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Cania Gorge serves up real Qld 'bush' caravanning experience

July 15, 2006
Cania Gorge serves up  real Qld 'bush' caravanning experience

By Fred and Carole Jobson
(Who visited with their new Jayco Outback Expanda and Jackaroo turbo diesel)

Easy access, interesting country, excellent caravan parks, Lake Cania for fishing, lots of hikes and activities and spectacular and diverse scenery , birds and animals. We loved Cania Gorge and will be going back.

Cania Gorge National Park offers 3000 hectares of spectacular sandstone cliffs, ecological diversity with dry eucalypt and rainforest, moist sheltered fern grottos, and sculptured sandstone cliffs and rock formations.

Aboriginal people have lived in Cania Gorge for at least 19,000 years. Freehand art on the sandstone walls is a reminder of their special way of life.

Cania Gorge National Park is about 225km west of Bundaberg, and is reached via Cania Road which branches off the Burnett Highway 12km north of Monto (or 77km south of Biloela). Travel through Moonford for another 8km to the main picnic area.

Camping is not permitted in Cania Gorge National Park, but there are caravan and camping parks nearby in the gorge.

There are many interesting animals such as miniature kangaroos called bettongs, painted face rock wallabies and over 100 species of birds and lots of great walks and views.

The hikes and walks range from flat and easy to challenging and they are interesting, scenic, well maintained and close handy to the camping grounds. There appears to be no problems with theft from parked vehicles when visitors leave them to go hiking.

The Environmental Protection Agency and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service say: Choose from seven graded walking tracks to explore Cania Gorge National Park. If you intend to bushwalk away from the trails below, obtain a topographic map and ask for advice before setting off. Ensure you carry adequate drinking water.

Lorikeets enjoy a  handout at Cania
Lorikeets enjoy a handout at Cania

Allow 1520 minutes to walk one kilometre. This time is calculated for people of average fitness and bushwalking experience who are wearing correct footwear. If walking with young children or are an inexperienced bushwalker, allow more time to include rests and to return to your starting point.

For the 4WD enthusiast, Monto Shire offers discovery and adventure. There are several 4WD trips recommended that will satisfy the most adventurous driver.

Lake Cania was opened on September 17, 1983 and is situated on the Three Moon Creek 5 kms from Cania Gorge Caravan and Tourist Park.

The old gold mining township of Cania is submerged under the lake. Headstones from the cemetery have been relocated on the lookout. Lake Cania holds 88,500 megalitres, and has never been any more than 76 per cent capacity. The lake supplies water for Monto and irrigation for farms along the Three Moon Creek as far as its junction with the Burnett River.

Lake Cania is a very big attraction for tourists. It is one of the top four stocked dams in Qld with excellent fishing for bass, saratoga, silver perch and yellowbelly. Fishing access is easy whether it involves boats, guides or just fishing from the bank. There are also really good picnic, toilet facilities and scenic walks. It is well worth a visit and a fish. An impoundment licence is required which is available at the lake or in the Caravan Park.

A cute beetong, Cania National Park
A cute beetong, Cania National Park

The Cania Gorge National Park is beautiful and interesting with lots of green gullies and wet fern and palm crevices and caves.

The entry road to Cania Gorge from both south and east is excellent, suitable for caravans (although there are some steep sections) and sealed all the way...

The nearest town is Malto which is 25 km south. It is a nice little rural town with adequate although limited shopping and the people are friendly. Fuel, all supplies, pub, club, are all available.

Where to stay:

Cania Gorge Caravan and Tourist Park - BIG 4 Park.

Canias Kookaburras raise a smile
Cania's Kookaburras raise a smile

This is a large park with very spacious sites that make you feel almost like you are bush camping. The stars at night are spectacular.

The park is located a few km away from most walks, but closer to Cania Dam which is full of fish and worth a visit for the views.

Fire rings and fire drums are available after visitors sign a responsibility waiver and you can either buy firewood or use your own.

There is a really nice atmosphere with everyone sharing drinks and talking around the camp fires at night.

This is one of the few parks left that encourage and allow camp fires they are organized safely and well.

Some sites have concrete annex pads, but most are simply well grassed sites amongst trees. They are very spacious sites and we would recommend them.

Carole feeds feathered Cania caller
Carole feeds feathered Cania caller

The water is excellent to drink and there was no problem with power supplies during our stay. The two amenity blocks were very good with plenty of hot water excellently maintained, shower curtains in the cubicles, and they are regularly cleaned and serviced.

There is a good camp kitchen and laundry and barbecues are free, plentiful and regularly cleaned. Roads and paths are a mixture of made and unmade but all were in good condition and not at all muddy or dirty.

There is TV reception as the caravan park has its own satellite dish for reception and broadcasts the system the reception is not bad and adverts from Alice Springs enhance the feeling that you are off the beaten track. We could not get mobile phone reception but there are public phones and internet at the reception/ kiosk.

There is a swimming pool and extensive works were being undertaken to improve the landscaping around the pool area. This will be an asset to the caravan park when finished.

Deep shade and lush greenery, Cania cave
Deep shade and lush greenery, Cania cave

The park offers good activities with a daily bird feeding in the afternoon at 5 pm. It is well organized and enjoyed by everyone. The birds are beautiful. Kookaburras, parrots and lorikeets were completely unafraid and sat on everyones arm and head. The overseas visitors and kids in particular were enthralled.

After the bird feeding, really cute Bettongs, one of the smallest marsupials and really like a mini kangaroo come around and are not at all afraid. We looked forward to seeing these Bettongs and the first night one jumped right under our awning to say hello.

