The descent down from Blackdown Tableland was completed with caution, with fading brakes and the slightly cooked smell of brake pads reminding me to take a prudent ten minute break at the bottom to let everything cool down. A lazy 300 kilometres later saw our arrival at Takarakka Bush Resort, the rather pricey caravan park that services Carnarvon National Park (inexplicably, the National Park camp ground is only open during Queensland’s school holidays). Very exciting for us was the prospect that dad was joining us for the next four nights. He popped up from Sydney, a mere 1280 km away.
We had a wonderful three days at Carnarvon, walking to every nook and cranny within the park, and finishing each day with a beer and glass (or so) of red. We clocked up 47 km in total, 28 km of those on the last day.
The trail map said the main walk was 22 km. GPS doesn’t lie. We walked 28 km.
Heading off on our first day.
Boolimba Bluff – 935 steps up worth of view.
I had been here as a gangly young teenager and it was a ‘must do’ bucket list item for Kris and myself. To my surprise, relief and absolute delight, the boys walked step-to-step with us without complaint. Their stamina and intestinal fortitude was amazing and has certainly improved since starting this odyssey in January, when every walk was met with grumbles. So much so that we nicked the acronym WWW to keep our sanity – Walking Without Whinging. (K – in fact, Sam forged ahead of us most of the time just to be the first to explore some unknown gorge. He declared after visiting Warrumbah Creek Gorge below that it was the most magical place ever and he had to come back and would even jump out of the car the next day driving past to do so. Fortunately it didn’t come to that and we were able to accommodate his desires for a return visit on Day 2.)
Warrumbah Creek Gorge – actually not part of a marked walking trail.
Highlights were Warrumbah Creek Gorge, a moss covered shady chasm which is part of one of the closer walks to our camp, as well as the spectacular views from Boolimba Bluff which overlooks Carnarvon Gorge. The Amphitheatre, Art Gallery and Boowinda Gorge were all fantastic as well, and were part of the main walking track that we left till the last day.
The amphitheatre. The acoustics from these 50m walls were excellent!
A real treat on our middle ‘rest day’, was something I would probably have passed on; a sunset damper and billy tea at nearby Bandana Station. However, Dad suggested we go to this, and we all loved it, even the boys. Bruce and his daughter Olivia, multi-generational cattle farmers, offer up fresh damper, billy tea and cheese and biscuits. Beer and wine helped lubricate the evening.
After an introduction on the operation of their cattle property and a brief explanation of Australia’s cattle market, including the effect of the serious drought further west, they broke into a mix of singing and story telling. These ranged from a yarn about the colourful Kenniff’s, the last of Australia’s bushrangers, as well as his neighbour Frank and a particular mad cow escapee, as well as a few bush songs, finished off a little oddly with ‘Flying Purple People Eater’ and then a cracking rendition of Jim Haynes ‘Since Sheryl Went Feral’, which had the boys in stitches. All this with a stunning sunset lighting up 30 or so kilometres of sandstone escarpment wall on the distant horizon.
Sam resting after indulging in cheese and bickies at the Bandana Station sunset.
The boys at the site of a WWII era C47 crash between Rolleston and Carnarvon Gorge.