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Let's not swim here.
Let's not swim here.
Having a feast at camp.
The pretty wildlife.
Kayaking through the national park.

Lawn Hill National Park

Thursday, October 4, 2001
This lush national park is surrounded by vast expanses of scorching plains, and holds incredible tropical beauty.

Lawn Hill National Park in the central Gulf region of Queensland measures 282,000 hectares, but has only 20,000 visitors each year. It is surrounded by vast expanses of scorching plains, and its incredible tropical beauty and abundance of water comes as a surprise to many.

It was inhabited by Aborigines for 35,000 years and is a significant site for Aboriginal dreaming. It is essentially a wilderness park, but Queensland National Parks have installed some paths making parts of it accessible to tourists, but mostly it is a tourist-free haven for wildlife. Lawn Hill Gorge is home to freshwater crocodiles, short-necked tortoises and a variety of freshwater fish and birdlife.

A mixture of blood-red gorges, grasslands, open forest and riverine vegetation of Leichhardt pines, figs and cabbage palms form a memorable setting. The deep, green creek is fed year-round by springs from limestone and sandstone and is just right for canoeing and taking refreshing swims.

The last 280km of road from Mt Isa is unsealed, and travel by a four-wheel drive is recommended. Campbell's Tours and Safaris' guides know the area probably better than anyone. Apart from knowing just where to take visitors, their knowledge of and insight into the history and nature of the park is amazing.

Riversleigh Fossil Fields is right next to Lawn Hill, but is considered to be part of the park. Sir David Attenborough noted that only one or two places on the planet have the right conditions to preserve a representative sample of species living at any time over the past three thousand million years! Riversleigh is one of them, and Sir David said it is a rare treasure house of palaeontology.

The area open for public viewing is barren and rocky with fossil remains in their natural environment. Most are small, and there is evidence of over 150 mammal species, including a wakaleo, thingadonta and dromornithidae. Scattered limestone fossils aged between 15 and 25 million years were discovered in the 1970s.

Adel's Grove was a farm owned by a French botanist. Some of his plants remain in the campground, which has 53 unpowered camping and van sites with water, fireplace and barbecue plate. The modern amenities block has flush toilets, hot showers and a laundry with tubs.

You can stock up on ice, cold drinks, bread and other necessities there. They also do emergency tyre repairs. You can swim in the clear spring creek and there are some good short walks in the vicinity.

The ground closes at 8pm each day, and that's to keep the cattle out! People arriving later just need to close the gates.


An hour's flight north of Mt Isa, in north-western Queensland.


West Wing Aviation charter flights start at $1300 for up to five passengers.
Campbells Tours and Safaris have a three-day tour, including all meals, camping and canoe hire, costing $495 per adult and $297 per child. Tours operate from April to October.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission and to the best of our knowledge are inclusive of GST.

More information

Campbell's Tours and Safaris,
27-29 Barkly Highway, Mt Isa
Ph: (07) 4743 2006 Fax: (07) 4743 6903
Freecall: 1800 242 329
West Wing Aviation
Ph: (07) 4743 2144
Qantas flies 12 times a week from Brisbane to Mt Isa.

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