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Bush peace makes Carnarvon a real back to nature getaway

July 27, 2006
Bush peace makes Carnarvon a real back to nature getaway

Carnarvon National Park offers some of Australias best walks and hikes along excellent signposted tracks which lead to spectacular rock formations, sandstone cliffs and rare giant ferns and plants related to a period which was 300 million years ago.

At the heart of the 302,000 hectare Carnarvon National Park, Carnarvon Gorge runs for 35km and reaches depths of 600m near its mouth.

A crystal clear river runs through bridged by many stepping stones crossings.

The walking tracks are well maintained and are mainly flat which makes them suitable for all ages and fitness levels. Visitors should plan to stay about four nights.

Carnarvon Gorge contains some of Australias finest example of Aborigine art on easily accessible sites inhabited by Aboriginal tribes up to 3200 years ago.

Rock engravings, ochre stencils and freehand paintings at Cathedral Cave, Baloon Cave and the Art Gallery include some of the best rock art in Australia.

There are plenty of challenging treks for more adventurous visitors, but most people would find highly suitable, interesting and scenic options without taking on extreme challenges.

The local platypus colony is an attraction which draws many visitors to the Takarakka Bush Resort. People who love wildlife and the bush peace of the place sit quietly and try to spot the platypus at the Platypus Pool.

Takarakka is now part of theTakaru National Holiday Park Group and in response to the needs of the many people who come to Carnarvon Gorge to see platypus Takarakka Bush Resort is building a viewing platform to give platypus fans a ringside view. Some locals say platypuses are seen more regularly in Carnarvon Creek at Takarakka than along the Nature Trail in the National Park.

Takarakka Assistant Manager Helen Singleton told GoSeeAustralia - I love the peace and beauty of this place, particularly after rain when everything green is washed clean and just shines.

A spotted gum reaches for the sky. The mighty trees are part of the landscape at Cania and Carnarvon National Parks
A spotted gum reaches for the sky. The mighty trees are part of the landscape at Cania and Carnarvon National Parks

Takarakka is Helens first experience in a bush park environment and she says it a huge contrast for someone who comes from the bustling Gold Coast.

She works with Vicki and Bill Williams the managers of remote Takarakka in a self-sustained environment which includes electricity backed up by a generator and the park running its own water system. Reflecting the additional costs of keeping this remote park serviced powered sites are $30 a night

The Takarakka amenities link to a true eco system with practical limitations. Dumping waste from caravan chemi toilets and RV grey and black water tanks is not an option for visitors. The constraints include the resorts proximity to the river and Carnarvon National Park and the need for ecologic responsibility in a remote location (210km from Roma).

Helen says most people stay three nights and use the amenities blocks. They often extend their stay to six to seven nights. GoSeeAustalia believes Recreational Vehicles with grey and black water tanks would be alright on a three nights time scale, but they must manage their waste tanks and take out with them what they put in.

Carnarvon Chasm
Carnarvon Chasm

Takarakka efforts to shield the bush environment extends to the resort handing out tokens for the washing machines and using eco friendly washing products to protect the sewage system from damaging indigestion.

People return to Takarakka because of the authentic Bush aspects, including the obvious rough edges which go with access to and the experience of this kind of natural camping.

The peace, beauty and remoteness are valued by the regulars who are happy to be out of range of mobile phone calls when they kick back in the bush.

TV is not a high priority either. The amazing walks are the attraction. Visitors tread the tracks during the day, Helen says and then crash into bed at night.

The resort provides wood for campfires and gets things going about 4.30pm each day, weather and fire restriction periods permitting. Camp ovens are popular and for real bush cooks resort staff start the fire early so there are hot coals at the ready in the evening.

Carnarvon Gorge rock and foliage
Carnarvon Gorge rock and foliage

With about 170 bird species and numerous animals including relaxed rock wallabies and kangaroos, there is plenty to see and enjoy.

Carnarvon Gorge National Park is a comfortable nine hours drive from Brisbane and three hours (about 210km) from Roma or Emerald.

Fuel is not available at Carnarvon Gorge so fill up at Injune before going on to the Gorge.

About 17km of unmade road provide access the Gorge and caravan park and this can be dusty and corrugated.

After rain the road can be slippery, and muddy although quite passable if care is taken.

It pays to watch the weather as high creek levels can limit access to Carnarvon after really heavy rain.

Takarakka Bush Resort borders the Carnarvon Gorge section of Carnarvon National Park. It is about 600km NW of Brisbane and 300km SW of Rockhampton at around the same latitude as the northern point of Fraser Island.

Road access from the Queensland state capital involves a 9-10 hour 750 km trip via Roma and Injune. Coming from further north, access is via Rolleston.

Carnarvon Gorge rock and palms
Carnarvon Gorge rock and palms

The Carnarvon Developmental Road between Injune and Rolleston is fully sealed but the last17 km of the 44km from the Carnarvon Gorge turn off is unsealed. The access is suitable for 2WD and 4WD vehicles. All of the creek crossings have sealed causeways. Local conditions should be checked before starting a trip to Carnarvon especially if there has been rain in the area.

