‘Gorge’ may not be a pretty word, but it tends to make for one hell of a pretty landscape. Rugged edges, earthy desert colours, dramatic rockfaces and usually accompanied by flowing rivers and lakes. Which of course means that there are often some stunning places to stop for a dip. Here are seven gorges in outback Queensland that prove my point.

1. Cobbold Gorge, Gulf Savannah

I didn’t put these in order, but Cobbold Gorge is arguably the most beautiful on this list. The best way to fully experience the beauty here is floating along the deep blue river, whether that’s in a boat, on a SUP board or chilling on an inflatable tube. You’ll find camping and caravanning places in the park, as well as plenty of tours to help you explore.

2. Porcupine Gorge, Porcupine Gorge National Park

When the whole national park is named after the gorge, you know it’s going to be a stunner. This hidden gem of towering sandstone cliffs and forest fringing features plenty of natural swimming holes along the way so you can cool off as you continue to explore along its length.

3. Lawn Hill Gorge, Boodjamulla National Park

The wide waters at the bottom of Lawn Hill Gorge make it another one that’s perfect to explore from the river vantage point. You’re very likely to have it to yourself as the whole park is somehow still way under the radar – but it really shouldn’t be. The red sandstone walls plunging into emerald waters is something truly spectacular.

4. Carnarvon Gorge, Carnarvon National Park

Tell me this doesn’t look like a fairy garden. You can’t can you? I absolutely want to move in there immediately and leave the material world behind. There are plenty of day hikes, including the seven-kilometer Moss Garden Walk to get you to the above views, but they reckon you need a week to really see it all.

5. Robinson Gorge, Expedition National Park

Expedition National Park is super unique in that it’s divided into three distinct sections: Robinson, Lonesome and Beilba. Expect to find long, white and orange cliffs towering over deep floors of green forest dating back over 240 million years. You’ll rech Robinson Gorge by heading along the mostly gravel roads from Taroom until you make it about 90km north-west.

6. Copperfield Gorge, Einasleigh

Take a break from the iconic red Aussie earth to enjoy the unique deep grey volcanic rock of Copperfield Gorge. Explore the lava flows that were created way back when by McBride Volcanic Province. Einasleigh itself is a cute, small copper town in the middle of the outback.

7. Hell Hole Gorge, Hell Hole Gorge National Park

Look, I don’t know who was in charge of naming this park, but they were clearly having a bad day because Hell Hole Gorge is anything but. This one is particularly perfect for all you camping fans out there. You can pull up right by the water and wait for the sun to set.

Image: Instagram / [@cobboldgorge]