Camping in Carnarvon Gorge
700km north-west from Brisbane is the perfectly picturesque national park of Carnarvon Gorge. We packed our four kids, aged 8, 6, 4 and 11 months, into the car at 6am one Saturday morning and arrived 11 hours later at our home away from home—Takarakka Bush Resort. We were welcomed upon check in by friendly, helpful staff who understood we were keen to get our tent set up. They were also full of useful information regarding when the sun would set, where to find the amenities and when to set off on our first bush walk the following day. Our camp site was spacious and close enough to the toilets for our kids to trek to in the middle of the night.
The first morning I woke to my eldest gleefully peering out of his tent window at the mother and joey kangaroo enjoying a spot of grass to eat right next to our site. He was thrilled to be so up close to wild animals!
After breakfast, we headed off for our first walk up to Boolimba Bluff. Not for the feint hearted, but absolutely more than worth the effort, we trekked straight up the side of a cliff to enjoy the spectacular views of the gorge—Mother Nature at her best! After four hours of hard work, we all managed to get to the top and back. Our three eldest children did the walk unaided with a bit of effort, except for the steep stairs and ladders we encountered. Our little baby, however, enjoyed the comfort of daddy carrying him and snoozed most of the way.
Back at camp that night, we used the camp kitchen to cook a hearty meal using the great camp ground facilities. Under a large open gazebo there are wooden benches and chairs with a few gas stoves, sinks, a hot water urn, pots, pans and utensils. Take your own cups, plates and cutlery and you will be set up for a basic meal. Back at reception they do also have limited frozen meats, bread and long life milk. Being 100km from the nearest town, they only stock the basics, so bring as much as you can with you. They do have ample cold drinks though, for when you need a refreshing hit after your exploring each day.
On our second day, we just sat around and relaxed. Our eldest child finally had the chance to learn to ride his bike without training wheels, much to his and our delight. There is ample room, with grassy areas and dirt roads, for the kids to ride around, kick a footy or play cricket. Later on, we drove 3 km into the gorge to the rock pool to let the kids have a paddle. There is a smaller pool that’s nice and shallow, as well as a deeper pool around the bend which is more suited to experienced swimmers and adults. Both are lovely, shady and easily accessible. Closer to Takarakka Bush Resort is a shallow paddling spot. There are little guppies that our kids were fascinated by for ages, but it is more exposed to the sun so better suited for late and early in the day.
At sunset, we headed off to find the elusive platypus. There is a section of the creek that flows past the campsite that the owners have kept exclusively for the platypus’ habitat. The platypus remained elusive to us, so we headed back to our campsite to be greeted once again with feeding kangaroos.
On our last day at Takarakka, we gathered all of our strength to head to the Art Gallery. Heading off early, we trekked across creek crossings, through ever-changing wilderness and past breathtaking scenery. It was a truly awe-inspiring experience as we rounded the bend to the Art Gallery—a protected rock face containing over 2000 aboriginal rock stencils, paintings and engravings. We could feel the history and spiritual significance from this 3000+ year old site.
Upon recommendation from the staff at reception, we had passed all the other places to visit on the way up the gorge, but on the way back we stopped to see them.
First up was Ward’s Canyon—like another world entirely. It contains king ferns, massive ferns found nowhere else in central Queensland and a beautiful meandering stream that has carved its way through the hard rock. By far this was the highlight of my walk, but in no way would I call any other part anything less than stunning.
Further along the track was the amphitheatre. Not for those easily scared by heights or rickety ladders built into the side of cliffs, this hollowed out mass of cliff is simply breathtaking. Slowly eroded over millions of years by rain and wind, the true power of nature is on display here. We sat in complete silence as we watched a lone swallow darting and diving through the open space between the rock faces.
Our last stop on our life changing trek was the moss garden. Here you can watch water that has been fighting for millions of years to escape the hard rock it has been creeping through sideways to drip down into a cool pool, feeding the thousands of tiny mosses and ferns gripping the strong hold. It’s a lovely cool spot to sit and relax before heading back to the car and travelling the 3km to our campsite.
All up, our walk took us 8 ½ half hours with our four kids. Others apparently did it in 6 hours on their own. We are by no means fit and healthy, so it did take its toll on our feet and bodies, but I would happily do it over again in a heartbeat.
Although tiring and testing, our kids loved the walks we did throughout our stay at Takarakka Bush Resort in Carnarvon Gorge and we were all just as equally enthralled by the sights and marvels we encountered around every bend. It was a truly awe-inspiring few days, experiencing just what Queensland and Mother Nature has in our own backyard.
Facilities at Takarakka Bush Resort
- Accommodation options –
- Powered and non-powered camping sites
- Takka tents for glamping
- Newly installed cabins
- All of the accommodation options are reasonably priced and are located close to the amenities.
- The camp kitchen is well-equipped.
- There is plenty of hot water in the showers to soak your aching bodies after a long day exploring.
Activities to enjoy at Takarakka Bush Resort
- Carnarvon Gorge easily holds a weeks’ worth of exploring. I never once heard “I’m bored” from my kids while we were there or “Can we watch TV?”.
- Guided tours and helicopter flights can be arranged in season.
- Flora and fauna is abundant in the area.
How to make the most of your stay at Takarakka Bush Resort
- Bring the kids bikes, plenty of food and a sense of adventure.
- It gets fairly warm during the day, so pack your hat and sunscreen and some insect repellent for the mornings and evenings. They have been in drought for a few years now, but the slightest bit of rain brings out the mozzies.
- If a 10 to 11 hour drive isn’t something you want to attempt with the kids, a stop-over night at Miles or Roma is recommended. We did the drive in one go, but we made sure that we stopped a few times for the kids to stretch their legs and have a run around. DVD players and colouring in for the car are a must.
- Being a national park, pets are not permitted.
Takarakka Bush Resort is located approximately 43km off the Carnarvon Highway, halfway between Roma and Emerald (GPS: Latitude 25.0711o S; Longitude 148.2682o E).
Please visit their website for more information – https://www.takaru.com.au
Thanks to Theresa for this camp site review!
Take a look at the Brisbane Kids list of Your Favourite Camping Spots for lots more recommended family camp locations to explore, like Tallebudgera Creek Tourist Park. We will have many more campsite reviews coming in the very near future.