If you follow the whole length of the main track, you will end up at the Big Bend campground. It is a nearly 20k return walk. I didn't do the whole of this long walk this time, on the agenda for next time.
You may see Turtles as it is the Upper reaches of Carnarvon Creek. A composting toilet and picnic table is located here. If you are planning to stay overnight at Big Bend, visit the park's information centre before you start, to record your trip details in the registration book, and log out of the book when you have completed your walk.
Big Bend campground—19.4 km return (7–8 hours) Class 4
Another that I didn't see, was Cathedral Cave as it was closed for repairs. This is a pleasant walk, with lots of shade trees.
This massive, wind-eroded overhang sheltered Aboriginal people for thousands of years. A panorama of rock art reflects the rich cultural life of those who gathered here.
Cathedral Cave walk—18.2 km return (5–6 hours) Class 4
Side-tracks from the main gorge track lead to the range of sites that I have mentioned on this page. The track is mostly flat, although the side-tracks involve steeper sections.
The featured sites on side-tracks can be combined to create one-day walks. For example, the Moss Garden, Amphitheatre, Ward's Canyon and the Art Gallery sites can be visited on a 14 km return one-day walk.
We created a couple of days walks similar to mentioned.
The Moss Garden is a 3.5 one way walk from the visitor centre.
Off the main walking trail, its only a short walk. This "hidden jewel" is in Violet Gorge.
I just loved this place, and how extra nice it was when walking in the heat, it was like the natural air conditioning had been turned on!
Located here is a natural spring which seeps from the rock walls, on which Ferns, Mosses, Lichens and liverworts and Hornworts grow. There is a small waterfall tumbling into a beautiful crystal clear water hole in this lush Rainforest enviroment.
We just sat here, enjoying the sound of the water, and taking in the natural beauty of this delightful spot.
Moss Garden walk—7 km return (2–3 hours) Class 3
The walk is 4.6ks one way from the visitor centre.
A short, but steep climb leads you into the small and beautiful Ward"s Canyon. A small stream lined with mosses and ferns. You will find the rare king tree fern (Angiopteris evecta) here, its the WORLD'S LARGEST FERN. and is believed to have strong links with the ancient flora of Gondwanan origin. You will also see Spotted Gums near the lower waterfall.
This is another cool place to enjoy on a hot day.
Ward's Canyon walk—9.2 km return (3–4 hours) Class 3
Well worth having a look at.
A 3.2k walk from the visitor centre.
THIS WALK IS ONLY FOR THE PHYSICALLY FIT people, as it involves quite a climb up the mountain. 963 steps to climb and small ladders to negotiate to get you to the top. At the start, the route takes you through the dry Gorge, then it starts climbing.
I took my time, as I'm asthmatic, had breathers, and got to the top O.K.
From the top, which is 200metres above the gorge floor, good views are had of the Sandstone cliffs and balsat capped ridges with lots & lots of Eucalypt.
Have been told that its very nice at Sunrise, I didn't want to tackle it in the dark.
Boolimba Bluff walk—6.2 km return (2–3 hours) Class 4
Located 5.4k's one way from the Visitor centre. There are over 2000 engravings, ochre stencils and freehand paintings done by the Aborigines here. They are along a 62metre long sandstone cliff. An interperative display explains the meanings of the site. The Art Gallery contains one of the best examples of stencil art in Australia.
Do not miss this walk as its an excellent site.
Art Gallery walk—10.8 km return (3–4 hours) Class 3
One kilometre return.
This is a short easy walk passing by Cycads and Fan palms to a small sandstone overhang which has stencilled Aboriginal rock art. The track has sign posts on how the Aborigines used this area.
It is an Aboriginal cultural trail—1 km return (45 minutes) Class 2 [Easy, level, well-graded track, suitable for all fitness levels]
We arranged to do a night walk from the Takarakka campground. We went with a Ranger into Carnarvon Gorge, she had a powerful spotlight with her, and most of us had torches. We did manage to see some Gliders, that was all, its just luck with nature as to what you see on the night. We had a good time any rate.
I arrived around lunchtime and knew I would only have time for a feeler so I chose the Moss Garden, nee Violet Canyon. Someone had mentioned that they'd loved it when they were there doing an art course so I headed off.
One thing I didn't know about Carnarvon was the creek crossings. Just getting to the Moss Garden you have to cross a few but the early ones are fairly easy. The one going to the Moss Garden stumped a couple who turned back, not wanting to take their socks off today but were going to do it the next. Personally, I couldn't understand why a two minute operation would mean you'd stall till the next day but, hey, that's me!
From my notes at the time:
"At the Ranger Station I got a map and advice and headed out to tackle the Moss Garden, once better known as Violet Canyon and listed as a 2.5 hour class three walk which was accurate except they didn’t mention the rock hopping. At the final rock crossing a couple were coming back saying they couldn’t get across without getting their feet wet and would come tomorrow and take their shoes off and then have a look. Frankly, I couldn’t understand why, having come all this way, they couldn’t take their shoes off today; the garden was only about 500 metres past the river.
In the end I rock-hopped over without needing to take my shoes off; I guess they didn’t do it very often and next I came upon a lady and her eight year old who’d apparently had no trouble either."
This is the first little waterfall I came across
"The Moss Garden is one of those special spots in the Australian wilderness that will enchant with its location beneath towering sandstone cliffs that form a spectacular backdrop to mature ferns that overhang like parasols held by servants from ancient royal courts and seemingly protect the delicate waterfall that must barely carry a drop when times are dry."