Although Takarakka Bush Resort has only recently changed hands the current managers have already made improvements to the parks sites and facilities.

Takarakka is the only caravan park at the Carnarvon Gorge and it offers a natural bush camping experience while visitors access the attractions of the Carnarvon National Park.

The toilets and showers are large and the camp kitchen is adequate.

This is real bush camping and there is no TV or mobile phone reception. Most caravanners have problems with radio reception. The kiosk offers pay phone service.

Electricity supply is a combination of regular supply and a generator when demand is high. This, by its nature, can cause power spikes when it switches between supplies so a spike protection plug should be used by all caravans, RV's and campers to prevent damage to electrical equipment.

Carnarvon landscape
Carnarvon landscape

The shop/kiosk opens between 7.30am to 6 pm and offers most supplies as well as souvenirs and convenience goods.

Drinking water from all taps is safe and tastes good. Pets are not allowed at Takarakka Bush Resort.

Regular evening talks by Australian Nature Guides highlight the attractions of the National Park.

The Carnarvon National Park is magnificent and well worth a visit.

Takarakka Bush Resort is on a picturesque loop of Carnarvon Creek, Carnarvon Gorge. There are over 20 km of walking tracks close to Takarakka which give access to popular sites such as the Moss Gardens, the Amphitheatre and the Art Gallery or get off the beaten path and hike to the Devil's Signpost or Battleship Spur.

Carole tackles Carnarvon stepping stones
Carole tackles Carnarvon stepping stones

Carnarvon Wilderness Guides lead daily tours in and around the park, exploring the history, ecology and culture of Carnarvon Gorge and its surrounds.

Takarakka accommodation includes permanent canvas cabins which have a verandah out front, comfortable sleeping for five (one double, three single), a fridge and a fan. Spread out along Carnarvon Creek, the Canvas Cabins are an economical alternative to camping with a combination of comfort and bush atmosphere.

Visitors need to bring linen (sheets, towels, pillowcases), cooking and eating utensils (crockery, cutlery, utensils, saucepans) and, of course food.

Doonas and pillows are provided and linen is available for hire

The Carnarvon Gorge area is an education for school groups. The landforms are spectacular and house ecosystems of rare significance.

Several important chapters in Queensland history took place locally and the area was of great importance to its Aboriginal occupants.

Kangaroos and joey  Carnarvon National Park
Kangaroos and joey Carnarvon National Park

Takarakka has camping available specifically for large school or other organisational groups. Groups have full use of free gas cook tops and large gas barbeques. Seating arrangements and lighting all under cover in a camp kitchen.

The new amenities for both male and female are close to camp sites and are well lit.

Local rangers are more than happy to provide an interpretive slide show presentation on Carnarvon Gorge. Prior arrangement needs to be made and this can be done by phoning the Ranger Station
on 07 49844505. Carnarvon Gorge is most popular between March and October.

During winter, rainfall is less frequent and often non-existent for months, making for easy vehicular access to the Carnarvon Gorge. Temperatures during the day are mild and conducive to walking, although at night they can drop to 0 degrees Celsius.

Painted face wallaby. These  beautiful animals can be found at Cania and Carnarvon National Parks
Painted face wallaby. These beautiful animals can be found at Cania and Carnarvon National Parks

During the summer there are far fewer people to shareCarnarvon Gorge with and the sense of getting away from it all is much greater.

Visitors must watch the weather as heavy rains can force an extended stay althoughalthough this usually only holds people up for half a day as the roads dry and the water clears very quickly.

Temperatures are manageable next to a spring fed creek which is perfect for cooling off. Early morning and late afternoon walksare the way to go in summer.

Temperatures can reach as low as 0C in winter and as high as 40C in summer.

Average July temperatures range from 6.3C to 20.9C, whilst January ranges from 20.5C to 35.5C. The average annual rainfall is just over 1000mm per annum.

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service says visitors can camp in the Carnarvon Gorge visitor area only during the Easter, June/July and September/October Queensland school holidays. Bookings are essential.

Sunlight glows in Carnarvon Chasm
Sunlight glows in Carnarvon Chasm

Tracks From the National Park car park:

Baloon Cave self-guided walk 500m, 30 minutes return.

Mickey Creek Gorge 15km, 1 hour return.

Rock Pool 2km, 115 hours return.

Nature Trail 1km circuit starting at creek crossing no. 1, 30 minutes.

Boolimba Bluff 32km, 23 hours return.

Moss Garden 34km, 23 hours return.

Amphitheatre 41km, 34 hours return.

Lower Aljon Falls and Wards Canyon 47km, 34 hours return.

The Art Gallery 54km, 34 hours return.

Cathedral Cave 9km, 56 hours return.

Battleship Spur 14km, 810 hours return.

Editor's Note also see:

The greenery of the Carnarvon landscape
The greenery of the Carnarvon landscape