Rock pools at Blackdown Tableland

Blackdown Tableland National Park. A complete guide with everything you need to know about visiting one of Queensland’s hidden gems.

Blackdown Tableland National Park was one of our unplanned travel destinations that totally surprised us. We’d not heard or seen anything about the area until a good friend of ours tipped us off (thanks Chrissy!) We were originally not sure if it would be worth getting a little off track to visit the park, but we can happily report that it absolutely was!

About Blackdown Tableland

Blackdown Tableland is a 900m sandstone plateau, towering above the surrounding plains. The National Park is located in Central Queensland’s north east sandstone belt and is the Ghungalu peoples traditional home. Examples of their rock art can be seen from within the park itself. The park is home to many creeks, gorges and lookouts, with the impressive Gudda Gumoo Gorge aka Rainbow Falls being the main attraction. You can certainly see why the early settlers described Blackdown Tableland as a ‘beautiful lost world!’

Things to do at Blackdown Tableland

Visit Gudda Gumoo Gorge (Rainbow Falls)

The main drawcard to Balckdown Tableland is Gudda Gumoo Gorge. The name Gudda Gumoo translates to Rainbow Waters. Water from a flowing creek spills over the edge of the gorge creating a beautiful waterfall. In the right light, the water reflects like a shimmering rainbow, resulting in Gudda Gumoo being referred to as Rainbow Falls. This stunning gorge is the perfect place to spend a day picnicking and swimming. It’s a little bit of a journey to get there, but totally worth the effort. It’s possible to explore Gudda Gumoo Gorge from both its top and base for two very different perspectives and we 100% recommend both!

At the base, you’ll be rewarded with a beautifully clear, large rock pool. You can swim here and if you’re camping in the Munall Camping Area, this will be your only chance to access water – hello shower! But be warned, the water here can be VERY cold! During our visit, the creek was barely flowing, reducing the waterfall to more of a trickle. It was beautiful all the same, but of course would be more spectacular after rainfall. During the summer months, we would expect a lot of day visitors. So our tip would be to get there early to enjoy this beautiful spot in relative peace!

Gudda Gumoo Gorge Blackdown Tableland

Swim in the surrounding rock pools

Hands down, the best part of visiting Blackdown Tableland were these idillic rock pools. Perfectly formed, they were the main reason we visited the park and after our early morning visit to Gudda Gumoo Gorge, we wandered around the area until we found these little hidden gems. Not only are the rock pools outrageously picturesque, the surrounding area is equally as beautiful. Just like Gudda Gumoo Gorge, the water was COLD, but if you’re brave, you could spend hours here splashing around! So pack a picnic and enjoy!

Blackdown Tablelands Rockpools

Explore the short walking trails

There are a few short walks at Blackdown Tableland. They are all nice and we enjoyed exploring all of them.

1. Gudda Gumoo Lookout & Gorge – (Rainbow Falls)

Trail Type: Return track

Start/Finish Point: Gudda Gumoo carpark

Distance: 4km return (3.6km return to lookout)

Duration: 1.5-2hrs

Difficulty: Moderate

The Gudda Gumoo Gorge and Lookout trail is accessible from the Gudda Gumoo Gorge carpark (8km drive from Munall Camping Area). From the carpark, it’s a moderately steep 2km walk downhill along a slightly slippery dirt path to reach gorge. From here, you’ll need to negotiate around 240 sometimes slippery stairs to reach the base of the gorge, but trust us, it’s worth the effort.

You can easily spend a few hours chilling at Gudda Gumoo Gorge, so bring plenty of water, food and sun protection. Once you’re ready to leave, you’ll need to back track along the 2km path uphill to the carpark.

The lookout is not too far from the gorge which offers views of the surrounding area. However, you can’t see Gudda Gumoo Gorge from here. We personally found the lookout a little underwhelming.

Gudda Gumoo Gorge Blackdown Tableland

2. Goon Goon Dhina

Trail Type: Circuit

Start/Finish Point: Munall Camping Area

Distance: 2.5km circuit

Duration: 45min-1 hour

Difficulty: Easy/Moderate

Starting at the end of the Munall Camping Area, the Goon Goon Dhina trial is a relatively nice, easy walk through the surrounding forest. The trail crosses over the Mimosa Creek, passing orange stringy-barks en route to the Ghungalu art site where examples of ancient rock art is visible. You’ll find signs dotted along the trail with information about plants the Ghungalu people used for shelter and food, along with some of the parks history.

Goon Goon Dhina Blackdown Tableland

3. Mook Mook Trail

Trail Type: Return track

Start/Finish Point: Opposite Munall Camping Area turnoff

Distance: 2.4km return

Duration: 45min-1 hour

Difficulty: Easy-Moderate

The Mook Mook trail is relatively nice nad easy walk. It follows the Mimosa Creek before crossing over it, leading to a lookout with sweeping gorge views. This was a lovely spot to visit early in the morning. The pre-sunrise colours lit up the sky and as the sun rose, the surrounding cliffs shone deep orange hues.

Tip – You can can get decent wifi and phone reception from this spot!

Mook Mook Blackdown Tableland

4. Goodela Trail

Trail Type: Return track

Start/Finish Point: Parking area at the park entrance – opposite the information sign

Distance: 3.6km return

Duration: 1 hour

Difficulty: Easy-Moderate

Goodela is another moderately easy walk which cuts through eucalypt forest along the escarpment of Blackdown Tableland. The trail ends at a waterfall fed by a small creek, subject to rainfall and the creek actually flowing. During our visit, the creek was dry leaving a small waterhole at the trails end. From here, there’s some nice views over the escarpment which made the walk worthwhile.

