If you’re looking for a way to relax and unwind from the hectic norm of concrete jungles, head to one of many pristine national parks in Queensland.
The national park experience is magnificent. Where buzzing phones are replaced by calls of nature, loud meetings with meditation, and busy emails with calm and serene nature.
It’s time to head to your storage, pull out some exploring gear. You’ll need all of your adventuring gear to explore these top 3 national parks in Queensland. And trust us, the wonder and beauty in these parks will give you something to tick off your bucket list.
Minerva National Park
Located around 67 kilometres south of Emerald, Minerva Hills National Park offers a spectacular experience not to be missed.
The landscape is set by astonishing jagged peaks that surround the forests and grassland beneath. The history of the area dates back to 23 to 34 million years ago, where volcanic activity formed the very land underneath your feet. The Minerva Hills National Park of today is now made of volcanic cliffs, sheltered gorges, jagged peaks, woodlands, and pockets of rainforest, all of which create a breathtaking landscape to be admired.
Absorb the grassy woodlands, which boast eucalyptus trees and ironbarks. Embrace the bright yellow trails and mountain summits when the wattles bloom. Natural vegetation is at its peak here.
Explore the rock art of the Kariai people, who occupied the area until Europeans settled. At Minerva Hills National Park, history is all around you as you immerse yourself in nature.
There is an abundance of interesting wildlife too, with fawn-footed melomys and Eastern pebble-mound mice occupying the space. Common creatures include wallabies, kangaroos, and wallaroos, who enjoy grazing at sunrise and sunset. Koalas also frequent the area, but are often asleep high in the gum trees. Don’t forget to bring binoculars to see what you can spot. The dark will bring in wildlife activity from sugar gliders and greater gliders.
Camping isn’t allowed in the park, but there are many accommodation options outside of the park. With Emerald being only an hour away from Minerva Hills National Park, you can easily find a comfortable place to stay in town.
Food options are also better in town, with popular local favourites like the Maraboon Tavern guaranteed to satisfy your adventurer’s appetite.
Exceptional Aussie classics and pub meals crafted by professional chefs await you at the Maraboon Tavern. Popular dishes include crispy skin barramundi, beer battered flathead fillets, slow cooked Beef Wellington , a range of schnitzels, pasta, noodles, premium grills, and many other fusion and international delights.
Fresh beer on tap and the wide array of local and international wines and spirits will lift your spirit up, especially when paired nicely with a delicious meal.
A visit to the Maraboon Tavern will not disappoint. Book by calling (07) 4982 0999 to avoid missing out.
Blackdown Tableland National Park
Only around 110 kilometres west of Emerald, and an approximate 2 hour drive, the Blackdown Tableland National Park is a highlight worth visiting.
Although relatively small compared to other national parks in Queensland, Blackdown Tableland National Park certainly delivers a lot of attractions despite its size.
The road there is a bit narrow and windy, but then, as your journey reaches its destination, the presentation is amazing with a varied landscape of abundant vegetation, waterfalls, and sandstone gorges.
There are plenty of short walking trails and lookouts to explore at Blackdown Tableland, with Gudda Gumis Gorge and the trail to Mook Mook being favourites. Blackdown Tableland is also home to the Ghungalu, and the National Park features some of Ghungalu rock art and artefacts.
Those that came by 4WD are lucky to adventure through the scenic drive, which is a 19 kilometre loop. During the drive, you’ll get to see Mitha Boongulla (the Charlevue Lookout). The drive takes approximately 2 hours to do.
Only a couple hours from Emerald, it’s better to set up shop in town. And while you’re there, don’t forget to pop by the Maraboon Tavern for a local hearty meal.
Carnarvon National Park
One of Queensland’s most famous national parks, Carnarvon National Park is home to Carnarvon Gorge. With the everflowing Carnarvon Creek, luxurious growth of ferns, palms, trees, and shrubs happen all year round.
The National Park is full of walking trails, side gorges to explore, Aboriginal cultural sites, and an abundance of natural beauty and rugged wilderness. Rock art on sandstones created by Aboriginal tribes have been regarded as some of the finest Aboriginal freehand painting, ochre stencils, and rock engravings in Australia.
For seasoned adventurers, there is the Carnarvon Great Walk which requires a good six to seven days of walking, excellent preparation, and high level bushwalking experience.
When it comes to wildlife, there are over 170 species of bird in the park. Night walks will reveal glides, bush curlews, and possums. While creek explorations may have you spotting a possum or platypus if you’re lucky.
Dip your toes in the Rock Pool for a refreshing break. The natural experience is endless, with promises of magnificent landscapes, colours, and fresh air to refresh and rejuvenate your soul.
Banner image credit: Nathan White Photography