Ever thought of a Townsville to Porcupine Gorge road trip?? Well… even if you were wondering what weekend trips are possible from Townsville, this is the right article for you!
From canyons and culture to nature and national parks, North West Queensland is the ultimate location for a family-friendly adventure.
North West Queensland is home to eye-opening landscapes, country hospitality, rich cultural experiences and natural wonders that educate and inspire all who visit.
The best way to see North West Queensland is on a good-old-fashion road trip – this time from Townsville to Porcupine Gorge! So, put your game faces on for some mandatory road trip games on the adventure out. Like every good road trip hotspot, this glorious area has natural wonders and activities aplenty – and trust us, North West Queensland’s Porcupine Gorge National Park is an attraction not to be missed.
Where is Porcupine Gorge?
Porcupine Gorge is 74km north of Hughenden, situated in Overlanders Way halfway between Townsville and Mount Isa. Porcupine Gorge National Park is perfect for a family friendly road trip adventure as it is a short drive (just 4.5 hours) from Townsville.
Travellers will venture on the fully sealed Flinders Highway (Overlanders Way) which runs from Townsville all the way to the Northern Territory. So, whether you decide to visit Porcupine Gorge for a long day trip, or turn it into a three-day affair with pit stops in Charters Towers and the quirk country town of Hughenden, we have all the information you need.
RELATED: Love road trips? Check out our recent Brisbane to Airlie Beach road trip!
Where to stop on a Townsville to Porcupine Gorge road trip
Here is the lowdown on the family friendly places to visit when planning your Townsville road trip. We recommend stops at Charters Towers and Hughenden.
Townsville to Charters Towers
Travel Time: Approx 1 hour 35 minutes
What to do in Charters Towers
There are plenty to family friendly activities in Charters Towers.
Towers Hill Lookout & Amphitheatre
Photo credit: Queensland.com
Check out the Towers Hill Lookout to explore Charters Towers from above. The kids will have a great time uncovering the stories of the Hill, as storyboards along the way depict stories of, “Jupiter’s Luck,” “The Seismograph Station,” and “Clark’s Gold Mine.” History buffs will also enjoy the historic World War II bunkers located around the Hill.
Early mornings are the best time for nature enthusiasts to spot some local furry critters such as the Eastern Grey Kangaroo, the Whiptail and the Allied Rock Wallabies.
By afternoon, the Hill is witness to a spectacular sunset over a horizon that seems to be endless.
The entertainment continues into the night with, “Ghosts after Dark” screened in the Amphitheatre.
The Miner’s Cottage
Family adventures continue at The Miners Cottage where visitors can try their luck at finding gold! The building is full of historical significance, with many fun activities for the kids such as gold panning. A blacksmith shop is the latest edition to the cottage, with handmade items available to keep the enterprise alive.
Location: 26 Deane Street, Charters Towers
Find out more about the Miners Cottage here.
Tors Drive-in Movie Theatre
A perfect way to end a day of adventure with the family. As one of the oldest drive-in theatres in Queensland, Tors Drive-In is a great way to entertain the kids.
Enjoy the open-air theatre, with movie food available from the snack bar that does not cost you an arm and a leg.
Location: 120-130 New Queen Rd, Queenton
Where to eat in Charters Towers
Our favourite places to take the kids to eat in Charters Towers are:
A classic Queensland pub with affordable prices and friendly service for families wanting a relaxed meal. The venue hosts a bar and beer garden to enjoy an afternoon drink.
Location: 151 Mosman Street, Charters Towers
A hotel that has been around for over 100 years, provides a unique experience, with great meals, cold beer for the parents, live music and a friendly atmosphere.
Location: 23 Macrossan Street, Ravenswood
Stock Exchange Café
Located inside the iconic Stock Exchange Arcade, this Café hosts a delicious meal, snack or coffee for the perfect pit stop bite.
Location: 76 Mosman Street, Charters Towers
McAllister’s Gold Field Bakery
This bakery is perfect for Townsville to Porcupine Gorge road trip pit stop snacks! This bakery has some family favourite’s including, fresh bread, rolls, cakes and pastries. Even providing a drive through service.
Location: 121 Mosman Street, Charters Towers
Where to stay in Charters Towers with kids
These places to stay in Charters Towers welcome children!
Big4 Aussie Outback Oasis Holiday Park
This park hosts 20 cabins with five styles to choose from. From their family chalets or studio villas to their workers cabins, visitors have many options to choose from.
Each cabin is self-contained and equipped for longer stays with modern furnishings. With free wi-fi available to all guests and Foxtel is also connected to each cabin. Families can take advantage of the 21-metre resort style pool and saltwater rock pool.
Caravan sites are also available, ranging from large slab or grass sites. Hosting all types of rigs.
