Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park                   

Nestled in the parched plains of remote north-western Queensland is Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park with its permanent creeks and waterholes. Spectacular gorges, sandstone ranges and palm-fringed creeks make this one of Queensland’s most scenic parks. Carved by Lawn Hill Creek, Lawn Hill Gorge is a rich oasis with cabbage palms and lush tropical vegetation.

Lawn Hill’s ancient sandstones and limestones have been gradually stripped away over millions of years leaving behind rugged escarpments, gorges and rock outcrops.

The Waanyi people who have lived in the gorge area for at least 17,000 years know this place as Boodjamulla, or Rainbow Serpent country. Lawn Hill Gorge is sacred to the Waanyi people. Midden heaps, grinding stones and rock art are evidence of the importance of this place. Visitors are asked to respect this special culture. Today, the traditional owners help manage the park.

The park has a rich pastoral history and Lawn Hill Station was once one of the state’s largest cattle properties.

The Riversleigh Section of the park is part of the Australian Fossil Mammal Sites World Heritage Area and contains the fossil remains of many of today’s native animal ancestors. Animal bones dating back 25 million years are preserved in lime-rich sediments here. This living museum is an important record of the evolution of Australian mammals.

Exploring Boodjamulla

Picnic in the gorge. Hire a canoe in the camping area and paddle around the gorge. Go birdwatching along the Indirri Falls loop track.

Enjoy the view from Island Stack, a steep climb best attempted early morning. See Aboriginal rock art at Wild Dog Dreaming and Rainbow Dreaming.

Go wildlife watching. See kangaroos, wallabies, echidnas, lizards, red-winged parrots and purple-crowned fairy-wrens. Look for spitting archer fish, turtles and freshwater crocodiles in the creek.

Camp near Lawn Hill Creek. Bookings are essential. Toilets, cold showers, shared fireplaces and water are provided. Take a fuel stove for cooking. Be self-sufficient in fuel, food, camping equipment and vehicle spare parts. You may be stranded in wet weather. Camping is not allowed at Riversleigh but you can camp outside the park at Adels Grove.

Access to the World Heritage Area is restricted to Riversleigh’s D Site. Read about the fossils in the information shelter at Riversleigh then explore along a self-guided interpretive trail. Only toilets are provided. Commercial tours operate from Adels Grove.

Avoid visiting in the heat or wet season, October to March. Be prepared. Daytime temperatures can be very hot and nights can be freezing.


Wear sturdy shoes, a hat and sunscreen and carry drinking water when walking. Observe safety signs. Explore the park on these tracks:

Getting there

The park base is 340km north-west of Mt Isa, 220km south-west of Burketown, or 425km north-west of Cloncurry. The Burketown route and the last 280km of the Mt Isa access route are unsealed and become impassable after rain. Four-wheel-drive is recommended. The Cloncurry route is best for towing vans and conventional access.

A light airstrip is located at Adels Grove, PMB2 Mt Isa (07) 4748 5502. Transport to the park can be arranged. Riversleigh is 51km from the gorge or 250km north-west of Mt Isa via Camooweal Road then a dirt road past Riversleigh Station. Fuel and some supplies are available at Adels Grove.

Sources & Further reading

Journey Back Through Time
Experience Australia
Aboriginal Australia
National Parks
Photo Galleries
Site Map
                                                                                           Author: M.H.Monroe  Email:     Sources & Further reading