Boowinda Gorge | Carnarvon National Park


To reach Boowinda Gorge you need to go for an 11kim bushwalk in Carnarvon National Park

It sounds much but the 22km round trip is worth every step, even if the day after you can barely walk!

Boowinda Gorge Track
The beginning of Boowinda Gorge track.

The entrance is to Boowinda Gorge is narrow, winding gorge only a few metres across in places, where only reflected light reaches the lower walls as it snakes its way upstream.  

We left early in the morning, with our backpacks full of goodies for the day, to reach the gorge at midday. 

Boowinda Gorge track at Carnarvon National Park
The views are spectacular all along the way.

The first kilometre of this boulder-strewn gorge is the most spectacular – The midday sun penetrated the gorge creating beautiful patterns which add to nature sculpture. Moss- coated sandstone walls, cobbled carpet though the narrow passages with sweeping overhangs draped with curtains of moss and ferns. It’s truly spectacular!

It’s kilometres long in its own right – I assume – and the floor is covered in grey boulders which are somewhat trying to walk on. The walls alternate between rocky and mossy and not much light makes it to the floor. Sometimes around a corner, a tree or small clump of bushes or ferns will grow, presumably where moisture collects.

Midday light inside Boowinda Gorge
When you wish you had better photography skills to capture the midday light inside the Gorge

I didn’t want to leave, I wanted to stay and see the light change, I want to sing out loud and listen to my echo. Mind you, there was no-one else in the gorge!

The Meaning of Boowinda

Boowinda is an indigenous word meaning ‘thunder’, and it’s worth remembering that fact as you explore its sinuous, smoothly eroded walls. The sandstone here has been carved into amazing shapes by some extreme flows of water.

Therefore if you hear thunder when in Boowinda Gorge, it’s time to leave as it is prone to flash flooding.

Inside Boowinda Gorge at Carnarvon National Park
Boowinda means ‘thunder’

The Boowinda Gorge Track

Boowinda Gorge is a grade 4 track, that can take between 5 and 6 hours. 

Grade 4 track in Australia means that:

  • Maybe extensively overgrown; hazards such as fallen trees and rocks likely to be present.
  • Caution needed on creek crossings, cliff edges and naturally occurring lookouts.
  • Moderate level of fitness required.
  • Ankle-supporting footwear strongly recommended.
Carnarvon National Park Map
Carnarvon National Park Map

Walk safely on Boowinda Gorge Track

No matter what type of walk you are about to do you should always think about your ability and conditions carefully before setting out. Choose walks that suit the ability of the whole group, so you can stay together the whole time while on the walking tracks.

No matter where I go for a bushwalk, I always make sure I tell someone about my plans, this is particularly important when we go on remote walkings. 

Carnarvon National Park tracks

On this particular walk, The Boowinda Gorge Track, I felt that the main hazard was the loose cobbled stones along the Gorge. Walk slowly on this section while admiring the gorge moss walls.  

Essentials to bring

Here is a list of a few things you should bring with you when walking at Carnarvon National Park:

  1. First aid kit

    In any walk, you should always carry a first aid kit. In Australia, I always carry also a snake and spider kit, in case something happens. It contains all the things you need in case of a bite. Also, if you are not familiar with first aid for snake and spider bites, learn it before you venture in the Australian bush!

  2. Animal-proof sealable rubbish container

    There are no bins at  Australia National Parks. The idea is to take with you what you bring. So please carry a bag so you can dispose of and take your rubbish with you.

  3. Stove

    If you are planning to keep walking past the Boowinda Gorge in direction to the Big Bend, bring a fuel stove and stove with you to the camping ground.

  4. Torch

    Inside the gorge gets dark very quickly and early. Always carry a torch just in case.

  5. Warm clothes

    Even in summer, you might need a jumper inside the gorge. I was freezing and I had a jumper and a beanie.

  6. Water

    There are water taps available in the Carnarvon Gorge camping and day-use area. If you are camping or walking in remote locations treat water before drinking.
    I always carry at least 2 litres per person and bring with me either purification tablets to treat water or my
    Katadin water bottle (which filters the water). You can read here my review.

P.sS – This post was originally published on the 7/08/2012 and updated on the 12/8/2019. You might also like to read my “Guide To Safe Camping In The Outback” and also “How to prepare the perfect camping trip”

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