Diamantina National Park
Diamantina National Park is one of the most remote NP in Queensland. It lies midway between Longreach and Bedourie, as the crow flies. There are roads into the Park from the towns surrounding it: Bedourie, Boulia, Winton and Windorah, all involving drives of 150-300 km along gravel roads. These are pretty good roads in the scheme of things, at least at the time we are doing the trip. They criss cross gibber plains and Mitchell grass grazing lands. It is a very dry environment at the moment. We chose to take the 193 km trek from Bedourie, leaving town at around 11am and arriving at the Park a bit after 3 pm.
We set up camp at Hunter’s Gorge beside the Mundewerra Lagoon. Mundewerra means ‘dreaming place’, the indigenous people believed Yamma Coona the mother of the Dream Time came here in her travels through the land. It is a bit dusty here, particularly when the wind is blowing across the bare earth camping ground behind us, fortunately the wind changed direction on our second day, blowing across the lagoon and it was a bit cooler too. Those pesky little fly things also put in an appearance and our fly nets proved invaluable!
On our first two nights we had some fellow campers either side of us along the banks of the lagoon. We were alone on the third night. No phone, no internet! Very quiet, but the night sky was brilliant. The Milky Way, a white smudge through the sparkling stars. The lagoon is deep at about 8 metres, in flood time though the waters rise up and cover the camp ground. The drop loo had water marks on the walls about a metre above the floor from the most recent wet season. The loo was also the home of some Fairy Martin mud bird nests in its roof. These little birds scamper around on the ground amongst the grass and flit off when approached. We originally thought the mud nests belonged to some sort of wasp and so had been a little cautious around the loo and some other shelters where we had seem the same ornate structures.
Allthego tried his hand again at some yabbies, the effort yielded a couple of small fresh water shrimps. Down the bottom end of the lagoon a couple were fishing in the shallower water and had caught some fish using these shrimp as bait. Allthego had carefully forgotten his fishing gear, but not next time.
The lagoon area is a haven for bird life. Pelicans cruised up and down its reaches, ducks ventured forth, some brolgas relaxed in the shade of over hanging trees, galahs were everywhere stripping trees of leaves and small branches, kites and eagles soared above and the fairy Martins scratched around in the dirt.
(Click on this , video it might work?)
We went for a short drive for about 10 km across the drainage channels of the Diamantina River ‘to the other side’ to see the ranger station and its displays. The NP used to be a cattle station and was acquired by the Queensland Gov’t in the 1990s (I think?) for a National Park. The grasslands and water courses are slowly recovering from their grazing past, although a stock route continues to run through the Park. On the other side we were able to rise up onto the plateau area at Janet’s Leap. From here one looks down into the ‘Diamantina Gates’. This ‘narrow’ gorge is about 1 km wide and our camping ground is on the other side, separated by the river and the channels we crossed to get here. In flood time water comes down across the Diamantina flood plain ( which can be many km across ) from the north and funnels its way through the ‘Gates’ and once passing spreads out again on the flood plain to the south. Apparently, a spectacular sight.
All good things must come to an end and on our third morning we headed off to the north on the 155 km gravel trek to Boulia and then 360 km on sealed road to Winton.