CARNAR­VON GORGE, QLD

Australian Traveller - - The 100 -

Walk­ing through our coun­try’s many won­der­ful and var­ied na­tional parks, it can be easy to miss out on the sim­i­larly strik­ing and unique an­i­mals for which these pre­served spa­ces are sanc­tu­ary. Carnar­von Na­tional Park, 400 kilo­me­tres west of Glad­stone, could be the most spec­tac­u­lar place in Aus­tralia to spot wildlife, its sub­trop­i­cal rain­for­est sur­rounded by dra­matic sand­stone bluffs and run through with Carnar­von Gorge, a stag­ger­ing 600 me­tres deep at its mouth and one of Queens­land’s most dra­matic nat­u­ral sites. To gain a rich un­der­stand­ing of the flora and fauna here, em­ploy the likes of Aus­tralian Na­ture Guides. Head guide Si­mon Ling (carnar­von­gorge.info) will ac­com­pany you deep into the gorge and can iden­tify an­i­mals by their calls so you can home in on their lo­ca­tion. “Carnar­von Gorge is one of Aus­tralia’s great eco­log­i­cal refuges. Ex­plor­ing the tracks and trails be­neath Carnar­von’s mag­nif­i­cent cliffs is like hik­ing back in time to an era when this part of Queens­land was much wet­ter and cooler,” says Si­mon. “There are plants and an­i­mals here that ap­pear out of place, con­sid­er­ing the semi-arid land­scapes out­side the gorge.” His ex­ten­sive knowl­edge of Carnar­von’s plants and wildlife, as well as its cul­tural his­tory, means you won’t just bag a shot of a swamp wal­laby, you’ll un­der­stand its cru­cial role in the ecol­ogy too. If you can, book your­self on a Night Sa­fari Tour, where Si­mon will point out greater and yel­low-bel­lied glid­ers with a flash­light as they soar from tree to tree.

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