Day Walks At Carnarvon Gorge, Australia: Single Day Hikes Through Carnarvon Gorge In Central Queensland

Carnarvon Gorge is located in central Queensland about a full day’s drive (600 kilometers) from the Queensland capital, Brisbane.

The following full day walks can be undertaken at Carnarvon Gorge. This full day walks start at the park information center. The track layout is easy to follow and is well signposted. The main track winds up Carnarvon Gorge from the park information center, and the following side tracks branch off this main backbone track.

It is possible to combine some of these sidetracks to make a longer day.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends three days is needed to comfortably visit all the sites Carnarvon Gorge has to offer.

The tracks are classified under the “Australian Standard For Walking Tracks”.

Moss Garden Walk

7km return (2–3 hours) Class 3

The Moss Garden is a small micro-habitat tucked away in a fissure in the sandstone wall of the gorge with ferns and mosses fed via a stream. The EPA has constructed a low-impact boardwalk to enable walkers to get close enough to fully appreciate the fauna in this unique environment.

Amphitheatre Walk

8.6km return (3–4 hours) Class 3

The amphitheatre is a spectacular chamber accessed through a narrow walkway. The sheer sandstone walls keep the chamber cool. Sound echoes off the walls. The chamber was formed by water gouging a path through the sandstone over thousands of years forming a cave. Final,ly the roof of the cave collapsed resulting in the formation of the huge amphitheatre.

Ward’s Canyon Walk

9.2km return (3–4 hours) Class 3

Ward’s Canyon is a narrow cleft in the side of the main gorge. A stream, surrounded by mosses and ferns. runs through a small chasm then cascades in a waterfall past the track. It is a short uphill climb to the main section of Ward’s Canyon and this provides a good spot on a hot hike as it surprisingly cool due to the sandstone features and water creating a cooling affect.

The Art Gallery Walk

10.8km return (3–4 hours) Class 3

There are over two thousand Aboriginal engravings, ochre stencils and freehand paintings on this huge expanse of sandstone. It is over 62m long and the EPA claims “the Art Gallery contains one of the best examples of stencil art in Australia.”

Cathedral Cave Walk

18.2km return (5–6 hours) Class 3

The Cathedral Cave is one kilometre from the Big Bend campsite at the end of the main walking track. Like the Art Gallery, it is a huge expanse of sandstone rock the Aborigines used as an art canvass for thousands of years.

Aboriginal Art

Both the Art Gallery and Cathedral Cave contain stencils, engravings and paintings of various Aboriginal art including fish, birds, people, leaves, boomerangs and body parts. It is thought that Aborigines did not live in the gorge due to a lack of food and only visited the gorge for ceremonial rituals. Around 1870, when the area was settled by Europeans, saw the last of the Aborigines visiting Carnarvon Gorge. Aboriginal dreamtime stories say that the Rainbow Serpent formed the gorges.

Some of the art sites are monitored by cameras to prevent vandalism.

Carnarvon Gorge has other spectacular sites other than the day walks. Bush camping can be undertaken at the Big Bend campsite at the end of the 10 kilometer main track.