Sundown is a rough wilderness region with breathtakingly sharp mountains and canyons with steep sides. You can explore the Severn River and its tributaries, woodland birds, and the remnants of the area’s pastoral and mining past using well-maintained walking trails, strenuous rural walks, or four-wheel-drive (4WD) routes.
The article contains all the information about Sundown National Park.
About Sundown National Park
Near Girraween National Park on the Queensland-New South Wales border is Sundown National Park (west of Girraween). Sundown National Park’s 4WD area is accessed from the eastern side, around 30 kilometres from Stanthorpe. The turnoff is in the small village of Ballandean, although there isn’t much indication if you’re coming from Stanthorpe south on the New England Highway.
Following a bituminous road, you will eventually pass past Ballandean Station, a cattle ranch. The gravel road is in fair shape, but once you approach the National Park, you’ll require low tyre pressure to handle the uneven, rocky terrain. The bitumen will soon end, so we advise stopping and lowering your tyre pressure.
Cattle may be close to the road and are known to become spooked when vehicles approach, so be mindful of them when driving through these private estates. When you start driving from the gravel road, you will find a closed gate and some green National Park signs. It indicates that you have reached the entrance area of Sundown National Park.
Always remember to close the gate. If you haven’t already ordered them online, there is a tiny camping permit area where you can do so. Always pay for your camping permits because they go toward keeping our national parks maintained so we can continue to enjoy them.
The Sundown National Park has two sections. In one area of the park, only 4WD access is allowed, whereas the other sections are accessible to all kinds of vehicles. There are separate entrances to the two different areas of the Sundown National Park.
The trails in Sundown National Park are difficult and quite rocky. This area of Sundown is only accessible with a high clearance 4WD. If you don’t have a low range in your car, you should turn around because a low range will be needed. Because of their steepness, loose jagged rocks, and worn-out areas, the tracks in Sundown are not tough; rather, they are just slow-moving.
Driving is slow due to the circumstances, with typical speeds between 10 and 15 km/h. Any quicker than that, you risk damaging your 4WD, endangering your passengers, and even perhaps losing control and skidding over a ridge.
As you climb to the top of the ridge, the track’s beginning is, at times, rather steep. Although the drive is tedious, some sections have breathtaking views, so we advise taking your time to take in everything Sundown National Park offers. As you proceed from the entrance, a marker detailing the locations of the three different camping spots will be seen right away. Red Rock Gorge, Reedy, and Burrows are the three locations for these three camps in order of proximity. 7.4 kilometres from the entrance, about 45 to an hour, will get you to Red Rock Gorge.
Red Rock Gorge
The first attraction in Sundown is Red Rock Gorge, where visitors must stop to experience the amazing vista of the Red Rock Gorge cliffs from the viewpoint point. The Red Rock Gorge is well marked off the main track to the right.
This part of the circuit is perhaps the smoothest and allows for less cautious driving. There is a parking lot, a long drop toilet, and a few campsites close to a small water catchment as you enter Red Rock Gorge.
You will be amazed by what will be presented in front of you when you round the last tiny bend in the walking path and the canopy of the trees opens. Queensland National Parks has built a beautiful lookout platform that allows you to take in the breathtaking view of Red Rock Gorge.
We suggest keeping at least 30 minutes for yourself to enjoy this region out in the late afternoon to locate camp at Burrows. Even better is to see the cliffs’ shifting hues as the sun sets on Red Rock Gorge’s granite cliffs in the evening.
Over centuries, molten rock has cooled underground to form granite. The granite presently visible in Red Rock Gorge was once covered by layers of “traprock” that gently weathered away over time. Locals refer to the cemented rocks that make up most of the Sundown region as “traprock.”
Red Rock Gorge Camping Spots
Red Rock Gorge’s campground is compact, with some spaces being level. A single long drop toilet is constantly clean and has enough toilet paper. As the sun sets behind the cliffs, it can quickly become very dark where you are amid the trees.
If we needed to use our phones, we found that we had one or two bars of 4G Telstra mobile reception. The Red Rock Gorge camping area is an excellent place to camp on your first night if you are coming late or on your last night if you want an early start. Burrows is our first choice.
It is located near sundown national park. One of the best places in South East Queensland is only a four-hour trip from Brisbane. Sundown National Park is a wild, inaccessible area with stunning gorges and the lovely Severn River.
