8 Day National Parks Loop

Total Distance: 1973 Kilometres

About This Drive

Duration: 8 days
Route: Brisbane - Carnarvon Gorge - Girraween National Park - Brisbane (loop)

Discover the world's largest forest of Bunya Pines and more than 30 rare and threatened species in Bunya Mountains National Park. Bush walk beneath towering white sandstone cliffs in Carnarvon Gorge National Park with its spectacular steep-sided gorge and remnant rainforest. See ochre stencils, rock engravings and freehand paintings, some of the finest Aboriginal rock imagery in Australia. Explore Girraween National Park with it's massive granite outcrops, balancing boulders, clear running streams and spectacular wildflowers in spring.

Day 1: Brisbane to Bunya Mountains (230km)

Highlight: Bunya Mountains National Park

Drive from Brisbane to Toowoomba via the Warrego Highway. Take a scenic drive from Toowoomba to Gus Beutel Lookout for stunning views over Ravensbourne National Park. Also in the area is Crows Nest National Park just 6km from Crows Nest township. After a good rainfall you’ll see water cascading downstream through eucalypt forest to the 20 metre Crows Nest Falls. Continue from Crows Nest to Maidenwell Trading Post for some welcome refreshments. Drive beneath stunning rainforest canopies and ancient bunya pines to Bunya Mountains National Park, a spectacular wilderness range. Home to the world’s largest forest of bunya pines, the area is home to wallabies, pademelons and 121 species of birds.

Day 2: Bunya Mountains

Highlight: Bunya Mountains Scenic Circuit Track

Relax in the privacy of your Bunya Mountains Chalet with stunning views of the surrounding rainforest. Explore nine kinds of rainforests, ancient plant species and an abundance of native wildlife. The most popular track is the 4km Scenic Circuit Track featuring Festoon Falls, Pine Gorge lookout and the chance to walk through the strangular fig. Join in the daily wild bird feeding activities – 4 sessions daily and watch the Chocolate Wattled Bat emerge at dusk.

Day 3: Bunya Mountains to Carnarvon Gorge National Park (570km)

Highlight: Carnarvon Gorge National Park

Travel west from Bunya Mountains passing through the pretty township of Bell en route to Chinchilla. Having once produced 25 per cent of the country’s watermelons, rockmelons and honeydew melons, Chinchilla is the undisputed melon capital. Fossickers from around the world come in search of much sought after “Chinchilla Red” petrified wood. Pass through Roma, home of the Big Rig, before arriving at Carnarvon Gorge National Park – an oasis in the semi-arid heart of Central Queensland. You’ll see spectacular sandstone gorge vistas, ancient rainforests and well-preserved Aboriginal rock art on tracks that have been classified to match your bushwalking experience and fitness.

Day 4: Carnarvon Gorge

Highlight: Carnarvon Gorge Art Gallery Walk

This magnificent gorge has been sculpted by Carnarvon Creek. As you explore the park, you’ll see a warren of towering chasms filled with remnant rainforest, pools, caves and ancient Indigenous art galleries. There are two main resorts in Carnarvon Gorge -Takaraka Bush Resort and Carnarvon Wilderness Resort. Both offer a great selection of activities including guided and self-guided bush walks, helicopter scenic flights and native animal spotting.

Day 5: Carnarvon Gorge to St George (436km)

Highlight: Balonne River

Travel south along the Carnarvon Highway to Injune, a thriving country town with some 450 residents. Continue south to St George, Queensland’s inland fishing capital, then visit Riversands Winery for a personalised wine tasting and meal at their onsite café. Call in to the Unique Egg to see a world-class collection of hand-crafted emu eggs, then join a sunset cruise on the Balonne River with its 230 species of birdlife.

Day 6: St George to Girraween National Park (432km)

Highlight: Girraween National Park

Leaving St George, follow the Carnarvon Highway to the historic Nindigully Pub, Queensland’s oldest hotel. This authentic Aussie pub on the banks of the Moonie River has the reputation for serving up Australia’s biggest burger. Visit Coolmunda Organic Olives near Inglewood, walk through the olive grove and taste organic olives. From here, follow the Stanthorpe Inglewood road towards the magnificent Girraween National Park in Queensland’s Granite Belt Region.

Day 7: Girraween National Park

Highlight: Girraween National Park - The Pyramid

Follow a selection of bushwalks from your private bush chalet surrounded by Girraween National Park with its intriguing balancing boulders, cascading waterfalls and cool rock pools. See quiet kangaroos grazing in open fields, brilliant turquoise parrots, yellow-tufted honeyeaters and red-necked wallabies as you explore over 17km of walking tracks to suit all levels of fitness. Visit nearby award-winning wineries, restaurants and local producers just a short drive from the National Park.

Day 8: Girraween National Park to Brisbane (265km)

Highlight: Stanthorpe

Travel north to Stanthorpe and explore Queensland’s premier food and wine region. Sample cider and apple pie at Suttons Apple Farm and visit Stanthorpe Cheese for hand-made farmhouse cheese. If you have a nose for truffles, then take a look at the Truffle Discovery Centre or if secretly would like every day to be Christmas then don’t miss the Granite Belt Christmas Farm. Follow the Cunningham Highway through Main Range National Park back to Brisbane.

Discover National Parks, Aboriginal rock art and local produce.

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