Carnarvon Gorge is located approximately 720 kms north-west from Brisbane, 400 kms south-west from Rockhampton and 240 kms south from Emerald. The national park stretches for approximately 30km’s and is located in Central Queensland. The only access to Carnarvon is either along an unpaved road called Rewan Road (approximately 19.5km’s from Rolleston) or 60kms south of Rolleston along the Carnarvon Highway. Both roads follow through to Wyseby Road which then leads to Obriens Road. Obriens Road turns into a unpaved road 11km’s from the Takarakka Bush Resort. Takarakka is approximately 4kms from the Carnarvon Gorge Visitor Centre (which is where various walking trails start from).
Carnarvon Gorge has campsites located near the visitor information centre that are only available during Easter, Winter and Spring Queensland school holidays. There is also the Carnarvon Gorge Wilderness Lodge opened all year and consists of only cabins. Lastly, Takarakka Bush Resort is home to powered and unpowered caravan and camp sites and cabins- this is where I stayed.
Relatively cheap, Takarakka is home to amazing vegetation and various wildlife. Ensuite sites are not available but public amenities exist. There is a general store located on site, souvenirs are available to purchase, there are multiple fire-pits, BBQ’s and picnic areas and the resort offers happy hour from 4pm where the purchase of popcorn is available, information talks at 5pm, family movie nights and guided tours.
Need to Know
The closest towns to Carnarvon Gorge are Rolleston (100kms north) and Injune (150kms south). Fuel is not available at the gorge so it is best to fill up at Rolleston or Injune. Takarakka’s general store is fairly stocked but also can run out of essentials such as milk and bread. Ice is also available at the resort. Takarakka’s public amenities have poor water pressure and sometimes run out of water altogether in busy periods. The unpaved roads you will encounter along Obriens Road are suitable for all caravan types and cars. If you choose to take Rewan Road over taking the Carnarvon Highway make sure your caravan and vehicle are off-road suitable. Along the unpaved Obriens Road you will encounter relatively steep hills, narrow drops and rocky surfaces. Also, check the weather forecast constantly as these roads don’t take much to flood. If it does rain, you will almost certainly get trapped at the gorge. Take plenty of insect repellent and cover your body with it as there are sandflies, mosquitoes, leeches and more creepy crawlies (I recommend ‘Bushmans’ insect repellent- you can purchase it at Woolworths).
Short and Long Walks
If you have some sort of medical condition that prevents you from walking long distances then I recommend that you only stay a short time in the national park- two days max is all you will need. I say this because there is only a limited amount of short walks to do.
Short Walk #1: Baloon Cave (1km return from carpark) | 15-45 minutes
- Easiest track available
- Leads down to the outskirts of a cave
- Aboriginal handprints are the caves main attraction
- Accessible for wheelchairs (bridges and ramps are present)
In my opinion, this walk was a let down. It’s a pretty walk but we did this one last and it didn’t compare to anything we saw earlier that day. The handprints are a small part of the cave. You don’t get to walk inside the cave, you simply see the walls of the outside. Although, there is a chance you will see a wallaby on your way there. It is a nice introduction to the gorge.
Short Walk #2: Rock Pool (600m return from car park) | 10-20 minutes OR (2kms one way from the visitor information centre) | 20-45 minutes
- The short track is fairly simple
- The long track provides views of the Carnarvon River and chances are high of seeing a Wallaby or Kangaroo
- Both tracks require you to cross the river by rock-stepping
- The end of both tracks lead to an amazing rock pool surrounded by sandstone walls of the gorge
- This is the only place you are allowed to swim at the Carnarvon National Park
- A close by picnic area accommodates toilets, a gas barbeque and tables/chairs.
In my opinion, this was a beautiful area. I would have gone swimming if I wear wearing appropriate clothing. The rock pool is filled with other visitors and is quite a popular destination. The views are amazing, the rock stepping is quite fun and challenging and it is a beautiful area to spend the day at.
Short Walk #3: Mickey Creek Gorge (3kms return from car park) | 30 minutes to 1.5 hours.
- This track is a formed track for most of the way, at the end of the formed track there is seating and quite a nice view for walkers who don’t feel like walking any further.
- At the end of the track, you will come to an intersection. There is a path to the Mickey Creek Gorge- which continues on as a formed track only to veer off as a goat’s trail track- or to the Warrumbah Creek Gorge- which also continues on for around 200m as a formed track only to become a track where rock hopping is the only form of going anywhere closer.
We decided to veer off to the Warrumbah Creek Gorge track. This track is not suitable for people with health conditions such as bone or joint aches, blood pressure and asthma’s or people with claustrophobia. The gorge stands large and tall only about a seven-minute walk from the intersection and is gorgeous! I recommend this trail to everyone; it was the highlight of my experience. The gorge gets quite narrow and at times you will be climbing it by climbing the walls to avoid stepping in water; so make sure your carrying as little as possible and wearing correct footwear.
Longer walks are open to the public, but recommended for people with hiking/walking experience and people who are willing to camp out over several nights.
In conclusion, Carnarvon Gorge is literally in the middle of nowhere. You are completely cut off from the world. Animals are everywhere and there is no shortage of beautiful views. I recommend this to everyone and I feel like it is something that everyone needs to experience in his or her lifetime.
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