Girraween National Park is about 30 minutes southwest of Sundown National Park, situated on the Queensland-New South Wales border. It’s a 4WD enthusiast’s and nature lover’s utopia, with many tracks, steep climbs, and descents. Get ready for some enjoyable 4WDing! The difficult and rocky Rats Castle loop raises the bar for outdoor adventure.
Old Abandoned Mines
Only a four-hour drive from Brisbane, one of South East Queensland’s best-kept secrets may be found. Stunning gorges and the picturesque Severn River can be located in the remote and undeveloped Sundown National Park.
If you want to experience the outback near Brisbane, it is the place to go. Sundown National Park, located on Queensland and New South Wales border, is about 30 minutes southwest of Girraween National Park.
Prepare yourself for some fun 4WDing! The Rats Castle loop, challenging and rocky, increases the bar for outdoor adventure. It has many routes, high climbs, and descents, making it a paradise for 4WD enthusiasts and nature lovers.
The trip here is breathtaking, with breathtaking views of Sundown National Park after the ruins of the abandoned mines. A track with big loose rocks and sharp drops runs along the mountain’s crest. The steepest trail in Sundown National Park leads to Reedy Waterhole. Due to this track’s steepness and rocky nature, you must drive down in the first or second low range.
About 30 minutes behind the Reedy Waterhole turnoff is Burrows Waterhole. Long beyond the Reedy turnoff, the road into Burrows features a few steep, rocky parts that necessitate slow, low-range driving. With a short drive down to the Severn River and the greatest campsites at Sundown National Park, the Burrows Waterhole camping area will be well marked.
Rats Castle 4WD Track
If that tickles your fancy, Sundown National Park has some wonderful 4WD trails. One of them is the journey to Rats Castle. Driving out of the Burrows Waterhole camping area, you may access the beginning of this track to the right at the camp marker. There are three pathways available to descend to the ground here. The warning sign regarding the risks of driving the route will let you know when you have arrived at the track’s beginning. Large wombat burrows and loose rocks may be seen on two streets, and a narrow third track winds through woods.
Red Rock Gorge Shortcut 4WD track
As you leave Sundown National Park, a difficult 4WD track may be found not far from the abandoned mines on the left. It appears to be a “shortcut” to Red Rock Gorge on the track maps, but a shortcut in a situation like this is never truly a shortcut. Give this track a try if your 4WD is capable and you enjoy a good challenge. The path might take more time, but it is a great drive.
Do not worry if you find many things on your way back roads. The interesting things that you will be able to encounter on your way are large and steep rock steps, large washouts, many fallen trees on the road and various other tricky lines.
Facilities Offered By The Sundown National Park
There are a lot of facilities that Sundown National Park offers. When you visit this place, make sure to avail all the facilities that are provided by this place.
You can enjoy the facilities with your friends, family or even your loved ones. We will discuss the facilities offered by Sundown National Park in detail.
Inside the Sundown national park, you will be able to perform campfires. There are various campsites inside the park to enjoy campfires with friends, families and close ones.
You can also participate in the campfires prepared in the bush camping regions. But there are many restrictions, rules and regulations that you need to follow when it comes to performing campfires. Make sure to read all the rules and regulations carefully beforehand.
If you have any doubts, you can always check them with the park staff.
Unlike most national parks, the sundown national park has toilets installed in various sections of the park. These toilets were built separately for men and women and are clean and hygienic.
All the toilets in this park are clean and perfect to use. They are cleaned regularly to ensure proper hygiene. You will not have to worry about any dingy smell while using the toilets. You can use them without any problem.
3. Tent Camping
One of the most interesting things about this national park is that it provides the facility of tent camping. You can set up the tents in various areas of the sundown national park.
Make sure to ask the park’s staff about the best places to set the tent up. They will guide you and can explain to you all the guidelines before setting up the tent. Always look for creeks and rocks before setting up your desired tent.
Another tip is to set the tent up in tight areas with toilets and other necessary places short distances. It is the best way to enjoy a true wilderness adventure in the middle of a national park.
4. Caravan Camping
Another interesting aspect of the sundown national park is caravan camping. It is one such place in Australia that provides the facility of caravan camping.
Caravan camping is mainly setting up a small setup inside a caravan. This caravan consists of a bathroom, a small cooking space (in some trains), and an area to sleep and relax. The best part about caravan camping is that you can shift it easily from one place to another without any hassle.
