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About Camooweal Caves

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Getting there and getting around

Picnic beside Nowranie Waterhole. Photo: Gary Featonby, Queensland Government.

Picnic beside Nowranie Waterhole. Photo: Gary Featonby, Queensland Government.

Public entry inside the caves is not allowed. A safe viewing area is located at Great Nowranie cave.

At Camooweal, turn south at the Post Office Hotel, onto Urandangi Road, Travel for 15km, following the signs, to the park turn-off on the left. From here, the Nowranie Waterhole day-use area is 6 km and the Nowranie Caves car park is 8 km.

Access by conventional vehicle is possible in dry weather although some difficulties may be experienced at creek crossings or on rocky sections. The road is not suitable for conventional vehicles towing caravans. Four-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended.

Do not attempt to access the park during or after wet weather as the road can be impassable. Contact the Department of Transport and Main Roads to find out about local road conditions and the Bureau of Meteorology for weather reports and forecasts.

Wheelchair accessibility

There are no wheelchair-accessible tracks or facilities in the park.

Park features

See the sinkhole at Great Nowranie cave safely from the viewing area. Photo: Jason Vaughan, Queensland Government.

See the sinkhole at Great Nowranie cave safely from the viewing area. Photo: Jason Vaughan, Queensland Government.

The 13,800 ha of semi-arid Barkly Tablelands that make up Camooweal Caves National Park are characterised by open eucalypt woodland, spinifex, turpentine wattle shrubland and extensive areas of Mitchell grass plains. A variety of birds including waterbirds and woodland species can be seen in the park at different times of the year.

The caves and sinkholes formed when water percolated through 500 million year-old layers of soluble dolomite creating caverns linked by vertical shafts up to 75 m deep. Visitors should be extremely cautious around the edge of the sinkholes. Public entry inside the caves is not allowed. A safe viewing area is located at Great Nowranie cave.

Camping and accommodation

Camping

Camping is not permitted at Camooweal Caves National Park.

Other accommodation

The township of Camooweal has a caravan park and a hotel. Holiday accommodation in Mount Isa includes a selection of tourist parks, hotels and motels. For more information see the tourism information links.

Things to do

Enjoy the short walk to the caves. Photo: Gary Featonby, Queensland Government.

Enjoy the short walk to the caves. Photo: Gary Featonby, Queensland Government.

 Look for water monitors around Nowranie Waterhole. Photo: Tamara Vallance.

Look for water monitors around Nowranie Waterhole. Photo: Tamara Vallance.

Relax beside Nowranie Waterhole. Photo: Jason Vaughan, Queensland Government.

Relax beside Nowranie Waterhole. Photo: Jason Vaughan, Queensland Government.

Walking

There are two short walks in Camooweal Caves National Park.

Little Nowranie Cave walking track (Grade: easy)

Distance: 70 m return
Time: allow about 10 mins walking time
Details: from the southern end of the Nowranie Caves car park, take this short track to the Little Nowranie Cave entrance. Access inside the cave is not allowed. Take care on the unstable rocks around the sinkhole entrance.

Great Nowranie Cave walking track (Grade: easy)

Distance: 220 m return
Time: allow about 30 mins walking time
Details: walk to Great Nowranie Cave from the eastern end of the car park. Access inside the cave is not allowed. The sinkhole entrance is unstable and has steep cliff edges—stay behind the safety rails of the viewing area.

Mountain biking

Mountain bike through Camooweal Caves National Park on the internal roads and firebreaks. The roads are rough and the surfaces uneven and covered with rocks. There is a cattle lease on this park so look out for cattle and expect to share the roads with pedestrians, motorbikes, vehicles and other cyclists.

Mountain bikes are not permitted on the walking tracks.

For more information, see cycling.

Trail-bike riding and four-wheel driving

Ride trail-bikes and drive four-wheel-drives through Camooweal Caves National Park on the internal roads and firebreaks. The roads are rough and the surfaces uneven and covered with rocks. Riders and drivers must be licensed and trail-bikes and vehicles must be fully registered. There is a cattle lease on this park so look out for cattle and expect to share the roads with pedestrians, motorbikes, cyclists and other vehicles.

