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About Lochern

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Getting there and getting around

Lochern National Park is part of the Cooper Creek catchment. To help you plan your visit to this remote area, go to the Parks of Central West Queensland web page.

Lochern National Park is 45km north of Stonehenge. Turn off the Longreach–Jundah Road at the Lochern signpost 100km south of Longreach. Follow this unsealed road for about 40km to the park boundary at Thomson River.

If travelling from Winton via Lark Quarry, allow 4–5 hours for the 330km trip. Expect poor, rough road conditions and watch for bulldust and road trains.

Even small amounts of rain can make roads impassable so always be prepared and have at least a week’s worth of extra supplies in case of stranding. Check with the Queensland Transport or local council offices for current road conditions before your trip.

Access roads are unsealed and a four-wheel-drive vehicle is recommended.

Wheelchair accessibility

The information centre at Lochern National Park is wheelchair accessible.

Park features

Lochern has 20km of Thomson River frontage. The park protects 24,300ha of important habitat, with many lagoons and waterholes providing refuge for birds and other wildlife.

The people of Lochern also adapted to the cycles of wet and dry. Aboriginal people enjoyed the bounties on offer from seasonal transformations of the land. Pastoralists built dams with long wings and stone-pitched ends to catch extra rainwater, and set the hen-house and motor room high and dry.

Camping and accommodation

Camping

Bush camping is permitted at Broadwater Waterhole. No facilities are provided.

Camping permits are required and fees apply.

Other accommodation

There is a range of accommodation in and around Longreach. For more information see tourism information links.

Things to do

Walking

The park has no walking tracks but you can wander around the river and waterholes. As Lochern is relatively quiet and the terrain is gentle the habitat drive is also suitable for walking.

  • When walking, wear sun protection and sturdy shoes, carry plenty of water, and follow other safety advice.

Driving

For your best chance to see Lochern’s wildlife, drive slowly and go in either the early morning or evening.

Lochern habitat drive—approximately 40km return (allow 2–4 hours)

This scenic drive is only accessible to four-wheel-drive vehicles. Pick up a drive guide brochure from the information centre before you go and learn about Lochern's wildlife and pastoral relics. Gidgee, bloodwood and mulga woodlands open out onto Mitchell grass plains and the channels and floodplains of the Thomson River. Step out of the car at spots like Bluebush Lagoon to watch waterbirds or examine blossoms on tiny plants.

Boating

Canoeing and kayaking in Broadwater Waterhole is a popular activity. Bring your own canoes as none are available for hire.

Fishing

Fishing in the waterholes is permitted, however size and bag limits apply. Contact the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for more information about fishing regulations.

Cycling

You can ride your bicycle along the park’s habitat drive. Be careful of other vehicles.

Viewing wildlife

Animals

Lochern is bustling with wildlife if you know where to look. When in the woodlands, look for hooded robins and Major Mitchell's cockatoos. Ringnecked, red-winged, mulga and Bourke's parrots are also common. Listen carefully for the crested bellbird's clear call.

The eastern dead finish shrublands are home to Hall's babblers and splendid fairy-wrens. Emus abound at Lochern in good seasons. In winter, watch for the male emu with strings of newborn chicks following closely behind.

Australian bustards are most likely to be seen in the Mitchell grass plains and between river channels. Stately brolgas also frequent the plains and spotted harriers can be seen gliding low, hunting for food.

Identify scavenging black kites as they fly overhead by the fork in their tail. Whistling kites nest and call beside Broadwater Waterhole.

You will probably hear the trumpeting, creaky call of red-tailed black-cockatoos before you see them flying along the river channels with their deep, slow wing beats. Budgerigars nest in the coolibahs and little black-fronted dotterels scurry along the edge of waterholes. The bird flying erratically in your headlights with the large white spots in its wings is a spotted nightjar.

Fallen timber in the gidgee woodlands is a haven for reptiles such as spiny-tailed geckos, marbled velvet geckos and gidgee skinks. In the warmer months you may be lucky enough to come across a handsome black-headed python stretched across the road at night.

Large yellow goannas search through the day for carrion, burrowing lizards and frogs. Listen for tiny chirping froglets in mud cracks at the edge of waterholes. You may also spy a turtle poking its head out of the water. After dusk, watch for bats scouting for insects overhead.

