Brachina Gorge, Flinders Ranges National Park, South Australia*
Gorging yourself silly in OZ doesn’t mean what you’re probably thinking it means.
Katherine Gorge, Northern Territory
For a start, I’m not even talking about food – although you haven’t lived until you’ve eaten at a fine OZ bakery – but I digress!
Cania Gorge, Queensland
No, I’m talking about gorges. OZ is riddled with them. And in some parts, you can’t swing a long-tailed goanna without hitting one – to the point where being a tourist is tantamount to being all gorged out …
Not that that’s a bad thing – there’s something about gorges that draws you down the depths in a sometimes taxing reverse-mountain-climb! At the bottom, there’s another world that just invites you to rock-hop, swim or canoe along the inevitable river bed, explore the geographic features – rocks, waterfalls, caves – and photograph the rim against the sun. Or is that just me?
Lawn Hill Gorge Rim
It’d be a rare person who’s visited all the gorges in OZ – I’m not even close!
But I’ve explored quite a few over the years, so here’s a starter menu of 10 random ravines recommended by Red!
They’re not the only – or necessarily the best – in OZ.
Hiking the floor of this remote outback gorge isn’t an option. But hire a canoe and dodge the freshwater crocodiles and file snakes (I nearly hit one with my paddle) before using the portage to get to the upper gorge! Swim with giant catfish, bathe in the falls or hike to the rim for the reddest rock you’ll see almost anywhere!
Lawn Hill Gorge, Boodjamulla National Park, Queensland
Kings Canyon, Central Australia, Northern Territory
This magnificent gorge, often overshadowed by the (relatively) nearby – and better known – Uluru, starred in the OZ modern classic film ‘Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’.
While Pilchard and I weren’t tempted to re-enact the famous ‘co*k in a frock on a rock’ scene where three drag queens ‘do’ the gorge, the rigorous circuit track rewards hikers with some of the most magnificent views in OZ!
RED Rock Walls at Kings Canyon, Northern Territory
Impressive walks through stunning scenery, Central Queensland’s Cania gorge has it all – killer hikes, remnant rainforest, rocky walls, fantastic views, bushranger caves and a mighty dam nearby for fishing.
It’s been too long since we visited this fabulous spot with kangaroos and potoroos in the campground, and platypus in the creek.
The spine-tinglingly bloodcurdling shriek that rent the night air wasn’t a woman being murdered either – that’s exactly what Barking Owl sounds like!
The granddaddy of them all, a journey through magnificent Brachina Gorge in Outback South Australia is like tripping in a time machine through aeons of geological activity caused by weathering, erosion and time.
The awesome scenery is pretty spectacular as well – with an almost unbeatable Scenic Public Toilet!
One of the better opportunities for that valued rocky-walls-against-blue-sky shot, Carnarvon Gorge’s walking trail is reasonably easy going – if you don’t count the length ! A ~20 km round trip – if you don’t count the detours to chasms, gullies and Indigenous art!! Platypus in the creek and a spectacular setting put this amazing gorge well and truly on the tourist trail.
Except for an hour in the middle of the day, this deep, narrow gorge near Alice Springs in Central Australia is mostly in shadow. But when the sun’s directly overhead, the magnificence of the rich red glow on the steep, rocky walls towering high, high above is unparalleled!
Standley Chasm, Central Australia, Northern Territory
The megafauna once roaming this region now sadly long absent, there’s no distraction from the magnificent scenery of this spectacular spot. Exploring the ever-eroding red river banks (yes, the name is SO imaginative!), and walking the gorge shows the savage beauty of this untamed, arid landscape. But my favourite bit? When Red-capped Robin comes bob-bob-bobbin along!!
The achingly beautiful and haunting sound of our Aboriginal guide’s didgeridoo echoing through a cave and across the water is a highlight of this guided tour – the only way to see awesome Katherine Gorge, deep in the heart of the Northern Territory. Exploring this ancient and mystic landscape is a privilege not to be missed!
There’s that sky shot again! This time at Katherine Gorge, Northern Territory*
And these are just 10 of the gorgeous gorges (c’mon! you KNEW I had to throw that in!) downunder in OZ to which I’ve been! Imagine what’s in store in the parts I haven’t visited yet?!?! Don’t know about you, but I can’t wait!!!