Today was a real adventure!
The thermometer was showing 9 degrees inside the van when I got up but things quickly warmed up with the heater on and the day, as usual, turned on clear blue skies, white fluffy clouds, and was nice and warm.
After a quick trip down to the supermarket for supplies – we had foolishly thought Woolies would be open yesterday, a public holiday – we had breakfast and packed up the van. We knew we weren’t travelling too far today so an early start wasn’t essential.
Our first stop for coffee was at the small town of Injune, some 100 kms up the Carnarvon Highway heading north. This looks a very nice place and has a very impressive information centre and coffee shop. There’s a caravan park here and we were pretty sure that we saw some vans at the showgrounds.
About 30 kms up the highway from Injune we came across roadworks – some 25 kms of roadworks made even worse because we were behind an empty multi-unit road train which created a huge cloud of dust and stones behind it. To be fair the driver did indicate for us to overtake him when the roadworks were finished and the road was clear.
Apart from the roadworks, today’s driving has been more interesting than most other days so far this trip. The terrain was more undulating and the road a bit more winding. The landscape has been a bit more varied as well.
For lunch we stopped at a huge truck parking area that very obviously had potential for free camping. It was huge and flat with plenty of tracks away from the main parking area to give less noise and some weather protection. There was at least one caravan there and they looked to be pretty settled. We couldn’t find this place in the Camps 7 book, but have made a note of its location in case we are travelling this way in the future.
Unfortunately we couldn’t find today’s destination in the GPS system, so from Injune we were relying on maps and the speedo to give us an indication as to where we needed to turn off the highway. As we got closer the road conditions changed and we encountered several very steep declines in the road. The landscape was changing too and the plains and scrub were replaced by cuttings through rock and majestic rocky outcrops rising from the ground. Very spectacular!
Eventually we found our turnoff which turned out to be a narrow bitumen road, much of it unfenced for livestock, which we encountered several times. The cattle seemed pretty docile and unfazed by us and most simply went on sunbaking as we went past.
As we continued, the road got narrower. Grazing fields and pasture made way for very close vegetation and more undulations. We probably should have expected it but the road then turned to gravel and a sign indicated that we still had about 15 kms to go. Neither of us recall any of the brochures mentioning a gravel road but it was too late to turn back – and there literally was nowhere to turn around anyway – so we continued towards our destination on the gravel, through water crossings, and other off-road conditions that we’re not accustomed to.
Finally we reached our destination – Takarakka Bush Resort. This is a beautiful place and is well laid out.
We secured a drive through site close to one of the bright and clean amenities blocks. Exploring the park we found a great reception area and shop with an outside sitting/dining area, several amenities blocks, a number of fire pits and some fantastic camp kitchens. It was well worth the drive to get here – had we known about the road we may not have come here and we would have missed a treat.
Apart from the Coopers Pale Ale stubby that fell into my hand when I opened the fridge, the only casualty of the trip was one of the venetian blinds which came adrift, but that was quickly rectified. We are so glad that we have maintained the discipline of packing the van properly every time we travel as things could have been a real disaster otherwise.
At 5.00 pm we went down to reception where a Ranger gave a very informative 30 – 40 minute talk about the Carnarvon Gorge and the various walks and sights. It was a great introduction and induction to the area.
After the Ranger’s presentation we stayed in the sitting/dining area for a delicious roast dinner that they put on a couple of times each week for guests. The cost was very reasonable and the food, including dessert, was delicious. The best part of these dinners is always the people you meet and we sat with two other couples who had been here for different lengths of time and were great company. We swapped notes about caravanning, favourite destinations, and so on.
There is no mobile, internet or TV reception out here in the wilderness, so after dinner we returned to the van to watch a DVD before having a reasonably early night.
About Where We Are:
Carnarvon Gorge is a section of the Carnarvon National Park and is described as “an oasis in the semi-arid heart of Central Queensland”. The Gorge section of the national park covers 16,000 hectares and was declared a park in 1932. It is the most popular tourist destination in Queensland’s central highlands. There are many short and long walks around Carnarvon Gorge, including the 6 or 7 day Carnarvon Great Walk. There is a permanent source of water within the Gorge which sustains a rich variety of plants and animals. There are also many reminders of life in the Gorge by the traditional owners including engravings, ochre stencils and freehand paintings.
Takarakka Bush Resort is situated at the gateway of the Carnarvon Gorge National Park. There are a variety of accommodation options including camping, caravan sites, ensuite cabins and safari tents.