Hughenden is on the banks of the Flinders River, Queensland's longest river, west of the Great Dividing Range. The first recorded Europeans to pass through here were members of Frederick Walker's 1861 expedition to search for explorers Burke and Wills. Two years later Ernest Henry selected a cattle station and Hughenden came into existence. The black volcanic soil in the region is rich with fossilised bones, particularly those of dinosaurs.
Flinders Discovery Centre, 37 Gray St; (07) 4741 2970
Nearby national parks
Flinders Discovery Centre Learn about the Flinders Shire history in this complex. The fossil exhibition's centrepiece is the 7 m replica skeleton of Muttaburrasaurus langdoni, a dinosaur found in Muttaburra (206 km S) – it was the first entire fossil skeleton found in Australia. The Historical Society also documents the shire history in their display. Gray St; (07) 4741 1021.
Historic Coolibah Tree: blazed by Walker in 1861 and again by William Landsborough in 1862 when he was also searching for Burke and Wills, and their 2 companions; east bank of Station Creek, Stansfield St East.
Flinders Poppy Art and Craft Cottage: unique range of handmade art and craft items for sale; open 10am–2pm daily (hours can vary); Gray St.
Porcupine Gorge National Park The coloured sandstone cliffs of this park are a delight and contrast with the greenery surrounding Porcupine Creek. The gorge, known locally as the 'mini Grand Canyon', has been formed over millions of years and can be seen from the lookout just off Kennedy Development Rd. Walk down into the gorge on the 1.2 km track, but be warned: the steep walk back up is strenuous. (07) 4722 5224; 61 km N.
Basalt Byways:discover the Flinders Shire landscapes on these 4WD tracks. Cross the Flinders River and see the Flinders poppy in the valleys. The longest track is 156 km; access on Hann Hwy; 7.3 km N.
Prairie: small town with mini-museum and historic relics at Cobb & Co. yards; 44 km E.
Mt Emu Goldfields: fossicking and bushwalking; 85 km N.
Torrens Creek: the town, a major explosives dump during WW II, was nearly wiped out by 12 explosions when firebreaks accidentally hit the dump. Visit the Exchange Hotel, home of the 'dinosaur steaks'; 88 km E.
Kooroorinya Falls: the small falls cascade into a natural waterhole, excellent for swimming. Walk and go birdwatching in surrounding bushland; 109 km SE via Prairie.
White Mountains National Park: rugged park with white sandstone outcrops and varied vegetation. Burra Range Lookout on Flinders Hwy has excellent views over the park. There are no walking tracks; (07) 4722 5224; 111 km E.
Chudleigh Park Gemfields: gem-quality peridot found in fossicking area (licence required); 155 km N.
Moorrinya National Park: important conservation park protecting 18 different land types of the Lake Eyre Basin. The park is home to iconic Australian animals, such as koalas, kangaroos and dingoes, and includes remains of the old sheep-grazing property Shirley Station. Walking is for experienced bushwalkers only; (07) 4722 5224; 178 km SE via Torrens Creek.
Campsites around town
Remote bush camping 57 kmSelf-sufficient campers can seek out the park’s remote walk-in bush-camping areas. The southern boundary of the park is about 45 km north of Hughenden, with the gorge lookout another 15 km further north.... Find out more
Pyramid Campground 61 kmOver time, Porcupine Creek has carved sculptures and potholes in the natural rock, the most famous of which is the Pyramid, an isolated monolith of multicoloured sandstone rising from the floor of the gorge. Pyramid... Find out more
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Bush camping 98 kmSelf-sufficient, experienced bushwalkers can camp in the national park in various remote areas. Bring a gas/fuel stove only.... Find out more
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Caravan parks around town
Rest areas around town
Just off the highway among a few trees. On the east side of town.
Just off the highway among a few trees. On the west side of town.
Prairie rest area 42 km
Adjacent to the highway. In the middle of town.
Marathon rest area 66 km
67km W of Hughenden (L) or 48km E of Richmond (R)
Just off the highway.
What's on around town
Market: Lions Rotary Park; last Sun each month.
Country Music Festival: Apr.
Horseracing: Apr and Sept.
Hughenden Show: June.
Porcupine Gorge Challenge: fun run; June.
Arid Lands Festival: camel endurance race; Aug.
Outback Scrap: Aug.