Brushtail possums have been seen in coolibahs beside Broadwater Waterhole. They are at the edge of their distribution on Lochern. Red kangaroos, eastern grey kangaroos and wallaroos are the most common larger animals.

Plants

Lochern supports a number of plants typical of the Channel Country and Mitchell Grass Downs bioregions. These include groups of mixed mulga, hakea and western bloodwood, and coolibah and gidgee woodlands.

The Thomson River's braided channels give life to grasses, herbs and bluebush and lignum shrublands. Naturally open Mitchell grass plains stretching back from the river give way to bands of open gidgee and thick mulga.

All four species of Mitchell grass (bull, curly, barley and hoop) are found at Lochern. Stony areas support groups of whitewood and gidgee woodlands with Mitchell grass.

Some sand-plains in the park support leopardwood and gidgee woodlands, while others support shrublands of eastern dead finish and mulga. These groups of plants have a restricted habitat. The mauve flowers of the silver turkeybush provide a particularly attractive setting in the distinctive tall shrublands of eastern dead finish on red sandy soil. A sweet scent emanates from the bush after rain.

Things to know before you go

Lochern National Park is 150km from Longreach, and you must be self-sufficient and prepared for emergencies.

Essentials to bring

  • Adequate water, food and emergency supplies. Carry at least seven litres of water per person per day and enough emergency food and water for at least seven days in case of stranding.
  • Fuel stove. No fires are permitted in Lochern National Park.
  • Complete first-aid kit. Include sun and insect protection in your kit.
  • UHF, satellite phone and/ or an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB). Mobile phone coverage is poor or not available in most areas of Lochern National Park.
  • Extra fuel and vehicle repairs. Frequent low gear and four-wheel-drive travel will use fuel more quickly on park drives. You should also bring vehicle repair tools, spare tyres, oil and engine coolant.

Opening hours

Lochern National Park is open all year, however wet weather may cause temporary closures. Check park alerts or contact us for information on park conditions and closures.

Permits and fees

Camping permits are required and fees apply.

  • Book your camp site online.
  • If you cannot book online, you can purchase camping permits over-the-counter, by phone or at the camping registration stand upon arrival.

Commercial photography permits may be required if you intend to sell any photographs taken of Queensland’s parks and forests.

Organised event permits may be required for organised group activities that may interfere with general public use.

Contact us for further information.

Pets

Domestic animals are not permitted in Lochern National Park.

Climate and weather

Visiting is recommended from April to September as summer temperatures reach over 40°C during the day, and summer rains often cause flooding. Rain can fall at any time of year and flooding can occur up to two weeks after rain elsewhere in the catchment, resulting in unexpected creek rises and road closures.

Weather forecasts are available from the Bureau of Meterology.

Fuel and supplies

The nearest fuel and supplies are at Longreach (150km) or Stonehenge (45km).

Staying safe

This park is remote and rangers may not be on park to help you. You must be self-sufficient and prepared for emergencies.

It is vitally important that you read staying safe in Parks of Central West Queensland.

In an emergency

In an emergency, phone Triple Zero (000) and if this fails try 112. You could also contact the Longreach Police Station on (07) 4652 5200, or try to make contact with people on UHF radio (try channel 2 simplex and scan for other local radio traffic).

Looking after the park

Everything in Lochern National Park is protected, including plants, animals and heritage sites and artefacts. Please appreciate, respect and help care for Lochern’s outstanding natural and cultural values by leaving things as you find them, and encouraging others to do the same.

Please read looking after parks in Central West Queensland.

Park management

Each park in Central West Queensland has unique attributes. They are managed to conserve their natural condition and protect their cultural resources and values.

The national park will be managed in accordance with the Lochern National Park Management Plan (PDF, 687K).

Tourism information links

Longreach Regional Council
www.longreach.qld.gov.au
96a Eagle Street, Longreach
ph (07) 4658 4111
fax (07) 4658 4116
email

For information on road conditions contact:
Queensland Transport
www.131940.qld.gov.au
Phone 13 19 40 for 24-hour road reports.

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

Further information

Contact us

Last updated
22 January 2014