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About Riversleigh

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Getting there and getting around

Unsealed roads can result in unpredictable access. Photo: Mark Nemeth, NPSR.

Unsealed roads can result in unpredictable access. Photo: Mark Nemeth, NPSR.

Passing heavy vehicles raises dust clouds and reduces visibility. Photo: Tamara Vallance.

Passing heavy vehicles raises dust clouds and reduces visibility. Photo: Tamara Vallance.

Map

Riversleigh D Site is the only part of the Riversleigh Australian Fossil Mammal Site open to the public.

By road, D Site is 156 km north of the Barkly Highway. Only the first 57 km of this route is sealed. Access is unsuitable for conventional vehicles and caravans.

D Site can also be reached via Gregory Downs. The entire 143.5 km from Gregory Downs is unsealed. Although a four-wheel-drive vehicle is recommended, this is the only route that is suitable for conventional vehicles and off-road caravans.

Access from the north is via various unsealed routes through Hells Gate or Doomadgee.

The unsealed sections of road can be rough, with patches of bulldust and corrugations. Sections of the roads can also be impassable for extended periods after rain. Always check road conditions before you enter the area.

Roads

Unsealed roads in the area provide unpredictable access. It is strongly recommended that visitors take precautionary steps by being well-equipped and self-sufficient, as there is limited communication and mobile phone reception. Contact the Department of Transport and Main Roads to find out about local road conditions and the Bureau of Meteorology for weather reports and forecasts.

During the wet season (October–April) it is recommended that visitors travel by four-wheel-drive and carry an over-supply of food in case of becoming stranded. The wet season can bring dramatic rises in creek levels within a short time and with little warning, cutting off road access. Visitors may find themselves stranded for a number of days.

Airstrip

There is an airstrip at Adels Grove, about 50 km from Riversleigh. Contact Adels Grove for details and permission to land.

Wheelchair accessibility

The information shelter is accessible for wheelchairs.

Park features

Riversleigh is one of the most significant fossil deposits in the world. Photo: Henk Godthelp.

Riversleigh is one of the most significant fossil deposits in the world. Photo: Henk Godthelp.

Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park features spectacular gorge country, sandstone ranges and World Heritage fossils.

Located in the south-eastern section of the national park is the Riversleigh World Heritage Site. The World Heritage area was inscribed for its outstanding natural universal values. It is one of the most significant fossil deposits in the world and the richest known fossil mammal deposit in Australia. It has revealed records of Gondwanan life forms which existed prior to the break up of this ancient continent.

D Site was one of the first major fossil deposits found at Riversleigh and is the only publicly accessible part of this World Heritage area. Its fossils are from the late Oligocene period, dating back 25 million years. Turtles, fish, snails, crocodiles, lizards, pythons, birds and many types of mammal fossils have all been recovered from D Site.

Camping and accommodation

Camping

Miyumba camping area is a small area near the Gregory River, 4 km south of Riversleigh D Site and approximately 55 km south-east of Lawn Hill Gorge. Limited facilities are provided and campers need to be totally self-sufficient. Bring drinking water, a fuel stove for cooking and rubbish bags. Camping permits are required and fees apply. Camping permits are not available at the national park.

Other accommodation

Lawn Hill Gorge camping area in Boodjmaulla (Lawn Hill) National Park is 51 km from Riversleigh D Site. Accommodation and camping is also available at Adels Grove, about 50 km from Riversleigh. For more information, see the tourism information links.

Things to do

A rock face displays a cross-section through a fossil turtle shell. Photo: Henk Godthelp.

A rock face displays a cross-section through a fossil turtle shell. Photo: Henk Godthelp.

Commercial tour operators offer guided tours of Riversleigh D Site. Photo: Mark Nemeth, NPSR.

Commercial tour operators offer guided tours of Riversleigh D Site. Photo: Mark Nemeth, NPSR.

Walking

Riversleigh Fossil trail (Grade: easy–moderate)

Distance: 800 m return

Time: allow 1 hr walking time

Details: Immerse yourself in this ancient landscape as you wind your way to the top of the limestone outcrop of D Site. Experience the record of life following the separation of Australia from the early continent, Gondwana. See limb bones and gizzard stones of towering flightless birds and the remains of the largest known freshwater crocodile.

The trail has many steps and is steep in places. There is little shelter along the way.

Fossicking for fossils is illegal and penalties apply.

Guided tours and talks

The Riversleigh Fossil trail is a self-guided walk. Guided tours to Riversleigh D Site are provided by commercial tour operators. For more information, see the tourism information links.

Fishing

Fisheries regulations apply—information on bag and size limits, restricted species and seasonal closures is available from Fisheries Queensland.

