• travellingozourway

Why you should visit Porcupine Gorge

Updated: Nov 17


Porcupine Gorge
Early morning trek to the Gorge with the sun highlighting the pyramid

Porcupine Gorge, a popular tourist destination in Queensland, Australia. It is a beautiful place for those who love nature and being outdoors. There are many things to do at Porcupine Gorge, from hiking the trails with scenic views to bird watching or taking a dip in the waterfalls. The gorge features many different types of wildlife that can be spotted along the way! If you're looking for everything about Porcupine Gorge then keep reading!


We were up early to catch the sunrise over Porcupine Gorge. It was just lovely! Located approximately 70 km north of Hughenden in Queensland's National Park, this hidden gem is easily accessible for day trips or longer stays. Access to Porcupine Gorge National Park is by a fully sealed road from Hughenden, following the Kennedy Developmental Road north. The Gorge Lookout is 63km north of Hughenden and the Pyramid Campground, Rim Walk and Gorge Walk are another 11km further north. The Camps 12 guidebook will help when planning your visit.


History

Porcupine Gorge National Park is a hidden canyon with no evidence of its existence until you reach the edge of the gorge. The impressive rocks date back millions of years, with layers of basalt and colourful sandstone. Carved over time, the strata of sedimentary rock has been formed from lava flows and eroded over millions of years. Dense vegetation surrounds the gorge and along the waterways. Beautiful birds and animals are abundant.


It is thought that the Gorge received its name due to the spear grass in the area that resembles the spikes on an echidna. It is also possible that there may have been a lot of echidnas in the area.

Porcupine Gorge Lookout
Porcupine Gorge from the lookout

Campgrounds

We were fortunate to book a site for our van and stayed one night. There are only 22 camping sites that are relatively level and spacious. You must be self-sufficient as there is no power, water or facilities. Bookings (see below) must be done before you arrive at the campgrounds so plan ahead as you don't want to miss this popular destination. Wallabies and Kangaroos can be spotted around dusk or dawn. A small hopping animal called a Bettong will come around at night looking for food.





The trek

Due to the heat of September, we chose to get up early and watch the sunrise over the gorge. What a great decision! The light crept over the horizon and slowly shone, highlighting the beauty of nature. We then descended down the steep rocky track, to explore the gorge. We were the only ones there and it was pretty special. The DJI Drone went up and we were able to capture some great footage. The sun shone brightly on the Pyramid rock...what a sight! It was a little too cool for us to swim in the early morning, so if this is something you want to do, maybe go later in the day. Be mindful that it gets pretty hot!

Porcupine Gorge crater
Deep craters or giant footprints at Porcupine Gorge

We spent a couple of hours exploring the abundant life down in the gorge. Grevilleas, melaleucas and other vegetation, birds, butterflies and lizards are scattered among the rockpools and rocky crevices. Wear your hiking shoes (we have Merrell Hiking Boots) as you will be moving over some very uneven ground. It is a good idea to also take a bapack to carry some snacks and water to keep your energy levels up.


After exploring the rock pools and enjoying the natural rock formations we were ready to tackle the steep climb back up to the top. The walk back up is a little more difficult, so once again, take your time. It is only 1.2km but feels much further. There are plenty of spots to stop, rest and enjoy the view of the million-year-old rock formations. Porcupine Gorge is another hidden treasure.

Porcupine Gorge Swimming Waterhole
Swimming hole at the base of the pyramid in Porcupine Gorge

The Gorge can be explored from two specific areas:


The Lookout

The first point is a lookout where you can view the expanse of the Gorge below. The Gorge lookout carpark is 1.5km from the turn-off. It is an easy 200m walk from the car park down a sealed path to a viewing platform. There is no access to the base of the Gorge from this point.

Porcupine Gorge walking track to lookout
Walking track to Porcupine Gorge lookout

The Campsite

The second point is a National Park campsite a further 11km North called Pyramid Camping Grounds. Camping sites can be booked online, by phone (13 74 68), or at the Flinders Discovery Centre in Hughenden.




Porcupine Gorge Campgrounds
Porcupine Gorge Campgrounds

Walking

Gorge walk — 2.4km return (Allow 1.5 hours) Grade: Moderate

Starting from the Pyramid campground, the track is steep but well constructed with a gravel path where it is level and well-formed rock steps where it gets steep. Some sections take a bit of caution to negotiate, so wear solid shoes. The walk down is interesting and the view is wonderful, so take your time! Don't forget to stop and look up as you negotiate the rocky steps.

Porcupine Gorge walking track
Porcupine Gorge steep walking track

The Gorge

Once in the gorge, rocky platforms provide a natural pathway along a small set of rock pools. At certain times of the year, Porcupine Creek may not be flowing due to the lack of rain. The towering sandstone cliffs are magnificent with layers of colours. The outstanding feature of the gorge is the natural Pyramid, a massive rock of multi-coloured sandstone. There is a deep pool at the base of the pyramid and this is the perfect spot for a swim!