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About Welford

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Getting there and getting around

Welford 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.
Welford National Park's northern boundary is 30km south-east of Jundah and the park has a northern and southern entrance. Lying on the Barcoo River, this 124,000ha park can be accessed from either Jundah, Windorah, Blackall or Quilpie.

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

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 Queensland Transport or local council offices for current road conditions before your trip.

Southern entrance—accessible via Blackall, Quilpie or Windorah

From Blackall, travel south-west on the Yaraka-Retreat Road for 255km to the Jundah-Quilpie Road, turn right and travel 3km to the park's entrance.

From Quilpie, travel north-west for 195km along the Diamantina Developmental Road towards Windorah. Turn right onto the Jundah-Quilpie Road, and travel 60km to the park entrance.

From Windorah, head south-east towards Quilpie for 50km, then turn left onto the Jundah-Quilpie Road and head north-east for 60km, to the park's entrance.

Once you've reached the park's southern boundary, travel 500m north and turn right to the park office, Trafalgar Waterhole and the Mulga Drive, or travel a further 500m north and turn left to access Little Boomerang Waterhole, the River Drive and the Desert Drive.

Northern entrance—accessible via Longreach or Jundah

If departing from Longreach, travel south 210km to Jundah. From Jundah, follow the Jundah-Quilpie Road for about 30km to the park's northern boundary. Travel a further 20km south for the right turn to Little Boomerang Waterhole, the River Drive and the Desert Drive. Continue south for 500m and turn left to reach the park office, Trafalgar Waterhole and the Mulga Drive.

Wheelchair accessibility

There are no wheelchair-accessible facilities at Welford National Park.

Park features

Welford is a land of contrasts—wide coolibah-lined waters and grey alluvial channels of the Barcoo River slice a brown and green swathe through Mitchell grass plains and arid mulga woodlands. Golden-green spinifex and white-barked ghost gums grow atop a vivid backdrop of red sand dunes.

Majestic river red gums line the Barcoo River, the southern boundary of the 124,000ha park. Varied habitats create vital refuges for wildlife, including rare yellow-footed rock-wallabies and mulga parrots.

Remnants of Aboriginal heritage and use, including water wells and stone arrangements, are found throughout the park. You can see a rare (rammed earth) homestead built on this former grazing property in 1882. Listed by the National Trust, the homestead is one of only two pisé constructions still occupied in Queensland. The homestead is now staff quarters and is not open to the public.

Read more about the nature, culture and history of the parks of Central West Queensland

Camping and accommodation

Camping

Bush camping is permitted at Little Boomerang Waterhole, on the Barcoo River. A toilet is provided.

Camping permits are required and fees apply.

Other accommodation

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

Things to do

Visit the Trafalgar Waterhole day-use area. Enjoy a picnic on the banks of the Barcoo River under the shade of coolibah trees. To get there turn east off the Jundah-Quilpie road and travel approximately 18km, follow the signs to the day-use area. This track is accessible for 4WD vehicles only.

Walking

Take a closer look at animal footprints, soil cracks, gibber rocks and other small features of the landscape, and keep your eye out for birds and wildlife.

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

Sawyers lookout—1.2km return (allow 30 minutes) Grade: Moderate

Park your vehicle near the sign marking the turn-off to Sawyers Lookout on the Mulga Drive. Take a walk from the drive and take in panoramic views of exposed rocky outcrops, slopes and spidery networks of channel country. Bright green foliage along creek lines stand out like veins carrying lifeblood—water. Look for yellow-footed rock-wallabies at dusk.

Driving

Welford offers three self-guided scenic drives, on which you can explore dunes, rocky outcrops, scrub, plains, channels and billabongs. Pick up a drive guide brochure from Little Boomerang Waterhole camping registration station. For your best chance to see Welford’s wildlife, drive slowly and go in either the early morning or late afternoon.

  • Please practise low impact driving in Welford National Park.
  • Remember to bring extra fuel if undertaking these drives.

