Travelling Australia - Journal 2011
2 June 2011 - Stonehenge, Lochern National Park
Today I drove to Lochern National Park 40 kilometres north of Stonehenge. Like so many national park in Queensland this is a former grazing property de-stocked so the natural vegetation can restore itself without sheep and cattle eating many plant species. Feral pigs remaining in the park cause damage; a pig eradication programme included in the pest management plan is seeking to reduce pig numbers.

The road from Stonehenge to Lochern was a gravel road, most of it very recently graded and road-base laid; driving on it was pleasant. At least, in Barcoo Shire it had been maintained; in the Shire of Longreach (the last bit) the road was mostly a two wheel track in the dirt and not nearly as comfortable.

Lochern National Park was established in 1994 on the boundary between the Desert Channels bioregion and the Mitchell Grass Plain. Specifically it is intended to preserve gidgee, bloodwood and mulga woodlands as well as Mitchell grass lands; a wide range of trees and shrubs associated with these species has also been preserved. There is camping available at Broadwater Waterhole - a fee is charged - but some signs say there is no fresh water there.

I drove to the Visitor Centre which had useful display material on the verandah and in one room of a former farm house. This was the start of a Scenic Drive running for 30-35 kilometres meandering around the park through a remarkable variety of tree types. Different species were clustered together with 20 to 30 trees in a grove then that species may not be seen again for many kilometres. The whole park showed the benefit of several years of good rainfall. The track was recently graded and mostly in excellent condition although I kept to about 20 kph so I could look around; four wheel drive was useful on some older track sections. This track is also known as the Heritage Drive and is listed as 4WD access only and not available when wet.

The park was deserted. From leaving Stonehenge until returning to Stonehenge I saw one vehicle and that was the park ranger on his rounds.

After returning to the caravan at Stonehenge I went to a few places around the township including a look at the the Thomson River which has stopped flowing; the water is now a long way from a weir built near the road bridge over the river.