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About Mackay Highlands Great Walk

Getting there and getting around

The Mackay Highlands Great Walk starts in Eungella National Park, 80 km west of Mackay.

At the head of the valley, the road winds sharply and steeply up the Clarke Range—not recommended for caravans. When you reach Eungella township at the top of the range, follow the road sweeping left to get to Eungella National Park.

Walk the Great Walk from north to south. This will allow you to follow track markers and avoid extremely steep climbs in dry and exposed conditions.

Tourist drives with several associated short walks are available in the Eungella and Mackay Highlands area. For more information please see the Eungella National Park web page.

For road information contact Queensland Transport.

Walk highlights

Sunrise in the Mackay Highlands. Photo: Queensland Government

Sunrise in the Mackay Highlands. Photo: Queensland Government

  • Impressive natural areas, including Eungella and Homevale national parks, and Crediton State Forest.
  • Rugged mountainous terrain and stunning scenery—dense rainforest, deep gorges, steep escarpments and tranquil farming communities.
  • A nature lover's paradise in Eungella National Park with 860 plant species and a great variety of wildlife.
  • An insight into the area's history of forestry and cattle farming.
  • Walks—something to suit everyone. Take a family stroll or a half-day walking challenge. Stay longer to complete the total 56 km walk (3–5 days).

Camping and accommodation

Campers at Denham Range. Photo: Queensland Government

Campers at Denham Range. Photo: Queensland Government

Camping

QPWS provides walkers' camps at Fern Flat (Broken River), Crediton Hall, Denham Range and Moonlight Dam. All have access to toilets and water (treat before drinking).

Fern Flat is accessible only to walkers, but QPWS provides car-accessible camps at Crediton Hall and 4WD-accessible camps at Denham Range and Moonlight Dam.

Camping permits are required and fees apply.

Other accommodation

Motel-style accommodation and self-contained cabins are available in Eungella, Finch Hatton and Broken River. See tourism information links for more information.

Short walks

Short walks through rainforest. Photo: Queensland Government

Short walks through rainforest. Photo: Queensland Government

Whether you want a family stroll or a half-day walking challenge, there's a short walk to suit you in Eungella National Park, as part of the Mackay Highlands Great Walk.

See Eungella National Park page for detailed information about the short walks.

Before setting out, think carefully about your group's fitness levels and the time you have available.

Long walks

Campers at Crediton Hall. Photo: Queensland Government

Campers at Crediton Hall. Photo: Queensland Government

The Mackay Highlands Great Walk is 56 km long and takes 3–5 days to walk. It is recommended for experienced walkers with high fitness levels.

Experience rainforest and palm groves, quiet roads and farming communities, and cliffs and peaks.

Walk the Great Walk from north to south. This will allow you to follow track markers and avoid very steep climbs in dry and exposed conditions.

To find out where each track section starts and finishes, match the map references in the track descriptions below to the Eungella and Mackay Highlands map (PDF, 217K).

Depending on how far you wish to walk, remember to arrange a support vehicle to pick you up at a set place and time. The Mackay Highlands and Eungella National Park visitor guide available from Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service gives detailed driving directions.

Pine Grove to Broken River—10 km one way (3.5–5 hours)

Map reference: (1)–(4)

A moderate level of fitness is required for this shady and fairly level track.

Walk through lush, tranquil rainforest and shimmering palms to cross the Clarke Range. Follow river cascades to the bustling Broken River picnic area and then to Fern Flat, a peaceful campground accessible only to walkers.

Broken River to Crediton Hall—11.2 km one way (3.75–5.5 hours)

Map reference: (4)–(9)

A moderate to high level of fitness is required for this long track with short uphill sections.

Walk alongside Broken River, stopping to enjoy reflections in calm sections. Step out from rainforest and follow track markers through farming communities to Crediton Hall, a comfortable camping area.

Crediton Hall to Denham Range—19.5 km one way (6.5–9.75 hours)

Map reference: (9)–(10)

Only fit and experienced walkers should attempt this remote track. Long, steep sections are a challenge.

Walk through farming country, up to a rainforest ridge and through Crediton State Forest. Open views at Denham Range camping area will revive you.

Denham Range to Moonlight Dam—16.2 km one way (5.5–8 hours)

Map reference: (10)–(11)

Only fit, experienced walkers should attempt this track. Extremely steep descents are a challenge.

Descend through eucalyptus woodlands, enjoying the surrounding mountain ranges and sharp peaks rising from the dry country. Cross dry creek beds to Moonlight Dam, a camping area with a grazing history.

Extend your journey to Mt Britton—5.5 km one way (2–2.75 hours)

Map reference: (11)–(12)

A moderate level of fitness is required for this exposed but fairly level track.

Learn about life in an 1880s gold-mining township.

Planning your walk

Overnight walkers in remote Homevale section. Photo: Queensland Government.

Overnight walkers in remote Homevale section. Photo: Queensland Government.

Consider the challenges ahead

Be prepared and know your limits. Sections of this Great Walk are rugged and remote.

  • Walk only between April and September to avoid wet and dry weather extremes.
  • You must be self-sufficient—carry a first-aid kit and extra rations for emergency situations.

Arrange your vehicle support

Remember to arrange a support vehicle to pick you up at a set place and time. Do not rely on mobile phone coverage from camping areas. When arranging to be picked up from the southern end of the Great Walk, be aware that there is vehicle access from Broken River and Nebo. Some gravel roads are suitable only for four-wheel-drive vehicles in wet conditions.

