Close to home #11 Isla Gorge National Park
It’s always lovely to go on a long holiday to a far flung destination. There are times, however, when it’s not convenient or cost effective and a staycation closer to home is the way to go. The destinations in this series of posts are all just a few hours’ drive from our home. They’re easy to get to, there’s plenty to see and do and at the end of the holiday we’re home again in no time.
Running the full length of Australia’s east coast for 3,500 km, the Great Dividing Range is the third longest land-based mountain range in the world. Formed more than 300 million years ago, the range was named for its length and width rather than its height; erosion has worn the mountains to the extent that even Mt Kosciusko, Australia’s highest mountain, reaches just 2,228 metres.
The Great Dividing Range is a composite of mountain ranges, plateaus, tablelands and gorges. In the far north, the slopes are clothed in the ancient tropical rainforest of Gondwana, while in the south the alpine region is Australia’s winter playground. More than 50 national parks provide protection for much of the range and make its spectacular scenery and unique flora and fauna easily accessible.
In Central Queensland’s Sandstone Belt, one national park surrounds the rugged cliffs and dense bushland of Isla Gorge. There are no designated walking tracks into the gorge and only experienced hikers armed with navigational aids should make the descent. But it’s not necessary to go so far into the wilderness to see the sandstone cliffs and monoliths eroded by the waters of Gorge Creek.
From the car park a narrow path tracks along the top of the ridge, although even here walkers need to take care.
In some places, the escarpment falls away sharply on either side and elsewhere lichen covered rocky outcrops pile up, creating a steep, natural staircase.
At the end of the ridge a sandstone spur juts out, forming a level platform from which the vastness of the gorge is revealed.
The erosive power of water is evident all through the gorge, from the rounded mountain tops to the jagged pillars of the Devils Nest, standing like sentinels on the horizon. Why bother walking down, when the view from the top is as good as this?
Join Jo for Monday Walks
Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Rounded