Walking through the gorge.
The moss garden.
Relaxing at Oasis Lodge.
Carnarvon Gorge carves its way through a plateau to the heart of the Carnarvon National Park. It's filled with prehistoric sandstone canyons, lush tropical vegetation and abundant wildlife.
With an entrance of almost two kilometres, Carnarvon Gorge carves its way through a plateau to the heart of the Carnarvon National Park. The 300,000 hectares are filled with prehistoric sandstone canyons, lush tropical vegetation and abundant wildlife.
Andrew Watson is a guide and knows every nook and cranny of Carnarvon Gorge, which he says is about 280 million years old, give or take a million or two. Trees, which are about 3000 years old, are considered to be young!
There are 25 kilometres of walking tracks through the Gorge, varying in distance and with something for every fitness level. You constantly cross Carnarvon Creek, which is integral for the survival of flora and fauna.
You will see a lush area of cabbage tree palms, and hidden among them is a 10-metre ladder, leading to an amphitheatre with a deep crevice providing incredible acoustics. The 60-metre soft sandstone walls have been carved by water over millions of years and the resonance is nature at its best.
Something almost guaranteed to turn you into a botanical buff is the Moss Garden, one of the most delicate parts of the park. You are not allowed to touch the plants, but it is enough to just look at the beauty of the green moss carpet. It is in a section of Violet Gorge, a side gorge of the rugged Hellhole Gorge. It has a small waterfall and seeping water keeps everything moist enough to support the mosses and ferns.
Included in the hundreds of plant species are macrozamia palms from the Triassic period and they grow just 30 centimetres every 100 years.
Aborigines used the sap of the native pink hibiscus as a medicine and made fishing lines and nets from its hardy bark. The Balloon Cave, Art Gallery and Cathedral Cave are rock-painting sites, some dating back 3,500 years. Lower walls are covered by bands of hundreds of stencils and paintings of human features and implements.
You will see kookaburras, brushtail possums, pretty-face wallabies, grey kangaroos, antichinus, goannas, echidnas, gliders, geckos, bandicoots and around 180 species of bird life. You may even be lucky enough to see the shyest and most elusive of the Australian marsupials, the platypus. Occasionally they appear at dawn or dusk.
Oasis Lodge is the only serviced accommodation available in the Gorge. It has 30 luxurious timber and canvas safari-style air-conditioned cabins with bathrooms, timber furniture and a veranda. Perfect for watching the local fauna. The cabins blend with the surrounding countryside and there is a free form rock pool for cooling off during the midday heat. It has a library, recreational hut, 5000 star restaurant and cocktail bar.
There is a camping ground at the Gorge's entrance and it is recommended that bookings be made in advance.