Tag Archive | #closetohome

Where There is Water

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 the Moss Garden begins 2.8 kilometres from the Visitor Centre.

Its location in central Queensland means Carnarvon Gorge is surrounded by a landscape often severely affected by drought. Inside the gorge, where water is abundant, it’s a different matter. And where there is water there is life, especially in the Moss Garden.

Hidden away in the depths of Violet Gorge, the Moss Garden is reached by a 650 metre walking track off the main track.

Like all the walks in Carnarvon Gorge, there are creek crossings and steps to negotiate. The bright green foliage of fan palms and tree ferns spreads out on either side of the track – it’s noticeably cooler in the shade.

Further into the gorge the open forest is replaced by remnant rainforest. Lianas loop from tree to tree and the roots of strangler figs take hold wherever they can. 

The track rises steeply away from the creek and the gorge narrows until the sandstone walls on either side almost touch. 

A boardwalk replaces the sandy path for the last few metres. Even though the sound of running water is ever present in most of the park, here it dominates. Water tumbles over a small waterfall, filling a round pool before flowing away down the creek. More water drips constantly from the sandstone walls of the canyon. It comes from a natural spring high above and filters through the sandstone. 

The permanent supply of slowly filtered water supports a micro climate of mosses and ferns which cover the stone like a thick green carpet. 

Dozens of dragonflies add jewel colours to the green of the Moss Garden. They skim across the surface of the waterhole and up over the mossy rocks, stopping for just a few seconds before taking off again. 

Where there is water, there’s always life. 

Joining Jo for Monday Walks

Don’t Count, Just Go Up!

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

Getting Back to Nature

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.

Joining Jude for Life in Colour – Yellow and  Jo for Monday Walks

Down by the Water

Camping at Carnarvon Gorge, October 2020 ~ The Rock Pool

Carnarvon Creek is the lifeblood of the spectacular gorge it helped to create over the last 200 million years. Flowing north east through the gorge for more than 30 kilometres, the creek has only ever completely dried up twice in recorded history. Even in the most severe of droughts, a lush oasis flourishes inside the gorge.

The Rock Pool, located just inside the mouth of the gorge, is one of the most beautiful sections of the creek. Massive boulders slope steeply up from the water. Shaded by Carnarvon fan palms and stands of she-oaks, it is crystal clear.

Even here at the beginning of the gorge, white sandstone cliffs tower high above the bushland.

The walk to the Rock Pool is the shortest and easiest of all the walks in Carnarvon Gorge. A leisurely 300 metre stroll from the car park leads to not one but two deep pools of cool water.

Where the creek is narrow the water flows fast. Two sets of stepping stones cross the creek but it’s also shallow enough to wade over.

Further on where the creek widens the water is deeper and moves more slowly. The pools are the only places within the national park where swimming is allowed, but no one is tempted the day we’re there.

It seems a shame to disturb perfection.

Joining Jo for Monday Walks

An All Australian Line Up

SquareUp Photo Challenge: Camping at Carnarvon Gorge, October 2020 #31

With at least 210 different types of birds and 54 species of native mammals living within the national park, sightings of Australia’s unique animals at Carnarvon Gorge are guaranteed. We’ve seen some, like the eastern grey kangaroos, swamp wallabies, cockatoos and kookaburras many times before but seeing them again is always a joy.

eastern grey kangaroo

swamp wallaby

sulphur crested cockatoo

kookaburra

But sightings of echidnas and platypuses in the wild are rare and we’d only ever seen either once before outside of a zoo or wildlife park. Imagine our excitement when this echidna came strolling right by our camp sight. It was intent on searching for food and wasn’t at all bothered by our presence.

echidna

Several platypuses live in the section of Carnarvon Creek which flows through the Takarakka campground. A viewing platform set well back from the creek allows campers to watch from a distance as the platypuses emerge from their burrows at dawn and dusk. The fading light of early evening meant our photos didn’t turn out well, but the experience of watching these elusive little creatures in their native habitat was a highlight of our week at the gorge.

platypus

In January I’m joining in with Becky’s Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word up. Look for #SquareUp

Upstairs

SquareUp Photo Challenge: Camping at Carnarvon Gorge, October 2020 #30

A Loo With a View ~ The Carnarvon Gorge Edition 

At Carnarvon Gorge the walking track

goes on and on and on.

Through the forest and over the creek,

it’s very, very long!

(10 kilometres one way 😬)

There’s a loo at the beginning

And a loo right at the end.

But in between there’s only one,

With steps you must ascend.

(designed to house the composting mechanism underneath but I like to think it also keeps animals out 🙄🤞)

If you visit Carnarvon Gorge

And spot this loo beside the track,

Don’t be like me and walk right past.

You might end up running back!

(based on a true story 😀 )

In January I’m joining in with Becky’s Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word up. Look for #SquareUp

More loos with beautiful views!

The original Loo With a View

Loos with views in Western Australia

The highest loo view in Australia

Loos with views around Australia

Loos with views – The Cruise Edition

Loos with views – The Hawaiian Edition

Loos with views – The English Edition

Loos with views – The Canadian Edition

Loos with views – The Kevtoberfest Edition

Loos with views – The Western Queensland Edition

or just search #looswithviews

Ganging Up

SquareUp Photo Challenge: Camping at Carnarvon Gorge, October 2020 #29

Dozens of tiny red-browed finches call the bush around Carnarvon Creek home. They move at lightning speed, landing for a few seconds on the creek bank before flitting away again. They may be small, but when they gather in a flock you can hear them before you see them.

In January I’m joining in with Becky’s Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word up. Look for #SquareUp

Resting Up

SquareUp Photo Challenge: Camping at Carnarvon Gorge, October 2020 #28

Butterflies rest for a just few seconds before taking off again.

Clearwing Swallowtail

Euploea climena

Common Brown

In January I’m joining in with Becky’s Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word up. Look for #SquareUp

Close Up

SquareUp Photo Challenge: Camping at Carnarvon Gorge, October 2020 #27

The hairy fruit of a sandpaper fig may not look tempting but once the skin is removed, the flesh inside is very sweet.

In January I’m joining in with Becky’s Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word up. Look for #SquareUp

Own Up!

SquareUp Photo Challenge: Camping at Carnarvon Gorge, October 2020 #26

In the words of that well-known Sesame Street song, one of these things is not like the others and it definitely doesn’t belong. Two of these pretty flowering plants are Australian natives while one is native to south eastern Africa.

Can you guess which one is not like the others?

Pimelea aka Queen of the Bush

Balloon Cotton Bush

Smooth Darling Pea

The balloon cotton bush is the unwelcome intruder. Originally imported as an ornamental garden plant, it quickly spread into bushland areas and is now regarded as an environmental weed.

In January I’m joining in with Becky’s Square Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules are simple: most photos must be square and fit the theme word up. Look for #SquareUp