For the best camping and stargazing experiences, it doesn’t get much better than outback Queensland.
Located on the banks of the state’s longest river, the Flinders, Hughenden is a prime location for travellers wishing to embrace small town life and reconnect with nature. Whether you’re camping with kids or looking for an off-road adventure, this outback community has you covered.
Porcupine Gorge National Park
Only a one hour drive from Hughenden, Porcupine Gorge National Park is a great place to pitch a tent. The reserve is set along the Porcupine Creek, which has eroded the surrounding landscape into a canyon, exposing rocks that are hundreds of millions of years old. The creek has also formed an isolated sandstone structure known as The Pyramid, a stunning natural feature and the location of the campsite.
This campground is ideal for more experienced travellers, as you will need to bring your own drinking water and supplies. The discomfort will be short lived, however, when you see the dramatic gorge surrounding you on all sides. There are plenty of hiking trails that take you along the rim, or you can join Fox Helicopters for a scenic flight over the park. There’s no better way to appreciate the landscape than circling it from above.
A less conventional camping experience, the Prairie Pub is only a short drive from Hughenden in the small town of Prairie, which is home to a population of around 150 people.
The pub is well-known for its collection of Australian memorabilia and artefacts. However, it’s also the location of a ‘donation appreciated’ campsite for those travelling the outback with a campervan. Prairie Pub only runs communal meals, so you can pull up a chair and get to know your friendly neighbours over a drink or two. They also offer delicious and hearty food, served by friendly Prairie locals.
Kooroorinya Falls Nature Reserve
Found on a private property, this local secret is a must-see when visiting Hughenden. It’s only a short drive away, on the banks of Tower Creek. A series of billabongs provide the perfect location for fishing and swimming, and there’s also lots of unique wildlife.
The campsite itself is fitted with toilets, hot showers and barbeque facilities, so you can live luxuriously. The grounds are dog-friendly, and you are encouraged to bring your furry friend along for the adventure.
In May, Kooroorinya organises the popular Picnic Races. Running over three days, the races attract visitors from all over with delicious food and drinks, activities for kids, live bands and plenty of racing.
Hughenden Campground is a free campsite where travellers can stay up to 7 nights, whether sleeping in a tent or an RV. To camp here, you must have a built-in toilet and shower, however fresh water and bins are available. The campground supports visitors who wish to bring their pets, and is a popular choice among travelling families due to its prime location near town.
You can spend your days exploring Hughenden and its facilities, including Flinders Discovery Centre and the Dinosaur Trail, and then return to the comfort of your RV to watch a stunning sunset. Here you will meet plenty of fellow travellers while you enjoy everything outback Queensland has to offer.
Blackbraes National Park
Home to over 150 species of bird, Blackbraes National Park is a popular spot for amaetur and professional birdwatchers alike. Camping on the banks of the Emu Swamp Dam, you will be sharing the space with over 30 species of waterbird, as well as other animals and insects who call this place home. The campsite provides a very rugged experience, with no facilities or power on offer. However, campers may want to bring their mountain and trail bikes, as there are lots of bike tracks that will take you around the park and through the dense woodlands.
Those wishing to try their hand at fossicking should head to Moonstone Hills Resource Reserve, where gem collectors and enthusiasts sift through the dirt in the hopes of striking gold. Keep in mind that fossicking in the reserve requires a licence.
Hughenden may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think about stargazing, but it certainly punches above its weight. Due to the lack of light pollution, visitors have unobstructed views of the night sky from the centre of town. Plus, it is also a great spot to watch the Geminid Meteor Shower. Occurring every year in December, this dazzling celestial event is unlike anything you’ve seen before. Onlookers can expect to see the meteors from around 9pm until dawn. The nearby lookout of Mount Walker is kept open all night, so you can grab some snacks and settle down for the show.
If you’re visiting any other time of year, locals often open up their properties for aspiring stargazers. One such property is right in the centre of town, only a short walk from the river. StarGazers is a pet-friendly and fully enclosed campsite intended for stargazing in comfort.
To discover what else is on offer in Hughenden, click here.
For a complete guide to adventure activities in Australia, click here.
Rex flies to Hughenden. Head to the website and check out the route map below for more details.