Smithsdownunder
Our journeys around Australia

5-Apr-2005
   

From 1770 we drove just over 400 km west to the Carnarvon Gorge in the Carnarvon National Park with an overnight stop on the way at the Dawson River to break the journey. The gorge is quite spectacular with tall white cliffs towering several hundred metres on either side. The valley of the gorge is lined with palms, ferns and eucalypts and is rich in wildlife.

The high walls of Carnarvon Gorge

Carnavon Gorge
Carnavon Gorge

Water runs through the gorge most of the year and if it rains, it's not unusual for the access road to become impassable.

Palms and Ferns in Carnarvon Gorge

The surrounding white cliffs act like sponges and soak up any rainfall. The water percolates through the rocks until it meets an impervious granite layer when it seeps out into the gorge. We visited a place called The Moss Gardens where you could see the water emerging from the cliffs. Because it was wet and fairly shaded, moss formed on the rocks.

The Moss Gardens

Moss Gardens
Tree roots searching for soil

The tree in the picture below was perched on top of a 3 metre high rock but the roots had found their way down to the ground to tap into the moisture.

Interesting tree roots

There was quite a bit of wildlife to be seen in the park. Here is a turtle we saw swimming in the creek. A bit further along we saw another one feeding a youngster.

Freshwater Turtle

Fresh water turtle
Aboriginal rock art Whilst walking along the track, a couple of Kangaroos came towards us in the opposite direction. We stepped to one side and they bounced past us quite unconcerned. I almost trod on a snake whilst crossing the creek. It was lying beside some stepping-stones but quickly move off as it saw my foot approaching! It was a Keel Back or Freshwater snake, which are quite harmless apparently unless that is you happen to be a Cane Toad! Cane Toads are a real pest over here as they are killing off some of the local wildlife but the Keel Back snake can deal with them. I'll expect we can get a picture of a Cane Toad further north. We also saw our first Platypus in the stream that ran alongside the campsite. They were much smaller that we expected being only about 30cm long. I took some pictures but they didn't come out very well so we will try again elsewhere. (Well it was only 6:30am so what do you expect that time of the morning?) There was also some ancient indigenous art to be seen in the gorge. The picture below shows hand and axe stencils made by blowing pigment using the mouth.