Charters Towers (Top) Tourist Park
Located only two kilometres from the historic city centre, this is a perfect stop for visitors. From six different styles of self-contained and air-conditioned cabins, to caravan sites, this park offers a relaxed quiet stay.
A saltwater pool and spa are a perfect spot for the kids to play on a warmer afternoon.
Hidden Valley Cabins
An award wining eco resort is the perfect location to relax with the family if you are opting for an overnight stay on your way to Porcupine Gorge National Park. Due to the resort’s elevation, Hidden Valley Cabins is the ‘cool’ way to stay in Charters Towers. With a range of tours available for guests, the kids will be entertained for hours.
For more information on what to do, where to eat in Charters Towers click here.
Charters Towers to Hughenden
Travel Time: 2 hours 35 minutes
What to do in Hughenden
Hughenden is awesome for families. These are our favourite things to do in Hughenden with kids!
Flinders Discovery Centre
This centre hosts an array of fossils from around the world. Kids will discover ‘Hughie,’ the star attraction; a life size (seven metre-tall) skeletal replica of a Muttaburrasauras.
An amazing light and sound show will take families back in time to over 500 million years to the formation of Porcupine Gorge. While wandering around the Centre, the exploration of Hughenden is told through video form.
Location: 37 Gray St, Hughenden
Find out more about the Flinders Discovery Centre here.
Mount Walker is approximately 8km south of Hughenden and boasts six spectacular lookouts scanning the district over 360o and stands 478m above sea level. This is a perfect spot to see the ‘Outback Sunset.’ Visitors are met with an outback landscape of a different kind- flat black soil plains disrupted by a mammoth mountain, making those sunsets even more breath-taking.
The Basalt Byway
If you are wanting a 4×4 adventure, consider adding this on to your road trip to-do list.
Just outside of town, the track travels north of town through mountains and valleys of volcanic basalt walls, with scenic lookouts dotted along the way.
Historic Coolabah Tree
Following historical expeditions, this tree is seen as a memorial to the brave explorers of this land. Two plaques have been erected close to the tree as a tribute to Burke and Wills. It is also the perfect place for an afternoon picnic.
Where to eat in Hughenden
These local places to eat in Hughenden will jeep the hungries at bay!
Windmill Inn café
This café hosts an iconic windmill, with family-friendly food options and a relaxed environment.
Location: 7 Gray Street, Hughenden
Great Western Hotel Hughenden
A central location that boasts a fully functioning restaurant, bar, and free parking.
Location: 14 Brodie Street, Hughenden
Where to stay in Hughenden
Our top recommendations for places to stay in Hughenden for families are:
Rest Easi Motel
A quiet and spacious motel offers clean, well-equipped double and family rooms. All rooms have free wi-fi and access to Foxtel movies. The motel serves the rooms with breakfast and evening meals fit for the whole family.
Location: 11 Richmond Hill Dr, Hughenden
Great Western Hotel Hughenden
The hotel hosts true Australian hospitality in the heart of the Outback. The accommodation includes 8 self-contained motel units. A restaurant is located on the premises, making it an easy option for families seeking a fuss free holiday.
Location: 14 Brodie St, Hughenden
Royal Hotel Resort Hughenden
This hotel hosts 45 en-suite motel units and a private pool available to guests. Accommodation is separate from the pub and dining facilities, by a short walking distance. Guests can also find supermarkets and cafes close by, making it the ideal family resort.
Location: 21/23 Moran St, Hughenden
Fore more information on what to do, where to eat and where to stay in Hughenden check here.
Hughenden to Porcupine Gorge Lookout
Photo Credit: Tourism & Events Queensland
Travel Time: 45 minutes
What to do at Porcupine Gorge
Porcupine Gorge National Park is Australia’s very own ‘Little Grand Canyon’. The stunning gorge boasts Australia’s natural beauty with rolling sandstone cliffs and crystal water. The gorge is also the perfect spot for wildlife watching, especially for little bird lovers.
One part of the gorge features a natural Pyramid, a monolith of multi-coloured sandstone. We recommend donning your joggers for the 2.4km return Pyramid Tack. This walk will lead you through natural sandstone sculptures and deep gorge pools, with the Pyramid providing a spectacular scenic lookout for all who venture to it.
Location: Porcupine Gorge National Park – Kennedy Developmental Road, Hughenden, QLD
Facilities at Porcupine Gorge National Park:
- Caravan / Camper Trailer / Campervan Sites / Campsites
- Picnic Areas
- Public Toilets
Activities at Porcupine Gorge National Park:
- Four Wheel Driving
- Water Sports
For more information on a Townsville to Porcupine Gorge road trip including more ideas of what to do in the locations listed visit the Outback Queensland website.