Carnarvon Gorge is the centrepiece of this awe-inspiring park in central Queensland’s Sandstone Belt (it’s a 4.5-hour drive southwest of Rockhampton). Slide between the main gorge’s towering white sandstone cliffs to discover ferns, cycads, streams and endemic Carnarvon fan palms. Detour into side gorges and explore remnant rainforest and a moss garden. Don’t leave without seeing the Art Gallery of some 2,000 ancient Aboriginal paintings and hand stencils. To cool down after your hiking adventures, strike out for Rock Pool – the Gorge’s only designated swimming hole. Apart from the Carnarvon Gorge section, other roads within the park are unsealed and best explored in a 4WD.
Point your wheels towards Queensland’s ancient rainforests, lava tunnels, dinosaur footprints and rock art – or simply go for a paddle to commune with the birds. These impressive natural wonders are reason enough to plan your next road trip.