• Josh Garman

Carnarvon Gorge & Getting Lost In The Outback

In my last blog there was trouble in paradise as I began exploring out of Noosa and into the Glasshouse Mountains. In this blog my time in Noosa continues with my friend Ruslan and I heading out into the outback in search of Carnarvon Gorge!

Carnarvon Gorge & Getting Lost In The Outback
Carnarvon Gorge & Getting Lost In The Outback

First off I want to apologise to Ruslan. Back in those days I had an obsession with filming, it was pretty none stop really. I was so determined to capture everything that it often meant not living. During this trip I filmed way too much when we could of experienced more and so comes this blogs life lesson. Taking photos or filming places is great. Hell I couldn't write blogs about them if I didn't have it. But never let cameras, your social media or any other distractions stop you from truly living, you will only ever feel like you're on the outside of the magic.

I had a great trip nonetheless so let's begin...

Ruslan & Me
Ruslan & Me

After heading out on a few trips with Ruslan it was clear to me we would be heading out on some adventures of our own. The future seemed limitless until I got some news. Mette a wonderful girl from our hostel room had told me Ruslan was leaving and once I confirmed with him that it was true with his last week left I suggested we went on a big road trip! The idea was that once we finished I would drive him to the family he was moving in with to work and then head back to Noosa in one big loop.

He agreed without much thought and it wasn't long before we set of in the camper. We had everything we needed, food, a huge tank of water and one half the size for emergency fuel. We were heading into the outback hoping to reach a place we had looked up called Carnarvon Gorge.

Carnarvon Gorge is located in the Southern Brigalow Belt bioregion in Central Queensland, 593 km northwest of Brisbane. Primarily created by water erosion, Carnarvon Gorge is around 30 kilometres long, located in Carnarvon National Park, and six hundred metres deep at the mouth - Wikipedia

As we began our long 9 hour car journey there we ended up adding a few hours on to take a more scenic route. Just like I had experienced in the past driving into the outback all of civilisation began to disappear behind us. In front there was nothing but sandy roads. Endless sandy roads. At one point we turned to each other, asked whether it seemed strange and then both burst out laughing. We had been going in a straight line for over 3 hours and we were convinced the scenery hadn't changed that entire time.

We imagined that we had found a glitch in the world or maybe come to the end of it. An endless loop driving forward but not going anywhere. Eventually we found a petrol station. The sun was beating over head as usual in Australia but in these open plain there were cold winds that swept through us. I'd learned from my last trip into the outback that you must always carry back up fuel and top up at every petrol station. I fuelled myself up too with a can of Monster energy knowing we would do the drive in one sitting. We pressed on and only had the occasional thing to look at.

Along our route we stumbled across many derelict building or abandoned cars keeping us entertained. We could explore the crumbling buildings searching for dead bodies or sit in the battered trucks pretending to drive and walk along ghostly unused railways. This kept us entertained for a while but it was essential we kept moving. Day turned to night and we were still driving into the outback. The stars came out to see us and they were magnificent! Without any light pollution you could just marvel at the sky, infinite space stretching out in front of us.

As we got closer to Carnarvon Gorge the GPS stopped working and we relied on savvy only to try and make it. We followed the main road as it got less and less road like. It was soon a dirt track that we bumped and bobbed along at 2mph while going through everyone of nature's potholes. Then as driving along with my campervans dim headlamps a creature suddenly appeared in front of me and I slammed on my breaks. What was that!? It was a large brown cow that now was looking at us and not wanting to move. It gave a low belchy moo towards us and as our eyes adjusted we saw that there was hundreds of them.

Cows the began to gather all around us and we pushed along at a snails pace to get past. Once reaching the Carnarvon car park we rejoiced, drove back away for 5 minutes and set up for the night. We lit a fire on the ground with deadfall we could find and the help of a lighter from my pocket had a flame in no time. It blazed as we watched the stars and listened to the scary sounds of the wilds around us.

In the morning it was time to explore the gorge and already being here were one of the first in. The national park was an incredible place to explore and I can't recommend it enough. The expanse of forest round here is huge and I read later that you can do a 12 day walk through all the trees and gorges across the park. We only had a day so pushed on being delayed only by me filming. The tracks wound through the trees and the stone walls of the gorges began appearing around us. After exploring a few hidden caves we found nearby we came to the first of the river crossings.

It was like something out of a New Zealand travel guide. We hopped along polished stone stepping stones as the water swept between them. One wrong move and you were in the drink. It was almost as much fun as watching other people with full packs and walking poles trying desperately not to fall in. Unfortunately no one did!

After a few more river crossing and taking the drone out to film the surroundings we found ourselves within the gorges. It closed in all around us as we wandered through and gradually we found new places to explore. The first was a natural amphitheatre carved out over thousands of years by rainwater flowing through the rock. It was called Cathedral Cave. This huge channel of rock could only be access via some sketchy metal steps up and then walking through a thin tunnel of rock to the opening. You could peer up and see the sky above. This huge space was breath-taking and required silence from all those around.

It was a feeling I had experienced going through art galleries or an exhibit in a history museum. Everyone here was silent, admiring nature as if it demanded it. One by one the people left and Ruslan and I thought we would try it out. Starting quietly and building up to full shout we could hear our voices echoing round and round like pinballs up to the opening above. After we had visited the amphitheatre we carried on experiencing flowers and plants we had never seen. Bright colours and full of spikes. It was as if entering a prehistoric land.

Then we reached what they call the art gallery and witnessed something more we hadn't expected to see. The art gallery was a walk way surrounding an outside area of rock. On it were countless paintings and engravings at perhaps 3000 years of age. They spread across the rock face like cave paintings in red. Most of them were stencils of hands or palm leaves but there were all kind of shapes including boomerangs!

We studied them for a while before walking on and once we were part way through the day started to head back. We only had one day to explore but had seen some amazing sites, regretting not having more time to explore here. We got back in the camper and drove to Ruslan's new home in Australia. I said goodbye to a dear friend and got back on the road towards Noosa. I drove all the way back that night listening to music and sipping energy drinks. I climbed back into my top bunk in room 11 and looked around at everyone asleep. They had become my new family in Australia and as I peered over at them snoring, farting or keeled over on a guitar I felt very happy and knew I would stay in Noosa for a while longer...

In my next blog I will be heading on one more trip before leaving Noosa. We're going to the everglades!

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