Exploring the beautiful Outback of Queensland is just about a half day’s drive inland from the coast. Many holiday goers visit Queensland for the beaches and access to the Great Barrier Reef, and leave without realising that you can also experience the Outback and add a big variety into your holiday. Carnarvon Gorge and Carnarvon National Park make an excellent addition to your Queensland vacation. The gorge is less than 600 km northwest of Brisbane and is even closer to other points along the Queensland Coast such as Sunshine Coast, Hervey Bay, and Rockhampton. The closest towns are Injune and Rolleston. The gorge and the beautiful landscaped surrounds are courtesy of Mother Nature and mostly water erosion. The gorge is massive at 30 km long and 600 metres deep; and the views are absolutely breath taking. The National Park status helps protect the scenic beauty, the geological significance, the native flora and fauna, as well as the rich indigenous and colonial cultural heritage of the region.

Walking Track - Carnarvon National Park

Walking Trails in Carnarvon National Park Photo Credit: Takaru.com.au

Carnarvon Gorge

Carnarvon Gorge in Carnarvon National Park Photo Credit: nprsr.qld.gov.au

Carnarvon Creek

Carnarvon Creek Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Hiring a Car to get to Carnarvon National Park

View from Takarakka

View of Carnarvon Gorge from Takarakka Resort Photo Credit: Takaru.com.au

Carnarvon National Park Car Hire Map

Carnarvon National Park Car Hire Map Photo Credit: Budget.com.au

Carnarvon National Park Map

Carnarvon National Park Map Photo Credit: Google Maps

If you are already in Queensland, you can find a convenient car hire location in close proximity to drive to Carnarvon National Park. Choose from any of the following Queensland car hire vacations:

Hire a car in Hervey Bay, Queensland

Hire a vehicle in Sunshine Coast, Queensland

Hire a car in Rockhampton, Queensland

Be sure to tell your car rental agent that you are heading into the Outback so that they can recommend the best vehicle with 4WD capabilities to keep you safe and on track. They can also inform you of any safety guidelines or restrictions for your trip. Be sure to keep a first aid kit, extra drinking water, and have a way to contact friends, family, or the car rental office in case of emergencies.

Things to Do in Carnarvon National Park

Carnarvon Creek - Takarakka

Carnarvon Creek at the Takarakka Resort Photo Credit: Takaru.com.au

Violet Gorge

Violet Gorge Photo Credit: ExploreAustralia.net.au

Carnarvon Gorge - National Park

Carnarvon Gorge Photo Credit: carnarvongorge.com

The Many Walks in Carnarvon National Park

There are many different walks in Carnarvon National Park. The walks are classified based on Australian standards. The most difficult part of the track will result in that ranking so most parts of each walk are likely easier than the class listed. We also listed a few walks in part two under the camping sites of Carnarvon National Park because of their close proximity to camping close to the Carnarvon Gorge Wilderness Lodge. The rest of the walks we are featuring in Carnarvon National Park are listed here:

Rock Pool

Rock Pool - Carnarvon Gorge

Rock Pool Photo Credit: blog.Queensland.com

This is the only place in the gorge where people can swim. Be on the lookout for platypus and turtles. This is considered one of the short walks at 600 metres return trip. Lasts about 1 hour.

Nature Trail: 1.5km return, also a class 3 that takes about 1 hour. Walk alongside the banks of Carnarvon Creek. If you take this walk at dawn, you might see the elusive and shy platypus.

Boolimba Bluff:

Boolimba Bluff

Boolimba Bluff Photo Credit: nprsr.qld.gov.au

This is a class 4 track that is 6.4m return. This is the only lookout track from the gorge, so this is your chance to see views from the top, 200m above Carnarvon Creek. This track also passes through a variety of habitats allowing you to see a great deal of diversity.

Main Gorge Walking Track

Walking in Carnarvon

The Main Walking Track in Carnarvon National Park Photo Credit: nprsr.qld.gov.au

The main gorge walking track crosses Carnarvon Creek several times. It winds through the park and is 9.7 km from e visitor centre to Big Bend.

Amphitheatre

Ampitheater

Amphitheatre Photo Credit: Wikipedia

This is a 60m deep chamber within the walls of the gorge. The Amphitheatre was carved out by running water. The name comes from the bellowing acoustics within the Amphitheatre. This is a class 3 walk that takes about 3 to 4 hours and is an 8.6km return.

Ward’s Canyon

Plan on this trek on the warmest day of your trip because the world’s largest ferns grow here and along with spotted gums and other ancient Gondwanan vegetation provides some cool shade. This class 3 track that takes about 3 – 4 hours and is a 9.2km return.

Cathedral Cave

Aboriginal Art - Carnarvon Gorge

Aboriginal Art Photo Credit: Wikipedia

This natural shelter is a wind-eroded overhang that the Aboriginal people have used for shade and shelter for thousands of years. The rock art here bears witness to the ancient cultural history that is so important to this region. This is a bit longer walking trail that takes about 5 or 6 hours and is a class 4 track. It is an 18.4km return.

Boowinda Gorge

Just about 100 metres upstream from Cathedral Cave is worth the extra trip to see the sculpted gorge.

This is the end of part one of a three part series all about Carnarvon National Park and the surround Outback of Central Queensland. In this blog post, we covered the walking trails that are a highlight of the park. Stay tuned for part two where we will cover some of the best camping and lodging options within Carnarvon National Park and part three in our series will highlight the sections of the ever growing protected land of Carnarvon National Park and some of the nearby national parks that you might want to also visit in an extended stay in