When you think of Central Queensland you would automatically think dry, hot, dusty, barren country. But nestled away in the Carnarvon National Park is the beautiful Carnarvon Gorge and it is absolutely stunning and a unique place to visit in Central Queensland.
Carnarvon Gorge is an oasis for birds, wallabies and platypus this beautiful national park is a must see destination in Queensland. Approximately 750km from Brisbane, it’s a great place to do an outback road trip to see some fantastic towns including Toowoomba, Dalby, Roma and Injune.
What’s so special about this hidden gem?
Carnarvon Gorge has some of the best nature walks for all types of fitness levels. Remembering that the humidity level increases throughout the day the best time to get started on a long walk is very early in the morning.
Main Walking Track
Is quite a long track (19.4km return) that is mostly flat however can be sandy at times with several creek crossings. It’s best to speak to a ranger before you start the track to plan your day. There are limited toilets and no drinking water available, so make sure you pack enough for the whole hike.
Wards Canyon (9.2km return)
Is such a welcome relief to go into this small gorge as it was so beautiful, quiet and cool. The perfect place to sit for awhile and enjoy a picnic. There are quite a few steep steps up to the gorge but just take your time and pace yourself. Once up there you’ll be taken back by the enormous ferns. This was definitely a highlight of our trip.
After a long hot hike through the national park, there is nothing better than having a swim at the Rock Pool. It’s an easy 600m walk down to the water and really family friendly. It has stepping stones to get to the other side, which is a lot of fun for the kids to negotiate. It’s a great place to sit in the shade, have a swim and listen to all the birds in the afternoon.
We were staying at Takarakka Bush Resort and enjoyed all the beautiful wallabies, birds and wildlife around the park. The Rangers gave us some advice on the best vantage points to see the platypus playing in the creek but I think our daughters scared them away each night.
Indigenous art displays
I love the rich history here throughout the park where you can see where the aboriginals loved this land. The Art Gallery was approximately 10.8km return walk and it is one of the best displays we have seen. 62m sandstone wall filled with Aboriginal paintings and engravings. It was truly beautiful to see. If you would like to see some beautiful rock art but don’t want to do a long walk then head to Baloon Cave. It’s a much easier walk and only 1km return.
Great places to stay
Takarakka Bush Resort is approximately 5km from the mouth of the gorge where all the walking trails begin. They have a lot of open space with powered and unpowered sites available. The staff and rangers were very helpful in assisting us with information about the walks.
We enjoyed sitting by creek each afternoon searching for the platypus but no successful sighting. The wildlife was beautiful and it was really nice sitting by the large fire pit meeting new people.
If you are looking for another option that is budget friendly then take a look at Sandstone Park on Wikicamps. Carnarvon Gorge also has a camping area but this needs to be pre-booked before arrival and only opened certain times of the year.
Best time to visit
Because this amazing destination can be quiet hot and exposed in some places you’ll want to visit in the Winter months. We visited in the month of April and we found the walks to be quiet humid and hot due to the dense forest.
Plan before you visit
If you are planning on visiting this beautiful place then don’t forget to check out the Carnarvon Gorge National Park Guide. This will give you all the walks, distance and fitness grades.
Our Experience on the main track
We have such fond memories of our walk at Carnarvon Gorge however on the day it wasn’t smooth sailing. With two small children you never quite know when they will loose it. Unfortunately, I was walking down Wards Canyon stairs with a child in the backpack and I hurt my knee, queue both children’s massive melt down moment right then too. We were pretty proud of the girls lasting 6 hours of walking but we knew they had really had enough. It was left to my husband to get the kids back to the car. So imagine a hot humid rainforest, you have 3km left to finish the track, an injured wife and two kids laying on the ground refusing to walk!
Well, Matt definitely got a workout having one child in the backpack and the other on his shoulders. Walking for 3km like this and completing two creek crossings with both girls giggling at him. He was trying really hard not slip while holding our precious cargo when he looked up and theirs a group of tourist taking pictures! Don’t worry I was supporting him taking photos too 🙂 We look back at this day and laugh but at the time I don’t think Matt was laughing too hard.