Wine tasting, tennis courts, bike hire, kayaks morning tea a big jumping pillow for the kids, outdoor movies are all worthwhile features offered by this excellent park.

Outdoor movies are regularly offered and great fun but take warm clothes during winter as it can get very cold in the clear nights

The kiosk/reception has fuel, a good range of supplies and tourist items, fishing equipment, canoe and boat hire and friendly, helpful staff.

Carole Jobson kicks  back in a Cania Gorge sandstone cave
Carole Jobson kicks back in a Cania Gorge sandstone cave

This is a well run, clean and well organized 4 star caravan park that deserves its rating.

Carole and I were impressed, and we will return.

Cania Gorge Tourist Retreat is a Top Tourist Park Member.

This park is also 4 star and also is well maintained and looks neat and tidy in a beautiful surround.

It is situated very close to most walking hikes and this is convenient as you can walk to the start of the walks but it is further away from Cania Dam and some other tourist attractions like the old Goldfields.

The historic Monal Goldfields with abandoned machinery, township and cemetery are reminders of a bygone era - a testament to the original settlers who dared to settle in this inhospitable range country.

Fred takes in a Cania National Park grass tree
Fred takes in a Cania National Park grass tree

The caravan park amenities were good and the park is well maintained and very picturesque, nestled in a beautiful gorge of its own and bordered by a creek.

There is a communal fire at night and a very well featured swimming pool. There are some attractive camping sites along the bordering creek and a cabin complex that would appear really suitable for groups as well as individual bookings.

The caravan sites themselves were located in a separate area and we thought that they were a bit limitedfor spacewhen compared to the other park which was exceptional in this regard.

Grass trees add to the bush mystery of this Cania scene
Grass trees add to the bush mystery of this Cania scene

The Cania Gorge Tourist Retreat caravanning area is like a more conventional van park situation rather than a bush caravanning experience.

The Kiosk/reception has friendly staff and plenty of supplies as well as phone and internet access. Basically both parks are good and I would be happy staying at either; however the Cania Gorge Caravan Park offers more of a tourist experience.

Easy access, interesting country, excellent caravan parks, Cania Dam for fishing, lots of hikes and activities and spectacular and diverse scenery , birds and animals. We loved Cania Gorge and will be going back.

Editor's note - The owners of Cania Gorge Tourist Retreat Gerard and Margaret Klijn told GoSeeAustralia - Our park is indeed less luxury but with the bush poet, sausage and sizzles, walking tracks, bird watching, eco friendly park (no chemicals on the park!!)

We think we are the bush experience people are looking for. The sites are 7mx11m and are rated by the RACQ as BIG. That was part of the reason we are also 4 star rated. Please stay next time at our park and experience the peace and tranquility !!!

Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service says -

  • Bring a fuel or gas stove for cooking and test it before you leave home. Fires are not permitted in the park.
  • Boil or use chemical tablets to treat water before drinking creek water.
  • Be aware that medical help may be hours away in the event of an accident. Carry a well-equipped first aid kit.
  • Reduce packaging before you leave home. Bring heavy-duty bags or containers to store your rubbish. No bins are provided in the park take your rubbish with you when you leave.
  • Pack insect repellent, sunscreen and protective clothing (including hats and shoes) to avoid bites, stings and sunburn.
  • Bring your camera and binoculars for viewing wildlife. A torch, preferably with a red filter to protect animals' eyes, is useful for spotlighting at night.
  • Cania Gorge National Park is open 24 hours a day. For your safety, walk in daylight hours only.
  • Domestic animals are not permitted in Cania Gorge National Park.
  • Cania Gorge has a hot, dry climate. The summers can be very hot, up to 42 degrees Celsius, while evenings can be a cool 11 degrees Celsius. Winters are dry and pleasantly warm, up to 30 degree Celsius in the daytime after very cold nights, as low as 3 degrees Celsius. Frosts are not uncommon in winter.
  • Weather forecasts are available from the Bureau of Meteorology.

To enjoy a safe visit to this area, please:

  • Be prepared, even on short walks, and judge your ability and conditions carefully before setting out. Do not expect to be warned of every possible danger.
  • Choose walks that suit the capabilities of your entire group.
  • Stay together and keep to the walking tracks.
  • Take care near cliff edges they can be deceptive and are often closer than you think. Please keep away from the edge and supervise children at all times. Take extra care when using binoculars or cameras at these sites!
  • Leave a copy of your bushwalking plans with a friend, relative or other reliable person. This person has responsibility for contacting police if you are overdue. Remember that a search and rescue is costly, endangers people's lives and can damage the environment.
  • Walk with one or more friends. At least one member of each party should be a competent map-reader and bushwalker.
  • Do not feed or leave food for animals human food can harm wildlife and cause some animals to become aggressive. Keep your food packed away when your campsite is not attended.

In an emergency:

  • call 000 or if you have difficulty connecting to 000 from your mobile phone, try 112;
  • advise the location and nature of the emergency;
  • stay on the phone until you are told to hang up.
  • the nearest hospitals are at Monto.
  • mobile phone coverage is not reliable in Cania Gorge National Park. For more information, please read the guidelines on safety in parks and forests

Editor's Note also see:

Lake Cania Bass taken on plastic lure are  great fighters
Lake Cania Bass taken on plastic lure are great fighters
The glowing  red of a Cania king parrot
The glowing red of a Cania king parrot
The sweeping view from the Cania escarpment
The sweeping view from the Cania escarpment