Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Expedition National Park

What's special?

On the Expedition Range in central Queensland lies remote and rugged Expedition National Park, the closest outback park to Brisbane. Scenic Robinson Gorge winds 14km between sheer sandstone cliffs from a broad shallow basin in the north to a narrow gorge towards its southern end.

Dry eucalypt forest covers most of the park. The mature spotted gum forest is the only intact forest of this type. Mt Cannondale in the Amphitheatre contains one of the largest intact softwood scrub remnants in the central highlands. Patches of dry rainforest scrub grow in narrow side gorges and wildflowers flourish along the cliff tops. Sandy Robinson Gorge is lined with cabbage palms (a relic from the dinosaur era), bottlebrushes and wattles. The park is home to several rare plant species including Eucalyptus rubiginosa and Leucopogon grandiflorus.

For thousands of years, Aboriginal people lived in this area, leaving behind stencil art and other sacred sites. Leichhardt visited in 1844 during his journey to Port Essington near Darwin.

Exploring Expedition

Camp among the wattles beside a permanent waterhole on Starkvale Creek at the southern end of the park. Spotted Gum camping area in the north has no facilities. Take a fuel stove and water (seven litres/person/day) for both campsites. Pay for your campsite at the self-registration stations at each campsite.

Go birdwatching. Listen for the grey shrike-thrush all-year-round or look for golden whistlers and grey and rufous fantails in winter. In summer, honeyeaters, rainbow lorikeets, friarbirds and king parrots feed on flowers and fruits.

See beautiful wildflowers in winter and spring, the best times to visit.

Enjoy the view of Arcadia Valley to the Carnarvon Range from a lookout off the Carnarvon Developmental Road in the remote Lonesome Section of the park.


From Starkvale, a track leads to a lookout over Robinson Gorge. Turn off the same track to reach the only access into the gorge along a steep, rough 20-minute trail. There are no trails in the gorge. Only experienced walkers should hike along the gorge to the Cattle Dip.

The Shepherd’s Peak trail leads 2·5km from Starkvale camping area to a flat-topped mesa, Shepherd’s Peak, with views over the surrounding peaks and creeks. Continue 4·5km to a lookout over the “Cattle Dip”, a spectacular permanent waterhole in the gorge. Allow five hours to do the whole trail. You can also drive 1·5km from Starkvale to the Cattle Dip carpark then walk to the lookout.

Getting there

Expedition is 128km or two hours’ north-west of Taroom along a road with about 100km of gravel. Travel 18km north of Taroom on the Leichhardt Highway, then turn left at the Bauhinia Downs Road. Turn left 2km further on towards Glenhaughton and Reedy Creek. Continue 86km to the turnoff to the park. Starkvale Creek is a further 23km and accessible only by four-wheel-drive. Alternatively, turn off the Dawson Highway 1km east of Bauhinia Downs and follow the Mapala-Fairfield Road for 93km. Turn right at Oil Bore Road. Continue 7km before turning left and driving a further 16km along a four-wheel-drive signposted track. Roads are impassable in wet weather. The nearest supplies are at Taroom (128 km) or Bauhinia Downs (116km).

For your safety, advise a friend or relative about your planned visit and your safe return.

Sources & Further reading


Last updated 05/11/2010



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                                                                                           Author: M.H.Monroe  Email:     Sources & Further reading