Things to know before you go

Essentials to bring

To ensure you have a safe and enjoyable visit, make sure you bring:

  • ample fresh water and food in case of delays caused by bad weather, flat tyres or breakdowns
  • two spare tyres in good condition
  • UHF radio, if possible (channel one repeater), or satellite phone
  • food, camping supplies and vehicle spare parts
  • a fuel or gas stove for cooking

Opening hours

Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park is open 24 hours a day.

Permits and fees

Permits are required for all commercial or organised group activities. Contact us for more information.

Camping permits are required and fees apply

Pets

Domestic animals are not permitted in the national park.

Climate and weather

Two seasons occur in north-west Queensland, the 'wet' and the 'dry'. During the dry season (May to September) the sky is generally clear and the humidity is low. The wet season (October to April) brings heavy rain and high humidity. January is the wettest month, with an average rainfall of 147 mm.

Temperatures in July range from an average minimum of 12°C to a maximum of 28°C. Nights can be cool with temperatures occasionally falling to single figures. During the wet season the temperature can range from 25–45°C.

Fuel and supplies

Fuel and basic supplies are available at Adels Grove, 60 km from Riversleigh D Site and 10 km from Lawn Hill Gorge. The nearest major centres with a full range of supplies and services are Burketown (275 km) and Mount Isa (285 km). For more information, see the tourism information links.

Staying safe

Stay on the track and take care on uneven track surfaces. Photo: Mark Nemeth, NPSR.

Stay on the track and take care on uneven track surfaces. Photo: Mark Nemeth, NPSR.

  • Stay on the track and take care on uneven track surfaces.
  • Protect yourself from the sun. Wear sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses and a long-sleeved shirt, even on cloudy days. Rest often in the shade.
  • Ensure you carry plenty of drinking water.
  • Make sure someone knows your destination and route and never leave your vehicle if it breaks down.

Freshwater crocodiles occur in the Gregory River. They can become aggressive and cause injury if disturbed.

  • Do not approach or interfere with freshwater crocodiles.
  • Take care if swimming.

For more information, please read the guidelines on safety in parks and forests.

Looking after the park

  • Fossicking for fossils is illegal. Penalties apply.
  • Do not empty chemical toilets into the composting toilets. A dump point is provided at Adels Grove, 46 km away.
  • Rubbish facilities are not provided in the park. Please take your rubbish with you.
  • Lighting of fires is not allowed. Bring a fuel or gas stove for cooking.
  • Avoid the spread of weeds. Check your clothing and shoes regularly for seeds. If you find any, remove and wrap them and place them in your rubbish bag.

See the guidelines on caring for parks for more information about protecting our environment and heritage in parks.

Park management

The Waanyi people are involved in the management of the park. Photo: Mark Nemeth, NPSR.

The Waanyi people are involved in the management of the park. Photo: Mark Nemeth, NPSR.

Riversleigh, as part of Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park, is managed on a day-to-day basis by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service. Management of the World Heritage property is coordinated through a partnership between the Commonwealth and Queensland governments, Waanyi people and the wider community. The Australian Fossil Mammal Sites World Heritage Ministerial Council coordinates government policies relating to funding, research, presentation and protection of Riversleigh.

Lawn Hill Gorge was gazetted as national park in December 1984. Prior to this, it was part of a significant cattle grazing property known as Lawn Hill Station. In March 1992 the park was extended to include the Riversleigh World Heritage Sitethat was part of the neighbouring Riversleigh Station.

The Riversleigh Management Strategy (PDF, 560K) guides the management of the area.

Tourism information links

Adels Grove
www.adelsgrove.com.au
Phone: (07) 4748 5502
Email:

Outback @ Isa Visitor Information Centre
http://www.experiencemountisa.com.au/
19 Marian Street, Mount Isa Qld 4825
Phone: 1300 659 660 or (07) 4749 1555
Email:

At the Creek Julia Creek Visitor Information Centre
www.atthecreek.com.au
34 Burke Street, Julia Creek Qld 4823
Phone: (07) 4745 7690
Email:

TerrEstrial Visitor Centre
www.terrestrialgeorgetown.com.au
Low Street, Georgetown QLD 4871
Phone: (07) 4062 1485
Email:

Croydon True Blue Visitor Information Centre
www.croydon.qld.gov.au
Samwell Street, Croydon QLD 4871
Phone: (07) 4748 7151
Email:

Normanton Visitors Information Centre
Caroline Street, Normanton Qld 4823
Phone: (07) 4745 1065
Email:

For tourism information for all regions in Queensland see Queensland Holidays.

Further information

Contact us

Last updated
9 August 2016