You can park this caravan in any place inside the park. Caravan camping is a much safer option than camping inside a tent.
5. Motor Home Camping
Like caravan camping, motor home camping also refers to setting up a camp on a road vehicle. It provides all the facilities like caravan camping and is more comfortable than any other form of camping in this park.
Apart from the toilets, the sundown national park also has separate shower rooms. As mentioned earlier, this place takes care of the comfort and hygiene of its guests and keeps the toilets and shower rooms clean.
People who like to camp in this park need to use the bathroom and shower regularly as the camping permits for more than 2 days.
The shower rooms are well-covered and protected, so you don’t have to worry about privacy and safety.
One of the world’s most challenging and interesting water sports is canoeing. It is a sport in which the people get inside a boat-shaped structure pointed at both ends. People inside this boat-like structure use the paddle for rowing the boat and bringing it across a water stream. A single-bladder paddle accompanies it. It is usually performed in groups.
Sundown national park offers a canoeing facility where you can enjoy this amazing sport with your friends and family.
Kayaking is like canoeing, but the only difference is that it is not performed in groups. It is a canoe-like boat structure that has a double-bladder paddle attached to it.
You will be able to find a lot of places where you can enjoy kayaking in sundown national park.
Good news for the ones who love fishing. The sundown national park also has several places to sit and enjoy fishing in peace. Many people come to the sundown national park to sit and enjoy fishing.
The guests say that they find it therapeutic to sit here in peace and enjoy the activity of their choice.
Apart from the water activities, you can also participate in various hiking tours organised in the sundown national park. The park has multiple hiking trails that you are sure to enjoy.
Make sure to carry good and comfortable shoes and carry enough water with your while hiking. Also, bring some ropes, which can come in handy while hiking.
Are you someone who enjoys swimming? Then worry no more because sundown national park also has a swimming facility. You will be able to find fresh and clean waters where you can swim in peace.
You can bring your swimming costumes or hire and buy the ones available inside the park.
Some people enjoy long walks alone or with someone they are comfortable with. Keeping this in mind, sundown national park has various beautiful walking tracks that will draw your attention.
The walking track is surrounded by beautiful trees that offer a canopy. The fresh breeze in this national park makes the experience even more wonderful.
Tips For Visiting The Sundown National Park
When you are planning to visit the sundown national park, make sure to remember some of the important things. The tips you need to remember while travelling to the sundown national park are mentioned below.
1. Bring A Camera
When planning to visit the sundown national park, carry a good camera as there are plenty of beautiful scenarios you might want to capture.
Make sure to charge all your appliances if you are planning for a camp, as you might not be able to find charging points everywhere inside the national park.
2. Wear Comfortable Clothing
Wear comfortable clothes to enjoy your stay in the Sundown national park. Wearing uncomfortable clothes might keep you irritated, and you will not be able to enjoy your stay.
3. Wear Sturdy Shoes
If you plan to hike in this national park, wear sturdy shoes because most of the roads and tracks in this region are rough and have loose pebbles everywhere.
4. Lather Sunscreen
Do not forget to lather yourself with sunscreen as the sun in the summer months is harsh here. If you fail to apply sunscreen on your car and body, you might have a bad tan.
People sometimes suffer from skin diseases due to excessive sun exposure.
5. Carry Food And Water
It is always a good idea to carry enough food and drinking water at this national park. It is because you might be unable to find adequate shops inside the sundown national park to satisfy your hunger and thirst.
In case you are bringing your kids along, make sure to carry an emergency kit that has all the necessary things that will be required for you and your kid.
6. Carry Important Medicines
Make a first aid kit containing band-aids, antiseptics and other necessary medicines that can be used in times of emergency. A first aid kit is always handy when planning a wildlife or national park experience.
If you have reached the end of this article, we are sure you have a fair idea about the Sundown National Park. Prepare yourself to experience the steep climbs and the rough and rocky sections of the park. If you have a high clearance 4WD, it is suggested that you drive slowly in the wild and rocky areas, as these places might have loose rocks here and there.
Visiting the Red Rock Gorge is a must. Make sure to see all the walking tracks and amazing landscapes this place offers. Driving slowly and taking time to reach your desired destination is advised, as rush driving in these areas can cause severe consequences. Burrows waterhole is the ideal camping area in this park.
So what is the delay all about? Plan a trip and visit the Sundown national park at the earliest.
Also read Beautiful Hidden Places in NSW.