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, to reach 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. There is really only the one access track and I don’t know how far upstream or downstream from it one could walk but it is certainly further than I could manage in one day. An overnight hike is a tempting idea but is not encouraged by park management; the same goes for exploring the tangle of gorges to the East of the Pyramid.
There is a short walk from the camping ground to another viewing point, but anything more than that is a matter of a few minutes by car to the spectacular lookout about 15 km on the Hughenden side of the camping ground and, beyond that, the Southern outlet of the gorge and a few more points of interest. I will leave them all, and the abundant wildlife, for follow-up posts.
It’s worth noting that this country has an extreme climate, with all of its limited rain arriving in the first few months of the year. From April onwards it gets steadily drier and colder until August when it starts getting hotter and even more parched; March – May is the best time to visit and December is the worst.