The Lower Gorge
The quintessential Carnarvon Gorge experience.
If you only have one day, make these four stunning sites your priority. Best done as a 14 km full day walk, it cannot be beaten for diversity.
The Gorge Mouth
Got another day? Tackle these next.
Lookouts, slot canyons, swimming holes, and platypus pools make the Gorge Mouth your next priority.
The Zone Approach
The Upper Gorge
How's the serenity?
You'll cover greater distance to get to the Upper Gorge, but you'll encounter fewer people along the way and clustered at the end of the Main Track are three classic Carnarvon sites.
As suggested above, when planning your walks it can be helpful to slice the tracks system up into zones...
The Gorge Mouth; includes Baloon Cave, Mickeys Ck, the Rockpool, the Nature Trail and Boolimba Bluff. Around 10 km walking all up.
The Lower Gorge; includes the Art Gallery, Wards Canyon, the Amphitheatre and the Moss Garden. Around 14 km round trip.
The Upper Gorge; includes Big Bend, Boowinda Gorge and Cathedral Cave. Around 22 km round trip.
Remote Walks; includes the Devil's Signpost, The Ranch and Battleship Spur.
The zonal approach to walking in Carnarvon Gorge.
The fine print...
When building itineraries, there are a few tips that can make a big difference to your experience.
Stay a reasonable length of time. We recommend a minimum of three days to see all the Gorge has to offer on the main tracks, and four or more days if you wish to take a rest day from walking.
Start your walks as early as you can. This will get you on the track when your chances of wildlife encounters are at their best.
On the Main Track, walk out as far as you are going to go first and visit sites on the way home. This will have you doing the biggest chunk of exercise in the morning when it is coolest and your energy levels are high, and it will then break up the return trip into smaller legs. Visiting the other sites on the way home will place you in the cooler parts of the Gorge during the warmest part of the day, keeping you comfortable and hopefully reducing your water needs. If you do run out of puff and call it quits early, you will then have the shortest walk back to pick up the sites you left out.
Catch up with Australian Nature Guides' Park Presentation early in your stay.Then you will have loads of insight into what you see on your walks, adding another dimension to your Carnarvon Gorge experience.
One Day Stay for Sane People.
With only one day in the Gorge, we recommend following the itinerary we use for our Lower Gorge Explorer tour. Visit the Art Gallery, Wards Canyon, the Amphitheatre, and the Moss Gardens. The round trip is about 14 km and takes in the greatest diversity of experiences possible in that distance. It is mostly flat walking with 10 creek crossings and is well within the capabilities of most visitors to the Gorge.
One Day Stay for Masochists.
If you love your walking and only have one day, get up early in the morning and hike up to Boolimba Bluff before tackling the itinerary outlined in the previous paragraph. This will add a great view over the Gorge to the rest of the experiences, as well as an extra 7.2 kilometres and 930 stairs to the walk's statistics.
Two Day Stay for Sane People.
Tackle the One Day Stay for Sane People and then on the other day visit the sites in the Gorge Mouth; Boolimba Bluff in the morning, and Mickey Creek, Warrumbah Gorge, the Nature Trail, the Rockpool and Baloon Cave. It doesn't matter which itinerary you do on which day, but be aware that each day has over 10 kilometres of walking.
Two Day Stay for Masochists.
Hit all the sites in the Upper and Lower Gorge on one day; Big Bend, Boowinda Gorge, Cathedral Cave, the Art Gallery, Wards Canyon, the Amphitheatre, and the Moss Garden. Leave early and return late in the afternoon to allow time to enjoy the surroundings. Pack a torch in case sunset catches you with a few kilometres of track left, and remember the itinerary will deliver around 25km, depending on how far you walk up Boowinda Gorge. On the other day, hit the sites in the Gorge Mouth with the possible addition of a walk to the Moss Garden for lunch. Visiting a site twice might seem like a waste of time, but because of the way light works in the side gorges, if you visit the site at lunchtime it will have a dramatically different character to that of the late afternoon.
Three Day Stay for Sane People.
This itinerary is obvious; visit the sites in a different zone (Gorge Mouth, Lower Gorge, and Upper Gorge) on each day. Again, don't underestimate the distances (10+, 14, and 21+ kilometres respectively.
Three Day Stay for Masochists.
Follow the two day recommendations and then think about taking on one of the remote walks to either Battleship Spur or the Devil's Signpost. If you do plan to walk either of these tracks, you must contact the Rangers to fill in a remote bushwalking form and to get current advice on the condition of the tracks.
Four Day Stay (or More).
If you've been smart enough to deal yourself more than three days in the Gorge, then you'll be able to plan your stay using the above info and slot in some time to relax and let the legs recuperate.