The Southern Downs boasts several spectacular national parks on its doorstep, with the spectacular Girraween National Park granite boulders towering above open forests in the south, and the Main Range National Park on the eastern edge with its world heritage status and inclusion in the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia - such diversity in our patch of this planet.
Main Range National Park
Main Range National Park located on the Cunningham Highway 50km north-east of Warwick, is a popular bush walking destination around Cunningham's Gap. Internationally recognised for its World Heritage status, this National Park stretches over 18,400 hectares. There are a number of graded walking tracks through rain forest and eucalypt forest, with one leading to an impressive lookout.
Queen Mary Falls
Queen Mary Falls is within Main Range National Park, accessed via Killarney. There are several waterfalls, the most notable being Queen Mary Falls which plunges 40m down sheer rock face. A short walking track leads to the base of the falls with picnic and BBQ areas and amenities located at the top of the Falls.
Girraween National Park
Girraween National Park is situated 40km south of Stanthorpe. Girraween, meaning 'Place of Flowers', is known for its spectacular flowers, dramatic landscapes and unique wildlife. The southern boundary of the park is the state border between Queensland and New South Wales.
It is a twin park with Bald Rock National Park, which lies across the border in New South Wales, and features Bald Rock, the second-largest monolith (after Uluru) on the continent.
The parks feature granite landscapes, balancing boulders, clear streams, wetlands, cascades and open forest. The granite outcroppings, such as the Pyramids and Castle Rock, dominate the local scenery. The park contains many kilometres of graded walking trails to the park's major features like the first Pyramid, Castle Rock, The Sphinx, Turtle Rock, Underground Creek and Mount Norman - the highest point in the park at 1267 metres. Fire trails can be followed when venturing into the southern and eastern sections of the park. The park has a temperate climate. During winter snow can fall in the area.
BBQ & camping facilities are available.
Sundown National Park
On the Queensland/New South Wales border, Sundown National Park is a rugged wilderness park with spectacular steep-sided gorges, sharp ridges and peaks rising to more than 1000 metres. Sundown has a history of early selection, subdivision in the late 1800s, extensive clearing for grazing and fine wool production, and tin, copper and arsenic mining from the 1870s. Pastoral relics and old surface diggings remain. Camping is allowed at Sundown National Park, access is by 4WD only.
The vegetation is mainly box-ironbark-cypress woodland with tea trees, river red gums and river oaks along the river, stringybark-yellow box forest in some high eastern areas and pockets of dry vine scrub in sheltered gorges. More than 150 species of birds have been recorded in the park, some seasonal visitors. Grey kangaroos are common. Red-necked wallabies and swamp wallabies and wallaroos also live in the park. The once common brush-tailed rock-wallaby now survives only in the northern end of the park.
For more information on the national parks of the region, including booking and paying online for access and vehicle permits, please visit the QLD Department of Environment and Science, Parks and Forests website.