The Carnarvon Gorge National Park is nine-and-a-half hour’s drive northwest of Brisbane and it’s totally worth it.
We drove and drove. The roads are paved the whole way. Towards the national park there are cows as big as cars strolling across the bitumen. On the trip, I spied emus and kangaroos. For the most part it was an easy journey in daylight hours. Be mindful of rainfall predictions: flash flooding can happen, and the roads can get cut off during the wet season.
Roma is the perfect midway point on a trip from Brisbane to Carnarvon Gorge. We stayed at the Best Western Bungil Creek Motel – it was a clean, country motel. There was parking at the front door and there’s a pool. In the evening we walked from our hotel to Royal on 99 for dinner. The restaurant has vaulted glass ceilings and lots of beef on the menu. The next day, we stocked up on supplies at Roma Woolworths.
I had booked Takarakka Bush Resort as it’s right next to the National Park. We stayed in a cabin that sleeps four with a double bed and a bunk bed. There was a small bar fridge and a pedestal fan. Adjacent to the cabin was a shower and toilet connected by timber decking. There are shared kitchen facilities for the campground.
The campground has a small store selling essential supplies, but you should probably bring everything you need from Roma.
THE NATIONAL PARK
The park offers a walking loop where you can branch off and explore places of interest along the way: the Moss Garden, the Amphitheatre, the Art Gallery Walk and the Cathedral.
Before embarking on the trip, there are signs to remind visitors to have at least two litres of water per person. Of course, wear a sunhat, sun protection and quality walking shoes. There is no mobile phone coverage in the area.
Much of the track into the gorge involves crossing clear, cool streams with rocks as stepping stones. Each river crossing has a number on a wooden marker so you can keep note of how far you have travelled.
We skipped the Moss Garden because we wanted to get deep into the National Park. The Amphitheatre is an amazing space to explore: a towering curved canyon that can be accessed by metal stairs.
The highlight of Carnarvon Gorge is the Aboriginal art on the sheltered rock walls found in the Art Gallery and the Cathedral. I had only ever seen Aboriginal art in tourism brochures and online, never in real life. The set up in the national park is superb: there is a timber walkway with plaques explaining the symbolism and history of the Bidjara, Ghungal and Karingbal people. There is so much on the canyon walls to see: handprints, boomerangs and animal prints. It really was a highlight of our trip.
MILES HISTORICAL VILLAGE
On the way back to Brisbane we stopped off at Miles Historical Village Museum. I’d been wanting to visit this folk museum for some time. There are 34 buildings on the site – everything from a post office, bakery, hospital, police station and lockup, to workers huts. There are so many objects in the museum and spaces to explore.
I like a long-form, narrative podcast for a car journey. We listened to Winds of Change about how the CIA may or may not have written German rock band, the Scorpions end of Cold War anthem.