Carnarvon Gorge National Park in in the sandstone tablelands and was discovered in
the late 1800’s when local cattle owners were looking for more grazing lands. The
surrounding land outside the park is still cattle country.
After dealing with the cattle we had to deal with road construction. We knew that
there were 14 km of gravel to the park and it seems to be getting an upgrade.
But we made it and after setting up I headed to the toilet block and found these
kangaroos grazing the grass in front of the building and ignoring all humans.
The park doesn’t have camping but a resort just outside the entrance does. It is
a nice campground and only $45/night. Nearly as much as Uluru’s resort, but the park
is free entry. Litchfield NP was free too. It seems that the parks run in cooperation
with the “Traditional Owners” (as the aboriginals are called) are the only fee parks
we’ve been to.
The lodge at the Resort has a “happy hour” on the deck with discounted drinks and
a cracker and cheese snack. This Kookaburra loves cheese! He will steal it right
out of your hand as you bring it to your mouth. All visitors are forewarned and he
didn’t get much.
After the happy hour there is a talk describing the gorge and what there is to see,
and how far you have to walk to see it.
This is a picture of a picture in the visitor center. The resort is in the top right
outside of the gorge itself.
The entire length of the trail along the bottom is about 15 km. (10 mi). We are going
to go not quite halfway. On the picture that is to the lower left area from the parking
lot at the entrance in the upper right.
The side canyons have the interesting sights to see and we have a map of four that
we want to see.
The trail is very well maintained and is easy to walk. There are steps on the steeper
slopes and stepping stones in the water crossings. Before we are done, going up and
back, we will have crossed the main river and side creeks about 20 times. And Kathy
did not fall in once and although she did over balance a few times she recovered
Once in a while we get a view of the towering white sandstone cliffs. But mostly
the vegetation is too thick. This is more like the tropic wetlands than the outback.
Our destination is the “Art Gallery”. There are two kinds of art from the aboriginal,
left-paint, right-carving including the snake that created life, according to the
And down on the far end is some more modern carvings. Some people consider this vandalism.
But isn’t it just what the earlier people were doing. Trying to preserve your legacy
so that you feel that you are not forgotten in this world.
We started by walking to the farthest site and then starting back.
After returning to the main trail and walking back a bit we turned off on Ward’s
Canyon. Here we felt like we were in a “Jurassic Park” with the tree ferns and the
The next side trip is to the Amphitheater. As with most of the side canyons it is
higher than the valley floor, this time up a staircase and through a slot canyon.
This opens up to a space about 30 meters (100’) across. My camera does not have a
wide enough lens to show it all. And there is an echo. The young kids on the family
that followed us had a great time with their first experience with an echo.
The last side trip for us is to the “Moss Garden”. The aura here was of quiet and
peacefulness. In fact a guy who was there gave us dirty looks as we came to the viewing
platform. We were obviously interrupting his special time. Then more people showed
up and he glowered.
All in all we walked over 15 km (10 miles) and climbed stairs and trails a dozen
times. We seldom climbed or dropped more than 50 m. (165’) but we did it a lot of
Tomorrow we are back on the road but tonight the resort is doing a roast pork and
lamb dinner that we have signed up for.
The dinner was delicious and more than we could eat. And the Kookaburra bird sat
on the wires overhead and watched closely for chances to steal a bit.