Carnarvon Gorge – Day 2

We slept like logs again! Our bed in the motorhome is so comfortable.

After breakfast I packed some lunch and filled our water bottles. We were making good use of our Scenic backpacks that were a gift from Scenic when we did our European River Cruise. Thank you Scenic!

We unhooked all our connections but left everything set up for our return then we set off to Carnarvon Gorge again. It takes about 15 minutes to drive to the National Park Car Park then it’s a 300 metre walk to the Visitors Centre.

We did a 16km walk to The Art Gallery and Wards Canyon. We left the carpark at 9.30am and finally returned at 1.45pm. To get to Art Gallery you have to cross Carnarvon Creek 6 times, each time having to use the stepping stones to cross the fast flowing creek. It was worth the walk though. Art Gallery has over 2,000 engravings, ochre stencils and free-hand paintings along a 62m long overhang in the sandstone wall of the canyon. Art Gallery contains some of the best examples of stencil art in all of the country.

Art Gallery has been a spiritual place for thousands of years for the Bidjara and Karingbal people and all of the images have symbolic meaning and purpose. The free-hand paintings that look like fishing nets tell us that this is also a burial site and there is a sign before you approach asking that you treat the site with the same care and respect that you would when visiting your own family’s burial ground. The area does have a sense of mystery and, I guess, spirituality, about it. I noticed that people spoke in quiet voices whilst there.

On the way back to the main track we came across a conveniently placed seat and stopped for a bite to eat and a well-earned rest. It was very peaceful sitting and just taking in the beauty of this special place.

We decided that Art Gallery was as far into the gorge as we were going to go. We’d leave the rest for the experienced bushwalkers.

As we made our way back along the main track we came to the turnoff to Wards Canyon. It’s a 540m round trip up a very steep climb around a waterfall to arrive at Wards Canyon. My legs were screaming by the time I climbed to the top of the steps. The sight of the waterfall was just a sign of things to come. Oh my! If I thought we’d stepped back in time before, now I knew we had. This narrow canyon with its beautiful creek tumbling along the bottom is home to the most spectacular ferns. This tiny canyon holds the last remaining inland remnant of the once great rainforest that grew all across the eastern coast.

It is cool inside the canyon and the little creek tumbles along over the rocks and makes that beautiful noise of running water. Don’t you love that sound? I do.

King Ferns only survive here because they have access to permanent water. The fronds of the King Fern have no woody tissue. Water fills the fronds keeping them rigid much like a fire hose full of water. The fronds can be up to 5m in length and they are amongst the largest ferns in the world. The King Fern shares the canyon with tree ferns. These magnificent plants are just stunning.

It didn’t take much imagination to see dinosaurs running around in this magical spot. This was my favourite spot so far in the gorge, however Richard’s favourite was still the Ampitheatre.

The walk back seemed to take longer on our tired legs and we were glad to see the number 1 creek crossing. That meant we were almost back at the Visitors Centre. We had a well earned rest here and ate the rest of our sandwiches.

Back at the motorhome we really enjoyed a cup of tea and a shower to freshen up. We left the park behind and drove for about 15 minutes to the site of the Helicopter Flights. The Helicpoter setup is on Bandana Station just out of the park. We arrived there to find other people waiting for their flight so the flights were running behind. We would just have to wait our turn. We checked in, got weighed, listened to the short safety briefing then waited our turn.

Our 20 minute flight in the lovely little, 4 person, Robinson R44 took us over Bandana Station, a 44,000 acre cattle property and the a cross the spectacular Moolayember Gorge. This gorge is part of Carnarvon National Park however unlike its more famous neighbour this gorge is still largely unexplored. Who knows what treasures lie down there. There may be even more spectacular things yet to be discovered. Our pilot, Travis, talked non-stop about what we were seeing below. He banked the helicopter so I could get great photos of the Three Sisters and the stunning sandstone cliffs. All too soon it was over and we were skids down and back on the ground.

Back at camp we enjoyed a lovely evening chatting with our neighbours Greg and Deb before retiring to a welcome rest.

While I was typing away at this blog post I was sitting outside under our awning. I had spent the morning being domestic (the bloke in the van next door even sang a few lines of ‘Sadie the Cleaning Lady’) and Richard was sitting under the awning reading a book. I had just made a cuppa when along came a very friendly wallaby who must have decided that we were no threat at all as she wandered right between our chairs then plonked herself down to have a snooze. She remained there for a couple of hours. How special is that?


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