Currawinya Calling

One of Australia’s most important inland waterbird habitats

There’s a fragment of south-western Queensland that’s been part of my dreamtime since I was captivated by its natural charms more than two decades ago. The mere whisper of its name, Currawinya, triggers a swag of memories of a time spent under its spell, for with stunning landscapes, a lazy river, and an abundance of wildlife, this vast national park has magical appeal to someone like me who has a passion for the outback.

Unfortunately, nature seems to have conspired against me to ensure that dreams and memories were all I’d ever have of Currawinya, for whenever I’ve been within reach of her embrace, rain has arrived and forced the closure of the web of roads that weave through the park. Defeat’s not something I accept lightly, but it seemed inevitable when, on my latest visit to the region, a deluge of biblical proportions inundated the landscape. Then another serving of bad luck arrived, in the form of a mechanical problem that brought my journey to an unscheduled halt, and with my hopes of returning to Currawinya shattered, I was as frustrated as a muzzled echidna in a termite mound. Good luck was tagging along for the ride however, and after waiting for a week for a replacement part to be delivered, sunny days arrived, and as the muddy roads began to dry, my dream finally became a reality.

Optus Satellite PhoneIn the past, I’d camped alone in the park, but now it was time to share the wonders of this outback wilderness with my best mate Andrew, who’d had nothing but my tales of past adventures to wet his appetite for a taste of Currawinya.

At the heart of the 150,000 hectare park lies the perpetually muddy Paroo River that slices through grasslands and through mulga and eucalypt woodlands that are home to several rare and threatened species of flora and fauna. There are extensive lakes and wetlands that attract immense flocks of birds from around the world, and that have earned Currawinya the status of a Ramsar declared waterbird habitat. And there’s a touch of history here too, with the remains of old Caiwarro station providing a hint of man’s struggle for survival in an era when life in the outback certainly wasn’t meant to be easy.

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