5 reasons to unearth a Sapphire from the Capricorn Region Gemfields
The incredible Carnarvon Gorge National Park, hidden in the rugged ranges of Capricorn’s Central Highlands, is a wonderland of rainforest, creeks and cliffs and should be number one on your list of secret spots to visit in Australia.
Drive through the haze hovering above surrounding dry plains to arrive at the lush gorges and rocky creeks waiting to refresh you at Carnarvon Gorge, in Carnarvon National Park. The towering sandstone cliffs, vibrantly coloured gorges and diverse flora and fauna take pride of place here, although there are other nearby national parks offering rugged ‘extensions’ on your journey of discovery if you are looking to get off the beaten track.
Carnarvon Gorge features over 30 kilometres of dramatic sandstone cliffs sculpted by Carnarvon Creek over a period of some 26 million years. The spectacular
white sandstone cliffs of the steepsided gorge, with its narrow, vibrantly-coloured and lush side-gorges, shelter remnant rainforest plants. Carnarvon
Gorge is a place that you can explore over an extended period of time or at short intervals.
We recommend you allow at least three days to walk the 27 kilometres of graded tracks and to explore the side-gorges and Aboriginal art sites.
You will find ancient cycads and endemic fan palms, as well as some of the finest Aboriginal rock art in Australia — ochre stencils, rock engravings and freehand paintings. Learn from an Aboriginal ranger about Aboriginal people’s long and continuing relationship with this dramatic landscape. To the traditional custodians, the gorge continues to be ‘a place of learning’ — let the land teach you a new appreciation of Aboriginal culture and history.
At the base of the gorge, if you’re quiet and still, you may spot a platypus diving and swimming in a local waterhole. If you are feeling adventurous, hike up the gorge and camp in the more remote sections, where it truly is just you and nature.
Don’t miss the Rewan Memorial on your way into the gorge. This memorial was erected to honour the lives of those Australian and US soldiers who were aboard a C47B Dakota aircraft which crash landed in Carnarvon Creek near Rewan Station, while en-route from Darwin to Brisbane in 1943. There were no survivors from the crash.
Things to consider when visiting Carnarvon Girge:
Fuel – Injune and Rolleston are the last stops for fuel before heading towards Carnarvon Gorge.
Road Conditions – Carnarvon Gorge Access Road is an ‘all vehicles’ road, however you should check road conditions with your accommodation provider prior to departure. The last 20 kilometres of this road is unsealed with no steep climbs or drops.
Accommodation – A variety of accommodation is available at the base of the gorge from deluxe cabins, to caravan and camping sites. In Carnarvon National Park, the Carnarvon Gorge visitor area offers camping during the Easter, winter and spring Queensland school holidays. Big Bend camping area, reached by a 9.7 kilometre walk through the park, is open year round.
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