Arrival at Carnarvon Gorge
I had booked the Takarakka Bush Resort in advance, because I’d read that they tend to be quite busy and we were staying 5 nights. They put on talks about the Gorge and what to expect, every afternoon at 4.30pm, so we wanted to be around for that.
We arrived at 4 on Tuesday, checked in and quickly set up and then headed off to the talk. It was quite interesting and well worth attending. We booked a walking tour to Boolimba Bluff. It was only $30 each and I thought it would be good to get some extra pointers and information about the Gorge for the rest of our walks on our own.
After the talk, we finished setting up the tent and campsite and then went to the kitchen area and cooked dinner. We met a young German couple who were cooking their dinner, and some fellow bbq cookers and ended up eating and chatting with them til 9. We were tired and went to bed early but couldn’t sleep. We were very happy to have the quilt and 2 extra blankets though – it was really cold!!
Day 1 at Carnarvon Gorge
We got up at 6am on Wednesday and had breakfast and watched the baby platypus play. There was no point trying to photograph them because I don’t have that strong a zoom lense and it was still too dark. I was wearing Donald’s ski jacket and my gloves because it was so very cold! Someone later told me it was 4 degrees! We made our lunch and packed our day packs and then met our guide at 8 for the “Written on the Rocks” half day walking tour to the top of Boolimba bluff. We met at reception and then everyone took their own cars and drove out to the national park.
The walk was quite strenuous, with about 900 steps to climb. Phil, the guide, had lots of stops along the way to let people catch their breath and explain about the area. It was very interesting and we had fantastic views from the top. My feet, especially the balls of my feet, were aching when we finished. According to Google fit on my phone, we walked about 10300 steps.
Here’s some pictures from the walk:
You can just see some white orchids growing at the top of the cliff here:
The views from the top of the bluff were great:
We made our way back down and stopped for some wildlife:
Once we got back to our camp, we had lunch and coffee and a bit of a rest. We had a visitor to our campsite – a kookaburra sitting in the tree, watching us read and drink our coffees:
I went to shower in the middle of the afternoon, to avoid the rest of the returning hikers wanting showers. I rubbed my feel with my peppermint oil and that helped with the soreness. Carnarvon Creek, which runs just behind the facilities block, looked pretty in the afternoon, so I took a quick picture:
Dinner was a yummy steak cooked on the barbecue, and vegies. There weren’t as many people to chat with today, so we watched a few shows on Donald’s notebook – in bed because it was so cold!
Day 2 at Carnarvon Gorge
Another early day – we woke up at 6 and it was freezing cold again. Even with our quilt and 2 blankets, we were chilly on the sides!
We made ourselves a hearty bacon, egg and baked beans breakfast, since we were going on a 16km hike today. You have to watch out for the currawong birds here – one of them swooped down and stole a slice of toast before we knew it! After a second coffee, we did the dishes, packed our day packs with lunches I’d made the previous night (so it would start out cold!) and plenty of water drove to the national park again.
We parked the car, strapped on our backpacks and camera pack and set off on our hike. We’d been told to go as far as you intended to go along the main track, and then do the side-trips to the canyons and gorges on the way back. We followed this advice and headed along the main track – stopping when we felt weary, or, more frequently, to take photos:
We crossed Carnarvon Creek many times! The stepping stones were usually good, though sometimes a bit dodgy!
Our first detour off the main track was at Art Gallery, which has some aboriginal art on the rocks. There’s quite a lot of it and well worth a look:
Next side-trip back down the path was at Ward’s Canyon. This had a bit of a climb but it was pretty spectacular! Really cold inside though!!:
It has some special ferns known as King Ferns, which don’t grow in many places in the world:
We were going to have lunch there, but a family with noisy children turned up, so we turned tail and fled to somewhere more serene. Our next diversion was to Amphitheatre. There’s a waterfall and pool just outside it, and a steep staircase that’s been built to get inside.
It’s a really narrow canyon at the entrance, that widens out. The acoustics in here were pretty good so I sang some. It’s OK – there was nobody else there 🙂 It has moss and ferns growing in a corner of it and the steep walls slope towards the middle, as can be seen in the photo I took pointed straight up:
We had a bit of a rest and our lunch there and then headed back down the main track, past more of the cycads. They grow very slowly, but are quite numerous in this area. This picture shows just how tall some of them are:
I was pretty tired and footsore by this stage, but we had one more side-canyon to visit today. This was the famous Moss Garden. It’s really beautiful – even the on the track leading to it:
And the moss garden itself was so green and magical, with water droplets sparkling and dripping off the moss:
We had a good long rest there and then set off back to the car. I think this last part was the hardest part of the walk for me! My feet were killing me and I was so tired! But we made it back to the car:
Once we got back to our camp, we made some coffee and chilled for a while. I checked my phone and found that we’d done 25794 steps today! Bit more than my average 😉
Dinner was couscous with capsicum, snow peas and lamb chops, all barbecued (except the couscous, of course!). A quick and easy and yummy dish. We chatted with others who were coming and going to the platypus pond behind the camp kitchen area. We went to bed early and watched a show before sleeping.
DAY 3 AT CARNARVON GORGE
Today was our day of rest, after the last two days of walking. We got up after 8 and had a leisurely breakfast and went for a meander along the creek at the back of the property. I’d tried to take photos there before but it was too dark:
There were wallabies and other wildlife in amongst the caravans and tents, as well as along the creek. There was a kangaroo doe with a joey in her pouch, which I was able to photograph:
I bought a litre of milk for $3 at the little shop at Takarakka Bush Resort where we were staying. Expensive, but at least it was available! Other than that, we mainly rested up!
We had our last steaks on a steak sandwich I made us for lunch and then a guy who’d come over to talk to us a few times wanted to show me his GPS route and photos on his laptop, so I spent a bit of time looking at that.
Then it was time to go to Bandana Station for their Sunset gig. It was pretty good. They get your name when you arrive and actually remember it for the whole afternoon. It was pretty amazing just for that. Olivia, the daughter, told about their life on the station and her dad, Bruce, told us old bushranger stories and sang a song. In between was tea and cake (which was really yummy), damper, and Anzac biscuits – all homemade. We were also given a couple of glasses of really nice Shiraz or beer if you wanted. And watching the sunset on the cliffs was rather pretty.
It was supposed to go until 5.30, but it easily went past 6.
Two glasses of wine had me quite tipsy, so another early night.
DAY 4 AT CARNARVON GORGE
This was our last full day here. We had a few things we still wanted to see, but we took it easy.
After breakfast, we had a walk down the lookout track at the Takarakka Bush Resort. It was quite the little hike – probably a couple of kilometers. It follows a ridge above Carnarvon Creek. There was wildlife along this section as well:
We stopped back at our camp and had a cup of coffee and then headed off to see a few more sights.
First stop was Mickeys Creek Gorge. It’s only a short walk but very pretty:
Splitting off from the path to Mickeys Creek, was Warrumbah Creek Gorge. There were ferns and fungi that I was able to get closeups on along the path. There was a lot of climbing and clambering over rocks, too:
This was another really narrow gorge, but accessible without a lot of upward climbing. We didn’t follow it to the end because I didn’t want to get my feet wet!
We headed back to camp to have lunch and a bit of relaxation.
Around 2.30, we headed back for the last stop on our visit to Carnarvon Gorge, which was at Rock Pool. This is actually a couple of pools and the only place in the park where you’re allowed to swim. It was much too cold to do that though! I can imagine it must be wonderful in summer though!
More relaxation back at camp and then dinner of fresh pasta that we had in our fridge and then another early night of TV shows in bed.