Goodela Blackdown Tableland

5. Yaddamwn Dhina

Trail Type: Return track

Start/Finish Point: Parking area at the park entrance – opposite the information sign

Distance: 200m

Duration: 5 min

Difficulty: Easy

Yaddamin Dhina is a super easy, short stroll (100m one way) to a lookout over the escarpment. It starts at the same parking area as the Goodela track right at the parks entrance. It’s a nice way to start or end your visit to Balckdown Tableland.

Blackdown Tableland Yaddamin Dhina

Drive the Scenic Loop

If you have a 4WD vehicle, there is a 19km ‘scenic loop’ through the park which you can drive. The Mitha Boongulla (Charlevue Lookout) is located about half-way along the loop. Unfortunately, we can’t offer further details on this as there was no way our little Kia Rio was going to make it down the track! Yep, this one is 4WD only. But let us know in the comments if you do this drive and if it’s worth the effort!

Search for wildlife

We are forever on the lookout for wildlife during our travels and our visit to Blackdown Tableland was no different. Although you won’t find big mammals here, there’s plenty of smaller stuff to look out for! Lace Monitors (goannas) and birds patrol the campground looking for food – so ensure everything is locked away, including rubbish. Take a stroll around the campground at night with a torch and if try to spot some gliders or owls.

Getting to Blackdown Tableland

You will need a car to reach Blackdown Tableland as there is no public transport servicing the park.

Rockhampton on the states east coast is the nearest big city, located approximately 180km away. Take the Capricorn Highway inland until you reach Charlevue Road. Turn left here and you will reach the park entrance after about 40km. The road is paved the whole way, but the last 6km stretch from the base of the tableland is steep, narrow and windy! As a result, towing heavy caravans and trailers is not recommended.

Emerald in the states west is located about 150km from the park and is also accessible via the Capricorn Hwy and Charlevue Road.

Getting to Blackdown Tableland is quite direct and there is good signage to the park.

Once you reach the parks entrance, the road becomes unsealed. It’s generally 2WD-accessible all the way to the campground, however take care as the roads can be corrugated and sandy in parts. Be aware that the speed bumps in the camping area are also high and small 2WD vehicles (like ours) may struggle to drive over them! The scenic loop drive is 4WD only.

Blackdown Tableland

When to visit Blackdown Tableland

Blackdown Tableland is a year round destination. When to visit really depends on what you want to experience?

During the summer months, daytime temperatures average 24-30°C and makes the perfect weather for swimming. Expect hot walks especially during the middle of the day (although we would advise against bushwalking during this time). You will need loads of water and sun protection in the summer. The downside of visiting at this time of year is that there is less chance of rain, meaning many of the creeks dry up and the stunning Gudda Gumoo Gorge may be reduced to a trickle.

The winter months are much cooler with temperatures averaging 5-15°C. Nighttime temperatures are much cooler especially in winter, when it can drop to below 0°C. Expect more rain during the winter months which makes the unsealed roads less accessible for 2WD’s and camping can become soggy. Having said that, rain ensures the creeks fill up, allowing Gudda Gumoo Gorge to flow.

We visited during winter (August) where the weather was a mix of sun, cloud, warm days, cool nights and rain threatening the area just as we left. We were definitely glad to have packed some layers! Thick fog is common here and often covers the tableland.

Camping at Blackdown Tableland

Many people visit Blackdown Tableland on a day trip. Although this is a great way to spend a day, we highly recommend spending a couple of days here so that you can experience all that the park has to offer. The park has one campground called Munall Camping Area, which is the perfect place to base yourself during your Blackdown Tableland visit.

There are two sections to Munall Camping Area. The first is suitable for all vehicles whilst the second area is suitable for large 4WD vehicles. There were some smaller caravans parked up during our visit but as mentioned above, getting large, heavy caravans/trailers into the park is not recommended.

Campsites need to be booked in advance through the Queensland National Parks website. Booking tags are available at the parks entrance information board and should be filled out and placed on you tent for the Park Rangers to inspect. There aren’t a lot of campsites, so we recommend booking your site well in advance, especially during holiday periods as the campground is likely to book out.

Camping here is very basic. There is NO power, phone reception or water at the camp ground. There are drop toilets at both sections of the campground and each campsite has a fire pit.

You will need to be fully self sufficient whilst camping in Blackdown Tableland and you will need to take the following with you for your stay:

  • Enough water for drinking, cooking, washing up etc. Better to have too much than not enough
  • Fire wood (and matches) as collecting wood from within the park is prohibited
  • All food and cooking equipment for the duration of your stay
  • Torch and/or light for cooking etc at night
Campsite at Blackdown Tableland

Useful information for Blackdown Tableland National Park

  • It’s important to consider your health and fitness when choosing your walks.
  • Take plenty of water with you and make sure you have enough for the conditions. In the hotter months, you’ll obviously need a lot more than the cooler months.
  • Decent footwear is recommended for the walks here. Boots aren’t required and sturdy shoes with good grip should be fine.
  • As always, leave no trace and take all your rubbish with you and dispose of it correctly. There are no bins in the park.
  • Goanna’s frequent the camping grounds, as do ravens, kookaburra’s and magpies. They will tear bags apart looking for food, so keep everything including your rubbish locked away.
  • Do not leave food in your tent for the same reasons as above.
  • The wildlife in Blackdown Tableland is wild. Please keep them this way and don’t feed them. Feeding wildlife ‘human’ food not only alters their balanced diets and potentially damages their health, but it changes their behaviours too.
  • Take good sun protection with you, especially for the summer months.
  • Packer layers for chillier weather, particularly nights.

In summary

Blackdown Tableland was an absolute surprise package. It makes for the perfect weekend escape and a great place to ditch your phone, disconnect and enjoy nature. We loved our visit and for those who love camping, we recommend an overnight stay.

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