Stay on formed roads—trail-bikes and vehicles are not permitted off-road, including on walking tracks.

For more information, see trail-bike riding and four-wheel driving.

Picnic and day use areas

Picnic tables are provided at Nowranie Waterhole day-use area.

Viewing wildlife

Most animals in the park rest during the day to avoid the heat, making dawn and dusk the best times to look for wildlife. Ridge-tailed monitors can be seen amongst the rocky outcrops where they feed on insects and small lizards.

The seasonal waterhole attracts waterbirds including spoonbills, cormorants, herons and ducks. Look for water monitors basking on logs beside the water. A variety of woodland bird species can also be spotted.

Other animals are nocturnal. Within the protection of the caves, ghost bats and other insect-eating bats roost, emerging after dark. Owls also roost in these caves, feeding on small nocturnal mammals like long-haired rats.

Things to know before you go

Essentials to bring

To enjoy your time at Camooweal Caves National Park remember to bring:

  • a first-aid kit
  • fresh water for drinking 
  • a hat, sunscreen and sunglasses
  • rubbish bags.

Opening hours

Camooweal Caves National Park is open 24 hours a day.

Permits and fees

Permits are required for commercial or organised group activities. Contact us for further information.

Pets

Domestic animals are not permitted in Camooweal Caves National Park.

Climate and weather

This area has distinct wet and dry seasons, with unpredictable monsoonal rains falling between October and April. From May to September it is cooler and drier, making this the best time to visit the park. South-easterly winds at this time of the year help to make conditions more hospitable. Temperatures can be extremely high for the rest of the year, regularly exceeding 40 °C in the summer. Weather forecasts are available from the Bureau of Meteorology. For more information, see the tourism information links.

Fuel and supplies

Fuel and supplies can be purchased 15 km north of the park at Camooweal or 189 km south-east at Mount Isa. For more information, see the tourism information links.

Staying safe

  • Always carry water, wear a hat and sturdy footwear, and try to walk in the cooler part of the day.
  • Stay away from the edges of the sinkholes and supervise your children closely—the sinkhole entrances are unstable and some have steep cliff edges.
  • Stay well clear of cattle.
  • Carry sufficient water at all times.
  • Wear appropriate safety gear and be realistic about your cycling and riding abilities.
  • Obey speed limits and safety and advisory signs.
  • Ride and drive to the conditions.

For more information, please read the guidelines on safety in parks and forests.

Looking after the park

Parks and forests protect Queensland's wonderful natural diversity and scenery. Help keep these places special by following these guidelines.

  • Leave pets at home—domestic animals are not permitted in national parks.
  • Remember, this is a national park—everything is protected.
  • Do not feed wildlife or leave behind food or scraps.
  • Use a fuel stove—fires are not permitted on the park.
  • Rubbish bins are not provided. Do not bury rubbish—take it when you leave.
  • Limit the spread of weeds by ensuring clothes, shoes, gear and bikes and vehicles are clean and free of seeds before arriving at the park.
  • Stay on formed roads—mountain bikes and trail-bikes are not permitted on walking tracks and boardwalks. Riding over vegetation, breaking branches, taking shortcuts and forming new tracks damages the environment.
  • Unlicensed trail-bike riders and drivers are not allowed in parks and forests. Riders and drivers must be licensed and vehicles must be fully registered.
  • Avoiding driving and riding on unsealed roads during and after heavy rains.
  • Respect park visitors—minimise the noise and dust from your riding and driving.

See caring for parks for more information about protecting our environment and heritage in parks.

Park management

Camooweal Caves National Park is managed to conserve the natural and cultural values of the area. It protects a representative section of the Barkly Tableland landscape of Mitchell grassland and spinifex, as well as the dolomite underground cave systems. The park is important for the Indjalandji-Dhidhanu People who have Dreaming creators associated with the area, in particular the sinkholes, and ask that you show respect when visiting.

A grazing lease is current on this national park.

Tourism information links

Outback at Isa & Visitor Information Centre
www.mietv.com.au
19 Marian Street, Mount Isa QLD 4825
Phone: 07 4749 1555

For tourism information for all regions in Queensland see Queensland Holidays.

Further information

Contact us

Last updated
6 February 2015