Sliced through central Queensland’s sandstone belt by Carnarvon Creek over millions of years, Carnarvon Gorge is one of my favourite places on Earth. Centrepiece of Carnarvon National Park, it is a long drive – hours – from just about everywhere and the only way to find out what the fuss is about is to spend many more hours on foot.
An almost flat walking track meanders 9km up the gorge. It passes towering grey gums, prehistoric cycads, cabbage palms, whispering she-oaks and grass trees. And it crosses Carnarvon Creek twenty times on stepping stones – watch for exquisite blue-and-orange azure kingfishers on the hunt over the water.
Side trails to dripping moss gardens, galleries of Aboriginal art, and a natural amphitheatre secreted within the 200m high sandstone gorge wall extend the return walk to about 25km. It’s a big day out that wearies feet but invigorates senses.
Another option is to explore the gorge over two days, camping with the frogs at Big Big Bend (limited facilities) at the top of the gorge. Or venture up onto the escarpment as well on the 6-day Carnarvon Great Walk.