The historically crafted botanical-collection-gone-wild at Adels Grove, in the north-west corner of Queensland, combines with a crisp swimming hole on Lawn Hill Creek to create a genuine oasis in the desert that will quench your thirst for remote, outback adventure.
This spot is rich in botanical history & heartbreak. Adels Grove occupies an area of 80 acres and was originally gazetted in 1904 as a Miners Homestead Lease. In 1920 a gentleman by the name of Albert de Lestang took the property as an experimental botanical garden. The name “Adel” was created from his name. Albert planted many species of trees and shrubs and by 1939 he had over 1000 different species, some of which had come all the way from Africa! Some 536 samples are still held by The Botanical Gardens in Brisbane.
The history has grown on and on since then including destructive fires, many changes of hands and purchase by the current owners and resident managers in 1984.
- Hours relaxing on a floaty at “The Beach”
- Fresh water
- Clear starry nights
- Remote camping amongst the trees
- Abundance of wildlife
Lawn Hill National Park
What can we do here? Well, hold your horses — first pick up your bottom jaw! That’s right, get in the canoe at Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park, paddle out and tell me your breath isn’t taken away!
It was a moment of complete silence, all you could hear was the birds, paddles touching the water and your own heartbeat.
The Lawn Hill National Park is only a 10km drive from Adels Grove and is the traditional land of the Waanyi Aboriginal people, who call it Mumbaleeya Country (rainbow serpent country). If you love bush camping then this is the most remote camp you can find and it happens to be carefully placed beside paradise!
The National Park is full of bushwalking trails which you can do yourself, including the Rainbow Serpent track where you can learn Lawn Hill Gorge’s Waanyi creation story, or jump on a tour for nearby areas. Remember to start early as it can be hot here even in winter
Canoeing Down The Glassy Gorge Waters
We spent 2.5 hours on a slow return canoe trip. Looking at the sheer height of the gorge walls was enough to slow us down. Touching them really got the heart racing. After about 1km of paddling, you will hear a wall of waterfalls hidden by tropical palms and plants. To the left we had the option to drag our canoe up onto the carpet and around the little bend.
Gorge paddling level two! The paddle continues even deeper into the milky green water defining the gorge walls. At times the creek tightens to mini-rapids or changes to all lily-pads (be careful in there for the spitting Archer Fish, I got caught out for having my hand sitting on the edge of the canoe!)
Back To Camp At Adels Grove
After returning to our camp at Adels Grove later in the day we rested and swam in the spring-fed Lawn Hill Creek. Dinner in the outback was a special treat on the deck at the licensed bar and restaurant.
If you think you’ve seen an incredible sunrise before, think again! Watching the sun come up out here is a sound and sight I will treasure for life
Our adventure continued on to Karumba to visit family – if you are up that far north you must visit Karumba too!
- Canoeing — Enquire & hire from the amazing ladies in reception at Adels Grove. You can hire canoes for Adels Grove or for Lawn Hill National Park
- Float on! There are tubes provided at “The Beach” on Lawn Hill Creek.
- Go for a hike at Adels Grove or in the Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park. You can opt for a self-guided hike or join a tour. A selection of short walks or day hikes are on the menu. The choice is all yours!
- Bird & other fauna watching — harmless Freshwater/Johnstone’s Crocodiles, a large variety of lizards & snakes (both non-venomous and venomous) and a range of turtle species. There are also plenty of spiders, centipedes, scorpions, kangaroos and a wide variety of birds to spot.
- Relax, eat and drink at the unexpected restaurant — you’re in the middle of the outback, right? Never fear, there’s a bar full of cold and frothy waiting and a buffet dinner! Lounge on the deck overlooking the spring-fed Lawn Hill Creek while watching the sun drop through the treetops.
How To Get There
Mount Isa — Drive roughly 120km west along the Barkly Highway and turn right onto Thortonia- Yelvertoft Rd. After 60km turn right at the junction and continue on the Gregory Downs/Burketown Road for another 60km before turning left onto Riversleigh Road.
CAUTION: There are 3 concrete causeways that always have pure freshwater running across them. These are extremely slippery so only idle across. Trust us — do not accelerate hastily! A further 50km and after crossing some more stunning waterways you will turn right and then it’s only a short 3km to Adels Grove.
Camooweal — Head north on the Gregory Downs Camooweal Road for 70km until the Junction of Thorntonia-Yelvertoft Rd. Continue on the left track following the directions above.
Cloncurry, Normanton & Julia Creek — Once you’ve made it to the Burke & Wills Roadhouse take the Wills Development Road to Gregory. Turn left after the Gregory Pub across the high bridge. After approximately 45km you will see the Century Mine turn off. At that point travel straight ahead for approx. 30km more. Veer left at Y section. Drive another 10km and you will be at Adels Grove.
Burketown — Travelling west, turn left 7km prior to reaching Doomadgee.
There’s walking tracks for all fitness levels. You can tailor your canoe trip to your fitness level by taking it easy or turning for home.
Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park return canoe is approximately 6km from the ramp. This took us approximately 2 hours of easy paddling including a short, steep climb to Indarri Lookout.
Up Top Is So Hot