Expedition National Park (Sandstone Belt road trip)

A couple of months ago, I found this awesome 4WD Queensland Atlas by Murray White that includes a range of 4WD trips across Queensland, including detailed trip notes and maps. So we thought we should use it to plan our Sandstone Belt trip. It actually turned out to be a fantastic resource so I’m very glad we had the maps and track information at hand on our way to Expedition National Park.

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Robinson Gorge from Robinson Gorge Lookout, Expedition National Park

Here’s a bit more on the Expedition NP leg of our awesome Queensland road trip.

From Cania Gorge we set off for the sleepy town of Theodore, some 200 km away, to start the first leg of our 4WD trip through Expedition National Park, pretty much following the route in the book (from Theodore into Expedition via Lake Murphy to Bauhinia; if you’re keen, check out the map).

On our way, we passed through the town of Banana and I got really excited about seeing giant bananas. But to my disappointment, no big banana or anything even remotely to do with bananas was to be found. 🙁

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Although we left Cania Gorge by about 8:30 am, we still only managed to get to Expedition NP and our campsite at Starkvale Camp just after 4 pm. The last 16 km to the campsite is by 4WD only with a couple of creek crossings (no water when we went) and one steep rocky descent that we didn’t find particularly steep at all. As we learned later in the trip though, things can change rapidly in Queensland and tracks can become impassible with only the teeniest amount of rain.

Travelling the 380 km seemed to take a looooong time but we were rewarded with a fabulous camp spot. And what was even better, we were the only ones there (hallelujah!) and got a glorious sunset to watch! Finally it really felt like camping in a remote area!

We set up camp in a nice, flatish area near the creek bed and discovered the next morning that we actually camped in the day use area. Who on earth would drive to this remote spot for the day is, however, beyond me…

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The creek bed next to the campsite at Starkvale Camp

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Our minimalist setup for the night

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Sunset over Starkvale Camp. How many photos can you take of the same sunset?? Well… lots. 🙂

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Looking back, I wish we had planned more than one night there as we had barely any time for exploring nearby Robinson Gorge the next morning. It was such a pleasant and relaxing spot, I could have stayed there for a few more days.

It seems strange that Expedition NP is so underrated, perhaps because it is rather remote. I had very low expectations of the whole area but it is really quite beautiful, especially with Robinson Gorge at its narrowest being barely six metres wide with sheer cliffs on both sides. Talk about being impressed! 🙂

From Starkvale Camp, there are two short walks (plus a longer one to Shepherds Peak, which we didn’t do): one to Robinson Gorge Lookout, the other to Cattledip Lookout, also over Robinson Gorge but at the narrow end. Lookout sounds a bit too formal for what is really just the end of unfenced cliffs and a lot of scrambling around.

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Robinson Gorge from Robinson Gorge Lookout

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Robinson Gorge from Cattledip Lookout. The creek bed is pretty much dry in winter except for the permanent water hole at the narrow end of the gorge.

If we’d had the time, we definitely would have explored the bottom of the gorge as there’s a rocky path leading down into it (but the rest is bush bashing, there are no tracks in the actual gorge). You could easily spend a day there, looking at the rock formations and wandering to the narrow end of the gorge. It looks just beautiful. Oh well, another time… 🙂

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Back on the road and off to Carnarvon Gorge…

Carnarvon Gorge: Part 2 (Sandstone Belt road trip)
4WD-ing into the sunset: Rainbow Beach
Getting eating alive by mozzies: Eurimbula NP
Cania Gorge (Sandstone Belt road trip)
Carnarvon Gorge: Part 1 (Sandstone Belt road trip)
Exploring Mount Moffat (Sandstone Belt road trip)

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