We did all the walks in Auburn River National Park. We initially allowed a full day for hiking Auburn River National Park when we planned our North Burnett road trip itinerary, using the information we found on the Queensland Parks website. But for fit and experienced hikers like us, the walks were quicker and easier than expected. Our experience will help you better plan your visit.
Is it worth going to Auburn River National Park?
Auburn River National Park is a very small and remote national park. There isn’t much to do, so we hesitated to go all the way there just for a few walks. But as we were driving back from Cania National Park on our North Burnett road trip, Auburn River National Park became just a short detour from the Burnett Highway. It was the perfect opportunity to visit the park.
I wouldn’t drive from Brisbane just to visit Auburn River National Park. We did all the walks, took our time to play in the rocks and have a lunch break. Still, we only spent half a day there. But if you manage to combine it with another nearby national park (Mount Walsh isn’t too far) or as a stop on your drive up north, then it’s a lovely spot for a short break.
It’s very different from what we’re used to in South-East Queensland. As it is off the beaten track, it was also very quiet and relaxing.
1. Gorge Lookout walk
National Park track information: 600 m | 15 minutes
It only took us three minutes to reach the lookout. The path is flat and easy so I was very surprised to see it was a Class 3 track according to Queensland Parks. It’s an introduction to Auburn River National Park and a very short detour on your way to the river bed. If you’re thinking of visiting Auburn River National Park just for the view from this lookout, you will be disappointed. We were surprised not to see more of the gorge from up there.
2. River bed and rock pool walk – the best walk in Auburn River National Park
National Park track information: 1.5km | 1 hour
We really took our time to explore the river as much as we could and ended up walking more than 2km in total. With many breaks to enjoy the place and take photos, we spent 1.5 hrs on the river bed and rock pool walk. It was a lot of fun! The time you need for this walk in Auburn River National Park highly depends on how far you want to scramble and if you want to have a swim in the river.
Walk to the river bed
The walk to the river bed is rated Class 5 by the Queensland Parks – but I think the rating is for exploring the rock pools. If you have no issue going up or down the stairs, it is actually an easy walk to reach the river bed. The path is easy to find and in good condition. It took us less than 30 minutes to go to the river bed and return to the car park.
We loved seeing Queensland Bottle Trees on this short track. It was something different for us as we’re used to hiking in the rainforest near Brisbane.
Rock scrambling to the dinosaur eggs
Once you reach the river bed, you shouldn’t stop there. It’s really fun to hop from one rock to another to get different views of the granite rocks. You can follow the blue marks on the rocks to find the easiest path to reach the dinosaur eggs. The rocks were really surprising.
When we visited Auburn River National Park, the water was brown, supposedly from a big rainfall from the night before. I don’t know if the level was high or not, although there was a storm the night before we were visiting during the dry season. We had to jump over the water a couple of times to make it from one rock to the other. It’s was nothing too hard for experienced and fit walkers, but enough to explain the Class 5 rating and slow many people down. We really took our time as rock scrambling is the best part of Auburn River National Park.
4. Gorge Top Walk
National Park track information: 3.2km | 1.5 hours
This hike was a lot shorter than we expected. It only took us 40 minutes to walk the 2.75km return (not 3.2km according to our GPS) to the lookout platform. It was nice to get another angle on the gorge. But if your time is limited, you may want to skip it: exploring the rock pools was really the best part of our visit to Auburn River National Park. The view from the lookout is lovely (a lot better than Gorge Lookout), but the walk to get there is in the bush with no view, unfortunately. We saw a few wallabies and Queensland Bottle Trees on Gorge Top Walk.
The rating is the same as for Gorge Lookout Walk (grade 3). However, Gorge Top walk is longer with more elevation gain and less shade (it’s an open eucalyptus forest). I didn’t find it difficult, but it was surely more difficult than our three-minute walk to Gorge Lookout.
The description mentioned a waterfall. Don’t get your hopes up: even though the water was flowing in the river, we couldn’t spot a waterfall from the lookout.
Where to stay when visiting Auburn River National Park
There’s a camping in the national park, just next to the day-use area (walking distance). It’s an ideal spot if you want to start the walks in Auburn River National Park as early as possible and avoid the heat. But camping facilities are very limited, with just one drop-down toilet and picnic facilities (barbecue and table) at the day-use area. There are only five spots available and they were all booked when we planned our trip.
We spent the night in the closest town, Munduberra*. It only took a bit more than half an hour to drive to Auburn River National Park. If you’re sleeping in your vehicle, there’s a free rest area with toilets on the Burnett Highway (Black Stump).
Where is Auburn River National Park
When we typed Auburn River National Park on Google, the drop point was not where the walks started. Make sure you aim for the camping area. When you zoom in on the map, you will see “Gorge Lookout Walk”. When driving, you can trust the road signs to take you to the right place. The road to access the park is a dirt road but it was in very good condition and easy to drive in a 2WD when we visited the Park.