It isn't too far from Finch Hatton Gorge, where we'd spent the night before, and also offers a bunch of walking trails, so I made it the next stop on our Queensland road trip.
- Eungella National Park, the home of the platypus
- Things to do in Eungella National Park
- Eungella accommodation
- Where to stay in Eungella National Park
- Things to bring to Eungella National Park
- Don't forget travel insurance
Eungella National Park, the home of the platypus
Eungella National Park is one of Australia's ecologically most diverse parks. It lies up in the mountains (in Australia, that means at about 700 meters high) and is often covered in a veil of fog, even when the skies half an hour's drive down is clear.
The park comprises several small communities, of which Eungella and Broken River are the best-known.
We spent half a day there but you could also stay longer and spend the night at one of the park's campsites or in one of the towns.
Things to do in Eungella National Park
Eungella National Park walks
Eungella Park counts more than 20 km of walking tracks and many of those are part of the larger 56-km Mackay Highlands Great Walk. The walks take anything from 30 minutes to a full day, which means you can probably easily fit Eungella into your schedule regardless of how much time you have.
We did a few shorter walks and managed to see platypus on one of them.
The Eungella map below comes from the Queensland Government Park and Forest website and gives you a good idea of how the different trails are dispersed over the area.
Sky Window Lookout Circuit Walk
The first walk we did was the Sky Window walk. It's a short circuit walk of only 250 meters that should offer amazing views on a clear day but unfortunately, it was foggy when we got up there and we couldn't even see beyond the trees.
The Sky Window Lookout Circuit Walk is located along Eungella Dam Road. There's a parking lot right alongside the road with a barbecue and picnic area as well as toilets.
Walks from the Broken River day use area
A lot of walks in Eungella National Park start, end, or pass through the Broken River day use area and that's where we headed next. There's a large parking here as well as picnic tables, a barbecue area, an information center, drinking water points and the Fern Flat camping area lies at walking distance.
As you can see on the photo below, there are three walks you can easily do from the day use area which are the green the red, and the blue one on the map. We connected the Granite Bend Circuit track (1.6 km full loop, blue) with the Rainforest Discovery Circuit (780 m full circuit, red) and then finally the River Walk (green) to create a bit of a longer loop.
You might not see it in this photo, but the map also marks two platypus viewing points along the River Walk and we actually saw platypus at both of these spots. We got so lucky.
My friend who had been living in Australia for almost four years at that time told us she hadn't seen one in the wild yet. Apparently, these animals are rather shy and easily scared off by movements or noise.
The best time to see platypi are early morning and late afternoon but they do like cloudy weather, which I think might be a part of why we got lucky that day. We spotted them somewhere between 9 and 10 a.m.
We also saw some turtles and apparently, Eungella is also great for birdwatching and you can see some rare frogs here.
We didn't drive all the way to Eungella Dam but I wanted to mention it here as it's a great stop if you want to spend a full day – or longer – in Eungella. To get there, you just follow the Eungella Dam Road we were on before past Broken River.
Good to know:
The last part of the road is unsealed and you can encounter cows roaming freely here.
So why go to Eungella Dam?
Eungella Dam was built in 1969 and is now a popular spot for fishing and boating. The lake is actually known for its oversized sooty grunter and barramundi.
There are no boating restrictions at Eungella Dam but you do need to get a fishing permit from Mackay Tourism or at one of the local tackle shops.
There are two Eungella National Park camping areas: the Fern Flat camping area and the Broken River bush camp. These are basic park campsites.
The Broken River bush camp has just toilets for facilities. The Fern Flat camping area has a hybrid toilet but if you're staying there, you can also make use of the picnic tables, barbecue area, and toilets at the Broken River day-use area which are located 400 meters away.
Good to know:
You need to get a camping permit before you spend the night here and fees apply.
Fees are the same for all Queensland parks and depend on the number of nights you're staying and how many people you're staying with. You can find exact prices here.
You can book your camping spot online but be aware that cellphone reception outside the bigger towns in Queensland is rather bad and that you may not be able to get online. If you're certain you want to spend the night at Eungella, it's best to book your spot beforehand when you can get online, or arrive during the opening hours of the information center so you can get your permit there.
Eungella Dam camping
There is a camping at Eungella Dam. Here you need to self-register upon arrival. The Eungella Dam camping fees for one night are only 5 AUD for which you get the use of toilets, a barbecue area, picnic tables, and cold showers right by the lake.
Other Eungella National Park accommodation
Where to stay in Eungella National Park
Budget: Reef Resort Motel
There aren’t all that many accommodation spots in the park itself, so for a budget stay Reef Resort Motel in the coastal town of Mackay is a great option. It’s about one hour fifteen to drive to Eungella National Park, and the resort offers air-conditioned rooms, minibar and coffee-making facilities in each room, as well as an outdoor pool, bar, and barbecue.
Boutique: Broken River Mountain Resort
Broken River Mountain Resort occupies a beautifully leafy spot right within Eungella National Park itself. You can choose between motel-style rooms or self-catering lodges, and enjoy the outdoor barbecue areas along the riverbank. The resort is ecologically sustainable, and you’re completely surrounded by trees, water and the sounds of the wild. Free WiFi is also available, as is the on-site restaurant, lounge area and badminton facilities!
Chain: Ibis Mackay
Another Mackay-based hotel (located outside of the national park), this Ibis hotel is located at Mackay Airport so could be a useful stopping place for your travels. It’s fitted with all the usual amenities and the rooms are spacious and clean with a TV, free WiFi, air-con and sea views.
Apartment: Eungella Chalet
The perfect pit stop for people traveling through Eungella National Park, the Eungella chalet cabins have quaint, slightly dated decor but come with heaps of charm. Situated on the hill behind the main building (individual hotel rooms are also available here), the Eungella cabins offer either one or two bedrooms and come with kitchen facilities, a private verandah seating area, a fireplace for the winter and air-conditioning for the summer. There are spectacular views across Pioneer Valley and Bee Creek.
If you like the idea of an apartment but want more options, Airbnb is a great place to look. While I use Booking to find hotels, I always check Airbnb for apartments as they have such a large selection.
If this sounds like something you’d like to try but don't have an Airbnb account yet, I can give you a discount on your first booking if you book through my link. This doesn't cost you anything.
If you do already have an account, please consider booking your next Airbnb through my link. I'll earn a small commission while the price for you stays exactly the same. Income like this helps me travel independently and create new content.
Things to bring to Eungella National Park
To ensure you enjoy your time exploring the park, there are a few things you definitely want to bring and wear:
And that's it! I hope this post helps you plan your own fun day in Eungella.
Don't forget travel insurance
No matter how well you plan everything, there's always something that can happen that's beyond your control. A booking gets canceled, you injure yourself or you can drop and break that new camera. In all of these cases, good travel insurance has you covered.
I've had ongoing travel insurance ever since I started traveling to make sure I'm covered for every trip I go on but if you travel just a few times a year, you can get insured for each trip separately too.
Don't have travel insurance yet? Check out SafetyWing. They offer super flexible plans that you can even sign up for while you're already on your trip. On top of that, they were the first travel insurance to cover COVID, and when I got COVID, they reimbursed all of my expenses without making a fuss. Their customer support team is great and I can personally recommend them.
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