The Gorge - which I showed you from above on Boolimba Bluff, is what we explored on foot. Thomas Mitchell named it Carnarvon after his welsh homeland. The Gorge is a collection of sandstone cliffs which narrow as you walk into it, which have been shaped by wind and water over the years.The small creek now runs at the base of it. The sandstone cliffs are extremely porous and absorb a lot of water and over them is a basalt ( volcanic ) layer of rock which is more stable.The average rainfall is higher here which may account for the rich and varied vegetation.
Occupation of the Gorge is estimated to go back as far as 19,500 years. The Bidjara and the Karingbal tribes are the main tribes in the area and their ancestors were probably responsible for some of the amazing aboriginal rock paintings.
The Gorge is some 10 kms in length - at least the part which is now accessible. We walked all the way to the end where C in his effervescent state dived into a rock pool to cool off. The joy was short-lived as this gorge inhabitant swam right past me and headed straight for him. I called out and he jumped out in time. Checking with the park warden this is a keel back snake one of the few freshwater snakes in the area.
There are many walks in the Gorge - it is a long path with galleries on either side that we explored, starting from the unique aboriginal art in the Art Gallery and the Cathedral. We saw examples of stencil art that are probably the most sophisticated in the world. They are applied to the wall by blowing an ochre pigment mixed with water from the mouth. We also saw lots of engravings, a whole wall dedicated to the female vulva. Forms that can be recognised are hands and boomerangs, kangaroos and emus as well as funeral rites and customs.
In my next bog more about the fauna and flora of the Gorge.