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Nature, culture and history

Natural environment

Geology

Porcupine Gorge National Park is a unique area of the savanna plains with a dramatic sandstone gorge cut deep into its interior. A thin, hard, basalt cap—the product of geologically recent lava flows—has in most places protected the older underlying rock. Where this capping has been worn away, the scouring action of waterborne particles has excavated a deep chasm into the softer sandstone. The ‘excavator’ is Porcupine Creek, a meandering string of clear pools in winter and a boiling cascade in the wet season.

In the wider section of the gorge the eroding action of the creek has also created the Pyramid, an isolated monolith of multicoloured sandstone rising from the floor of the gorge, shaped as its name suggests.

Plants and animals

Where wind and water have coloured and sculptured the sandstone, fluted channels, boulders, potholes and shallow caves have been formed. Permanent deep pools, each with its resident turtles, are lined with casuarinas (she-oaks) and melaleucas (paperbarks), while various eucalypts (gums) and acacias (wattles), including the rare pink gidgee, grow in precarious positions on the cliffs above.

The gorge is filled with the calls of currawongs, parrots and the occasional soaring bird of prey. Closer observation reveals a wide variety of birds including the pacific black duck, red-winged parrot, pale-headed rosella and several honeyeaters.

In the dry season the gorge becomes a focal point for many animals; others, such as the common wallaroo, red kangaroo and rufous bettong are permanent residents.

Last updated
15 September 2016