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The Australian Nature Guides difference...
Full Day Tour - Lower Gorge Explorer.
Availability: Daily on demand.
Booking: Email us directly or find us at Carnarvon Gorge Visitor Information Centre next to Carnarvon Gorge Wilderness Lodge.
If you are interested in understanding the Gorge, its cultural heritage and seeing as much of its wildlife and wild plants, then this is the tour for you. Visiting the Art Gallery, Ward's Canyon, the Amphitheatre and the Moss Garden, Simon will guide you through the richest parts of Carnarvon on a tour that takes up a full day; we are usually on the track between 7am and 8am, and back between 4pm and 5pm.
Our day tours are a longer duration than any other tour operator's for a few very good reasons. Firstly, Simon's many years guiding in the Gorge allows him to find and point out more plants, animals and subjects of interest - and to tell you how they fit into the Gorge's scheme of things. Secondly, he will generally be the slowest walker in the group because he is stopping to talk about all the things he has found for you. Thirdly, Simon will spend a decent amount of time in each special spot to allow guests to relax and soak up the atmosphere of the Gorge (which he'll be doing at the same time).
Simon starts the tour early in the morning (and ends it late in the day) to give groups the best chance of seeing the Gorge's wildlife. These are the times that wildlife will be most active and human traffic on the tracks the least. Most tours will see and hear twenty to thirty bird species before reaching the Art Gallery, and will understand why they are here in such numbers and diversity as Simon explains the Gorge's extraordinary sheltering mechanisms.
Once at the Art Gallery, Simon will help unravel the meaning behind this internationally significant collection of rock art. Much of it holds symbolic meaning, providing an extraordinary insight into the patterns of life and the spiritual beliefs of the Karingbal and Bidjara people. Simon's knowledge of Australian prehistory, which he has been researching for over a decade, will help you fit the ancient knowledge at the Art Gallery into a broader Australian context. Such insights will stand you in good stead when visiting indigenous cultural sites elsewhere.
Wards Canyon is the lunch stop for the tour. Perched next to the King Ferns, the Gorge's rarest plants, Simon will use the plants specific habitat requirements to help you realise just how amazing a coincidence is the chain of events leading to these ferns growing here and nowhere else in inland Australia.
Wards Canyon also holds some intriguing early European history. Over a nice, hot cuppa, Simon will lay out the tales that have filtered down about the Ward Brothers and their possum-trapping ways and give you the tools to figure out which truths have been a little stretched.
The Amphitheatre, with its sheer walls, is an awesome experience and also one of the best places to encounter the Gorge's singular geology. Walking in through the narrow entrance, Simon will point out evidence of significant geological events from the Gorge's distant past. The walls of the Amphitheatre read like a chapter of the earth's biography, and it's a chapter from the age of the dinosaurs at that.
The walk into the Moss Garden takes Simon's groups through some of the most scenic areas of the Gorge, passing through the best patch of remnant rainforest on the track system along the way. For many years a pair of Peregrine Falcons has nested along these cliffs, and Simon can show you their roosts and nesting sites if not the birds themselves.
At the Moss Gardens, you'll get to rest your feet next to an incredible moss-draped wall adjacent to the Gorge's prettiest waterfall. The water emerging from the cliff face is ridiculously old, but only part of the story. As you enjoy an afternoon snack, Simon will use the site to explain the complex hydrology of the area and how it underpins much of the Gorge's pattern of life.
The Moss Garden also has a connection to some more recent European history linked to the CWA. After we've dealt with all these topics, and had some time to enjoy the tranquility of the site it will be time to head back to base.