Desert Drive—22km one way (allow at least 3 hours) 4WD access only

Travel north from Little Boomerang Waterhole and take the western turn, which marks the start of this drive. Explore spinifex and red sand country, where soil colours range from rose-pink, through paprika to impossibly red. White ghost gums stretch over spinifex and fallen timber under a vivid blue sky.

Sandplains and dunes make thirsty country, but where there's water there's life. Look among the coolibahs for white-plumed honeyeaters. Capture the colour on camera! Whet your appetite for Simpson Desert-style dunes. Welford's isolated dunes are at the eastern reaches of the Lake Eyre sand dune system.

You may walk, but never drive, up the dune. Its colours and views are rewarding. Take care not to disturb the fragile plants.

River Drive—12.3km one way (allow at least 1.5 hours) 4WD access only

From Little Boomerang Waterhole travel north and take the right turn-off towards the banks of the Barcoo River. Impressive river red gums offer shade and tranquillity. They are a cool place to rest and watch birds.

Although the Barcoo is just a series of billabongs in dry times, flood debris caught in high branches tells of dynamic wet times when the river floods the vast plains and cuts all roads. When the Barcoo is in flood, debris is washed down with such force that the entire appearance of the landscape is altered.

Mulga Drive—54.5km return (allow at least 4 hours) 4WD access only

Continue east from the park office to follow the flat expanse of the Barcoo River floodplains. The drive then heads up into the mulga country, dissected by stony escarpments and gullies.

Viewing wildlife

Animals

Numerous large, permanent waterholes on the Barcoo River's floodplains are important refuges for birds, particularly during severe droughts. Look for pelicans, brolgas, black swans, cormorants, whistling kites and whiskered terns.

A delightful sight in late winter is a male emu walking across the open grasslands followed by his tiny striped chicks. The female emu's parental role ends when she lays the eggs.

Major Mitchell's cockatoos, mallee ringnecks, red-winged parrots and mulga parrots provide a flash of colour in the Mulga Lands.

Red and grey kangaroos and wallaroos are common at Welford. Watch out for them when driving at night.

Common brushtail possums are rarely seen in Western Queensland, but nest at Welford during the day in hollows of river red gums and coolibahs lining the waterholes. Look for them near your campsite at night.

Plants

Welford contains a mosaic of plants typical of the Mulga Lands, Mitchell Grass Downs and Channel Country bioregions.

Mountain yapunyah, poplar box, bendee and lancewood are at the extreme western boundary of their range in Welford—a major reason for it becoming a national park.

The giant grey spinifex, found on the lower slopes of the park's ranges, is uncommon in the surrounding region.

Fishing

Fishing in the Barcoo River is permitted, however size and bag limits apply. Contact the Queensland Fisheries for more information about fishing regulations.

Boating and paddling

Little Boomerang has a large expanse of permanent water which is a popular location for boating, canoeing and kayaking. Due care is needed when launching boats or canoes from the river bank due to steep and slippery conditions.

Other things to do

Discovering cultural heritage

Many remnants of Aboriginal habitation, including water wells and stone arrangements, are found throughout the park. However some of these sites are in remote areas of the park which do not have public access.

As you’re driving through the park take note of the historic cattle and sheep yards, a remnant of Welford’s cattle station past.

Please remember, heritage sites and artefacts are protected. Leave everything as you find it.

Things to know before you go

Welford National Park is remote 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 Welford 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 not available at Welford 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

Welford National Park is open all year, however wet weather may cause temporary closures, especially during the wet season from December to March. 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 Welford 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 Jundah (55 km) and Windorah (110 km).

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 Jundah Police Station on (07) 4658 6300, or try to make contact with people on local UHF radio (try channel 3 duplex and scan for other local radio traffic). Please note that this channel is the Barcoo Shire UHF Channel and is only to be used in an emergency.

Looking after the park

Everything in Welford National Park is protected, including plants, animals and heritage sites and artefacts. Please appreciate, respect and help care for Welford’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. See the Welford National Park Management Plan 2011 (PDF, 709K) for more details about the national park's management.

Tourism information links

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

Barcoo Shire Council
www.barcoo.qld.gov.au
6 Perkins Street, Jundah
ph (07) 4658 6900
fax (07) 4658 6137
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