  • From Broken River, follow Eungella Dam Road for 24.5 km and turn left into Pipeline Road (also called Lizzie Creek Road). Follow this road for 17.3 km and turn left into Turrawulla Road. From here, it is 36.1 km to the signed left turn into Moonlight Dam. The camping area is 7 km from this turn-off.
  • From Nebo, drive towards Mackay along the Peak Downs Highway for 6 km and turn left into Nebo-Glenden Road (also called the Suttor Developmental Road). Follow this road for 11.2 km and turn right into Turrawulla Road. From here, drive about 23 km past the Homevale-Mount Britton turnoff to the signed right turn into Moonlight Dam. The camping area is 7 km from this turn-off.

Pack to stay safe

  • Always carry enough water for one day and evening.
  • Pack enough food for one extra day in case you're delayed.
  • Wear a hat, long sleeves and trousers to minimise scratches, stings, bites and sunburn. Take a warm jumper in winter and a raincoat in case weather changes suddenly.
  • Wear boots suitable for wet conditions.
  • Carry a first-aid kit and know how to use it. Make sure you bring supplies of any prescription medicines you will need during the walk.
  • Carry a mobile phone and call Triple Zero (000) in an emergency (try 112 if this fails). Coverage is very limited—lookouts and ridgelines are best.

Pack to leave no trace of your visit

  • Carry a fuel stove to minimise your impact and reduce fire danger.
  • Pack strong rubbish bags for storing rubbish.
  • Smokers, please carry a small container for disposing of cigarette butts.
  • Carry a trowel and toilet paper to use between camping areas. Bury toilet waste at least 15 cm below the ground and 100 m from water. Clip-seal bags are handy for carrying sanitary items to dispose of after your walk.

Permits and fees

You must have a permit to camp along the Mackay Highlands Great Walk.

Climate and weather

Walking is recommended between April and September to avoid wet and dry weather extremes. Be prepared for track closures in times of high fire danger.

The region's dry season occurs during winter (June to August), with average temperatures from 10°C to 20°C.

Fuel and supplies

Fuel and supplies are available at Mackay, Proserpine and Finch Hatton. For more information see the tourism information links below.

Walk safely

Prepare for a safe and enjoyable walk. Photo: Queensland Government

Prepare for a safe and enjoyable walk. Photo: Queensland Government

Walk only between April and September to avoid wet and dry weather extremes. Be prepared for track closures during periods of high fire danger.

General safety guidelines

  • Mobile phone coverage is limited—help can be many hours away.
  • Carry water, food and a first-aid kit. Pack extra supplies in case your walk takes longer than expected.
  • Tell a responsible person where you are going and when you expect to return.
  • Bring supplies of any prescription medicines needed during the walk.
  • Wear sturdy, enclosed boots or shoes suitable for wet conditions.
  • Take warm clothes and raincoats—weather can change suddenly.
  • Pack a hat, long-sleeved tops and trousers to minimise scratches, stings, bites and sunburn.
  • Be prepared for wildlife and know how to respond.

On the track                                          

  • Always carry enough water for one day and evening. Refill containers from water tanks at camping areas. Treat all water from creeks and tanks before drinking.
  • Use insect repellent regularly to keep mosquitoes and scrub mites away.
  • Plan to complete your walk well before dark.
  • Wear boots suitable for wet conditions.

In an emergency

  • Know your location at all times.
  • Carry a mobile phone and call Triple Zero (000) in an emergency (if this fails try 112) , or send the two fittest members of your party to get help, leaving someone behind to care for the injured walker.
  • Do not rely on mobile phones. There is only occasional mobile phone coverage from the ridgelines.

Fire safety

  • Check for park alert updates on fire danger and planned burning before you go.
  • Observe all signs. In extreme conditions, the walking track may be closed for your personal safety.
  • If you see a fire, please alert a ranger or the police as soon as possible.

Wildlife safety

  • Do not leave food for native birds and animals.
  • Animals such as goannas, possums, kookaburras and butcherbirds have caused serious injuries because people have fed them or encouraged their attention.
  • Native birds and animals need their natural diet to survive. Eating processed foods can cause them to become sick or die.

Walk softly

Minimal impact camping at Moonlight Dam. Photo: Queensland Government

Minimal impact camping at Moonlight Dam. Photo: Queensland Government

Use clean camping equipment

Clean all walking and camping gear before arriving in the Mackay Highlands. Dirt on walking boots, tents, tent pegs and other items can carry harmful diseases—a major threat to plants and animals.

Use a fuel stove

  • Use a gas or liquid spirit stove for cooking to reduce fire danger.
  • Never leave stoves unattended when lit.

Toilets

  • Use toilets in camping areas.
  • Between camping areas, bury human waste and toilet paper at least 100 m from campsites, tracks and waterways and about 50 cm deep.
  • Take all sanitary items with you—they do not decompose. Clip-seal bags are handy.

Rubbish

  • Reduce your rubbish by bringing as little packaging as possible.
  • Bring strong rubbish bags to carry out all your rubbish and dispose of it properly. Solid waste and litter is unsightly and can injure and kill wildlife.
  • Carry a small container for disposing of cigarette butts.

Things to remember

  • Stay on the track. Taking shortcuts causes erosion.
  • Leave your pets at home. Domestic animals are not permitted in national parks.
  • Never feed or leave food for animals—you might be bitten or scratched. Let animals find their own food. Our foods can be harmful.

Tourism information links

Mackay Visitor Information Centre

www.mackayregion.com

The Mill, 320 Nebo Road, Mackay Qld 4740

ph (07) 4944 5888 or 1300 130 001

fax (07) 4952 2034

email

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

Further information

Contact us

Last updated
3 November 2016