The traditional owners of the area surrounding Rolleston are the Karingal Aboriginal people who lived in the Arcadia Valley. A story from the dreaming of the Karingal mob tells of Lake Nuga Nuga, the home of Mundagarri, the Rainbow Serpents who live under the two dominating peaks of the northern shoreline of the Lake. The story tells that if the Rainbow Serpents are disturbed in their homes, they will leave and the lakes will dry up.
European settlement came not long after the area was discovered by Ludwig Leichhardt. Rolleston was originally named Brown Town when it was first surveyed but was later renamed Rolleston after one of the original settlers, Christopher Rolleston. The township of Rolleston was famous for the notorious Kenniff Brothers, the last of the legendary Queensland bushrangers.
Today, Rolleston lies in the centre of a rich, resourceful and productive valley, bordered by the sandstone cliffs that follow the edges of the Carnarvon, Expedition and Shotover Ranges.
The turn-off to one of Queensland’s most famous National Parks, Carnarvon Gorge, is 60km south of Rolleston. Featuring spectacular sandstone cliffs and gorges, clear streams and many unique species of ferns, palms and trees, the park also provides camping and lodge accommodation. On the access road is the Rewan Memorial, which marks the site of an American aircraft which crashed in 1943.
There are many other natural attractions in the area, including the Arcadia Valley, Lake Nuga Nuga, and Lonesome National Park. For more information on the National Parks visit www.nprsr.qld.gov.au
Lake Nuga Nuga
As the largest natural water body within the Central Queensland Sandstone Belt, bird watchers will find the lake a haven for pelicans, swans and numerous species of birdlife. There are beautiful displays of water lilies at certain times of the year. Nuga Nuga National Park has basic infrastructure, including walking tracks, picnic and camping areas.
Lonesome National Park
At the southern end of the Valley are the Lonesome National Park and headwaters of the Dawson River. On top of the range is the lookout and its spectacular view looking north over the Arcadia Valley. Camping is permitted, but there are no facilities available.
The Arcadia Valley is a rift valley, which means is has been created on top of a mountain plateau. It is one of the most productive agricultural areas in Queensland, and a stunning day trip circuit from Rolleston. Farmstay accommodation is also available.