01 Aug Carnarvon Gorge National Park
It wasn’t the best day as we headed into Carnarvon with Yas perhaps not realising it was completely off-the-grid plus there was a little miscommunication surrounding where we’d be stopping on the 400km journey out there from Gladstone and for how long, etc. All that aside the drive in was spectacular with the greenest pasture lands we’ve seen stretching out across the to flat landscape to the horizon where big rock formations pushed up out of the earth almost vertically. The final 12kms of dirt wasn’t awesome with the van contents being thrown around a bit, but we survived.
There weren’t any powered spaces left at Takarakka so we ended up on an unpowered site. Talk about tight. We orientated ourselves along the left border of our site and there was scarcely a few feet between ourselves and our neighbours, by far the worst setup we’d seen in 6 months on the road. Thankfully they were leaving in the morning and so we didn’t bother looking for somewhere else. In hindsight given we were on an unpowered site, we should have considered the bush camp a few kms up the road. Apart from being right on the walking tracks, it would have been considerably cheaper. It was $50 per night here for unpowered, which to be honest is a joke, compared to half that in the bush camp. With $1 showers available, it was a far better option. Anyway
The next day we were supposed to hit the park in earnest, however the girls were a little tired, so I decided to do the walks alone leaving the girls to have some quality time with mum. After prepping with some lunch, light snacks and survival gear, I headed out on foot to explore the region.
I decided to walk up to the main trailheads and took a path that hadn’t been walked regularly in a while. It basically followed the creek upstream until it met up with the gazetted tracks further along. It wasn’t exactly hard going, but it needed more attention than if it were just a typical forestry or national park pathway. It was approx. 3km until I met up with the Rock Pool path from the wilderness lodge.
Once at the Rock Pool I found that I to meet the next path I had to cross the stream itself in thigh deep water. Normally not an issue, but the water in this stream was surprisingly cold given the ambient temp was in the 20s by this stage. It must have been among the coldest I’d experience because before I was halfway across the 30m crossing, my feet started to experience a mild pain and I was forced to rush the remainder due to this feeling. Once across I found a magical spot called the Rock Pool. It would have been 10ft deep at it’s peak I expect, but I wouldn’t find out on this trip based on my knee high experience a few minutes earlier.
Beyond the Rock Pool lay a few more tracks to get to the main track head, perhaps 3km in total. At this stage I thought it wise to turn back and made my way back toward camp to catch up with the family. While a solo walk is nice to clear the head, it’s way more fun to walk with others, especially your wife and kids.
Carnarvon saved the best for last and with Monday being our last day now, we decided to find us a gorge. We weren’t disappointed as we decided to check out the Mickey’s Creek and Warthumba Creek gorges that day. Both an easy walk from the trial head (2km tops) Mickey was alright, but Warthumba was really special, so much so that the girls claimed it as the highlight walk of their trip so far (pretty special given we’d been up Cradle Mountain and Koscuisko earlier on). While I’m not sure if it was the highlight there was something magical about walking along the bottom of a 100ft deep fissure in the earth that probably took Mother Nature a few hundred thousand years to create.
After giving the girls a few hours of playtime at the Rock Pool I visited the day before, the end had come with a need to leg it to Emerald to get Yas back into connectivity in time for the looming workday on Tuesday.
NB: See the full photo gallery here