You quite often hear travellers quote, "the journey is more important than the destination ", and on a recent trip we certainly can lay claim to this travellers quote. Midway along The Dowling Track which runs between Bourke in western NSW and then north to Quilpie in Queensland's outback, there is a pretty special National Park with a host of natural and man made features. Currawinya National Park offers stunning landscapes, a vast lake system and is the home of the endangered Bilby.
Located just 20 km north of Hungerford in outback Queensland, you really need to be self sufficient with all of your camping, water and food supplies. The settlement of Hungerford is just that- several house and the old pub are all that remain here. Supplies are next to none here at Hungerford, the nearest centre is 170km north east to Cunnamulla or south 220km to Bourke, so be very prepared with all supplies and there is definatly no phone service here.
Camping in the park along the banks of the Paroo river system under shady eucalptys and red river gums gives a whole different meaning of relaxing. There are very basic facilities here that include flushing toilets and a very rustic toilet block near the old shearers shed. From fishing, watching resident wildlife from emus, a host of birdlife, several species of kangaroos and wild pigs it is easy to lose a day or two around the camp.
For the more adventurous you can explore Currawinya's unusual lake system to the west, where Lake Numalla is fresh water and literally only 5km away Lake Wyara is salt water. Researchers have found that the water here can be up to 10 times salty as the ocean. Both these lakes are a haven for waterbirds, from coastal dwellers to inland varieties there are often thousands of birds here at any one time. Currawinya is also home of the Bilby, and within the park in a 'secret' location, an electrified Bilby compound has been setup to keep natural predators away. Funded by public donations the breeding program is keeping these desert Bandicoots alive.
Located in the northern end of the park are the ruins of the old Caiwarro Homestead built in the late 1880's, it is possible to wander amongst the ruins of several buildings, machinery and gardens that once stood proud in this vast and remote area. The old shearers shed that is located 2km inside the parks entry towards the camping area has several information boards where you can gather helpful info and also wander through the shed letting your mind wander trying to imagine the hardship that was endured out here in this very remote location.
For those wanting another day out in the park, a 15km drive to the west will see you exploring a natural wonder called 'the Granites". These huge granite boulders have stood the test of time where the surrounding landscape has weathered away from the effects of wind and rain over millions of years. The views from the top of these rock formations across the vast tree lined plains are nothing short of spectacular.
The roads within the park are recommended for 4wds only, as maintenance is irregular and with corrugations that can make your fillings fall out and several rough stoney creek crossings a well setup 4wd should be at home out here. This is true outback country. At times it can be extremely harsh with long vivid red sand based roads cutting their way past mulga, huge prehistoric gums and low scrubland, yet when the rains come- billabongs and wetlands come alive with an array of birdlife and their own eco system and with this brings the flow on effect with larger animals such as goats, dingos and other feral animals. The joys of the outback !!