Carnarvon National Park
Soon after rocking up we decided that in order to get the most out of the huge and impressive Carnarvon Gorge, we would do a 3-day hike with 2 nights of bush camping in the gorge. We were super excited and went to the campground to prepare to leave the next morning.
On day one we hiked up the river of the gorge for 11km. As we followed the winding river we had at least 150-metre high cliff faces either side. We had about 18 river crossings with wobbly river stones which made it fun. The valley felt like an oasis with palms and birds galore. Along the way we went into little off-shoot tracks to see aboriginal rock art, an amphitheater, a waterfall and a narrow canyon with filtered sunlight, moss, tree ferns and king ferns – all very cool.
We camped at a spot called ‘big bend’ where the river has carved out a wide semi-circle bend in the cliff side about 150-metre high. As we spoke we often heard our echo bounce off the bend back at us. It was unusual and we never quite got used to hearing most of what we said twice. The next morning I heard a ripper of a burp echo and heard a proud “YESSS!” along with Dave’s laughter – glad to see that some one was still enjoying the novelty of the echo, haha! We did have the camp spot to ourselves, which we were stoked about.
Day two’s challenge was to hike up to a lookout of the entire gorge. The lookout is on a bluff and the hike gained around 700 metres in elevation over 5km. We were advised it could take 3 hours to get to the top, which meant slow going and straight up!
It started with a walk up the amazing Boowinda Gorge, a dry but mossy canyon and we loved this bit – the photos will speak for themselves.
The track turned into an off-shoot canyon that was more like a gully made up of rocks that had collapsed down.
We kept climbing up and up and eventually we were on top of the plateau, looking down into the gorge. We made our way along a ridge line and the views either side were incredible. But still, our bluff was off in the distance.
Up and up we eventually got there and wow – what a view! The hike back down was more challenging than the way up. Quivering quads, sore knees and a few aches by now, but overall it wasn’t bad.
That night we shared the camp spot with a group of 3 whom we got along with really well so we stayed up late (8:30ish) chatting. What? It was chilly so we couldn’t wait to get into the cosy tent!
Day three was our 11km hike back through to the opening of the gorge, which we enjoyed just as much because as you can imagine it looked different on the way back too.
Back from our epic hike – We enjoyed hanging at the communal kitchen at the campground. There was a buzz of activity and socialising at dinner time, plus we got plenty of oz travel tips from the grey nomads. Our biggest challenge was to keep the kookaburras away from our food. After wrapping up dinner and having a read on our kindles we lifted our heads to see the kitchen had emptied out. We started washing up and headed back to the van. I saw some young’uns heading towards the communal kitchen and thought to myself that it was not surprising to see younger ones eating later but they’ve missed all the commotion. We were getting ready for bed and then realised it was 7:15pm! The young’uns were eating at a normal time of 7pm and we were eating and retiring with the oldies!