The 6 Queensland Outback gorges well worth a visit
Despite its arid reputation, it’s not just red dirt you’ll find out here.
The desert has plenty to offer, particularly in the way of natural landmarks. Traverse Queensland’s centre and you’ll come to greet the impressive collection of awe-inspiring gorges scattered throughout.
Which are worth your while? Follow this guide to the best Outback gorges that Queensland has to offer.
Cobbold Gorge, Gulf Savannah
Make your way to the Gulf Savannah and you’ll find yourself in the midst of the dusty palette for which the Outback has become famed.
At the heart of this region sits Cobbold Gorge, an astounding natural landmark that’s nearing 135 million years old. The popular tourist destination consists of 30-metre-tall sandstone cliffs in between which water freely flows. While you’re free to explore the inland oasis on your own accord, it’s best to follow the lead of a local and let Cobbold Gorge Tours weave you by boat through the maze of rock formations.
Porcupine Gorge, Porcupine Gorge National Park
Dubbed Australia’s ‘little Grand Canyon’, this landmark belongs on the must-visit list.
This natural wonder sits 60 kilometres away from the fossil hub of Hughenden. Dating back hundreds of millions of years, the impressively deep canyon here consists of multi-coloured sandstone cliffs, fringed by vine forest and permanent waterholes. Take in the view from Pyramid Lookout, a 30-minute walk from the gorge and where you can set up your tent for the night.
Lawn Hill Gorge, Boodjamulla National Park
Within the borders of the park sits the idyllic Lawn Hill Gorge, where vibrant orange sandstone cliffs surround emerald green waters. There’s no shortage of activities here; paddle down the lime-rich Lawn Hill Creek by canoe, hike the maze of bushwalking tracks and take a gander at the neighbouring World Heritage-listed Riversleigh Fossil Fields, where fossil deposits date back 25 million years.
Hell Hole Gorge, Hell Hole Gorge National Park
Don’t be deterred by its name, Hell Hole Gorge is an essential visit for the adventurer.
The Quilpie Shire landmark is the largest of several rock pools in this district and conveniently swimmable when it comes to cooling off.
Nothing short of rugged, this outback oasis sits in stony tablelands, boasting vertical cliffs around the pool which stretch 45-metres upward. But be wary that a 4WD is a non-negotiable here, and that the path to Hell Hole Gorge will see you traipse through working pastoral properties. Keep an eye out for wandering stock, and leave gates as you find them.
Robinson Gorge, Expedition National Park
Head north along the Leichhardt Way from Taroom and you’ll greet Robinson Gorge.
The luscious outcrop is largely draped in eucalypt forest dating back millions of years. Then there’s the gorge itself, a winding plateau which stretches 14 kilometres in length, accompanied by a sheer sandstone drop which is believed to resemble a fortress wall.
Multiple lookouts and camping areas make this gorge particularly visitor friendly, but try to arrive prepared; don’t bother without a 4WD and remember that in the wet season access is forbidden.
Carnarvon Gorge, Carnarvon National Park
One of Queensland’s best known rock formations is Carnarvon Gorge in Carnarvon National Park.
This Outback Queensland jewel has long been marvelled at by visitors from near and far courtesy of its pristine landscape, meaning that sealed roads and easy access can be expected.
Spend your time here meandering the untamed eucalypt and cabbage palm forests, gazing at the sheer size of the gorge itself (at 30-kilometres long and 600-metres deep at its mouth), and enjoy a dip in the designated swimming hole.