Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Currawinya National Park

What's special?

Currawinya’s large lakes, rivers and muddy waterholes contrast strikingly with stark red sandy plains, claypans and rocky ranges in semi-arid south-western Queensland. Saline, clear, Lake Wyara, freshwater Lake Numulla, other lakes and seasonal waterholes along the Paroo River form a major wetland of international significance, providing refuge for thousands of birds.

More than 200 bird species live in the park. Following good rain, thousands of black swans, coots, ducks and grebes flock to Lake Wyara. Lake Numulla is a refuge for pink-eared, hardhead, black and wood ducks and the rare freckled duck, and is a safe breeding ground for many other birds.

Evidence of thousands of years of Aboriginal occupation, and more recent relics of pastoral activities dating from the 1860s, are scattered across the park.

Mulga woodlands are most common but many other shrub and tree species grow in the park, including turpentine, hopbush, poplar box, gidgee, black bluebush and belah.

Community donations have paid for a 25 square kilometre predator-proof fence to protect a captive-bred bilby colony in the park. This population is part of a national strategy to protect the endangered greater bilby, which has disappeared from much of its home range in inland Australia.

Exploring Currawinya

The best way to explore Currawinya is by driving. A round trip of about 85km from the information centre at the Currawinya ranger base to the lakes takes two to three hours. Drive carefully.

Bush camp at Ourimperee Waterhole behind the Woolshed or at sites along the Paroo River near Caiwarro. Toilets and tank water are provided at Ourimperee Waterhole and a pit toilet is located at Caiwarro Ruins. Take extra drinking water and a fuel stove. Organised groups can stay in the former shearer’s quarters at the old Currawinya Woolshed. Showers, toilets, cabins, a public phone and kitchen facilities are provided. Fees apply and bookings are recommended during Queensland and New South Wales school holidays.

Go birdwatching early morning around the lakes and waterholes. Watch for brolgas dancing and look for waterbirds during their annual migration from the northern hemisphere. See colourful birds in the low woodlands including mallee ringnecks, mulga parrots and blue bonnets.

Picnic under the black box trees on the shores of Lake Numulla. Go canoeing or swimming. Motorised boats and jet skis are not allowed on the lakes. Fishing is allowed at specific sites. Check with the ranger and bring your own bait.

Photograph the old woolshed or the ruins of Caiwarro Homestead. Climb The Granites, 15km from the information centre, for a panoramic view over the park. See wildflowers in spring. Information signs at the park office turnoff help you explore the park.

Summer days are extremely hot and winter nights are frosty. April to September is the best time to visit.

Visitors must be self-sufficient in food, fuel and water. Meals are available at Hungerford where fuel and some groceries can be obtained at the Royal Mail Hotel.

Walking

There are no tracks but you can walk along the sandy shores of Lake Numulla. Overnight hiking is allowed. Take drinking water and a fuel stove.

Getting there

Currawinya lies on the Queensland/New South Wales border, next to the township of Hungerford, 217km north-west of Bourke. The park is 170km south-west of Cunnamulla. Travel towards Thargomindah, turning off to Hungerford 4km west of Eulo and continue 60km to the park entrance and a further 40km to the park office. The park office is 4·5km north of the Ten Mile Bore or 20km north of Hungerford. Conventional access is possible but four-wheel-drive is necessary to reach the lakes. The sandy roads become boggy when wet.

 

 

    
 
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                                                                                           Author: M.H.Monroe  Email: admin@austhrutime.com     Sources & Further reading