Camping at Carnarvon Gorge, October 2020
The main track at Carnarvon Gorge is 9.7 kilometres one way. With several sets of steps, many creek crossings and some gradual inclines, the track is classed as Grade 3/4 and is suitable for bushwalkers with some experience. Nine side tracks off the main track begin at various distances along the main track. The Nature Trail is the first side track and starts just past the Visitor Centre.
When a walking track is called The Nature Trail, we would expect to see plenty of natural wonders. The trail at Carnarvon Gorge delivers all that and more!
The level track winds through open eucalypt forest beside the creek for 1.5 kilometres, beginning and ending at the main track.
The path crosses Carnarvon Creek in two places, with large flat stepping stones linking each bank.
The towering walls of sandstone on either side of the gorge create a magnificent backdrop for the creek and the bushland.
In some sections the bush gives way to stands of bushfire blackened Carnarvon fan palms. Primitive cycads, little changed in appearance since the time when dinosaurs grazed on them, grow beside the track. Both plants are endemic to this central Queensland region.
Delicate wildflowers bring splashes of colour to the bush.
An eastern snake-necked tortoise enjoys the sun on a rock in the middle of the creek
and a pretty-faced wallaby, used to human visitors, watches with fearless curiosity.
Bird calls fill the forest and, although they can be heard, the small birds stay hidden. Larger birds are easier to spot in the trees or close to the water.
While the little birds are shy, the insects are not. Several types of butterfly move from one plant to the next, taking time to rest at each one. Around the creek, dragonflies dart like tiny jet planes, never resting for longer than a few seconds.
Part way along the track, movement in amongst the fan palms catches our attention. Hundreds of Euploea climena butterflies flutter around the trees. Dozens more are clustered on the underside of the palm fronds – only moving when a gust of wind shakes them loose.
It’s a display only nature could put on.