Carnarvon National Park

Tuesday morning two weeks ago, I crossed the electrified railway shortly before it’s ending at the Albinia Coal Mine. It’s the longest extend of electrification from Rockhampton. Directly next to the coal mine is the Albinia national park, a protection area for the endemic grasses. These grasses are very popular for feeding stock. Hence, most of these natural grasses are gone due to overgrazing from stock. I briefly stopped in the small town of Rolleston which is at the road junction which directly leads to Gladstone. In the late afternoon I arrived at the Carnarvon national park (I’ve no idea, how that name relates to Carnarvon in Western Australia, where I’ve been in 2008). After lunch I prepared my backpack for a two days trip. Luckily the trees in the Carnarvon gorge provided some shade during the afternoon. Hence, the hike was pretty nice between the tall sandstone vertical walls (I was wondering, if it’s suitable for some vertical moves 😏). In essence I followed the main hiking trail along the Carnarvon creek, but I made some detours along the way. The first stop was at the so called Amphitheater, this huge space was crafted by lot’s of water during a long time, and is only accessible through a small crack from the main gorge. Afterwards I walked up into the narrow Ward’s canyon. Within this small, shadow and humid canyon the large King ferns from tropical areas can survive. This small patch is the only known area were this huge ferns grow inland of Queensland. All other known locations from King fern are along the coast. The next stop was at the Aboriginal Art gallery. Over the last few thousand years this area was used for various ceremonies. During this time a lot of paintings were made onto the wall, as well as engravings. For one section the women were responsible, and they graved, as sign of fertility, a lot of vulvas into the soft sandstone. That reminded me to all the penises in Phra Nang Cave in Railway. About four kilometres further up I passed Cathedral Cave, which is another place of former gatherings and some Aboriginal rock art. I arrived in the late afternoon at the campground. I was surprised that two other blokes were already their and enjoyed their dinner. I pitched up my tent and had dinner just during sunset, before I went to bed.

I got up about one hour before sunrise, and started hiking after a quick breakfast. I followed the narrow Boowinda gorge, before I went up steeply in a side gorge along a dry creek bed. After this steep section the trail to the Battleship Spur Lookout followed basically a ridge, which had even some stairs and a ladder. After about two hours I arrived at the Battleship Spur Lookout and enjoyed the view across the complete Carnarvon gorge during the 30 min of my second breakfast. The area around the ascent was extremely green, even as there was some bushfires two years ago, and shortly before the summit a lot of kangaroos were jumping around. The way back to the camp was along the same way. It took me in total about 4 hours including breakfast. After a snack in the campground and pitching down the tent, I walked back along the gorge. I met met Shannon just when I started my walk back, and another couple with it’s two kids at the bench before the Art Gallery, where we had a short chat during my break. On my way back I made a detour to the Boolimba Bluff Lookout at the gorge entrance. The steep hike up was supported by ladders, but still it took me additional 90min to return, which wasn’t too bad. I was alone on the complete way. When I finished my walk, I met Shannon again at the parking area. We had a short chat and she told me, that she just lost her job and is on her way to some friends at the sunshine coast, but wanted to stop here. Unfortunately, the campground was closed, so I couldn’t get a shower there. Therefore, I went to the rock pool, which is located shortly before the breakthrough of the Carnarvon creek through the ridge, which lays like a natural blocking dam infront of the gorge. The murky water quality wasn’t that good, but at least it was refreshing after the long hike.

The electrified rail tracks ending at the Albinia Coal Mine
Albinia national park is a protection area of the endemic grasses
Finally heading into the mountains
First crossing of the Carnarvon creek
The natural Amphitheater theatre is only accessible via a small crack from the main valley
The large leafs of the King fern are on the left in Ward’s Canyon
Aboriginal art work at the place where gatherings were held for thousands of years…
…right next to it, is the women’s wall of fertility with hundreds of vulvas, and the rainbow serpent right in the middle…
…suddenly the hieroglyphs changed to Latin from some blokes, who thought they need to grave their names into the sandstone here.
An Echidna was chasing for some food beneath this rock
The gorge is getting smaller the deeper I get into it
This rifle in the Cathedral Caves is a reminder of an early contact of Aborigines white people
Lonely plant along the way
They way up along the ridge to Battleship Spur was pretty green
The Carnarvon creek meanders up the sandstone along the Great Dividing Range
My stunning breakfast place with the view all across the Carnarvon gorge
Narrow Boowinda gorge with moss covered side walls is pretty unpleasant to walk with all these big rocks on the ground
Impressive white sandstone walls all along the way out of the Carnarvon gorge
This kangaroo was part of a family gathering on the trail, but ended up on the wrong side and jumped back to the others
From the Boolimba Bluff lookout you’ve great views onto the lower part of the Carnarvon creek with the breakthrough through the barrier ridge out of the gorge, where the rock pool is situated…
…with a nice summit peaking out of the ridge.
GPX track

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