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 lead to the scenic wonders of the gorge. The walk to Boolimba Bluff begins one kilometre from the Visitor Centre.
At just 2.2 kilometres the Boolimba Bluff walk sounds easy, but don’t let the distance fool you. Most of the track goes uphill and there are 960 steps and several ladders to negotiate, which is not surprising when you are heading to the top of these sandstone cliffs.
The first set of steps is just a few metres from the start of the track. From there a wide sandy path leads on through the bush, going ever upwards to more stony staircases.
Before reaching the top of the ridge, the path climbs into Wagaroo Gorge, the widest side gorge in the park. This is the steepest part of the walk, with 300 steps and several ladders over just 300 metres. There’s no need to rush. Take your time in the remnant rainforest, protected from the heat of the day by the overhanging cliffs.
Stop for a while to admire the beautiful formations in the sandstone, carved out by wind and water over thousands of years.
You’ve come a long way up Wagaroo Gorge – you’re nearly at the top.
Reaching the final step is cause for celebration…
until you realise there’s another 750 metres of track to walk across the top of the ridge to the lookout. At least the path is level, and there are encouraging glimpses of what’s ahead.
Finally the lookout comes into sight. There’s a bench for weary walkers, but the spectacular view means you probably won’t sit for long. The bluff faces towards the mouth of the gorge and is 200 metres above the Visitor Centre from where the walk started.
At this point the gorge is 600 metres wide. The sandstone walls of the gorge are at least 200 million years old but the darker basalt layer on top was formed by volcanic lava flows just 30 million years ago.
These divots on the bluff are almost as ancient as the sandstone below. They are actually puddles formed by slow moving water 180 million years ago, when this area was part of a flood plain. Upheaval 80 million years later forced the land upwards and erosion of the sedimentary rock revealed these prehistoric potholes.
It’s been worth the effort to walk all the way to Boolimba Bluff. Now you’ve taken in the views and caught your breath it’s time to retrace your steps. Just be careful on the way back down.
Joining Jo for Monday Walks