Just under an hour away from Emerald in Queensland, you’ll arrive in Springsure, a town on the cusp of the absolutely stunning Carnarvon National Park.
There’s a lot to see and do here, and there’s no doubt that it’s one of the most striking features of Queensland’s outback, but keep in mind that there are some very remote areas – planning ahead and packing plenty of supplies is recommended.
Spyglass Peak is definitely one to check out. Enjoy the vivid orange bark of yellow-jacket trees that line the walking track, and keep an eye out for lorikeets – these are the smallest ones you’ll find in Australia, and they’re among more than 170 species of bird found in the gorge. The sandstones of Salvator Rosa, as this area of Carnarvon National Park is known, are very coarse-grained and crumble easily. While this erosion has incidentally created beautiful features around the park, it also means that you’ll need to take extra care when walking around sandstone outcrops.
The national park offers visitors shorter walks and longer walks, such as the Art Gallery (three to four hours), which takes you among 60-metre-tall cliffs featuring more than 2000 Aboriginal paintings, stencils and engravings; and the walk to Boolimba Bluff (two to three hours), which can be challenging in its steeper sections, but truly showcases the diversity of habitats in the national park.
One absolute must-see is Lake Nuga Nuga. The lake is a very special and sacred place, believed to be the home of the male and female Mundagarri, or Rainbow Serpents, who feature in stories from The Dreamtime. It’s also the largest body of water on the sandstone belt, and a beautiful place to unwind or to watch the pelicans, swans and various other water birds that call the lake home.