We were lucky enough to be able to take a week off work between Anzac day and Labour Day and we decided to go check out Carnarvon National Park. Andrew and I had been there, very briefly about 10 years ago but we never really got a chance to check it all out properly. I only really remembered seeing a platypus (and I was really hoping to see another one this trip).
We left Toowoomba (we’d camped overnight at my brother’s place to take a couple hours off the drive) early on the Saturday morning and headed west, with a aim to reach Roma by lunch and then push the last few hours to the National Park. All went to plan and we pulled into the Takarakka Bush Resort around 3 in the afternoon. Now we don’t usually choose to stay at caravan parks, I’d much rather stay in a national park or a simple bush camp. Unfortunately, the campground at the National Park only opens during the school holidays… why? I have no idea, but as we weren’t going to be there during school holidays, it meant we only had one choice for where to camp, and that was Takarakka.
We eventually managed to squeeze the trailer onto the site (very small sites in the unpowered area… and we even had 2 sites and it was still tight) and set up, we enjoyed a few drinks while checking out all the wildlife. That first afternoon/evening we saw wallabies, kookaburras, bettongs and even some echidna! I followed that up the following morning with a sighting of a platypus down at the creek. We decided to hit the walking tracks the next day, but drove down to the national park to get an idea of which walks there were and where to go.
Now, deciding to tackle a 14.5km bushwalk with an injured foot is probably not the smartest thing I have ever done, but I’m pretty stubborn and I really didn’t want to miss out. The last few kms ended up more of a hobble than a walk but I made it and it was worth all the pain! Such stunning scenery!
We were out on the track nice and early. Most people advise walking the main track as far as you want to (the main gorge track is really long with a lot of different side tracks so there are a variety of different length walks you can do) and then visiting the side tracks on the way back, that way it’s not as far to walk back if you run out of time to see one of the side tracks. However, I knew I wanted to photograph the Moss Garden in the soft morning light, so we decided to head straight there and then after that we would head to the end and see the other side tracks on the way back. It was a great decision! The moss garden was absolutely spectacular in that gorgeous light and bonus, we had it all to ourselves.
After a break admiring the trickling water, we trudged on up the track, crisscrossing the creek a number of times (using the handy stepping stones so our feet didn’t get wet) and admiring the huge rock walls of the gorge. We had decided to go as far as the Art Gallery, so this was our next destination. What we encountered was a huge overhang of rock with countless aboriginal drawings. I have never seen such great indigenous art (which is not surprising since this is considered one of the best examples of stencil art in Australia).
After the art gallery is was a pretty quick trek back to the turnoff to Ward’s Canyon. The side track to this canyon is a leg killer, but it’s worth it for sure. The first thing you notice as you walk into the canyon is the temperature. It’s really, really cold in there! It was named for the Ward Brothers who used to use the canyon to store their kills during the early 1900’s as it was basically a large coolroom. The next things you notice are the huge rock overhangs and the large ferns. These ferns are pretty special too. They are King Ferns, which normally only occur on the coast and this is in fact the only inland population of them.
Our final destination before the push home was the Amphitheater. Accessing it requires climbing up a ladder and walking through a small gap in the rock. Once inside, you are greeted with a huge cavern, open at the top, carved out by water over time. I wonder how the first person to visit it, actually found it…. or how they manged to get in without the ladder that is now there. What a discovery!
We were back at the carpark around 1pm, about 6hrs after we left it and all decided we deserved lunch at the cafe down the road. The burgers went down a treat before we headed back to camp to relax with a few drinks.
There were more walks I would have loved to have done, especially the trek up to the ridge overlooking the gorge, but my foot was very unhappy with me and we thought it best to rest it. Just means that we will have to head back another time, which is perfectly fine with me!
Takarakka Bush Resort – At a glance
Date Visited: 21-24 April 2016
Number of nights spent at camp: 3
Cost per night: $76 per night for 2 sites and 3 adults
How to book: Online or call 07 4984 8484
Weather while at camp: Fine
Facilities present: Toilets, showers, laundry, camp kitchens, general store, bar open for a few hours of an afternoon, spit roast meals twice weekly, powered sites, permanent tents and cabins, communal firepits (wood provided)
Condition of Facilities: Facilities clean and well presented
Dogs allowed: No
Camp surface (eg. Grass, dirt): Grass/dirt. Sites were small and close together. The unpowered sites in the Macrozamia area were difficult to get a camper trailer into and in most cases, 1 site would not be large enough for a camper trailer. They are perfect for tents. The powered sites were larger and easier to access with a trailer but still close together.
Activities at/nearby camp: Hiking in Carnarvon National Park, platypus viewing in creek. Bar open in the afternoons for a few hours with reasonable priced drinks.
Overall comments: We enjoyed our time at Takarakka. The facilities were good and it was a pleasant environment. We particularly loved the amount of animals and birds that we saw around the campsites. We had very noisy neighbours which wasn’t helped by how close together the sites are. If we were to visit again we would camp in a powered campsite unless they were opening the unpowered section further away from the reception area (which is setup the same as the powered area). The Macrozamia area where we camped is really only suited to tent campers due to the difficulty in getting trailers into the sites and also the size of the sites. If we had not booked 2 sites, we would never have been able to get our trailer to fit in the area we were assigned.