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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Carnarvon Gorge Camping Area, Carnarvon National Park, QLD.

Carnarvon Creek, Carnarvon Gorge.
The Carnarvon Gorge Camping Area is only open in the Queensland school holidays during Easter, winter and spring. We booked a site in January for the July school holidays and are glad that we did. The campground is very pleasant and most of the walks can be accessed without driving to the trail-heads. I will cover the walks in separate posts. We were also glad that there were camp hosts at the campground. As we approached the campground we were rather aggressively passed by a camper trailer who then pulled into the campground in front of us. As they didn't have a permit they were turned away, however, without hosts on site I'm pretty sure we would have found our booked site taken as there were hopeful people arriving all the time without permits.

View in front of our campsite.

We remembered to bring $1 coins and were able to enjoy hot showers in the main amenities block.

The second amenities block has pit toilets.
The most common birds in the campground were Pied Currawongs, Laughing Kookaburras and Rainbow Lorikeets. 
Laughing Kookaburra
Pied Currawong
Macrozamia palms are a feature in the campground and surrounding gorge area. Zamia are well known as being toxic to cows and dogs so we were surprised to see an Eastern Grey Kangaroo eating the ripe cones which had fallen to the ground. The same kangaroo came back every afternoon to nibble at the bright orange fruit without any apparent side affects.

Eastern Grey Kangaroo eating the ripe cones from a Macrozamia moorei

We were able to sit at the back of our camp site in the afternoons and watch wildlife to our hearts content.

View from the back of our camp site.
Eastern Grey Kangaroo
Pretty-face Wallabies
Australian King Parrots

Details for Carnarvon Gorge Camping Area:
Where: 243 km north of Roma and 240 km south of Emerald.
Access: Most of the road into the campground has now been sealed. The road is subject to flooding and can be closed in wet weather.
When: This campground is only open three times a year in the Easter, winter and spring Queensland school holidays.
Bookings and Fees: Bookings available up to 12 months in advance. Book online or by phone before arriving as the campground gets booked out. (Camp hosts and rangers do not make bookings for you.) Five night maximum stay. Standard Queensland National Park Fees. $6.15 per adult. Please cancel your booking if you aren't going to turn up so that others get the chance to camp.
Sites: Numbered, defined, flat grass sites. Most sites are shady.
Type of Rig: Tent camping beside your vehicle and camper trailers. No caravans.
Facilities: Main amenities block has flush toilets, showers ($1 coin for hot water). Second amenities block has pit toilets. Picnic tables. Scattered taps (boil water before use). No WiFi or phone reception in the campground. No bins. Access to most walks without driving.
Prohibitions: No fires. No pets. No drones. No generators. Some smoking restrictions. 
Of Interest: Outstanding destination of natural and cultural environment. Aboriginal sacred places, art and history. Rare fauna. Wildlife.
Supplies: No fuel. Some basic supplies at Takaraka. Fresh food and vege truck at Takaraka on Mondays (check for latest information).
Cautions: Advisable to book up to a year in advance. Remember $1 coins for hot showers. Read the shower instructions carefully or you will end up loosing your coin and getting a cold shower. Many of the walks require crossing creeks. Many of the walks have numerous steps and some have ladders. Nearest hospital with full time doctor is 111 km away in Injune. Last stops for fuel are Injune and Rolleston.
Day Use Area: Tables, electric BBQ's, non-potable water taps, toilets. 
Information Centre: Open 8 am to 4.30 pm. Displays and information boards. Brochures for Carnarvon Gorge are available (no other brochures for surrounding national parks). The desk was not staffed on any of my frequent visits to the centre. Free WiFi available in the vicinity during opening hours. Inside power point. No phone reception. Public phone box outside.
Parking: Free. There are parking areas for all the walks. The main parking area has a designated area for caravans.
Other places to camp: Sandstone Park (allows dogs), Takaraka Bush Resort. 
Accommodation: Carnarvon Gorge Wilderness Lodge and Takaraka Bush Resort.

Wildlife (seen by us over 4 days): Eastern Grey Kangaroo (Macropus parryi), Pretty-faced Wallaby (Macropus parryi), Swamp Wallaby (Wallabia bicolor), Kreffts River Turtle (Emydura  krefftii), Saw-shelled Turtle (Elseya latisternum). Dragonflies.

Bird List: Pacific Wood Duck, Little Pied Cormorant, Dusky Moorhen, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Rainbow Lorikeet, Australian King Parrot, Pale-headed Rosella, Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Laughing Kookaburra, Rainbow Bee-eater, White-throated Treecreeper, Red-backed Fairy-wren, Striated Pardalote, White-browed Scrubwren, Weebill, Buff-rumped Thornbill, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Brown Honeyeater, Lewin's Honeyeater, Yellow-faced Honeyeater, Rufous Whistler, Grey Fantail, Willie Wagtail, Australian Magpie, Pied Currawong, Australian Raven, White-winged Chough, Apostlebird, Red-browed Finch, Silvereye, Welcome Swallow. Emu were seen on the drive in and the drive out of Carnarvon Gorge.

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