Millie and her family are making their way across the top of our beautiful country and have come across their favourite spot so far on their Big Lap adventure! Cloncurry | Adels Grove | Burketown – This is an awesome guide for anyone planning on checking out this amazing part of Queensland!
Cloncurry – Adels Grove – Burketown AND the AWESOME bits in between…
NOTE: it is worth noting the Kms given are approximate only – I don’t give time estimates as we are slow travellers. The places in the article are remote and HOT always carry plenty of water/food/fuel just in case! As always, contact information for all camp sites can be found on the WikiCamps app
Riteo lets kick of this adventure in Cloncurry! This little town is worth stopping at in its own right! There is a great museum at the information centre, Chinaman Dam to catch red claw, John Flynn Place, an awesome Library AND it is home to the last big supermarket you will see for a very, very long time! So STOCK up on everything = especially things like long life milk, bread & boxes of shapes as they cost $5L/$5.80 & $5.50 respectively by the time you get to Burketown!
We stayed at the Oasis Caravan Park, we found it to be the most kid friendly and most reasonably priced park for families and it has a lovely COLD pool! The managers are very welcoming too so what more could you want! Cloncurry also has great Telstra phone reception/internet which you lose almost immediately after heading out of town and a facility next to the PUMA service station where you can purchase 15l of purified water for $5 if that interests you! Lots of room to park your caravan just off the main street too and the public toilets were spotless!
We then head north following the Normanton signs. If you are like us you will need a toilet stop fairly quickly because for some reason it is impossible to get all 3 kids to go to the toilet prior to departure! Well you are in luck! There is the Terry Smith Lookout stop approx. 70kms North on your left – it’s a free camp with lots of room, clean toilets, undercover seating AND a few bars of Telstra service! I am not quite sure where the ‘lookout’ bit in the name comes from but you do get a nice view from the stairs of the toilets I suppose!
Moving right along you will eventually get to Burke & Wills Road House (approx. 180kms north of Cloncurry) via a sealed road. Powered/Unpowered sites are available & again there is Telstra reception so can you upload your selfies in front of the sign to all your social media accounts! Now this place is rumoured to house the BEST pies in Australia – I can’t comment on that because out of the 3 times we have been here they have sold out of pies! BUT they do have fantastic sausage rolls! Fuel also available!
At the road house turn right – we are now heading to Gregory Downs approx. 150 kms north along the Wills developmental road – a place which may be the highlight of the trip! The road to Gregory downs is sealed, single lane in some sections but in relatively good condition – as usual drive to conditions and to the capabilities of your vehicle & whatever it is you are towing! On arrival you will notice there is reception when your phone starts ‘binging’ away – the town itself consists of a kids park, a great toilet/shower block, pub/servo & convenience store! There seems to be 3 accommodation options, the pub which caters for campers through to cabins (it also sells fuel), the free low impact camping area (the local councils camping preferred area) on your right just up the hill from the river and free camping on the river on your left hand side as you go over the bridge.
The Gregory River itself is absolutely beautiful, it has a good current and the kids (& maybe yourself) will spend hours floating down the river on inflatables and running back to the top! Fires are permitted in both areas but wood is scarce so if you have room BYO. The river is spring fed, the water is crystal clear and so refreshing, we were assured by locals that only fresh water crocodiles inhabit the area! Look closely in the river – the most amazing coloured/shaped rocks can be found!
Next stop Adels Grove / Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park – Adels grove is approx. 90kms from the Gregory river, and the National Park is a further 10kms from there! How to get here? Go straight ahead over the Gregory river bridge – you will eventually go past the century mine turn off and Adels Grove is a well signed left hand turn. The road changes from sealed to unsealed often and depending on how recently it has been graded the road can be very corrugated, chewed up and it is important to watch carefully for dust holes and washouts at the dried up river crossings they can kind of creep up and you are on top of them before you know it!! We personally didn’t find the road too bad but there were several couples at Adels Grove who were disappointed about the road and reported having to drive at 20kmph in some sections – as I have said before drive to the conditions and capabilities of your vehicle and you should be fine! We recommended calling up Adels Grove first to ask about the road conditions if you are particularly worried.
The national Park wasn’t an accommodation option for us as we have our dog! We stayed at Adels Grove for $50p/n (family rate) – all sites are unpowered and there is water available pumped in from Lawn Hill creek but it is recommended you boil it! Adels Grove itself has a bar, Telstra reception around the reception area, some food supplies and a restaurant! The Dog section is approx. 150 uphill from ‘the grove’ camping area and the 2 amazing swimming holes – check out #milsypezwardoadelsgrove for a quick video of the site.
What did we do with Pippy while we were swimming at the grove or visiting the national park? We left her at camp with a pigs ear! We always ensure Pip has shade, water and a snack that will keep her busy for a few hours! Adels Grove also has a pet sitting option for dogs who bark or cannot be left alone for too long! We did the Solar Powered Boat tour booked through Adels for $157 (family of 5) – yes on the expensive side but we think it was worth it! The national park itself is spectacular – the rangers are very friendly and helpful and there are several walks to do all varying in difficulty and length – ask at the ranger hut if you can have a look at the HUGE crocodile skull – the kids were very impressed!
We really think we were there at the best time (Mid April)! There was no more than 10 other caravans/tents there and we had the swimming areas to ourselves for the majority! 3 nights did us at Adels Grove however if you have your heart set on completing all the National Park walks or spending a long time soaking in the swimming hole then staying longer would be a good idea! They have a stay 7 pay for 6 deal! We really loved the area – particularly the National Park however the kids all agreed the Gregory River was their favourite and perhaps even the best part of their trip around Australia thus far – comparable only to fruit bat falls at Cape York! Isn’t that funny – Gregory Downs was FREE Adels was $50p/n!
We headed north to Burketown Via Gregory Downs of course! We had to have one last swim at the kids favourite spot – from Gregory, Burketown is a nice little 120km drive on a sealed road in great condition, we even passed the line marking crew on the way up! Keep your eye out for Brolgas and there are also lots of cattle around. Burketown was a lovely little town – the post office is the supermarket which has a good supply of your basics, Telstra phone/internet reception and the lovely caravan park is on the smaller side (less than 30 sites & is for sale) with spotless amenities that play music in them AND it’s the Barramundi capital of Australia! Well for some people – not us!
We caught a blue salmon and were gifted a few queenies from a kind bloke at the old car bridge! The Burketown Bore is well worth the visit – the colours on that thing make it impossible not to get a good photo – just don’t stand downwind from it! Hehe!
So that’s that! Milsy Pezwardo’s trip from Cloncurry to Burketown and the awesome bits in between! I hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it!
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