Hidden in the middle of the expansive Gulf Savannah, miles from nowhere, an emerald green river cuts its way through an ancient landscape. This is Boodjamulla, place of the Rainbow Serpent. It is a place of striking beauty and unfathomable age. Those that complete the challenging journey to reach this dusty corner of far northwest Queensland will be rewarded with a lush oasis set amongst a dramatic landscape, one that tells a story stretching back millions of years.
Camping at Lawn Hill National Park provides the opportunity to immerse yourself in this special place. The Lawn Hill Gorge camping area offers a respite from the heat and fierce sun of the Gulf country. Here, beside the cool green water of the Lawn Hill Creek, a lush green forest of palm, paperbark and fig occupies the shadow of the great red sandstone gorge. From this place, journeys and experiences stretch out into the arid wilderness.
Wake before dawn and climb the sandstone escarpment to watch the sunrise set fire to the endless red plains that surround Boodjamulla and the Constance Ranges. Canoe through the epic Lawn Hill Gorge. Learn the history of the people that have called this place home for thousands of years, and what this place means for them and their culture. Discover the Riversleigh World Heritage Site, a fossil site recognized as one of Australia’s most significant archeological sites.
When you leave Boodjamulla you will have an appreciation for the natural wonder and sprawling history of this immensely impressive, and largely unsung national park.
But first, you need to get here.
Where is Lawn Hill National Park in Queensland?
Camping at Lawn Hill National Park is one of the more spectacular outback experiences Queensland has to offer, but many Queenslanders have never heard of Boodjamulla at all.
Located in the Gulf Savanah of north west Queensland, the national park is near the border of Queensland and the Northern Territory.
The closest town and airport is Mt Isa, 325 kilometers to the southeast.
How to Get to Lawn Hill in Queensland?
There is no easy way to get to Lawn Hill National Park in Queensland. A 5-hour drive from Mount Isa, the nearest town and airport means that getting to Lawn Hill in Queensland is challenging.
Much of the road is unsealed, and some of it ungraded, adding another challenge to the journey. During the wet-season the roads can flood and can be impassable due to water or water damage.
To get here you will need a four-wheel drive, a spare tire or two and ample fresh water, food and fuel in case of emergencies.
An example of the distances that you would have to travel to get to Lawn Hill in Queensland are below but the time could vary based on the road quality which is variable.
- Cairns to Lawn Hill: 1,100 kms ≈ 15 hours
- Townsville to Lawn Hill: 1,130 kms ≈ 13 hours
- Burketown to Lawn Hill: 220 kms / ≈ 3 hours
- Mount Isa to Lawn Hill: 325 kms / ≈ 5 hours
Is the Road to Lawn Hill Gorge Sealed?
The roads to Lawn Hill Gorge are mostly unsealed once you leave the Barkly Highway. The quality and condition of the road deteriorate the further away you get, and will depend on whether or not the area has received heavy rain during the monsoon season.
As a reminder, do not cross the floodways if the water is flowing rapidly!
Do You Need a 4wd to Get to Lawn Hill National Park?
While the brave (and/or foolish) could reach Lawn Hill without a 4WD, we would not recommend it. The roads are largely unsealed, corrugated and rocky. After the wet season, roads can be badly damaged and washouts make progressing without a high clearance vehicle difficult if not impossible.
We shredded a tire leaving the national park, and the rocky uneven ground made changing the tire challenging.
Can I Take a Caravan to Lawn Hill?
We saw plenty of caravans and camper trailers at Lawn Hill; however, it is recommended to take only 4WD caravans. While it may be possible to reach with a standard road caravan, testing it out here could prove fatal to your caravan.
Things to Do at Lawn Hill National Park
Canoe through Lawn Hill Gorge
Canoeing at Lawn Hill National Park was a highlight of our trip to Lawn Hill Gorge. Paddle through the gorge to Indarri Falls approximately 1-hour return or continue your journey to the Upper Gorge.
When we visited in May 2021, Canoes were freely available at the Lawn Hill Gorge campsite. We borrowed paddles from the nearby Adels Grove Camping Park for a deposit of $20 per paddle. We then passed our paddles to other campers at the campsite in exchange for a $20 deposit.
Lawn Hill Gorge Walks
There are several walks available from Lawn Hill National Park between one and seven kilometers. Each offer a different perspective of Lawn Hill National Park and the Lawn Hill Gorge.
- Indarri Falls – An easy 3.8 km circuit walk from the Lawn Hill Gorge campsite. Make sure to bring your swimsuit on this hike for a dip in the Lawn Hill Gorge Creek.
- Duwadarri Lookout– A 600m return hike to a viewpoint above the Lawn Hill Gorge campsite. The ascent to the top is the steep, but the views are stunning. We recommend visiting Duwadarri Lookout at sunrise. The Duwadarri Lookout is also a stop on the Indarri Falls circuit track.
- Island Stack – The bridge to Island Stack was closed during our trip to Lawn Hill, but I can only imagine how impressive the views would be from this vantage. This 4 km return track offers views of the Middle Gorge.
- Wild Dog Dreaming Track – This 4.5 km track takes in important cultural sites and rock paintings of the Waanyi Aboriginal people.
- Constance Range – A different perspective of the area, the Constance Range trail offers expansive views over the Australian outback. This 4km return track should take you only between 1 – 1.5 hours of hiking and only has one incline as you climb to the top of the range.
