Visiting Canarvon Gorge, a national park 740kms north west of Brisbane, had remained on our to-do list ever since we arrived in Queensland over 30 years ago as other places took priority. What we got to see last week was out of this world but we would have like to have seen more with younger and fitter bodies!! No need for regrets, just a good reminder that time is ticking and best do the physically demanding trips sooner rather than later.
Checking-in at Takarakka Bush Resort was efficiently adapted to Covid-19. Spray bottles and a check-in area outside: find the envelope with your name on, complete the Covid-19 tracing information and head to your nominated campsite.
We were told by friends that 3 days there was plenty because each walk within the Gorge national park goes off the main 10km long track so you end up walking the same path a number of times. We spent 5 nights there and are glad we did.
Canarvon Gorge, although situated within the dry environment of central Queensland, is lined with lush vegetation fed by the waters of numerous gorges. The gorge provides permanent springwater, cooler temperatures and conditions has allowed rainforest and ancient ferns to survive.
And as I aluded to, we did not get to do all the walks. The first two days were spent walking from Takarakka campground to walks outside the national park, Mitchell Creek and the Rock Pool. They were lovely walks and especially quiet as, apart from the odd car passing, we had the area to ourselves. I am glad I brought my hiking sticks, especially as we walked beyond the formed path and balancing on some of those rocky boulders can be precarious.
Day 3 was a short day as we both felt like we had lead bodies. Maybe the long walk the day before from Takarakka to the Rock Pool and onto the visitor centre and back took too much out of us. On our first day in the actual National Park, we only got to the Moss Garden. Quite a magical walk. Walking in nature such as this always takes ages with me as I keep stopping, listening to birds, looking around, looking back, looking up, listening to the wind, noticing different trees, flowers, enjoying the sweet smell of the odd wattle bush. And stopping to take in the hundreds of butterflies floating all around us. Never have we seen so many! We were bumping into them sometimes. Anthony’s Lumix came into its own providing some great close up shots.
Most memorable is the symphony of birdsong along the Moss Garden walk – there are apparently 173 species of birds – where water constantly drips through the sandstone, and supports a lush and magical carpet of mosses and further down, huge tree ferns.Listen to the birdsong below.
The next day, our bodies felt rejuvenated and we enjoyed each side walk off the main track.
Ward’s canyon is home to the world’s largest fern, the king fern Angiopteris evecta. These impressive dinosaurs of ferns have links with the ancient flora of Gondwanan origin!
Aboriginal rock art on the sandstone cliffs and overhands reminds us of Aboriginal people’s long and continuing connection with the gorge.
No walk up the 900 steps to the Bluff for a superb view for us – my knee problem which put an end to my lifelong favourite sport, skiing, some years back, has also put an end to such hikes with my current knee. Anthony decided he would not do it alone. This view from our campground was a “poor” second best so you can imagine what a view from the top would be like.
Takarakka has a little creek walk with a platypus viewing area. My chance to finally see a platypus in the wild, Dusk and dawn are the best times to spot them we’re told. But it was not to be. Not for us anyway, despite my daily attempts to spot one. I even got up early once, walked down in my jimjams and padded fleecy bush shirt. I haven’t mentioned how cold the nights were and how grateful we were to be able to push a button and get the heater going in our campervan first thing in the mornings. Definitely one of the luxuries you don’t get in a tent.
By the time we left Canarvon Gorge, the days had already started to warm up. Walking in warmer weather would require a much earlier start and lots of drinking water!
So, five nights after our arrival, we’re ready to head to Longreach, full of wonderful memories of a stunning park which we’d love to return to one day with a 4×4 to explore different parts. And new connections with people we met at the campground and on the walks and shared sunset drinks with.
Which way shall we take to get to Longreach from here? North or south? This, we did not decide until the morning of our departure.– Anne