Saturday, October 27, 2007

Carnarvon Gorge

Rock paintings

Panorama from Boolimba Bluff

Boots made for walking

Carnarvon Gorge lies about five and a half hours drive south of here. It's one of Australia's great landscapes, a tropical rainforest nestling between towering sandstone cliffs. Actually, Carnarvon is a gorge within a gorge, as the sandstone ravine lies within a larger basalt canyon. The higher basalt cliffs can't be seen from within the gorge, but as you climb up Boolimba Bluff the full scale of the landscape is revealed.

The sandstone is Triassic (I think, I haven't seen a geological map of the area yet), and the basalt cap is tertiary. The sandstone is porous and collects rainwater. It percolates downward until it meets an impermeable shale, and then drains out into the gorge. The constant flow ensures the Carnarvon Stream is always running, so it's a lush tropical refuge 500km from the sea.

I camped at Takkaraka Lodge. Two beautiful moonlit nights under a tent fly, and one thunderstormy night well zipped up! I did all the walks except Battleship Spur, which was closed. Still managed about 40km - quite enough for three days, thanks!


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