When we free camped at Yuleba, fellow campers told us that Carnarvon Gorge was the most beautiful place they've ever seen. So we not only decided that our new Jayco Caravan was going to have to endure 15km of dirt road (last bit to to be bitumined soon), but that we would stay 5 nights. The drive there from Yuleba was another surprise. We didn't expect so much lush forest this deep into the interior. In Roma we loved the Bottle trees everywhere (800 in town). 138 of them line the main street in the CBD (each with a plaque dedicated to someone that died in the war).
Takarakka Caravan Park is just beautiful. The sites are spacious, and the there are lots of trees. We missed out on a shady site because we booked late. The amenities are superb, the camp kitchens even better, and there is free fire wood daily for camp fires (which we used to BBQ on and to be taught how to make damper with sweet chilli and cheese in the dough mix). In the camp you will find Pretty Faced Wallabies and Eastern Grey Kangaroos everywhere. We saw Kangeroos crossing the stream next to us daily and one evening we saw an Echidna. The most memorable site in the park was the Platypus pool next to our camp kitchen. It meant we were there every morning after 6am to look in wonder and get some photos. To see both the monotremes (mammals that lay eggs) of Australia in our park on the same day - priceless. Late at night you see Rufous Bettongs hop in the park. The bird life is abundant. The little shop in the park carries the basics, of which ice cream is the most important. Some nights they provide roast dinners. There is no free wifi (despite the promise) and no TV reception. Happy hour at the outdoor pub is great with cheap beer (a wide selection). The information session about all the different trails in the gorge at 5pm every day is essential, and really well done.
Carnarvon Gorge is next to the caravan park (2km) inside the Carnarvon National Park (298 000 ha). There are great rock pools near the entrance (perfect for a swim every day after walking into the gorge).
We walked in our Shimanos (like Crocs but better) and had no problems. The walks are graded level 3 and 4 and very well posted and maintained by three full time rangers. The scenery and diversity is some of the best you will ever see anywhere in the world. It is truly mind blowing. The trees are as big as we've seen anywhere in the world. I took more than 300 photos (but will limit myself below to not bore you). Anyone who can possibly make it here, just have to. One family we talked to were on their 8th visit. The furthest we did on one day was 14km (you can do the 87km Great Walk if you really want to). To do what we did, you cross the creek around 18 times and you see four major attractions (Ward's Canyon, the Amphitheatre, Art Gallery, and Moss Garden). Ward's and Moss are so cool inside due to the dripping water and breeze. These walks include a 60m deep hole you enter through a crevice at the bottom, and 19 000 yr old Aboriginal art works. On another day we did Mickey Creek and Baloon Cave. On our second last day we did the steep climb to Boolimba Bluff to get the great view. The best experience, we think, is to start your walks at about 6.30am. Then you see all the animals before other walkers scare them away (or they go to sleep), and you experience most of the Gorge whilst it is still cool (finishing with a swim at the rock pools every day by lunch. Some of the most special animals were the Swamp Wallabies (3 with joeys sticking out) and the Dingo we saw.
New friendships. Had such a good time with Johann and Joelene we met there. Ex South Africans that spent time in Tauranga (NZ) and now live in Brisbane. Good BBQ and walk together.
After 5 of the best days ever, we reluctantly packed up to travel on. On to Emerald.
Takarakka Caravan Park
Takarakka Caravan Park writing this blog
Takarakka Caravan Park Platypus pool metres from our site
Takarakka Caravan Park fresh water turtle
Takarakka Caravan Park Eastern Grey Kangaroos crossing river
Swamp Wallaby with Joey hanging out
Rock pool - our daily swim after walking
Pretty Faced Wallaby
Pretty Faced Wallabies in full flight
Map of Carnarvon Gorge trails we walked
Happy hour at the outdoor pub in the Gorge
Carnarvon National Park Dingo
Carnarvon Gorge Wards Canyon
Carnarvon Gorge view from Boolimba Bluff - steep climb
Carnarvon Gorge typical scene
Carnarvon Gorge typical scene again
Carnarvon Gorge typical Fan Palms and Cycads everywhere
Carnarvon Gorge one of 19 times we crossed
Carnarvon Gorge Moss Garden
Carnarvon Gorge lloking up inside 60m deep Amphitheatre
Carnarvon Gorge every 10m an amazing tree
Carnarvon Gorge Art Galley - 19000 years old
Carnarvon Gorge Amphitheatre entrance
Carnarvon Gorge Moss Garden inside
BBQ with new friends Johann and Noelene Stock