Reopened national parks prove popular

The easing of coronavirus restrictions has attracted thousands of visitors.

Thousands of Queenslanders flocked back to the state’s national parks over the Labour Day long weekend following the relaxation of coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions. 

Under the updated guidelines, many national parks were able to reopen and Queenslanders were able to travel up to 50km from their home with family or those they live with.

Minister for Environment Leeanne Enoch said there was a lot of excitement in the community as popular areas within Queensland’s national parks and forests were reopened to day visitors.

“Rangers across the state said many car parks at our national parks were full, with most visitors observing social distancing rules and only moving in family or household groups,” Ms Enoch said. 

“The high visitation numbers showed just how much Queenslanders value the health and wellbeing benefits of our magnificent national parks and how much they missed visiting when they were closed.”

Ms Enoch said camping at national parks was still not permitted and day-trippers must abide by the Chief Health Officer’s guidelines.

“People should apply common sense and if a car park is full or an area is crowded please go somewhere else,” she said.

“The Queensland Police Service and Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) rangers will be monitoring social distancing rules and illegal camping and will take enforcement action where necessary.”

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QPWS Compliance Manager Mike Devery said visitor numbers over the long weekend exceeded the norm. 

“This is understandable because Queensland has some of the best national parks in Australia, and although campgrounds and some facilities remain closed, it shows the enthusiasm people have for getting out into these beautiful landscapes,” Mr Devery said.

“Rangers across the state are pleased with the behaviour of people who visited our national parks, with just a few Penalty Infringement Notices (PINs) handed out for illegal camping and investigations continuing into alleged instances of fossicking without a permit."

Mr Devery said national park visitors must follow social distancing measures and not gather in groups greater than two, unless from the same household.

“People are encouraged to visit national parks only where there are available car parks, and if a car park is full then they need to go to another area,” he said. 

“I’d also like to remind everyone to check our park alerts page before setting out to their destination.”

For information on the reopening of the state’s national parks, click here.