The main focus of this post, therefore, is the effect of the monsoonal floods early this year. Townsville was hit hard, but so was Western Queensland. The Flinders River had 50-year floods and was 200 kilometres wide at its peak; and the Flinders, of course runs from the Burra Range and the northern corner of White Mountains National Park through Hughenden to the Gulf, picking up the waters of Porcupine Creek on the way.
As I said a few days ago, the wildlife at Porcupine Gorge was abundant when I visited it last week. Here’s a sample of photos under the three broad headings of mammals, birds and invertebrates (i.e. insects and spiders). I did see some reptiles as well – a goanna and a frill-necked lizard (I think) on the road, and several small skinks around the gorge – but have no photos to share here.
A large wallaby or small kangaroo species was quite common in the early mornings but I’m not sure which species: possibly red kangaroo or agile wallaby, but I’m inclined to think they were Antilopine Kangaroos, Macropus antilopinus. If so, they were at the Southern end of their known range.
This is an illustrated list of places in the vicinity of Porcupine Gorge which are worth a look for one reason or another, intended as a guide to visitors and context for my wildlife photos (still to come). My starting point is the camping ground. Working away from it …
There is a waterhole beside the camping ground access road which attracts quite a lot of bird life.
Turning North towards the Lynd soon takes you over an attractive creek crossing, White Cliffs Creek. It’s an incipient gorge, having cut only a few metres into the white sandstone, and is good for birds and butterflies. Travelling further up the same road takes you through typical savannah country and, eventually, to Undara Lava Tubes, Greenvale and the gemfields.
Getting to Porcupine Gorge from Townsville is easy but takes a while: drive South-west to Hughenden (380 km) and turn right. Drive another 70 km, still on good sealed roads, and you arrive at the Pyramid camping ground overlooking the Gorge. It’s too far for a day trip and a stretch even for a weekend, which is why it’s six years since I have been there. After that trip I promised to write about it but other things intervened so this will be my first real report on the place.
The gorge carved out by Porcupine Creek, a tributary of the Flinders River, over millions of years is more than 100 km long and the National Park encloses and protects a quarter of it.
The camping ground is on level ground on the Western lip of the gorge, offering good views down to the Pyramid. A steep track leads down to the creek and (at this time of year) sandy beaches beside swimming holes, rocky terraces, grevilleas, melaleucas … endless entertainment for anyone willing to explore. Continue reading “Porcupine Gorge National Park”