CARNARVON GORGE, QLD
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.