- Upper Gorge Track – The longest of the hikes, the Upper Gorge Track is a 7.2km track along Lawn Hill Creek to the Upper Gorge. This circuit track is best explored during the early morning or late afternoon as a large portion of the circuit offers no shade.
For more information on the Lawn Hill National Park walks, check out the national park website.
Learn About the People of Boodjamulla
Occupied by people for somewhere between 17,000 and 30,000 years, the Waanyi people are the Aboriginal Traditional Owners of this special place which they call Boodjamulla. Boodjamulla means Rainbow Serpent Country. The Rainbow Serpent is one of the most important figures in the Dreaming and creation of Aboriginal culture. To the Waanyi the land and the water that flows through Boodjamulla are sacred. Information of the Waanyi and their connection with Boodjamulla can be found in the Lawn Hill Camping area information hut. You can also Walk the Wild Dog Dreaming track to find ancient rock art.
Riversleigh World Heritage Site
The story of this place stretches back far beyond the people that first called this place home. A world heritage area, the Riversleigh Fossil Site holds the key to the pre-historic period of this important region. Deposits of limestone have captured periods of history since this region was a primordial sea. Remnants of trilobites throught to more recent fossils of giant 5 meter crocodiles and flightless thunderbirds that stood over 3.5 meters tall.
The Riversleigh World Heritage Site was Described by Sir David Attenborough as one of the four most important fossil sites in the world, and not to be missed when visiting Boodjamulla National Park.
Lawn Hill Camping
Camping at Lawn Hill National Park
Lawn Hill Gorge Camping Area
Camping at Lawn Hill National Park in the Lawn Hill Gorge camping area is a must for anyone visiting the area. Just a stone’s throw away from the emerald green waters of Lawn Hill Gorge it is well positioned to experience all the park has to offer. Camping at Lawn Hill National Park you have access to flushing toilets, non-potable water, and cold showers. There is little to no shade for caravan campsites but some shade for tent campers.
Miyumba Camping Area
Miyumba camping area is located near the Riversleigh Fossil Site D approximately 60 kms from Lawn Hill Gorge and is another option for camping at Lawn Hill National Park. Miyumba offers basic bush camping with a drop toilet. There is little to no shade available at the Miyumba camping area.
Camping near Lawn Hill National Park
Adels Grove Camping Park
Adels Grove offers camping with facilities just 10 kilometers from Lawn Hill Gorge and 50 kilometers from the Riversleigh Fossil Site D. There are two separate camping areas at Adels Grove Camping Park that can accommodate all types of campers. The Top Campground situated in the bushland is generator and pet-friendly and has 60 set sites. The Grove situated on Lawn Hill Creek has undefined sites suitable for all types of campers especially those with large family or friend groups but does not allow generators or pets.
Bookings are required to be made directly on the Adels Grove website.
Lawn Hill Accommodation
Adels Grove Lawn Hill
For those not interested in camping at Lawn Hill National Park, Adels Grove is the closest accommodation. Adels Grove offers a variety of accommodation from pre-erected tents to ensuite cabins.
Adels Grove Lawn Hill also has an on-site kitchen, fully stocked bar, hot showers, and offers tours of Lawn Hill Gorge and the surrounding area.
Bookings are required to be made directly on the Adels Grove website.
Other FAQs about Camping at Lawn Hill National Park
Where to Find a Lawn Hill Map?
A Lawn Hill National Park Map can be found on the Queensland Parks and Wildlife website. There is also a map located at the visitors center when you arrive at Lawn Hill Gorge with information on the Lawn Hill walks and Lawn Hill canoe trails.
Are There Crocodiles at Lawn Hill National Park?
There are crocodiles at Lawn Hill National Park but only freshwater crocodiles. Freshwater crocodiles are less aggressive than their saltwater counterparts, but caution should always be used when crocodiles are involved.
Are There Showers at Lawn Hill National Park?
There are cold water showers available at the national park campsites. Alternatively, a shower can be had at Adel Grove for a nominal fee.
Can You Swim at Lawn Hill Gorge?
Swimming is the best way to beat the relentless heat of north Queensland. The best swimming is found near Indarri Falls which can be reached via one of the Lawn Hill walking trails or canoeing through the gorge along Lawn Hill Creek.
Is There Ice at Lawn Hill?
Ice can be found at Adels Grove along with a small selection of non-perishable items. Adels Grove also has an onsite restaurant serving basic meals.
Is There Fuel at Lawn Hill in Queensland?
Fuel (petrol and diesel) is available at Adels Grove Lawn Hill. Given the remote location the fuel supply is not gurranteed and therefore it is advisable to carry sufficient fuel with you. We did not carry fuel with us and had a bit of a scare when there was a signed posted indicating no diesel was available. Thankfully, they had a delivery that very day and had yet to take the sign down.
Is There Mobile Reception at Lawn Hill National Park?
If you are camping in Lawn Hill National Park, Some 3g mobile reception with Telstra is available and it is possible to boost the signal using a mobile wireless repeater.
Hopefully we have answered your questions about camping at Lawn Hill National Park. But if you have another question or comment please let us know below!
Looking for more epic gorges to explore in Queensland? Discover the ancient wonder of Carnarvon Gorge.
If dusty 4wd road trips are your thing, why not take a look at one of Australia’s most famous off-road trips, Queensland’s Cape York.
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