Tag Archives: Australian history

A Trek Through the Heart of Queensland, Carnarvon Gorge

I can’t tell you of the first instance I became aware of Carnarvon Gorge, only that I knew it to be a place that was necessary to visit one day.

For thousands of years the Aboriginal custodians, the Bidjara and Karingbal tribes had lived in this area. In around 1850 white settlers had confiscated the land for farming, only to hand it back after vicious, but successful raids by the Aboriginals.

Today the spectacular sandstone cliffs form the towering walls of the gorge. The creek that formed the gorge over millions of years to this day continues to meander through the cliffs, sustaining a wide variety of flora and fauna to exist within the gorge walls.

We stayed at Takarakka Bush Resort for 3 nights to give us 2 full days to enjoy the Gorge.

Day 1: Visitor centre to the Art Gallery = 13.5 kms

Stop 1: The Moss Garden

Dripping water from the sandstone walls of the gorge have formed a tiny haven of moss and lush ferns, there is ever a little waterfalls.

Moss Garden, Carnarvon Gorge

Moss Garden, Carnarvon Gorge

Stop 2: The Amphitheatre

A 60meter deep chamber gouged from within the cliff. It was a cool, quiet place where we sat to have morning tea.

Amphitheatre, Carnarvon Gorge

Amphitheatre, Carnarvon Gorge

Stop 3: The Gallery

A 62 meter wall of sandstone records the history of the tribe from this area. This wall contains over 2000 stencils, paintings and carvings. Unfortunately, it have been vandalised in the previous decades.

Art Gallery, Carnarvon Gorge

Art Gallery, Carnarvon Gorge

Day 2: Visitors Centre to Boolimba Bluff = 6kms

Boolimba Bluff gazes out above the cliff line of the gorge. We climbed a steep series of ladders to reach the lookout and once we made it to the top we sat and absorbed the view.

view From Boolimba Bluff, Carnarvon Gorge

View From Boolimba Bluff, Carnarvon Gorge

Rain drops after a water night

Rain drops after a rainy night

Port Arthur

I hadn’t planned on visiting Port Arthur on our trip as I’m not terribly familiar or interested in Australian history. I did however, want to see The Isle of the Dead in Port Arthur. Can’t see one without the other so we went for a day and I’m so glad we did.

I could go on about the history of Port Arthur in this blog; but, really you could research that in your spare time. There were a few things that did really fascinate me while we were here and so I will make mention.

The way the tourists are managed throughout Port Arthur is very well done. I have a degree in Tourism and Hospitality Management which really doesn’t get much of a workout. What I do like to check out while at tourist attractions is how the attraction manages the tourists and I thought Port Arthur did this very well. As part of the bronze ticket, the cheapest ticket you can buy, you get an ipod with a self guided tour so you can walk around on your own and have all the information at your finger tips. You are also entitled to participate in an introductory tour which goes every hour and a guide will walk you around and provide you with the information found on the ipod and other relevant stories.

I also found the tour guides and staff in general to be fantastic. They are obviously passionate and very knowledgable about Port Arthur and liked to share stories about the convicts, the jailers and their families to really make the experience come alive for us visitors.

As the main motivation for visiting Port Arthur was The Isle of the Dead tour we booked and went on it first. The Isle of the Dead is a small island off the Tasman peninsula. It was used as the graveyard for Port Arthur from 1833 to 1877. Around 1100 dead are buried here. Basically anyone who died was buried here so not only the convicts but  officials, soldiers and their families. On the lower side of the island the convicts were buried, mostly without headstones in mass graves. It was forbidden to place headstones on a convicts graves; however, there are a couple of exceptions to the rule. The soldiers, officials and their families were  buried on the higher north-western corner of the Island, class rules were strictly enforced in life and death for these people.

The tour guide was engaging and obviously loved her job, she told us stories of some of the dead, the grave keepers, families and interesting burial facts.

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The other place I wanted to make mention of in this blog is the Coal Mines Historic Site. Port Arthur is on one side of the Tasman Peninsula and the Coal Mine is a drive to the other. It’s free to see, you just drive up and park. We didn’t know anything about the Coal Mine; but, a guy at the caravan park said that we had to go and see it so we did. We were the only people there at the time so had the whole place to ourselves and it was spectacular.

We had a detailed information brochure and map of the area so we self toured around. It was worth the short drive out to see it.

Port Arthur Coal Mine Ruins

Port Arthur Coal Mine Ruins