Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services Queensland Government
Home / Southern Great Barrier Reef / Carnarvon National Park Carnarvon National Park. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland
Carnarvon National Park. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland

Carnarvon National Park

Delve into sandstone country

Your 4WD adventure is waiting in Central Queensland’s Sandstone Country. Drive through the haze hovering above surrounding dry plains to arrive at the lush gorges and rocky creeks waiting to refresh you at Carnarvon National Park. The towering sandstone cliffs, vibrantly coloured gorges and diverse flora and fauna take pride of place here, although there are other nearby national parks offering rugged ‘extensions’ on your journey of discovery if you are looking to get off the beaten track.

Allow at least a few days to fully explore Carnarvon National Park, a geological museum, Aboriginal art gallery, botanic garden and wildlife sanctuary boasting more than 170 species of birds, all rolled into one amazing location.

Carnarvon National Park is home to the incredible Carnarvon Gorge—over 30km of dramatic sandstone cliffs sculpted by Carnarvon Creek over a period of some 26 million years. The spectacular white sandstone cliffs of the steep-sided gorge, with its narrow, vibrantly-coloured and lush side-gorges, shelter remnant rainforest plants. You will find ancient cycads and endemic fan palms, as well as some of the finest Aboriginal rock art in Australia—ochre stencils, rock engravings and freehand paintings. Learn from an Aboriginal ranger about Aboriginal people’s long and continuing relationship with this dramatic landscape. To the Traditional Custodians, the gorge continues to be ‘a place of learning’—let the land teach you a new appreciation of Aboriginal culture and history. At the base of the gorge, if you’re quiet and still, you may spot a platypus diving and swimming in a local waterhole. Spend a peaceful evening in a retreat located at the entrance to the park. If you are feeling adventurous, hike up the gorge and camp in the remoter sections, where it truly is just you and nature.

Location and getting there

196km S of Emerald. Access is from the Carnarvon Hwy between Injune and Rolleston, via Springsure and Rolleston along the Gregory and Dawson Hwys from Emerald.

Visitor facilities and opportunities

ToiletsPicnic areaCampingCaravan/camper trailer/campervan sitesShort or easy walksHikesCyclingFishingHorseridingWheelchair access

Key to symbols

Walking the gorge

Walking the gorge. Photo: Tourism and Events Queensland

Gorgeous walks in Carnarvon Gorge

Mickey Creek Gorge
Distance: 3km return (1.5hrs walking time)
The swamp wallabies will likely put your rock-hopping skills to shame, but this rocky landscape makes a great challenge.

Boolimba Bluff walk
Distance: 6.4km return (3hrs walking time)
Challenge yourself with this walk up through a dry gorge and into the high country to the top of the bluff, 200m above Carnarvon Creek—a climb of 963 steps—where you will be awed by spectacular sweeping views over and above the gorge.

The Art Gallery walk
Distance: 10.8km return (4hrs walking time)
Along the way, see the lush Moss Garden and the impressive Ward’s Canyon, home to the world’s largest fern—the king fern—then be rewarded by the discovery of over 2000 engravings, ochre stencils and freehand paintings adorning the 62m-long sandstone walls of the Art Gallery. This significant Aboriginal site contains one of the best examples of stencil art in Australia.

Carnarvon Great Walk
Experience a remote and beautiful landscape of towering sandstone cliffs, sweeping tablelands and shaded side-gorges on this 87km Great Walk. Take on the challenge of the full six or seven day walk or select from a range of short walking experiences.

Aboriginal rock art

Aboriginal rock art. Photo: Robert Ashdown, Queensland Government

Insight to the past

The paintings at Carnarvon’s rock art sites—ochre stencils of tools, weapons, ornaments and ceremonial objects—are simply mesmerizing. These fragile images reflect a rich culture and provide an insight into the lives of Carnarvon’s first people. Sit quietly in the shelter of The Art Gallery or Cathedral Cave and imagine the stories, songs and rituals that unfolded here and the knowledge which continues to be handed down from generation to generation.