MONDAY 29 APRIL CHINCHILLA TO CARNARVON GORGE NP 435kms
As we were still hitched up, were able to leave the park about 8.15am. Headed west again.
Stopped to have our morning tea of coffee and fruit cake at Wallumbilla – a small, dying village about 40kms east of Roma. The east-west railway line, which we had been running parallel to since leaving Chinchilla, passes through Wallumbilla, but it looks like the trains no longer stop here.
Stopped at a roadside fruit seller, in Roma. Bought $15 worth of oranges, pears, avocadoes, and tomatoes – seconds, but fine for us.
At Roma, turned north onto the Carnarvon Development Road. All the driving today had been through good farming country – a mix of crops and grazing, and this continued north of Roma, though gradually it seemed that grazing became more dominant. There were also increasing areas of native forested country.
Refuelled at the small town of Injune – 94cpl.
Stopped beside the road not far north of Injune, and ate our packed lunch. Of course, after we started off again, there was a very nice, proper picnic spot a few kms further on!
Some 40kms north of Injune, the country became more rugged, as we passed through the Carnarvon Range. The route was more hilly and winding. Gradually we began to catch glimpses of high bluffs standing ahead and to our left.
About 100kms north of Injune, we turned to the west, onto the road to the Carnarvon Gorge section of the National Park.
The first 25kms of this road was sealed – a pleasant surprise. The remaining 20kms or so, of gravel road, was not too bad, though there were several grids that were higher than the road surface. We hit one a bit fast, and rearranged some of the van contents, and after that approached each one with considerable caution.
There were some quite steep sections that were unexpected, but these were managed using low range on the downhill parts.
The road was nice and dry – not sure that it would be a great experience in wet conditions.
It was a really enjoyable drive in, with the distant escarpments coming closer – quite dramatic.
Then the sections of gorges and valleys became more common, and palms and cycads began to appear in the bush. There were a couple of dry creek crossings that looked like they could get quite deep, quite quickly – probably one of the reasons this road is regularly closed in wet spells.
We passed the turnoff to the private Takkarakka camp area, but continued on to the National Park campground and Office.
When we went to register, there was no record of the booking I’d made, by phone, last week. The staff person said they’d had several such stuff-ups today. It did not seem that the great centralized booking system, operating through Brisbane, was working too well! Luckily, they were still able to get us onto a site for the five nights, though not the site we thought we’d been booked in for. Five nights is the maximum stay allowed in the park campground.
Still, Site 27 was fine – nice and big. It cost us $7.70 a night.
The camp bays are fairly spread out amongst lots of trees and bush. The creek is some distance away.
After setting up, I noticed that the power input looked good, to date. We could tilt the pop top roof to get a better angle to the sun onto the panels, given the trees that were around us. Site 27 was not as open as the one Brisbane had allocated us.
There was a big, unusual mauve-coloured truck based “house” structure parked near us. I had seen this motorhome written up in a caravan magazine, a while ago. They call it “Wotzahellisit” – for somewhat obvious reasons! It was certainly unique, but a bit over the top for my liking. I prefer things somewhat simpler. It was summed up, I thought, by another camper, who walked past it and called out to the couple, who were sitting out on their “balcony”, up high: “You win, mate”.
Tea was cold roast chook and lettuce salad.
After tea, at 7.30pm, we took our camp chairs up to the Rangers’ area, to a slide show and information session they were giving. A screen was set up out in the open for this. It was worth attending, even though there were about 60 school kids there – upper primary or lower secondary age.
The slides showed some spectacular scenery and the Carnarvon Creek in flood – a more rare occurrence these days, since there have been some drier seasons. The Ranger said the creek really needed a good flush out!
We had a relatively early night: bush smells and noises, and dark outside. This was so very nice, after our urban sojourn.