Thursday, 11 December 2014 11:00

Lawn Hill National Park

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Visited Late July 2010

Lawn Hill National Park (Boodjamulla) is a spectacularly beautiful oasis in a dry outback. There are two sections of Lawn Hill NP.  The well known gorge area with its lush growth and emerald waters has been much photographed. The equally famous Riversleigh section of the park is known for its fossil deposits. Both areas offer something different in terms of the landscape, vegetation and photography opportunities. During my visit there was a mass flowering of eucalypts in the Riversleigh area which attracted a large number of Honeyeaters. The gorge area has added appeal due to the spectacular gorge and river scenery. To really appreciate the beauty of this area you need to get out and take some of the walks and paddle a canoe along Lawn Hill Creek. 


The Riversleigh section is 285 km north-west of Mount Isa and about 55km south of Lawn Hill Gorge. There is approximately 170km of dirt road between the Barkly Highway and the National Park. Like many of these gravel roads its condition is dependent on how recently the grader has been through. This is a remote area with unpredictable road conditions, so check with the RACQ before proceeding. Given that this is a main tourist route I would guess that at most times outside the wet season it is a well maintained road and this was the case when we visited.


Lawn Hill NP(pdf)

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There are two camping areas in the National Park, one in the Riversleigh section (Miyumba Camp) while the other is adjacent to the park headquarters in the gorge section. These camping areas can be very popular so it is essential to book well in advance. The main camp at Lawn Hill has excellent facilities including hot showers, while the Miiyumba camp only has toilets. Just outside the park there is camping at Adels Grove.

Fuel and Supplies

The nearest fuel and supplies (minor) can be obtained from Adels Grove.

Photographic Considerations

I must admit that I thought the Riversleigh section would be featureless and arid with little opportunty for bird photography. However, with the flowering gums in a beautiful woodland setting and the lush vegetation along the banks of the Gregory River, I was soon regretting only booking one night at this camp ground. To find the birds it was a simple matter of taking a walk in close proximity to the camp, followed by a short walk to the river crossing. To get the honeyeaters at Riversleigh into positions where they were on decent perches, with relatively clean backgrounds, it required the speaker being placed directly below the target perch. All the honeyeaters photographed responded very well to the calls. The yellow-tinted Honeyeaters tended to chase the other birds around a fair bit and were not fussy to which call they responded.

In the gorge area there were two distinct habitats requiring a diffent photographic approach.  Photographing on the exposed rocky plateaus and hill sides was relatively straight forward, however the dense riverine vegetation required the use of flash. In this area the birds such as the Shrike-thrush, Great Bowerbird and Buff-sided Robin have grown accustomed to human activity and could be approached relatively easily. These birds were also very easily found along the walk between the campng area and Lawn Hill Creek. The dense creekside vegetation is also the habitat of the Purple-crowned Fairy-wren. These birds were not as easily located as some of the other species. However, if you take one of the walks along the Lawn Hill Creek and listen for their distinct call you should be rewarded with photographic opportunities. We found a family group in a weed infested area just along the track from Indarri Falls.

Birds Photograhed at the Rivesleigh section:

Black-chinned Honeyeater Yellow-tinted Honeyeater                                   Banded Honeyeater
White-gaped Honeyeater                          Grey-fronted Honeyeater Brown Honeyeater
Crimson Finch Double-barred Finch Long-tailed Finch                                         
Black-faced Woodswallow Australian Bustard Striated Pardalote
Whistling Kite Spotted Harrier Wedge-tailed Eagle
Varied Lorikeet Red-tailed Black-cockatoo Great Bowerbird
Purple-crowned Fairy-wren White-winged Triller Azure Kingfisher

Birds Photograhed at the Lawn Hill gorge section:

Buff-sided Robin                                      Sandstone Shrike-thrush                                   Little Shrike-thrush                                      
Purple-crowned Fairy-wren Crimson Finch Spinifex Pigeon
Great Bowerbird White-gaped Honeyeater Brown Honeyeater
Grey-crowned Babbler Grey Fantail Australian Darter
Peaceful Dove Bar-shouldered Dove Little Woodswallow
Rufous Whistler Barking Owl


In the gorge section of the park there are six walks of varying length and difficulty. Talk to the rangers to obtain advice on when and what walks to take. I highly recommend the walk to Indarri Falls as this includes a range of habitats for birds and spectacular scenery.  Another excellent walk is the Island Stack loop which again passes through different habitat and spectacular scenery. Bear in mind that there are some locations on this walk where the taking of photographs is restricted due to the presence of sacred aboriginal sites.

Map of Walks

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