couldn’t have visited at the time. I will put it on the list for my next Aussie trip, who knows I might get there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was lovely, Jude. That is the trouble with travelling there is usually way too many “things and places” to explore. If like us, you most probably had enough stops to explore without adding another to your list.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. George, thanks for the lovely compliment. I must admit I have on more than one ocassion thought the same about your hikes that you write about. Just organising myself to do a hike tomorrow. First NZ one since last Autumn!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Anabel, I brought the hat in Australia. I much prefer there hats as they are more sun protective and this brand of at allows me to fold it up without ruining it. Big bonus when travelling. Hats are essential for me with such fine thinning hair. Good thing I love wearing hats 🙂

      Like

  5. Oooh this looks like a fantastic place to explore Suzanne! I wonder what it is about canyons that are so awe-inspiring? I am always incredibly impressed by this kind of scenery, where it’s a grand canyon, or a little grand canyon!!

    Did you get to meet any porcupines?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hiya Josy, no porcupines just the usual lizards and a dozy snake.
      It was very impressive and gave us a sense of freedom. Years ago the height would’ve put me off so pleased it doesn’t now.

      Good to hear from you, Josy.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t think I have any words!! Oh go on then…Whoahhh Looks amazing!! You were really out in the wilds there and the landscape is incredible, I’d love to put it on my list if I ever get to Australia. No light or noise pollution, no mobile reception…Perfect 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s literally no civilisation as far as your eye can see. This is what we love about the outback just feeling incredibly awe inspired by nature. For those that live in the outback it can be a very harsh environment with a lack of water and the heat during the summer.
      I kept wondering how alive it would be done in the gorge at night 😊 Not that I was entertaining the idea of heading down there!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s