The gems hidden in our region
NESTLED between the Expedition and Carnarvon Ranges, Arcadia Valley lives up to the Greek origins of its name, "ideal paradise”.
Heading south from Rolleston, after exploring Beazly Park, chatting to locals and grabbing a coffee and cake from the coffee cart, there are a couple of options to explore this spectacular area.
My favourite is by far heading south on the Carnarvon Highway along the Great Inland Way.
Avoid the temptation to turn off to Carnarvon Gorge (that's another visit that really requires at least three to four days).
About 37 kilometres north of Injune turn left onto the Arcadia Valley Access Rd, and head to Lonesome section of Expedition National Park.
Here you can be alone with your thoughts as you gaze from the cliff tops across Arcadia Valley, looking for eagles and enjoying the lancewood, wilga, native bauhinia, bottlebrush and riverine vegetation.
The lookout makes an awesome picnic spot, especially at sunset, and the camp ground on the banks of the Dawson River further down off the cliff tops is a tranquil camp site.
Be careful of other traffic on the steep descents.
Enjoy a relaxing drive through farm and grazing land as you continue through Arcadia Valley for 83 kilometres on the gravel road (with some sealed sections) to the Lake Nuga Nuga Rd turn-off.
From here it is only seven kilometres into the national park.
Arcadia Valley road is not suited to wet weather travel.
Lake Nuga Nuga is one of the largest seasonal lakes in Central Queensland, and when I visited last week I had a beautiful walk around the accessible "island” experiencing a rare sense of peace and solitude.
The lake has plenty of water at the moment and is fantastic for photography, bird watching, enjoying wildlife, and at other times of the year spectacular floral displays.
I was treated to clusters of hundreds of butterflies feeding off the flowering bushes and shrubs, and flying around me as I walked around, adding a magical feel to my walk.
The dirt roads of the camp ground and areas of the Arcadia Valley road make great biking adventures - be always on the lookout for traffic and ride carefully.
I did not have time to camp overnight but I will be definitely back for a relaxing few nights of camping in this awesome place beneath the stars on the banks of the lake.
If you choose your spot wisely - camping on the island when accessible - you can make the most of both sunset and sunrise right from your camp site.
You will need to be fully self-sufficient at both Lonesome and Lake Nuga Nuga camping areas as no facilities are provided.
Check out all the latest road conditions and book your camp site etc., by visiting the many Visitor Information Centres around the region or directly with Queensland National Parks - qld.gov.au/camping and qld.gov.au/parkalerts