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Carnarvon Gorge – Baloon Cave and Mickey Creek walks (19 April)

Baloon Cave walk (1km return)

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We set off down the trail through open forest. It’s quite warm, reminding us that we are in Queensland’s central west. The ground is dry under foot and the nearby cliff edge is a precarious rubble of dry rock and tufts of grass. This is the bush as I know it.

And then we round a corner and find ourselves walking along a shallow creek bed. The landscape changes almost instantaneously. Long glossy blades of grass rise waist high along the track and palm trees rise high into the sky. It’s easy to see why this place is sacred to the Traditional Owners who passed through here, leaving their handprints on the walls of Baloon Cave.

I read somewhere that the Traditional Owners used to use this route to enter Carnarvon Gorge and it’s quite obvious why … this path has water and probably plenty of food for those who know where to find it.

Mickey Creek walk (4km return)

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The Mickey Creek walk leaves from a car park just a few hundred metres from the Baloon Cave walk but already it feels like we’re that much deeper in the gorge. All around is lush and green. It’s a change from the blue-grey grasses and tree leaves we passed on the drive into the gorge, even just 10km up the road.

We follow the trail along Mickey Creek. It’s a shallow creek that is gurgling gently over a narrow rocky bed. We’re walking under a tall sandstone bluff that rises a couple of hundred metres above us. It’s a spectacular sight.

A trail leads off to Warrmbah Gorge. We turn off and 200m later there is a sign indicating that the formed trail ends. But there’s a strong footpad leading deeper into the gorge so we continue. It’s absolutely spectacular as the gorge closes in around us. Within a hundred metres we can pretty much touch either side of the gorge walls with each hand. It’s colourful as red and white rock surfaces blend together with dark wet rock and green moss. Eventually we come to a water hole so decide to keep our feet dry.

Mickey Creek Gorge isn’t as spectacular but it is pleasant and cool. We stop at the end of the formed trail to eat some snacks and just be in the bush.

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