A Local’s Guide to Sundown National Park

Want to go remote with zero distractions and the chance of not seeing anyone else? On the Queensland/New South Wales border lies Sundown National Park, a rugged wilderness of spectacular steep-sided gorges, sharp ridges and peaks rising more than 1000m.  It’s an adventure junkie’s paradise, with a range of challenging walks, as well as campsites and fishing holes only accessible via four wheel drive tracks.

Walking Trails at Sundown National Park

Sundown National Park Lookout

Image by Tourism & Events Queensland

Lace up your boots because the best way to truly see Sundown is by foot. The park offers a variety of walks ranging from maintained tracks which need basic fitness and footwear, to more remote walks which require a high level of fitness, sound navigation skills and self-reliance.

Challenge yourself with a half-day adventure, following the creek from Burrows Waterhole to Rats Castle or into Ooline Creek. Keep your camera at the ready for brush-tailed rock-wallabies hiding among rocks near Nundubbermere Falls. For a short walk, venture on the Red Rock Gorge lookout track (pictured above) which leaves from the Red Rock Gorge camping area and provides breathtaking views of the deep gorge with cliffs stained red by lichen. It’s even more incredible after rain when the Red Rock Falls are running. Discover more Sundown National Park walking tracks.

4WD tracks at Sundown National Park

Sundown National Park from above

Image by @jcrme via Instagram

With plenty of tracks, steep climbs and descents, Sundown National Park is a 4WD paradise. While you can access parts of Sundown with a conventional vehicle, to have a true wilderness adventure here you’ll need a 4WD. Bounce down the steep and narrow 4WD track which leads from the park’s north eastern entrance to Red Rock Gorge, Reedy Waterhole and Burrows Waterhole on the Severn River. Keep in mind there’s no road or track through the park between Burrows Waterhole and The Broadwater. For more info on 4WDing at Sundown check out this post from Unsealed 4×4.

Camping at Sundown National Park

View of Sundown National Park

Image by@benjaminedmonds via Instagram

There is no such thing as glamping here! Sundown offers a range of camping experiences, all without a flushing toilet or Winnebago in sight! There are five main camping areas with The Broadwater accessible by conventional vehicle. If you really want to go remote, bush camping is permitted in all areas of the park.  All camping spots, except Red Rock Gorge, are on the Severn River, perfect for a refreshing dip after setting up camp.

Keep in mind it’s very cold at night in winter and can be wet during the summer, but if going into the wild is your cup of tea, then camping at Sundown should be on your list!

As with all Queensland National Parks, camping permits are required for all nights spent in the park. Read more on Camping at Sundown National Park.

Other things to do at Sundown National Park

Image by@lambyyyy via Instagram

Fishing at Sundown National Park

The Severn River offers plenty of great spots to cast a line off the bank, with Cod most regularly caught. Only line fishing is permitted in waterholes along the Severn River and fisheries regulations apply.

Swimming and Kayaking at Sundown National Park

With all camping spots in Sundown sitting on the Severn River (except Red Rock Gorge), there are plenty of opportunities for a refreshing dip. For an adventure to the best swimming hole, start at the Broadwater camping area at the park’s south entrance and follow the walking track from the information hut to ‘Permanent Waterhole’ – this waterhole is permanent even in the driest of times and is about 5m deep. At dawn or dusk keep your eyes out for platypuses surfacing as they feed.

Mountain bike riding and cycling at Sundown National Park

For keen mountain bikers with experience in remote terrain, you can ride the 4WD access road through the park. Watch out for vehicles also using this steep and narrow road.

Wildlife at Sundown National Park

Birdwatchers rejoice! There are over 150 species you can spot in the park, including some seasonal visitors. You’ll see plenty of Eastern Grey kangaroos on the grassy flats at the Broadwater, particularly in the late afternoon or early morning. Red-necked wallabies, 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. Bring your camera and binoculars for viewing wildlife. A torch, preferably with a red filter to protect animals’ eyes, is useful for spotlighting at night. Read more about the Sundown National Park wildlife.

How to get to Sundown National Park

Sundown National Park is 250km (3–4hrs drive) south-west of Brisbane via Stanthorpe, and 70km north-west of Tenterfield. It has three entry points—each leading to a different section of the park. No 4WD? No worries! Enter via the Broadwater camping area at the southern end of the park. The two other entry points, via Sundown Road in the north east and Nundubbermere Road in the north, are only accessible via 4WD.

While You’re Here

Make a weekend of it by checking out these other things to do in the area:

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